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Beit Midrash Torah Portion and Tanach Bereshit

Parashat Bereshit

Ones Roots

3015
Dedicated to the memory of
Hana Bat Hain
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"Then the Lord formed the man of dust of the earth and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and the man became a living soul" (Gen. 2:7).

From where did Hashem take the dust out of which He formed man? Rashi cites two different rabbinic views. According to one, God gathered this dust from the four corners of the earth (Sanhedrin 38a). Another view has it that God took this dust from the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, from the place where the altar would later be built (Genesis Rabbah).

What do these differing views imply as to the nature and destiny of man? The first view suggests that unlike plant and animal life, man is not limited to a particular environment. His nature is such that if necessary he can survive anywhere from the heat of the tropics to the frigid temperatures of the poles. The second view states that man’s origin and destiny are ultimately tied to the place of the altar, that is, to the sphere of expiation and atonement. Man cannot be satisfied with mere material and social adjustment to his immediate environment but must seek spiritual fulfillment wherever that may take him.

To our cosmopolitan brethren who still tarry "in the four corners of the earth," proud of their ability to "make it" everywhere, the message is clear. From the very beginning, your destiny as Jews has been linked to Jerusalem. Today it is not a question of "finding one’s roots." Your "roots" are alive and well. The problem is to find the right "soil" where the Jewish soul can renew its creativity and flourish in a national framework. Behold the road to Zion and Jerusalem is open and your people await you!

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This is a weekly column contributed by Aloh Naaleh an organization devoted to motivating Jews to make Aliya.
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