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Beit Midrash Torah Portion and Tanach Bereshit

Parashat Bereshit

For the Sake of the Beginning

The Torah is the Universe's source. It is not like a blueprint that can be discarded once the construction is finished and the structure stands on its own; it is not like an idea that, after it has been actualize, can be forgotten.
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"In the beginning ('Bereshit') God created the heaven and the earth" (Genesis 1:1). "Bereshit" - The Sages interpret this as meaning "for the sake of 'the Beginning.'" i.e., "For the sake of Israel who are called 'the Beginning;' for the sake of the Torah which is called 'the Beginning,' etc." "For the sake of the Torah." - What do the Sages mean by "For the sake of Torah"? They mean that God created the universe in order that the Torah be fulfilled. It is also possible to understand this expression as implying that God made use of the Torah in creating the world. Indeed, the Sages teach that "God looked into the Torah and thus created the universe." They use an analogy of a person who wants to build a house, and proceeds to write up a blueprint according to which he will proceed. In the same manner, God looked into His blueprint - the Torah - and created the universe. No doubt, this analogy must not be understood literally, for God certainly does not need to write up and prepare blueprints.

The Torah is the universe's source. It is not like a blueprint that can be discarded once the construction is finished and the structure stands on its own; it is not like an idea that, after it has been actualize, can be forgotten. The Torah is the source and the beginning of existence, and the more one attaches oneself to existence's source, the more existence comes to life.

God looked into the Torah and created the universe in the sense that the Torah is the source of the universe. It is an idea which is continuously being fulfilled and from which it is impossible to break away. The entire purpose of the universe is the Torah's existence, the revelation and appearance of the Torah. Therefore, all that exists in the universe is hinted at in the Torah. The Sages teach that "there is nothing that is not hinted at in the Torah." The Vilna Gaon added that there is nothing that is not hinted at in the Book of Genesis alone; in fact, there is nothing that is not hinted at in the first verse of the Book of Genesis; in fact, there is nothing that is not hinted at in the first word on the Book of Genesis - "Bereshit."

On this first word - "Bereshit" - an entire book was written which is entitled "Sefer HaTikkunim," and it contains seventy so-called "Tikkunim." The time has not arrived for the public to study this book, but it is important to know that such a book exists. The Kabalistic work, "Tikkunei HaZohar," too, provides various possible understandings of the word "Bereshit."

By utilizing the content of the word "Bereshit" God created the universe, and this is the root of all existence. And what exactly is this "Bereshit"? The Sages expounded, and Rashi brings their words in his classic commentary: "'Bereshit' is Torah; 'Bereshit' is the Jewish people." The Torah and the People of Israel - these two ingredients are the beginning of existence. The Sages added that "Bereshit" refers to the Sabbath as well. The universe was created "for the sake of Sabbath" which, like the Torah and the Jewish people, is known as "the Beginning." The Sabbath is the source of the universe's existence.

All of what exists in the universe is hinted at in the Torah. Ramban (Rabbi Moshe ben Nachman), in his introduction to his commentary on the Torah, writes about this fact at length. The Torah can be understood on many levels. All of our spiritual and physical existence, and all of the forces in the universe, are hinted at in the Torah.

Ramban adds that King Solomon himself, the wisest of all men, understood all aspects of the Torah. He was therefore aware of all of the secrets of existence. Because he knew the entire Torah in depth, he understood just how the entire world extended forth from its foundation stone - its "Even Shtiyah." He was aware that each of the lands of the earth has its own unique characteristics, climate, and types of trees and grains that can be grown there. King Solomon was familiar with the lines leading from the "Even Shtiyah" to each and every land. He even planted the appropriate plants on the lines leading to these lands. This, he was able to do, by virtue of his vast Torah knowledge.
Rabbi Zalman Baruch Melamed
Rosh Yeshiva of the Bet El Yeshiva, was the head of the Yesha rabbis board and rabbi of Bet-El, founder and head of Arutz 7.
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