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Devar Torah - Bereishis

Friday, 16 October, 2020 - 9:00 am

Yaakov Halach L’Darko: Bringing Tishrei into our Daily Lives

By Rabbi Shimon Raichik 

The Yomim Tovim of Tishrei are now behind us. Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and the simcha of Sukkos and Simchat Torah have just passed. There is one more landmark day in Tishrei and it’s this Shabbos, the first Shabbos immediately following all of the Yomim Tovim, Shabbos Bereishis. On Simchas Torah we read the final portion of V'Zos HaBrachah and the first parsha of Bereishis. On this  Shabbos the entire sedrah of Bereishis is read from the Torah.

It is said in the name of the Baal Shem Tov that the way one conducts oneself on Shabbos Bereishis sets the tone for the entire year.

The Rebbe asked why we don't make the same statement about many other mitzvos and concepts that appear only once in the Torah or only occur once in the year. Why don't we say for example that the way one conducts oneself on Shavuos, the time of the giving of the Torah sets the tone for the entire year? Even though Shavuos affects the entire year we don’t have a special statement from the Rabbeim.

After Shabbos Bereishis we leave the halo effect of the holiness and loftiness that the month of Tishrei has provided and embark back into the physicality of this world on the journey of Yaakov halach l’darko. We could become frightened at the daunting task the stands before us. We may feel equipped to live the life of a Jew when we attend Shul to daven and learn. When it comes to making the transition into the world where Hashem is not felt rather concealed, it is far more intimidating.  How can we overcome fears of getting caught up in worldliness and physicality? 

The Torah tells us not to be afraid as the pasuk that is said on Motzoi Shabbos says; “Al Tira Avdi Yaakov, Yaakov (referring to the entire Jewish People) do not be afraid”. The question is how. Why should we not be afraid? How can we be expected to perform as a Jew should in thought speech and action and in all of our ways in this world of seeming separateness and concealment?

The answer is found in the first pasuk of the Torah, Bereishis, which teaches that Hashem created everything out of nothing. We studied this in this week's Tanya on the 26th of Tishrei in depth. Hashem is intentionally and willfully creating everything including us out of nothing in every moment through the Ten Utterances of creation. Part of our purpose is to train ourselves to see that truth and then to carry that awareness into all that we do. Through learning the Torah beginning from Bereshis we train ourselves to view the world not as something separate and distant from Hashem rather something that is constantly connected to Hashem. 

When we reveal our constant connection with Hashem we have the power and ability to be connected even when involved in our personal business matters or while we walk on the street. We reveal that connection when we use available moments to repeat an idea from the Torah, a pasuk of the Torah, a chapter of Tehillim or Tanya.  

Then our business affairs are completely different. We are not afraid  because we have the Shulchan Aruch  by our side as our guide.  This is why Hashem has created the world and us with the intention that it should look concealed and separate. It is for the purpose of having us reveal the truth and transform the world into  a dwelling place for Hashem’s presence.

The Torah gives us a guarantee (Devarim 4:29) that; “If you will search for Hashem your G-d there, you will find Him”. The Rebbe explains that if we will look, we will find Hashem ‘there’ meaning within our worldly activities and involvements. If we look for Hashem within the concealment of creation we will conquer the world and make it a dwelling place for Hashem. 

All of this will culminate with the coming of Moshiach.  The Torah says that at the beginning of creation “The spirit of Hashem was hovering above the waters”. Rashi  says that “This is the spirit of Moshiach”,  which was present from the very beginning of creation. When we, Yaakov, go on our path in the world with the focus to complete the work of Hashem’s constant creation by learning learning the Torah, doing mitzvos and knowing Hashem in all of our ways, “Der Eibishter veit zicher helfin”, we have a guarantee that together we will go to greet Moshiach as Hashem says “I ‘found’ David my servant”

A Good Shabbos

(Adapted from Likutei Sichos v.1, and the Maamar Breishis Bara 5738-1977)

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