Creation and Destruction of Previous Worlds and How It Affects Us! – Bereishis 5778

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Machon Daniel Torah Weekly
“To Stir the Mind and to Light up the Shabbos and the Holidays”
Parshas Bereishis
2017/5778

Creation and Destruction of Previous Worlds and How It Affects Us!

“בראשית ברא אלקים את השמים ואת הארץ” (בראשית א:א)

“At first, Hakadosh Baruch Hu created the heavens and the earth” (Bereishis 1:1)

The English translation is misleading for the posuk twice mentions the word“את”  and for this there is no given translation. What is this addition  meant to teach us? The word “את” usually suggests that there is an addition to that which is explicitly stated in the posuk. In addition, it may suggest that the addition is secondary to that which is explicitly stated. Accordingly, we can understand from the additions that there are other worlds that Hashem has created. And so say our sages (Bereishis Raba 9:2 and Medrash Zuta Koheles sec. 3) commenting on the posuk“את הכל עשה יפה בעתו” / “Everything He made right in its time” (Koheles 3:11). Rebbe Avahu learns from here that Hakadosh Baruch Hu created and destroyed worlds until He created our world. This world brings Me pleasure He said and these worlds do not!

We must ask, why did Hakadosh Baruch Hu first create and then destroy other worlds before creating our world, for He knows and sees the future and He could have bypassed the earlier creations and created our world at first!? We can suggest two main reasons for this:

(1)   In order that people should not come to the conclusion that our present world is of limited importance to G-d and that there are other worlds which are more significant to Him: either those which He has previously created and whose life-span has terminated or other worlds which presently exist alongside our world but are found in distant locations in the galaxy – beyond man’s ability to see or locate. And so the Torah states in Parshas Netzvim “כי  המצוה (היינו התורה) הזאת… לא בשמים היא… ולא מעבר לים… כי קרוב אליך הדבר מאד בפיך ובלבבך לעשותו” / “For this mitzva (the Torah) is not found in the heavens… and not beyond the seas… rather it is very close to you, in your mouth and in your heart to do it” (Devorim 30:11-14). Here the Torah explicitly states that the Torah and the world it is found in are not located in some far-away galaxy and are not hidden somewhere beyond the seas but they are here with us in our very world and the Torah is easily available for all to see and fulfill!

(2)   An alternate reason for the creation and destruction of other worlds is to serve as an example for us that if we do an action which is improper, we should not hesitate to “destroy” it, meaning to uproot it from our behavior and return to the right path! This is the concept of teshuva/repentance. With this we can understand that which the Torah states earlier in the above Parsha (ibid. 30:2) “ושבת עד ה'” / “And you shall return until Hashem”. It does not say “And you shall return to Hashem” but rather “And you shall return until Hashem”. Meaning, until you reach His ways and you walk in them!

Menachem Av 5777

The Blessing and the Sanctity of Shabbos are Revealed in the Mon/Heaven-Sent Bread

“ויברך אלקים את יום השביעי ויקדש אתו כי בו שבת מכל מלאכתו אשר ברא אלקים לעשות” (בראשית ב:ג)

“And G-d blessed the seventh day and sanctified it for in it He abstained from all His work which He created to do” (Bereishis 2:3)

What is the blessing of Shabbos and how is it sanctified? We find in the Medrash (Bereishis Raba 11:2) Rebbi Yishmael said the Shabbos was blessed with mon and is sanctified with the mon! Blessed with the mon for on each day one omer would be provided by Hashem for each person and on erev Shabbos Hashem provided two portions of mon for all. Hashem sanctified Shabbos through the mon for it did not descend on Shabbos. See the Ohr Hachaim Hakadosh who says the above explanation is referring to that which is hinted to in the posuk but it does not explain the basic meaning of the posuk.

We can suggest an explanation as to why Rashi chose to explain that the posuk is referring to the mon and did not offer a simpler explanation of the words. That is, that the mon is not only referring to a future occurrence, but it represents the very essence of Shabbos! Meaning, the blessing which Hashem gave to Shabbos is that all the blessings given to this world are for the purpose of directing them to Shabbos. This is the wording of “שבת” / “Shabbos”, meaning to return. That is, all the blessings which Hashem gives to man during the weekdays are to be used in a manner which redirects them to Shabbos. The reason for this is that on Shabbos the Torah was given to the Jewish people and the kedusha of the Torah returns to the Jewish people every Shabbos. Therefore, directing the blessings to Shabbos means to fulfill the dictates of the Torah in all of one’s dealings in this material world during the weekdays!

What best teaches us this lesson? The mon! For it states regarding the mon,“ויהי ביום הששי לקטו לחם משנה” / “And it was on the sixth day (in the desert) they (the Jewish people) gathered a double portion of bread” (Shemos 16:22). Seeing this brought them to understand that the weekday is meant to prepare for Shabbos. Similarly, it states “ראו כי ה’ נתן לכם את השבת על כן הוא נותן לכם ביום הששי לחם יומים” / “See that Hashem has given you the Shabbos, therefore he gives to you on the sixth day bread for two days” (ibid. 16:29). There is a further hint to that which we mentioned above in the fact that regarding Shabbos the posuk states נתן לכם את השבת” in the past tense and regarding the weekdays the posuk reads נותן לכם ביום הששי” / “He gives to you on the sixth day” in the present tense. This teaches us that Shabbos is so blessed that it is entrenched in the fabric of creation whereas the weekdays need constant support. Accordingly, we learn that Rashi in his commentary was not dealing with the future alone but meant to explain to us the essence of Shabbos through the laws of the mon.

Regarding that which Rashi explained that the kedusha of Shabbos is explained by the fact that the mon did not descend on Shabbos, here also Rashi does not mean solely to the presence of the mon which will be revealed in the future, but also to teach us of the great holiness of the Shabbos. Meaning, because of its holiness, the mon, even though it was a spiritual-based food, could not be revealed on Shabbos. Here as well we see that explaining the kedusha of Shabbos through the mon was not intended to hint to the future alone, but to allude to the great holiness of Shabbos!

In summary, we can conclude that the blessing of Shabbos is that all the blessings and opportunities given to man in order to conduct his mundane affairs during the weekdays are to be directed to the holy Shabbos! In addition, these blessings, etc. are given to man through the Shabbos. However, the blessings of Shabbos, meaning that which is given through it to the weekdays, cannot be revealed on Shabbos for it is a completely holy day. This cannot be revealed for another reason and that is on Shabbos Hashem sends His blessings to the world and therefore on Shabbos the blessings cannot be revealed in the lower world for they are being accepted from a higher world.

Another possible reason for Rashi’s commentary is to hint to us that just as the generation of the desert merited to the mon by which they saw and felt Hashem’s Presence in their lives, so too in our generations, if we keep the laws of the holy Shabbos as required, we too will merit to see the guiding Hand of Hashem in our lives and in our affairs. Similar to this, the sages (Shabbos 118a) have said, One who fulfills the three festive meals of Shabbos will be saved from three very difficult times: (1) the difficulties which will precede the coming of the Moshiach (2) the punishment of Gehenom and (3) the loss and suffering at the time of the great war of Gog and Magog.

Tishrei 5778

Have a nice Shabbos!

Yona Vogel