CHAMISHOH MI YODEI'A - FIVE QUESTIONS ON THE WEEKLY SEDRAH - PARSHAS BREISHIS 5773 - BS"D
Q: 1) Ch. 1, v. 1: "Breishis" - Why doesn't the verse say "reishis" rather than "breishis"?
A: 1) This would require the verse to follow through with "hoyoh eis hashomayim v'eis ho'oretz," without mentioning Who created them. Hashem wanted to place His Name in the first verse. (Rabbeinu Tovioh)
2) To allude to 2 "reishis," the creation of this ephemeral world and the permanent world-to-come.
3) To teach us that we not delve into what took place before the creation, or above, or below. The letter Beis is closed on all sides, except forward to the next letter, indicating that we only delve "forward." (Kabalists)
4) So that the Torah begin with the letter Beis, indicative of "brochoh," blessing.
5) All the letters, save Alef, begged Hashem to begin the Torah with them. Hashem gave each a reason why not, except for the letter Beis. (The letter Alef was recompensed by being the first letter in the Ten Commandments.) (Holy Zohar in his preface to Breishis)
Q: 2) Ch. 1, v. 11: "Tadshei ho'oretz deshe" - Why do we have these three differences between Hashem's stating how the vegetation should produce and how it actually produced? Here it says "tadshei" but in the next verse where it took place it says "vato'tzei"? Here there is no "l'mi'neihu" but in the next verse there is "l'mi'neihu." Here "eitz" has no prefix Vov, while in the next verse it does.
A: "Tadshei" means it should come into being as grass, a green shoot, the very earliest stage of growth. The next verse tells us "vato'tzei," the earth issued forth developed vegetation. This also explains "l'mi'neihu." When it is but a minimal shoot sprouting forth its species is not recognized. A somewhat developed plant is recognized as a specific species. The letter Vov in the next verse before "eitz," teaches us that the earth gave forth six (the numerical value of the letter Vov) species of trees. Although we have many more species, they are subspecies of the six basic trees. (Tosfos Hasho'leim)
Q: 3) Ch. 1, v. 27: "Va'yivra Elokim es ho'odom b'tzalmo" - How can it be that Hashem created man in His FORM? Hashem has no form (see "Ani maamin #3).
A: 1) "In His form" means that just as Hashem has no form, so too, mankind has no form, i.e. each person looks different from the next. (Tzror Hamor)
2) "In His form" means in the form of angels. (Chizkuni)
3) "In His form" means that mankind was given free reign in choosing to do good or bad. (Haa'meik Dovor)
Q: 4) Ch. 1, v. 27: "B'tzelem Elokim" - Starting from the first verse in the Torah onwards, Targum Onkelos always translates Elokim as "Hashem" (Y-H-V-H). Here, in 5:1, and in 9:6 he translates Elokim as "Elokim" (In my printed Chumash in 9:6 I find "Hashem," but "meso'res Targum" says that in these three places it is Elokim). Why does he deviate in these three places?
A: 1) "The form of Elokim" is such a lofty concept that Targum did not want to tamper with the exact wordage of the Torah. (Marpei Loshon)
2) This is not to be translated so that the thought of comparability between Elokim and mankind should not even be considered. (Pas'shegen Ksav)
3) As mentioned earlier, the Chizkuni says that "tzelem Elokim" means the form of angels. The correct translation for this is indeed Elokim, while everywhere else it means Hashem.
An interesting question arises: According to those who posit that this word is not actually translated, is it required to read the verse three times to fulfill "shtayim Mikra v'echod Targum"?
Q: 5) Ch. 2, v. 17: "B'yom acholcho mi'menu mose tomus" - Since Odom lived for another 930 years how were these words fulfilled?
A: 1) "Mose tomus" means that you will be liable for the death penalty. (Targum Yonoson ben Uziel, Ramban)
2) Since Odom died within a millennium this is the same day in Hashem's calculation, as per the verse "Ki elef shonim b'ei'necho k'yom esmol" (T'hilim 90:4 - see Rashi ad. loc.).
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