OCTOBER 12-13, 2001 26 TISHRI 5762
- Rabbi Reuven Semah
"And Adam called his wife's name Eve, because she had become the mother of all the living." (Beresheet 3:20)
In the aftermath of the eating of the forbidden fruit by Adam and Havah, the Torah relates the curses that befell them and all of creation for all time. Immediately after that, the Torah relates two seemingly unrelated verses. Adam names his wife Havah because she was "the mother of all life," which is followed by "Hashem made for Adam and Havah cloaks of skin and dressed them in them." Rabbi Moshe Wolfson gives a beautiful insight to explain the connection between the two verses.
The name Adam gave his wife was a very dignified one. He bestowed upon her the honor of being recognized as the mother of all life. At that time, in the wake of the sin and the curses that followed it, one might have expected Adam to react in anger, and give his wife a derogatory title, especially since he had blamed her for his misfortune. Instead he overcame this instinct and covered up for her. He focused on her positive attributes, her great contribution to existence, instead of allowing hard feelings about her shortcomings to grow and fester. In this manner, he set an example for all future shalom bayit problems.
In response, Hashem acted in the same vein. He too looked away from their sin and the calamity they had brought upon themselves. He made them clothing to cover up their shame. He Himself dressed them, a hint to the fact that when there is shalom bayit, peace in the home, Hashem's Shechinah dwells in our abodes, and He actively clothes us with His berachah and protection. Shabbat Shalom.
- Rabbi Shmuel Choueka
[Hebel brought an offering before G-d, which was favorably received. Kayin's offering, however, was not brought with sincerity and was rejected by G-d, whereas Kayin was disappointed and dejected.] G-d said to Kayin, 'Why are you angry, and why are you morose? If you do well, there will be acceptance, and if you do not do well, sin waits for you at the door. Its desire is to ensnare you, but you can be master over it" (Beresheet 4:6-7)
Kayin's first offense was not a cardinal sin. True, he had been less than completely sincere in his worship of G-d, but this was hardly a calamity. Kayin's reaction, however, was one that forebode grave consequences because he became bitter and morose.
G-d's words to Kayin were a lesson to all mankind throughout all times. If we recognize a misdeed for what it is, and understand that human frailty makes us vulnerable to error, then we need not be overly harsh on ourselves.
We can admit a mistake, make our amends, and we can then redeem ourselves and be restored to the good graces of G-d and man. If, however, we fail to correct our wrongs, and in our defensiveness become bitter and resentful, then we invite further misdeeds. The forces that tempt us to sin are powerful and lie in wait for us, and although we have the strength to vanquish them, we can do so only if we rid ourselves of festering anger and resentments.
Kayin's inability to admit his wrongdoing and divest himself of his resentment ultimately led to the murder of Hebel, a grave sin which doomed him to be a fugitive, feeling himself pursued by every living thing, and finding no peace anywhere on earth.
How familiar a pattern, and how little mankind has learned from history! Indeed, one of the Talmudic Sages states that the brief passage "This is the book of the history of man" (5:1) is a great and comprehensive principle of Torah. If only we had learned the simple lessons of Beresheet, how different the course of history would have been, and how infinitely happier each of us would be. Shabbat Shalom.
- Rabbi Raymond Haber
After the serpent caused Adam and Havah to eat from the forbidden fruit, Hashem cursed the snake and told him: I will put enmity between you and the woman and between your offspring and her offspring. He will pound your head and you will bite his heel.
The Hida explains that this teaches us the proper way to combat the Yesser Hara. If we "pound his head" - stop him at the beginning and at the first temptation counter him, then we can defeat him. But, if we wait until the heel - we wait until the last moment - give in at the beginning (just for the little things) then "you will bite his heel" - then the Yesser Hara will overpower us. Shabbat shalom.
"And the earth was desolate and void, and darkness was upon the waters...and Hashem said, 'Let there be light,' and there was light" (Beresheet 1:2,3)
The Hafess Hayim used to say that these verses at the beginning of the Torah serve as a tremendous inspiration in times of darkness. At the beginning of creation the world was completely dark without even the faintest hint of any light. One cannot chase away darkness with sticks and axes. But kindle just one small candle and the darkness is gone. When the entire world is in total darkness, one statement of Hashem, "Let there be light," is sufficient to light up the world. Although there are times when the world is encompassed by a spiritual darkness which endangers its very existence, there is always hope. In one instant, Hashem can send forth His word and there will be a great light.
Whenever you feel despair it is because you tell yourself that things are presently awful and that all is hopeless. At such moments you do not feel it possible that there will be a bright future. If, however, you keep in mind that Hashem has the power to shine forth a magnificent light, you will overcome your negative attitude of despair. From the bottom of your heart you will call upon our Creator to shed light upon the world. Even before the light appears, you will be full of hope. You realize that the darkness itself is part of Hashem's plan. Whenever you feel darkness, develop the habit of repeating, "Let there be light." Just by repeating these words over and over you will begin to feel the light of Hashem penetrating your heart and soul. Even if your personal situation remains as it is, when you experience Hashem's light you will have the strength to deal with any situation from a position of spiritual strength. (Growth through Torah)
"And Adam named all the domestic animals and the birds of the heavens and all the wild animals" (Beresheet 2:20)
The Midrash states that Adam, after having named the various creatures, was asked by Hashem, "What shall your name be?" He answered, "I shall be called Adam." "And what is My Name?" asked Hashem. To this Adam responded, "Hashem."
This interchange between Hashem and Adam obviously demands explanation. We may suggest the following: Man is able to achieve the greatest levels and intelligence and culture. He can attain such heights of profundity that he is able to select the correct name which truly describes the essential characteristic of every living creature. However, he still may not understand his own essence. Man is not always cognizant of his own characteristics, his potential and his purpose in life. Man sometimes does not know that he is an "Adam" and therefore different from all other living creatures. This was Hashem's query to Adam. "Do you know your own name and purpose?" When Adam correctly responded to the first query, Hashem once again questioned him, "Do you know My Name?" Man with all his intellect and wisdom must realize that unless he reflects on the source of everything he can still corrupt himself and perform the most reprehensible acts. The awareness of man's name is not enough; it is necessary to know Hashem's Name. No culture, despite its greatest achievements, is assured of overcoming its animalistic desires unless there is an awareness and recognition of Hashem. We have witnessed some of the most scientifically and intellectually developed societies sinking to the nadir of depravity and brutality, committing wanton murder and destruction. This was Hashem's message to Adam. It is not enough for man to know what he is and represents; it is necessary for man to have the cogent awareness of the existence of Hashem and His constant presence over him. (Peninim on the Torah)
"And G-d blessed the seventh day" (Beresheet 2:3)
What special blessing did Shabbat receive?
Shabbat is a day when it is forbidden to work, yet one spends more money for Shabbat that for any other day of the week. A person may think that celebrating Shabbat properly will run him into poverty. Hashem, however, gave a special blessing into the Shabbat day: the more one spends for the sake of Shabbat, the more one will earn during the week.
The Gemara (Beisa 16a) says that the money a person will have for his expenses throughout the entire year is decided upon on Rosh Hashanah. Exempted from this are his expenses for Shabbat. If a person spends much for Shabbat, Hashem will make available to him special sources of income to recover his expenditures. (Vedibarta Bam)
This week's Haftarah: Yeshayahu 42:5-21.
There are two connections between the perashah and the haftarah. First, the perashah begins with the creation of the world. In the haftarah, the prophet Yeshayahu reminds the Jewish nation that G-d, Who is the creator of the world, continues creating every day. Creation is not something that was done just once. It is an ongoing miracle. Second, in the perashah, man is the only creature given the power to choose between right and wrong. In the haftarah, Yeshayahu tells the people that G-d created the Jewish nation in order to be a "light for the nations." It is their responsibility to show the nations what is right, so that they, too, can become closer to G-d.(Tell it From the Torah)
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