Chasidic Insights

on the Weekly Parsha

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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 1, v. 1: "Breishis borro Elokim" - Rashi says that this verse demands to be explained on the level of "drush." The Torah begins with a verse that cannot readily be understood on the level of "pshat" to initially teach us that there is much depth to the Torah, not just the simple surface meaning. (Rabbi Yitzchok of Radvil in Ohr Yitzchok)

All aspects of Torah understanding beyond the simple meaning of the words, "remez, drush, sode," are "Torah she'b'al peh." Rashi eventually explains these words of our verse "al pi pshat" when he writes, "V'im bosso l'farsho chofshuto." Why doesn't he explain "al pi pshat" first and then go into "drush"? Rashi wants to impress us with the lesson that even "Torah she'bich'sav" is not properly understood without "Torah she'b'al peh." What better place than here to bring out this point, as Rashi says "Breishis," on account of the Torah, which is called "reishis" (Mishlei 8) did Hashem create the world. Thus "Breishis" is "reishis" with a Beis prefix. Beis equals 2. On account of the 2 Toras, the written and the oral, did Hashem create the world. (Adaptation of Rabbi Moshe Yechiel of Ozhrov in B'eir Moshe)

Ch. 1, v. 1: "Breishis borro Elokim eis" - The first thing Elokim created was EIS, spelled Alef-Tof, the first and last letters of the Alef-Beis. With the 22 letters of the Alef-Beis Hashem created the world. (Toldos Yaakov Yoseif)

Ch. 1, v. 9: "Yikovu hamayim .. el mokome echod" - Through purifying oneself in a mikveh he can reach and connect with the level of "Echod," Hashem. (Nirreh li)

Ch. 1, v. 11: "Eitz pri" - Rashi says that this teaches us that Hashem told the earth to give forth trees whose flavour of their wood would be like that of their fruit. Rashi then says that the trees did not comply. Why did Hashem allow this? Hashem, who saw that in the future primary man would sin, allowed the earth to rebel, so that man, who is taken from the earth (2:7) would have a partial excuse, saying that he was molded from the earth, which already had rebellion in its being when it produced fruit trees not to Hashem's specifications. (Rabbi Avrohom Yehoshua Heshel of Apt in Oheiv Yisroel)

Ch. 1, v. 26: "Naa'seh odom" - Let US make man. Hashem says, "I who created you, and you in the manner that you choose to live your life, let the two of us together make a mentsch out of you. (Rabbi Avrohom Mordechai of Gur in Likutei Yehudoh)

Ch. 1, v. 31: "Va'yar Elokim es kol asher ossoh v'hin'ei tov m'ode" - When one sees to it that there is G-dliness in all that he does, this is exceedingly good. (Rabbi Yisroel of Modzitz in Divrei Yisroel)

Ch. 1, v. 31: "Tov m'ode" - The Medrash says that "tov m'ode" refers to death. This can be explained as follows: Any extreme, "m'ode," is very dangerous, and is equated with death. (Chasidim Omrim)

Alternatively, death is exceedingly good in that it brings a person to be productive. If he would live forever, he would while away his time, saying that he always has time to get serious later. Life is a non-renewable commodity. (Nirreh li)


See also Sedrah Selections and Oroh V'Simchoh

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