Parsha Bereishit with Shmuel

Bereishit (Genesis) 1:1 – 6:8

1st Aliyah – Book of Bereishit (Genesis) 1:1

In the beginning of G-d creating the heavens and the earth—when the earth was astonishingly empty, with darkness upon the surface of the deep, and the Divine Presence hovered upon the surface of the waters—Spoke G-d and said…

The Torah teaches that it is important that we not probe too deeply into the mysteries. We should not try to find out what the world was like before heaven and earth were created, or what it will be like after they no longer exist. Neither should we seek to find out what is beyond the six directions, above the heavens, below the earth, east, west, north, and south. It is near impossible for mankind to grasp a thousandth of all this. If an individual spends the majority of their time contemplating these mysteries, it would be better if they did not exist. Let HaShem Elokim, blessed be the name of His Kingdom forever and ever, be our true Creator.

2nd Aliyah – Bereishit (Genesis) 2:4

These are the births of the heaven and earth when they were created on the day that HaShem Elokim made earth and heaven…

The Torah teaches that the word “BeHiBaram” (בהבראמ); meaning “when they were created”, it is written with a small Heh (ה). This is allusion to the fact that the physical world was created with the letter Heh. The letter Heh has a small opening on top, and a larger one on the bottom. The opening on the bottom alludes to the “opening” through which the wicked descend to purgatory. The letter Heh has a small opening on top. This tells mankind not to think that he is forced to do good or evil. The letter Heh is saying, “Do what you wish. No one forces you to do anything. But we will be judged in the World to Come.”

3rd Aliyah – Bereishit (Genesis) 2:20

And the man assigned names to all the cattle and to the birds of the sky and to every beast of the field: but as for man, he did not find a helper corresponding to him.

The Torah teaches that Adam saw that all the creatures on earth were created male and female, and this saddened his heart, for Adam had no mate. He inquired with Elokim as to why he did not have a mate. HaShem Elokim responded to Adam’s sadness with a mate from his own body create by the Master of the Universe. This brings us to a question as to why the creatures had mates and man was with out. Did Elokim desire that man be solitary? Of course not! Did HaShem rethink His mankind without a mate? The Torah teaches us that man was created in a very concise manner. The Torah backtracks and describes how the world was before it was created. The same is true of the creation of mankind. Therefore, the statement, “It is not good for man to be alone,” was made before man was created. Thus, Elokim’s plan was not for man to be alone. In fact, HaShem Elokim desired that man have a helper opposite him to encourage one another to keep Torah for its own sake.

4th Aliyah – Bereishit (Genesis) 3:22

And HaShem Elokim said, “Behold Man has become like the Unique One among us, knowing good and evil; and now, lest he put forth his hand and take also the Tree of Life, and live forever!”

The Torah teaches that man is like all other creatures created by the Master of the Universe. Mankind was created with the ability to choose good or evil. HaShem Elokim is the total Authority of the universe and nothing exist with out His permission; yet He Himself gave mankind free will in his own choice between good and evil. HaShem in reality desires that mankind follow His advice, but only of mankind’s choice. Elokim wanted mankind to be above perfect of all His creation. Mankind was created with intellect like that of all of the creatures created, but mankind was destined to gain his own intelligence by his own efforts not like the innate of the creatures. HaShem Elokim does not desire us to serve Him because we want a reward or fear of punishment from Him; His only desire is that we serve Torah for its own sake, not to receive for one’s self alone.

5th Aliyah – Bereishit (Genesis) 4:19

Lamech took to himself two wives: The name of one was Adah, and the name of the second was Tzillah.

The Torah teaches that it was customary for a man to marry two women. One was for bearing children and the other was for pleasure in self satisfaction.  The wife of pleasure would take a potion to make her sterile. She would be dressed in finest linen and walk beside her husband to display his choice of pleasure. The other wife would be sort of concealed from the public in order for her to bear the heir’s of his estate. Once she no longer was able to bear children she would become totally hidden from anyone. The Torah teaches us that Lamech had four children. His fist wife, Adah, had two sons. The first one was named Yaval, the first nomad on earth. He constantly pitched his tent in a variety of places for the sake of his herds. Yaval initiated the first form of idolatry by keeping the statues privately in his tent. The second son, Yuval, was the first musician on earth. However, he made use of his talent for idolatry; he was the first to worship idols publicly. Lamech’s second wife gave birth to a son and a daughter. The son was named Tuval Cain an expert in making weapons. The daughter was Naamah because her actions were pleasant. The Torah teaches us that the sister of Tuval Cain was Naamah, to teach that even her brother was wicked, she did not learn from him; rather she remained pleasant and good.

6th Aliyah – Bereishit (Genesis) 4:23

And Lamech said to his wives, “Adah and Tzillah hear my voice; wives of Lamech, give ear to my speech: Have I slain a man by my wound and a child by my bruise? And if Cain suffered vengeance at seven generations; then Lamech at seventy-seven!”

The Torah teaches that this was the discord between Lamech and his two wives, and they separated from him. There were two reasons for this: First, it related to the general rule that Elokim makes the punishment fit the crime. Therefore Elokim told Cain, “You have killed Abel, destroying the four generations that would have descended from him. The earth will therefore ‘open its mouth’ and swallow up four of your descendent; Enoch, Irad, Mechuyael, and Methuselah.” The second reason was that they knew Cain’s line was destined to be wiped out after seven generations, as Elokim had decreed. And the seven generations had passed: Cain, Enoch, Irad, Mechuyael, Methuselah, Lamech, and Yuval. Therefore the two wives lost their desire to be with Lamech.

7th Aliyah – Bereishit (Genesis) 5:25

Methuselah lived one hundred and eighty-seven years, and begot Lamech. And Methuselah lived seven hundred and eighty-two years after begetting Lamech, and he begot sons and daughters. All the days of Methuselah were nine hundred and sixty-nine years; and he died.

The Torah teaches that the eighth generation of mankind was Methuselah (Methushelach, in Hebrew) who was born in 687 (3074 b.c.e.). He lived 969 years and died in 1656 (2105 b.c.e.). Methuselah was an absolute saint. When he died, a great voice was heard; it was caused by the angels eulogizing him. Methuselah died just before the Great Flood. He was so righteous that Elokim delayed the flood and did not bring it until the seven day period of mourning for Methuselah was over. Mourning for the righteous is extremely important to HaShem Elokim.

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