It’s All Hashem’s by Jonathan Herszfeld


Right after Simchat Torah, we begin Parshat Bereishit, which begins with, “Bereishit Barah Elokim Eit HaShamayim VeEit HaAretz,” “In the beginning, Hashem created the heavens and the earth.” In a famous comment, Rashi quotes Rabi Yitzchak’s celebrated question: why does the Torah begin with the story of creation? If the Torah is primarily a book of laws, why doesn’t it begin with the first Mitzvah, that of “HaChodesh HaZeh Lachem,” the Mitzvah of Rosh Chodesh?

Rashi offers an interesting answer. He says that the Torah begins with creation because if the nations of the world question Bnei Yisrael’s right to possess Eretz Yisrael, Bnei Yisrael will respond that Hashem created everything and He can therefore give the land to whomever He pleases. In addition we may suggest that perhaps we are not ready to accept the Mitzvot until we recognize that everything around us comes from Hashem and that we are therefore obligated to serve Him.

The word Bereishit begins with the letter Bet. A Bet is closed on one side and has an opening on the other. We can learn from this that we may never turn back in our observance of Torah and Mitzvot. We must always look ahead at Hashem’s greatness and move forward in our Torah learning.

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