From Creation to a Nation by Eli Lehman


The Torah begins with Parashat BeReishit, the story of creation.  Immediately the question arises: what is the purpose of this story in the Torah?

Rashi (BeReishit 1:1 s.v. BeReishit), who cites Rav Yitzchak, states that the Torah should have started with the commandment of the new moon, which was the first law given to the Jews.  The reason Hashem starts the Torah with creation is to show that Hashem is the ruler of the entire Earth and especially Eretz Yisrael, strengthening Bnei Yisrael’s claims to that land.

Ramban notes that we still today don’t understand the process of creation.  Creation is a mystery that Hashem explained to Moshe and can be understood only by a select few.

Despite this note of Ramban, we can understand what the ultimate fulfillment of creation was.  Adam and Chavah had the chance to bring out the fulfillment of creation simply by honoring the commandment Hashem gave them, and they failed.  Hashem punished them so they could do Teshuvah, and they did do Teshuvah.  This shows us that even if we sin, we can still repent and come back.  This also teaches that when we do a sin, Hashem doesn’t give up on us.  We can always come back and follow His ways.

Hashem gives us the opportunity to do Teshuvah all the time.  He patiently gave this opportunity to the ten generations between Noach and Avraham, but each generation failed to bring out creation.  Then Hashem picked Avraham to fulfill this mission.  This is why Sefer BeReishit is also called Sefer Yetzirah, the Book of Creation.  Creation is not only about the mountains, oceans, valleys, or even the human and animal life.  Creation is primarily about the birth of the nation of Israel.  In the continuation of this Sefer, we see the children of Avraham and Sarah as they develop families and eventually a nation.

The purpose of this Sefer is, as Rashi said, to show us that the universe didn’t just start on its own.  It was Hashem who started it and everything is in Hashem’s command. However, this Sefer also shows us that the reason Hashem started it was to make the nation of Bnei Yisrael.  This nation continues the fulfillment of creation every day.

Learn the Right Lesson by Josh Michael

Three Important Pesukim by Moshe Kollmar