R' MATIS FRIEDMAN'S PARSHA SHEETS

BEREISHIT - THE BEGINNING

Torah was created 974 generations (2,000 years) before the world was created. It is the blueprint that Hashem used to create the world. Everything created in this world is for the purpose of carrying out the word of the Torah (Example: hands were created in order that Netilat Yodayim can be done). The foundation of all that we believe in stems from the knowledge that Hashem is the G-d Who created the world.

It’s a Mitzvah to believe this. Many people deny or question the fact that Hashem created the world. We understand that nothing exists by chance. Your watch exists because an intelligent human being made it. The world, with all the planets, animals and man, is the most wondrous creation. If you believe that your watch exists from a watchmaker, all the more so should you believe that this world was created by the greatest and most exalted Creator. The Chofetz Chaim said that scientists ought to be the greatest believers in Hashem since it's they who understand and appreciate the complexities of the universe.

The Six Days of Creation:
Day 1 - light & time-a 24 hour cycle.
Day 2 - separation of the higher & lowerwaters, 5 groups of angels.
Day 3 - bodies of water leaving dry space for growth. Trees, plants and grass.
Day 4 - sun, moon, and stars.
Day 5 - sea life and birds.
Day 6 - reptiles, other animals, and man.
Only after Hashem created the whole world, was man ready to be created. When an important guest comes over we first cook the food, set the table, and prepare the house for the guest to enjoy. The world was created for man. When Hashem was ready to create man, He turned to the angels and said, "LET US MAKE MAN"

LESSON-

Why did Hashem need to consult with the angels? Hashem didn’t need to. However, we learn the great lesson of humility. Consult with others even if you think you don’t have to.

When Hashem said, “Let us make man,” it is a command to us from Hashem the we, together with Hashem, should complete ourselves.

LESSON-
Hashem created us with great potential. It is our duty in this world to use our potential to become the wonderful people we can be. Realize your potential.
STORY-
Rav Yisroel Salanter said, “I know that I have the mental capacity of a thousand men. Because of that, my obligation to serve Hashem is also that of a thousand men.” Another time, after understanding a difficult teaching of the Rambam, Rav Yisroel Salanter fainted. Upon arising, he said, “If I have such talent, I have the responsibility to bring the whole world to do T'shuva.”

The Torah says that Hashem created man in His image. Hashem included this information in the Torah for us to realize how special we are. Hashem loves us and shows us how much He loves us by notifying us how special we are.

LESSON-
Let people know the quality of the gift you are giving. If the recipient of a gift is unaware of its worth, he will misuse it. Imagine receiving a computer thinking that it’s a calculator. What a waste. Without knowing the value and capability of the machine, it will be wasted on simple mathematical computations.

The greatest gift to give someone is the understanding of his own value. Hashem gives us the gift of awareness that we are created in His image. We are priceless and possess great potential. We can achieve G-dliness by understanding our G-dly likeness.

After Hashem saw the creation in its entirety, and how everything in the universe works together in harmony, He declared "v'hiney tov m'od - Behold, it’s very good!”
LESSON-
This world is indeed very good. Our challenge is to realize the goodness in the world. A person who believes that all Hashem does is good will be happy in every situation. It’s when we think that situations are bad for no reason that we become saddened.
STORY-
The Mishna teaches us that we must bless Hashem on the bad, as we bless Hashem on the good. A Chossid was pondering the meaning of the Mishna. He asked his Rebbe how such a thing is possible. The Rebbe sent him to a person named ‘Reb Zusia’ from Anipoli to ask him for an explanation. The Chossid made his way to the Bait Medrash to find this ‘Reb Zusia.’ He saw an old, sickly looking man, hunched over the fireplace, learning from a Sefer. He was obviously suffering terribly from a sickness. His clothes were tattered. It was evident that this man was a pauper, unable to own the proper clothes for the freezing weather. “I’m looking for Reb Zusia” said the man. “I’m Zusia”, he replied. The man was bewildered. Is this really the great Tzaddik, Reb Zusia? How would this Rebbe know what was good? He is obviously suffering terribly, thought the man. Nevertheless, he decided to ask his question. “How can one bless Hashem on the bad, just like he blesses Hashem on the good”? Reb Zusia smiled and said, “My son, you’ve come to the wrong person. I haven’t had anything bad in my life. My whole life is good”. The man understood why he was sent to this Tzaddik. One can bless Hashem on the “bad” if one sees it as good. For in reality the “bad” is truly good (although we may not understand "bad" in this physical world).

Shabbos

On the 7th day Hashem rested from creating this new world. At this point, all creation worked in its “natural” way. Hashem sanctified the Shabbos. Similarly, we work for 6 days, and sanctify the 7th day. This is our declaration that Hashem created the world and rested on Shabbos. Therefore, Shabbos observance is considered the basic Mitzvah for a religious Jew. Although the Jews keep Shabbos alive, Shabbos really keeps the Jews alive. Shabbos is the basis for believing in Hashem. It’s the beauty and joy of our lives.
LESSON-
Shabbos has the ability to transform us into different people, if we honor it. Let’s find ways to honor the Shabbos. There are lots of Jewish books in English that we would enjoy reading on Shabbos.
STORY-
Rav Chaim Chernovitzer (the author of the Be’er Mayim Chaim) lived during the 19th century. People who saw him testified that he looked a head taller on Shabbos!!
STORY-
A new student of one of the Mussar Yeshivas thought there were two Mashgichim (spiritual guides) in Yeshiva, one during weekdays and one on Shabbos. He was later told other-wise, and realized that the Mashgiach was totally different & unrecognizable on Shabbos.

Hashem formed Adam from the dust of the earth, and infused within him a holy soul. Adam was unique in the sense that he was capable of communicating his thoughts by speaking. Hashem showed Adam all the Tzaddikim who would live in the world. Adam’s soul included within it all other souls- yes, even yours'.

Q- Why was Adam created alone, whereas all the animals were created together?
A- Despite the fact that there have been approximately 60 billion people created, each person is different and special. Hashem teaches this lesson to us by creating Adam alone. The whole world is worth creating for the sake of one person. How special you are!

MADE IN HEAVEN

Hashem gave Atom Adam the ability to see the nucleus essence of all matter, and the ability to give the appropriate name to each. He named all the animals according to their essence. When he saw the true nature of each animal, and he realized he was different and alone. After this realization, Hashem decided to create a partner for Adam. It was Hashem’s will that Adam would unsuccessfully try to find his partner from the start of the day, until Eve evening. Hashem formed ‘Chava’ from Adam’s rib. Since Chava was created from Adam, Hashem must have created for Adam a spare rib. Adam will cherish his counterpart, for he knows that if anything would happen to her, his own flesh and blood would be at steak stake. Even though the steaks stakes were high, the formation of Chava was well done done well and now would be the ideal time to meat meet. Adam must have had lots of question to ask his wife, but now was no time to grill her. These two were a sure match made in heaven, now Hashem commanded them to bring forth life unto the world, and on that very day, Chava already had at least one in the oven. I don’t mean to be too obscure, but let’s put that on the back burner for a later date so we can learn how they fail at their job and when the heat is on, Hashem fires them from Gan Eden.

A LITTLE KNOWLEDGE CAN BE DANGEROUS

Adam and Chava lived in Gan Eden with all their needs met. Hashem commanded them to avoid eating from the ‘Eitz HaDa'at’ the tree that contained knowledge of what is right and wrong. Adam told Chava not to eat from it, but the snake persuaded her to eat, and then she persuaded Adam.

Suddenly, the Yeitzer HaRah (evil inclination- the part of a person which desires to do bad) entered Adam and Chava and they realized that they were undressed (at that point there wasn't clothing nor was there a need for clothing). Feeling ashamed, they hid themselves in a bush.

When Hashem called down to Adam “Ayekah” (where are you?), Adam knew on his own that if he was hiding it was because he did something wrong.

LESSON-
A person can very often identify their mistakes and faults. One doesn't always need someone else to say outright what was done wrong,

Hashem said, “didn’t I tell you not to eat from the tree?” Adam replied, “it was the woman who made me eat.” Chava defended herself by claiming that the snake made her eat from the tree. Hashem didn't even bother asking the snake for a defense, after all he had no leg to stand on.

LESSON-
Don’t shift blame on others. Take responsibility for the decisions you make.

NO PAIN-NO GAIN

After they ate from the forbidden tree, evil became a part of them (our lives are made up of our struggle to make the good that’s within us overpower the bad). Adam and Chava only functioned with goodness before eating from the ‘Eitz HaDa'at.’ The extent of the struggle for good determines the rewards we receive. No pain - no gain. Adam, Chava, and the snake were punished for their act. The snake lost its' legs and the ability to talk. Its' destiny would be to crawl on its belly and eat from the dust of the earth.

Q - That's great - what kind of punishment is that? Dust is the most readily available food!? A - Hashem gave the snake dust to eat so it would never need Hashem to give it food, and thus lacked a closeness with Hashem. (Imagine a father sets up his 3 children in his business. Two of the children have difficult jobs that constantly require them to seek advice from their father. The third child is given an easy job; one that everyone knows how to do. He never needs to ask advice from his father - anyone can help him. The father has a relationship with the first two children. However the third child lacks closeness and communication with his father).

Chava was punished by having difficulty during pregnancy, childbirth, and childbearing. Adam was punished by having the difficulty of earning a livelihood. The land would now need to be worked upon to produce its' fruit. Chava and Adam were thrown out of Gan Eden. They were created on Erev Shabbos and sinned that same day. Shabbos protected them from being thrown out, but when Shabbos left, they did too.

Chava gave birth on that Erev Shabbos to 5 children:
Kayin and his twin sister, Hevel and his two twin sisters. Both Kayin and Hevel married their twin.

TWO WRONGS DON’T MAKE A RIGHT

. . . So it was, Erev Pesach, year 1, that Adam taught his sons about the Mitzvah of Korban Pesach. Kayin brought poor quality fruit for his Korban Pesach, whereas Hevel brought the most superior lambs. Hevel, who put his heart into serving Hashem had his Korban accepted. Kayin wanted his Korban to be accepted by Hashem, but what could he do? He just wasn’t Abel.
LESSON-
What you put in, is what you get out. Do your best in all your endeavors. Even if you don’t see such importance in what you’re doing, nevertheless, do the best that you can. Take pride in whatever you do.

Kayin was insulted that his Korban was not accepted, when his brother’s Korban was taken. Out of jealous and anger, Kayin threw a stone and struck Hevel in the head. Hashem asked Kayin where his brother was.

Q: Why did Hashem ask? Doesn't Hashem see and know all?
A: Of course He knew - Hashem wanted to start a conversation with Kayin in order to give him a chance to do T'shuva.
Kayin responded to Hashem-"Am I my brothers keeper?"
LESSON -
Yes! You are. We must feel responsible for our brothers whether they are Russian, Ethiopian, Syrian, or even American. We must feel the responsibility for what is happening to our brothers and sisters.
STORY:
A rabbi from Chicago traveled to Europe in the early 1900’s. He went to visit the Gadol HaDor (leader of the generation) Rav Chaim Ozer. Rav Chaim inquired from this visiting Rav what the situation was in Chicago regarding religious observance. He asked if there was a Mikvah, Shochtim, and what the Shul was like. Even though he would never visit Chicago, he felt responsible for the Mitzvah observance there.

The Jewish people are one body. If you have a headache you can’t play ball. Why? Your feet and arms are OK. No, your whole body is affected by the headache.

STORY:
The Chofetz Chaim traveled to cities throughout Europe to make sure people were keeping Mitzvot, and were physically taken care of. He would say to himself, "Yisroel Meir, what did you do for your brothers and sisters in this city?”

Kayin was punished for killing his brother, while we are left with an everlasting lesson - Be happy for other people’s successes. Jealousy can destroy a person and lead to one’s downfall. It will eat away at you, if you allow it to. If you want to know what happens in the end to the person who has jealousy, look at the end of the word.

STORY:
There were two store owners, one across the street from the other. One was successful, while the other was not. People asked the unsuccessful owner why he wasn’t successful selling the same products as his neighbor. He answered, “That is his lot and this is mine. What does his success have to do with mine?”

There were 10 generations from Adam until Noach. Almost everyone living in these 10 generations were evil. A particular exception was Chanoch who “walked with Hashem.” He was a shoemaker who would think and meditate on the ways of Hashem had high spiritual thoughts and holy intentions while making shoes. He did the best work he could to avoid cheating the customer.

LESSON -
When you’re being paid to do a job, do the best that you can do. Your reputation will follow you. Chanoch was a shoemaker, but he put his best foot forward and put his sole soul into every pair of shoes he made.

GOOD SHABBOS

© 1998 by R' Matis Friedman, H.A.F.T.R.
R' Matis Friedman's email address is shprophets@aol.com

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