Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Parshas Bereishis

Rabbi Label Lam

A Superior Primary Education

The opening words of the Torah are too often misread, "In the beginning G-d created the heavens and the earth." That statement would imply that the Torah is communicating cosmology, as a science text book, and is interested in satisfying our curiosity about the order of creation. The Torah, Rashi relates, is rather a teaching book with a more important set of lessons to be learned in the first verse.

The first letter "Beis" taken as a prefix, meaning "for" or "for the sake of" when attached to the word "Reishis" means that the world was created for the sake of something called, "Reishis". Using the rest of Torah as a self-referential dictionary of sorts, Rashi qualifies and crowns two items with the title, "Reishis"-Primary. It is for their sake all is created. We are being told not "how" but rather "why" the world was created.

I have in mind a certain huge factory that I used to gaze at frequently when barreling down some New Jersey highway. The building was humungous. The Parking lot was jammed. The smoke stacks billowed constant smoke. I never figured out what it produced. I'm sure every car that pulls up in the morning represents another subset of activity at the plant. There's the accounting department, food service, janitorial crew etc.

There must be some prime product that justifies all the rest. It might be a slim vile of perfume or a variety of buttons but something of value must be exiting the assembly line that makes the entire complex worth its while.

Similarly, if I were to attempt to solicit from you a large donation to build a school building, you would be justified in asking a few questions. "Why do we need this school?" I'll answer, "We have a wonderfully unique curriculum." Then you might follow up and ask, "Who would attend this school? From where do you get your faculty?" Good questions!

Imagine the whole world is this school. Why is it here? What is it in this life that justifies the existence of all the world's parking lots? It may seem arrogant or ethnocentric to say so, but the Torah is saying it, right in the beginning, and not me. Why and to whom should we apologize? The curriculum is the Torah. The students and the faculty are Israel.

Together they produce something so valuable that the Talmud tells us that whole world was created for "this" alone. What is this "this"? Something else is also called "Reishis"- Primary. "The primary wisdom is fear of HASHEM!" This profound educational process is meant to inspire in its students a sense of awe and ecstasy in relationship to The Creator.

And so over the course of centuries and millennium millions of worthy students have graduated from here and many with high honors too. It is for their great sake and for our blessed benefit as well that there has been made to exist this generously endowed and sophisticated school that offers such a superior primary education.

Good Shabbos!


Text Copyright © 2003 Rabbi Label Lam and Torah.org



 


ARTICLES ON VAYIGASH AND CHANUKAH:

View Complete List

Paint the World with Light
Rabbi Label Lam - 5775

My Master Is In Me
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5757

A Place for Torah Study
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5763

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Festival of The Reflecting Lights
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5773

Guarantors
Shlomo Katz - 5772

Redeeming Factors
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5766

ArtScroll

Yaakov's Message To Us
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5765

Maintaining Strong Family Bonds
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5772

Candle Lighting Blessings
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5761

> Portentous Cries & Kisses
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5759

Parents Love Children More Than Children Love Parents
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5772

Preconceived notions
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5774

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Why Eight Days?
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5755

A Little Light Chases Away a Lot of Darkness
Rabbi Label Lam - 5760

Time is Precious
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5757

What Did Yosef Mean?
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5758



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information