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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 1, v. 1: "Breishis" - In the beginning of - The letters of this word form "Beis reishis," two beginnings. There is this physical world and the world-to-come. (Baal Haturim)

They also form two words, "boroso," and "shai." The hope is for everyone on this world to live a proper life and merit a portion in the world-to-come. The final mishnoh of the final volume of the Talmud, Okotzin, says that Hashem will give an inheritance of "ShaI," - 310 - worlds to each righteous person. So, not only does our verse, in the word "Breishis," mention the beginning of creation of this world, but also alludes to the 310 "worlds" prepared for each righteous person. (Nirreh li)

Ch. 1, v. 1: "Breishis" - In the beginning of - The letters of this word form two words, "B'yud areshes," with 10 expressions. This alludes to the mishnoh in Pirkei Ovos 5:1, which states, Bo'asoroh maamoros nivro ho'olom." (Rabbeinu Bachyei)

Ch. 1, v. 1: "Hashomayim" - The heavens - Rada"k in his Sefer Hashoroshim, etymology of Biblical words, writes that the word "shomayim" is sourced from "shom," there. This means at a distance. The plural suffix ".ayim" indicates that the distancing is great, i.e. the heavens are far from the earth. I assume that Haksav V'hakaboloh did not see this, as he writes exactly the same.

Ch. 1, v. 28: "Urdu bidgas ha'yom" - And have mastery over the fish of the sea - In this verse Hashem gives mankind mastery over fish, birds, and all living creatures of the earth. The gemara Brochos 60b says that when one ties his shoes he should make the blessing "she'ossoh li kol tzorchi," Who has done for me all my needs. Although there is great benefit from wearing protective footwear, why is this considered "ALL my needs"?

In T'hilim 8:7,8,9 the verses say, "Vatchasreihu m'at meiElokim, Tamshi'leihu b'maasei yo'decho kole shatoh tachas raglov." The intention of these words is to convey that Hashem has created different levels, inanimate, vegetation, animal life, and human. Each level draws from and masters over the lower level, plants draw their sustenance from the earth's minerals, etc. "Tamshileihu," You give mankind mastery over all Your creations, they are "tachas raglov," under his foot. When man takes the hide of an animal, tans it, turns it into footwear, and then wears it, it is then that he is physically showing mastery of "tachas raglov" over the animal kingdom, and surely over the lower levels. Once he shows his mastery over ALL creations it is appropriate to recite the blessing of "She'ossoh li KOL tzorchi." (Siddur HaShalo"h in the name of his Rebbi the Maharsha"l)

Ch. 2, v. 17: "U'mei'eitz hadaas tov voro lo sochal mi'menu" - And from the tree of wisdom good and bad you shall not eat from it - The M.R. 16:7 says that this is the esrog tree. Note that the snake told Chavoh that the prohibition was to not partake of the FRUIT of the tree (3:3), while in our verse the command does not specifically point out the FRUIT. Although it is obvious that one does not eat the bark or wood of a tree, bur rather, only its fruit, it could well be that Hashem was indicating to Odom the reason for the restriction. Of all the fruit-bearing trees that came into existence it was only the esrog tree that complied with Hashem's wish that they have the taste of their wood match that of their fruit. All other trees did not comply.

It is quite possible that Hashem gave fruit-producing trees leeway to come into existence in any form, but preferred that they have the taste of their wood and fruit match (See Mahari"l Diskin). He allowed for this so that mankind should find himself in a world that already has some non-compliance with Hashem's wishes. This would allow for some amelioration when mankind would eventually sin. The esrog tree totally complied with Hashem's wishes and was therefore "spiritually" elevated beyond mankind, albeit that he had not yet sinned. This could serve as an insight into why specifically the esrog tree was prohibited. (Nirreh li)

Ch. 3, v. 16: "B'etzev teildi vonim" - With anguish will you give birth to children - In verse 19 we find man's punishment, that he will produce bread only after expending great effort. It is obvious that woman's punishment is greater than man's and rightly so, as she not only ate, but also caused man to sin. Every woman goes through the traumatic experience of a painful childbirth, while only some men bring home the bread with the sweat of their brow. Others make a livelihood without expending much physical effort. (Rabbi Yehudoh Chosid)

Ch. 3, v. 17: "Asher tzivisicho leimore" - That I have commanded you so saying - Although some commentators say that "leimore" (see Moshav Z'keinim on 2:17) was a command to Odom to tell his wife that she likewise has the same restriction, Rabbeinu Bachyei writes that "leimore" of our verse teaches that Hashem told Noach to advise all creatures to likewise not partake of the fruit of this tree.

Ch. 3, v. 17: "Aruroh ho'adomoh" - cursed is the earth - What was the sin of the earth? It gave forth its nutrients in such abundance that the fruit was extremely luscious. This made it all the more appealing. (Tzror Hamor)

Ch. 6, v. 5: "Va'yar Hashem ki raboh ro'as ho'odom" - And Hashem saw that mankind's sinning was immense - The Rambam in hilchos teshuvoh 3:1 derives from these words that if and when ch"v the sins of mankind as a total exceed its merits He immediately sets about to destroy the world.

We find in Pirkei Ovos 5:3 the statement that the ten generations from Odom until Noach increased their sinning, until finally Hashem extracted retribution. The mishnoh goes on to say that similarly the ten generations from Noach until Avrohom increased their sinning, and Avrohom received the reward of those who lived during the previous ten generations. Why didn't Hashem either give Noach the reward of the previous generations as He gave to Avrohom, or why didn't He destroy the world again in the days of Avrohom as he did in the days of Noach?

Rabbeinu Yonoh answers that Avrohom in his great righteousness fulfilled all the shortcomings of all the sinners of the previous ten generations, and this staved off the devastating destruction, while Noach, albeit a righteous person, did not do so.

Ch. 6, v. 8: "V'Noach motzo chein b'einei Hashem" - And Noach found favour in the eyes of Hashem - The next verse, which is the first verse of parshas Noach, tells us that Noach was a righteous man. If so, asks the Sforno, why does Noach need special "chein," favour, to be saved? Targum Yerushalmi seems to say that he was not fully righteous (see Rashi on "b'dorosov" in the name of "yeish dorshim ligani"), while the Sforno answers that the "chein" was needed to save his children, who did not merit of their own right to be saved.

Ramban on 9:9 explains that had his children not been saved this would have caused much aggravation to Noach, which he did not deserve. Rashi's words on 18:32 clearly indicate that they had their own merit.

Rabbi D.M. Silber writes that possibly Noach needed "chein" because he was guilty of not moving away from the spiritually polluted society within which he found himself, as per the Rambam hilchod dei'os 6:1. However, it seems that this is only true if there is a place that is not polluted. The Torah clearly states that "vatimo'lei ho'oretz chomos" (6:11), that there was no place free of sin. This is further substantiated by the fact that the surface of the earth was washed away, indicative of cleansing the earth of contamination. Thus Noach had no place to run.


1) Ch. 1, v. 3: "Y'hi ohr" - There shall be light - What is the difference between "y'h'yeh" and "y'hi"?

2) Ch. 1, v. 5: "Va'y'hi erev va'y'hi voker yom ECHOD" - Why doesn't the verse use the ordinal word "rishon," as it does from the second day onward, "sheini," rather than "shnayim"?

3) Ch. 1, v. 2: "Hamoyim" - The water - Why does this word always appear in the plural form?

Ch. 1, v. 25: "Va'yaas Elokim .. kol remmes ho'adomoh" - For what purpose did Hashem create bugs?

5) Ch. 3, v. 16: "Itzvoneich v'heironeich"- The gemara Eiruvin 100b says that "itzvoneich" refers to the difficulty of raising children, while "heironeich" refers to the difficulty of pregnancy. Why is the order switched since pregnancy comes before raising children?



See also Oroh V'Simchoh - Meshech Chochmoh on the Weekly Parsha and Chasidic Insights

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