July 13, 2024
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(בְּרֵאשִׁית בָּרָא אֱלֹקים אֵת הַשָּׁמַיִם וְאֵת הָאָרֶץ: (בראשית א/א

Our parsha (and therefore the whole Torah) begins with the pasuk “Bereishis (In the beginning) Elokim created the heaven and the earth.” The Medrash explains the reason the opening letter of the Torah is the letter “bais” is because it is the first letter of the word bracha.

Zera Shimshon asks, it is written in Tehillim (119/160), “Rosh devarecha emes, Your first words are (emes) truth.” Therefore, seemingly it would have been a better choice to open the Torah with the letter “alef” which is the first letter of the word emes and not with a “bais.”

Zera Shimshon explains in light of the Medrash on the pasuk (Devarim 25/15), “even shlaimo v’tzedek y’hee lecha, You should have complete and just measuring weights.”

The simple explanation of this pasuk is that “You” is the subject of the sentence and “complete and just measuring weights” is the predicate. Meaning, you should have only accurate weights in your possession so as not to cheat people.

The Medrash, however, explains that we can also explain this pasuk that “complete and just measuring weights” is the subject and “you will have” is the predicate. Meaning, only when there are complete and just measuring weights (i.e. you are honest in your business dealings) then “you will have”—Hashem will bless you with many possessions. And the opposite, when one has inaccurate weights in his possession, he will be cursed and “he will not have.”

From here we learn that bracha and truth are not two independent ideas but are very much connected; when there is truth there is bracha and when we see bracha we know that truth preceded it.

According to this we can understand how the fact that the first letter of the Torah is a bais does not contradict the pasuk, “Rosh devarecha emes.” Since the source of bracha is honesty, therefore the Torah begins with the bais of “Bereishis” to signify bracha—and this is just like that it began with “emes,” since emes is the root of all bracha!

A question still remains though. Granted bracha is the result of emes, and therefore even though the Torah begins with a bais it is as if the Torah begins with emes. However, why didn’t the Torah begin with the letter alef itself which represents emes and is not only an allusion to it?

Zera Shimshon explains it is to teach us a big lesson; that one doesn’t lose out by being honest. It often seems that one doesn’t gain even minimum profit, or will lose some money, if he is honest. He therefore thinks to himself that it simply isn’t worth it. The Torah therefore begins with a bais instead of an alef to stress right in the beginning of the Torah, that in the end, emes will eventually result in bracha even if in the beginning it appears it will only bring a loss.

Zera Shimshon then asks, there seems to be a Gemara that argues on this Medrash.

It is written in Yoma that Hashem acts much differently than a person of flesh and blood. When someone irritates someone else, that person tries to get back at the one who irritated him and tries to harass him. However, Hakodesh Baruch Hu is not like that all. He cursed the nachash, the serpent that convinced Chava to eat from the Eitz Hada’as (Tree of Knowledge), and Hashem gives him food wherever he goes; if a serpent is on a roof he can find food, and when it comes down from the roof he can still find food. Hashem cursed Canaan that he should be a servant to servants, and he eats what his master eats and drinks what his master drinks. Hashem cursed women because Chava’s ate from the Eitz Hadaas and also gave Adam HaRishon to eat from it; and men run after women to marry them. Hashem cursed the land and everyone gets their sustenance from it. From this Gemara it appears that good can result even from a curse while in the above Medrash we learn that good only emanates from bracha and not from curses!

Zera Shimshon answers that there is a difference between a curse that comes as a result of not keeping a mitzvah of the Torah and a curse that comes directly from a Hashem not connected to mitzvos. Concerning the Torah it is written in the Gemara Avodah Zarah, that since the Torah is referred to as emes, there is no room for compromise and everything must be done according to the strict letter of law. Therefore, if someone transgresses a mitzvah of the Torah and keeps inaccurate weights in his possession, Hashem will curse him and he will lose all that he has. Hashem will not be lenient because Torah is emes and this is what the person really deserves.

On the other hand, the curse that Hashem cursed Adam HaRishon, Chava and the nachash did not come directly from the Torah. Hashem therefore can act with mercy and act l’fnim mi shuras hadin, beyond the letter of the law.

 

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