Torah Tidbits

18 April 2014 / 18 Nisan 5774
Issue 1027
Shabbat Parshat Vaychi
December 27, 2012

Lead Tidbit

As B'reishit Draws to and End...

It’s been twelve weeks since Shabbat B’reishit, the Shabbat after Sukkot & Simchat Torah, when we start the yearly cycle of Torah reading anew. This Shabbat, we conclude the twelfth and final sedra of B’reishit.
The Book covers the first 2300 of the World, from Creation until the death of Yosef, which - according to Tradition - occurred in Tamuz of 2309. That is an amazing 40% (approx.) of the time the world has existed, until today.
The Torah’s account of those years covered by the Book of B’reishit, have taught us many things about human beings in general, and about the founding fathers of the Jewish People in particular.
And we have been presented with many challenges, as a result.
Adam and Chava violated the one prohibition that they were given by G-d. They paid for that transgression by being expelled from Gan Eden and by having their lives - and ours - redefined as a life often filled with trials and tribulations in addition to the happy Eden-like times.
Kayin killed Hevel. Kayin, the first of the world’s second generation, killed his brother. G-d gave Kayin a pep-talk (so to speak) after Kayin’s offering was rejected by G-d. G-d gave Kayin - and all of mankind (sorry, humankind) the opportunity and challenge of self-improvement, and Kayin seems to have reacted to that by killing his brother. Who knows if we will ever figure that one out.
The generations that followed went further and further downhill. Until G-d had had enough (so to speak), and was prepared to destroy the whole world. He almost did, but No’ach found favor in His eyes and the world managed to hang on by a thread, because of G-d’s feelings (again, so to speak) for No’ach.
And after the devastating MABUL, things were not so great. One of No’ach’s sons was not good (let’s put it that way) and was cursed.
The other two sons were okay (we’ll put it that way) and one of them shone brightly. There was hope for the world.
But things deteriorated again. Differently, but not in a good way.
And then Avraham came onto the scene. Born to the idolatrous world, he rediscovered belief in One G-d and spread the word. And there was hope again for the world.
(Obviously, we are not getting into details - but you already know many of them.)
Even with Avraham’s efforts, the world still struggled - S’dom being the big example of the continuing failure of humanity to live up to its having been created in G-d’s image.
It became the task of Avraham and Sara and the other Avot and Imahot to found a special and unique nation, while, at the same time, be a light unto the other nations of the world. No small task.
Avraham had his problems with one of his sons. So did Yitzchak. And Yaakov - differently - had problems with his children.
These problems and difficulties helped forge the family into a nation, but it takes time. More time than the time-frame of the Book of B’reishit.
The closing of the Book finds the family having grown to great numbers, with further growth about to continue into Sh’mot.
We, less than 3500 years since the close of B’reishit, are the heirs to the legacy of Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov - as well as those who must deal with the problems that we have read about and that still plague us today.
Taking just the last few sedras into account, the big problem we have is the echo of the enmity between brothers.
One would think that after the events of B’reishit, the rest of the Torah, all of Tanach, and most of Jewish History, we would finally get the point and do something about it.
The beauty of our situation is - and always has been - that G-d is infinitely patient with us. He is waiting for the generation that will turn the tide towards the Complete Geula.
We can be that generation. We can help restore the Torah, its teachings, its values, its mitzvot to more and more of the Jewish People. We can help bring the Jewish People back to Eretz Yisrael. We can teach the world a thing or two.
As we’ve said often in TT and especially in the Lead Tidbits, we shouldn’t just wait for the Geula - we should bring it closer and closer.

In This Issue of Torah Tidbits

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