OCTOBER 27-28, 2000 29 TISHREI 5761
- Rabbi Reuven Semah
"And G-d said, 'Let us make man in our image after our likeness.'" (Beresheet 1:26)
After the High Holiday season is over, we have the feeling of anticipation in beginning all over again. The perashah of Beresheet is truly fascinating.
Hashem says, "Let us make man." Rashi comments that Hashem said "let us," implying that creation of man was a group project, even though Hashem acted alone. This is a possible source of error for mankind, implying that Hashem couldn't do it alone and needed help from angels. But Hashem said it anyway in order to teach us good character, that the great one should consult with the small one and get permission from the small one. One might wonder why Hashem took the risk of misleading us. Is this message so important?
This message is not just a small detail in the story of creation. This is the total story and purpose of creating the entire universe. Rashi calls it derech eres - good character. Hashem said, "Let's make man in our image." In what way is man in Hashem's image? The answer is, just like Hashem is a creator, man is a creator. Just as Hashem creates worlds, man too creates a new entity. Man takes himself, which is from the dust, and makes himself an image of G-d. We take the raw material of our character and mold it into a refined human being, kind, giving, soft-spoken, idealistic. This is the main focus of man. The guidelines of how to achieve this is the Torah. The Talmud says (Berachot 17) that the goal of wisdom is teshubah and good deeds, that it shouldn't be that a person is learned and he spurns his father and mother or his teacher, or anyone else greater than he. My friends, let us all make man.
- Rabbi Shmuel Choueka
"And Kayin said to Hebel, his brother" (Beresheet 4:8)
After Kayin spoke to his brother Hebel, the Torah says that Kayin came up and killed Hebel. What is not clear is what did Kayin speak about to his brother, and what, if anything, did his brother answer him. The Torah doesn't record what took place.
The message is that since Kayin was jealous that his brother's sacrifice was accepted and his wasn't, the envy was the emotion which directed Kayin's action. It doesn't matter what he said and what his brother answered. Anything that would have been spoken about would be taken the wrong way and would cause a rift. We must remember this when we are upset about something. Whatever is said is not going to satisfy us and can cause hatred. We should learn to keep quiet until we get control of ourselves so that nothing is said or done which may be regretted.
"Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother and shall cling to his wife" (Beresheet 2:24)
Why does the Torah make leaving one's parents a prerequisite for marriage?
According to the Torah, the success of a marriage depends on forsaking the particular relationship that exists between child and parent. The son, during his formative years, is usually on the receiving end. He has not fully developed his capacity to give. One who marries is expected to become the supplier materially and spiritually for his wife and children. One cannot enter marriage, however, expecting to continue being the recipient. The art of giving must be developed.
Therefore, the Torah says, leave the parent-child relationship, and the childish inclinations. Learn to be a giver, and thus the marriage will succeed. (Vedibarta Bam)
Answer to Pop Quiz: 130 years.
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