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What is written about you in parashat Bereishit?

Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

It is written in the book "Netivot Shalom" that every person needs to read the Torah as if it was written about him. In other words, we do not read parashat Bereishit as history, as something that happened long ago, but rather as something that is happening now.

As we read about the creation of the universe and the creation of man, we too are created -- anew. In fact, all of the universe is being renewed. This Shabbat is called "Shabbat Bereishit" and sets a precedent for the whole year. Therefore, there is significance in the way we behave this Shabbat since that behavior predicts how will we conduct ourselves thoughout the year of 5782, whose creation is occurring and whose character is being formed now.

And with the creation of the first couple, Adam and Eve, the concept of a man and a woman sharing their lives together came into being. At weddings, during the sheva berachot under the chuppah, we bless the couple that they should be as joyful as Adam and Eve were "in the Garden of Eden of old." What is the meaning of this blessing? For Adam, there was only one woman in the entire universe. For Eve, there was only one man in the entire universe. Although there are billions of people on earth today, we still bless the couple that they too will feel that they are meant for each other and for no one else.

And then the snake arrives. Every couple and its own snake. Every person has a snake waiting in ambush for him or her. We need to learn about the first sin in order to derive lessons from it and to be aware of its consequences, so as not to destroy our Garden of Eden.

So too regarding what follows, when Cain murders Abel and asks, "Am I my brother's keeper?" This is not something that happened only once. This continues to happen until today, unfortunately, and the parasha warns us about violence, bloodshed, and the refusal to take responsibility for heinous acts.

All of creation comes to life before us and reading about it can influence and change us for the good. Shabbat shalom.


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