Weekly Reading Insights: Bereishit 5765


Overview of the Weekly Reading: Bereishit

To be read on 24 Tishrei 5765 (Oct. 9)

Torah:Deut. 32:1-52
Haftorah: Hosea 14:2-10, Joel 2:15-27

Bereishit is the 1st Reading out of 12 in Genesis and 1st overall, and 9th out of 54 in overall length.
Shabbat Mevarchim

The Torah opens with G-d's creation of the world in six days - plus Shabbos. G-d planted a garden in Eden, with the Tree of Life in the middle, and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. G-d told Adam that he may eat from every tree except for the Tree of Knowledge. The serpent persuaded Eve to eat from the tree, and she gave some of its fruit to Adam. G-d punished each of the three, then clothed Adam and Eve, and banished them from Eden. Eve gave birth to Cain and Abel. Cain killed Abel, and subsequently Eve gave birth to Seth. The Torah then lists the ten generations from Adam to Noah. When Noah was 500 years old, he fathered Shem, Ham and Yapheth. G-d then decided that man should live only to 120. G-d saw that the world was evil, and decided to obliterate it, except for Noah and his family.


From the holy Zohar, teachings of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai (Z:01-65/Bereshit)

"... out of the wilderness", means the desert [i.e. Sinai], from which she inherited [the ability] to be a bride [malchut] and to enter under the chupa canopy [bina].

For the full article, click to the "Weekly Torah" section on our KabbalaOnline site.

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From the holy Ari, Rabbi Yitzchak Luria of Safed (A:01-65/Bereshit)

[The fact that the Torah begins with the letter beit of "Bereishit"] teaches that the Torah has or contains two aspects: peshat (its simple or literal meaning) and sod (its deeper meaning).

For the full article, click to the "Weekly Torah" section on our KabbalaOnline site.

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From the Shelah, Shney Luchot HaBrit by Rabbi Isaiah Horowitz (S:01-65/Bereshit)

All other creatures on earth would have dwelled in a "higher" existence; there would not have been any trees that failed to produce edible fruit, for instance.

For the full article, click to the "Weekly Torah" section on our KabbalaOnline site.


Shmini Atzeret/Simchat Torah

The spiritual influence elicited on Sukkot is an "encompassing light," like a sukkah that surrounds a person but at a certain distance. On Shemini Atzeret, in contrast, this light is absorbed in the soul. This is the reason that moving from the sukkah back to the house, from a temporary dwelling to a permanent one, arouses joy. The move signifies that all the spiritual revelations of Sukkot have been permanently absorbed.
(Lubavitcher Rebbe) (Days of Awe, Days of Joy)


"G-d saw every thing that He had made, and behold, it was very good." (1:31)
Our Sages commented: "'Good' - refers to the good inclination; 'very good' refers to the evil inclination.' " The phenomenon of teshuva, repentance, could not exist without the creation of an evil inclination. Teshuva enables man to attain an even higher spiritual level and completeness than before he sinned; thus, G-d declared the creation "very good" only after Adam was created with this potential.
(Lubavitcher Rebbe)

"G-d blessed the seventh day and sanctified it." (2:3)
The day of Shabbat is intrinsically holy. Nonetheless, the Torah commands us to "Remember the Shabbat day to make it holy" (Ex. 20:8). For when a Jew remembers and observes Shabbat, it enhances its G-d-given sanctity and adds to it.
(Sefat Emet)


from the Chabad Master series, produced by Rabbi Yosef Marcus for

www.ascentofsafed.com and www.kabbalaonline.org

MOSHIACH THIS WEEK (M:01-65/Bereshit)

Moshiach and the Moon

"When she gave birth there were twins...and he called his name Peretz, and afterwards his brother...and he called his name Zerach." (Gen. 38:27-30)

Peretz is the direct ancestor of King David and Moshiach.

The Midrash notes that "Before the first enslaver of Israel (Pharaoh) was born, the ultimate redeemer of Israel (Moshiach -- Peretz) was already born." G-d thus brought about the remedy and cure before the affliction - before the Egyptian exile and all the exiles that would follow thereafter - including our own.

This "light of Moshiach" that was created with the birth of Peretz confers upon Israel the strength and ability to succeed in their exiles to "break through" (the meaning of the name "Peretz") all the obstacles that try to impede their service of G-d until Moshiach is revealed.

Our Sages compare Zerach to the sun and Peretz to the moon. The sun continuously shines in an unchanging manner; thus it symbolizes the stable manner in which tzadikim (the righteous) serve G-d. The moon's appearance keeps changing; it continually waxes and wanes.

The moon thus symbolizes ba'alei teshuva (penitents), who "slipped" and strayed and then returned and regained their spiritual stature. The royal house of David, the very source of Moshiach, is precisely from Peretz (the moon), because Moshiach will bring even tzadikim to do teshuva, to return to their Divine source.

(Likutei Sichot)

An essay from Rabbi Shaul Yosef Leiter, director of Ascent

(for a free weekly email subscription, click here) (W:01-65/Bereishit)

How do Shmini Atzeret and Simchat Torah impact the coming New Year?

The Kabbalistic tradition of Safed as carried forward by the great Chassidic Rebbes, is that a person can repair more damage done by ill deeds in the past year by being happy on Sukkot (breaking greater boundaries) than he could accomplish during Rosh Hashanna and Yom Kippur. We learn this from the tremendous Simchat Bait HaShoeva (water libation ceremonies) that took place in the holy Temple each evening during Sukkot. Many Jewish communities make events with music and dancing to relive these ceremonies. Look for notices in your area.

Even more powerful are the holidays of Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah (kept for two days outside of Israel). After all of the repairing and teshuva of the High Holy days and Sukkot, the culmination of all of the holidays is Simchat Torah. On this day we pray, read the Torah, and eat festive meals like all the other holidays, but the most important mitzvah is to dance with the Torah. The entire year we celebrate with the Torah while it is open, taking strength from its content.

On Simchat Torah, we specifically dance with the Torah when it is closed. We are so imbued with Torah ideas, all we want is to nullify ourselves to the Torah, to carry it wherever it must go - to literally be the legs and feet for the Torah. However much we can be happy with the Torah during Simchat Torah, we will be granted with simcha and joy of the Torah the whole year.

What is the connection between the last Shabbat of Tishrei, and the portion of Bereishit?

The last Shabbat of the month, when we read the portion of Bereishit, is the elevation and completion of all of our actions throughout all of the holidays. We learn this from the verse, Vayechulu hashamayim v'ha'aretz. Usually translated as "And G-d completed the heavens and the earth". Vayechulu (completed) can also be understood as 'elevated'.

In this context, elevated refers to the sparks of holiness in every aspect of the world, which are released when we use a physical thing, experience, thought or emotion in a positive way (such as the work of teshuva during the High Holidays). On Shabbat, these sparks are elevated back to their heavenly spiritual source.

What causes this elevation and completion? Just as the craftsman must separate himself from his work as part of the creative process, in order to feel the final completion and satisfaction of what he created, so also by separating ourselves from our weekday actions, from the labor that is forbidden on Shabbat, we also elevate and complete not just all of our actions of the last week, but all of our actions of the last month of Tishrei. Shabbat Bereishit is the elevation and completion of the entire month of Tishrei.

Gmar chatima tova, Chag Sameach and Shabbat Shalom, Shaul

P.S. Please also read my weekly Shabbat Law, below.)

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