Rabbi David Katz
Parashas Bereishit is often considered the source of the richest traditions of Kabbalah, Creation, and general mysteries of reality that have inspired Torah thought in every generation that has graced our existence. What sticks out however in the Universe of the Ger [and in absolute unity with the Nation of Israel] is the pristine encapsulation of the Ger, his World, and the basic function within Torah. The Torah’s very first Parasha for all intents and purposes lays out the blueprint for what will be the life to come towards the World to Come, as Jews and Gerim enter the Great Universal Shabbat, detailing the underlying premise of the Parasha.
The Shabbat of these two peoples centers around two parallel themes: the two Nations and the impetus to bring New Light into fruition, i.e. the Messiah of the two Peoples. The unfolding of such events begins in The Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve, and their blueprint for what will become The Jewish People and The Gerim. As we know, Adam and Eve sinned, and their rectification came at Sinai, through the agency of the fulfillment of the Jews and Gerim. In a lateral theme at Sinai, we encounter “Jethro” [or lack thereof] and his [potential] Messianic significance through intimate association with Moses and Pinchas, the two archetypes of facilitating the Redemption.
The ingredients are now set aside to garner a deep understanding of the Torah in one long breath, as to ascertain, “what it’s all about.” To aide in these matters, it is convenient to add Job/Iyov into the mix, for his story is the missing piece of the puzzle that allows us to view history’s greatest moments with an edge of objectivity. No philosophical or Kabbalistic angle can be said to be complete without dealing with life’s greatest issues [as per Bereishit’s fundamental foundations], such that is the essence of Iyov. [Examples are existential angst, why the righteous suffer, what triggers a God experience, etc. Iyov addresses them all.] The repair of Adam, Jethro’s motives, and Messiah’s clarity, along with the primal thoughts of the Ger and Jewish compulsion, Parashas Bereishit offers a steady diet of spirituality that eventually yields the Light spoken of in the Haftorah – the Salvations of Hashem.
As soon as we meet Adam and Eve [along with a myriad of Kabbalistic layers and hints that contain literally every secret known to Mankind] we are immediately thrust into the Ger – Jewish blueprint. In Fact under this lens, the entire Parasha serves as the basis of these two peoples. Yet we may allow ourselves to focus on several core isolated issues that stand out as the key concepts in understanding the roles of the Torah’s two essential citizens.
Just flipping through the Parasha [and ultimately arriving to Adam and Eve] we see right away imagery of the Sun and Moon, Light, separation, primordial souls [in language], male – female, “Very Good”, Man in the Image of God, fruitful and multiply [command], “The 6th Day”, Shabbat, Heaven and Earth, The Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve, The roles of both and in equality, Names, a necessary evil, one flesh [at the expense of one’s origins], sin and merit, relationship and animosity, necessary repair, philosophy of Life [and death], freewill [Iyov], Brothers, reincarnation [Seth], “Erev Rav’ [evil descendants and fallen angels], traditions of righteousness, and the culmination of Noah – Redemption – Shabbat – Peace. Does it get more Jew- Ger than this in imagery once we apply the actual characters to the blueprint?
The Zohar teaches that “Very Good” as opposed to simply “Good” was a vital component to Creation to achieve God’s plan. By creating an Adam and Eve and documenting their rise and fall, this would set the stage for the future of Torah and The Greater Congregation of Jacob [“The Four-Headed Shin”]. Mankind would be born out of this array; some destined to be wicked, some to be righteous, some to be Jewish, and some to be Gerim. Whereas the naked eye sees male or female or shades of gray, Hashem sought out servants of the Lord to serve Him in truth to know Him. Yet much like Adam and Eve, the role of each is vital, has name and purpose, and ultimately serves together in the World to Come [as per earned by God’s dictation of Righteousness embedded into Creation from within “Bereishit.”
Suffice it to say, what began as Creation to arrive at Adam and Eve, will go out as the repair of Worlds and Labors to be eternally thankful through Gerim and Jews side by side. For all of the imagery brought above, these two Nations will live to enjoy the same Torah that never changes; only context deepens and appreciates with Divine Knowledge.
Now that the Torah is established for all of time, there remains one slight issue – the Sin of Adam. And for this, we call upon the mighty Iyov – he who provides the lens that the Messiah will magnify.
To understand Iyov in one swoop, and in a way that polishes our product, one simple rectification in perception will clear the murky skies. Rather than probe Iyov as to, “why he suffers” allow the mind to ponder, “he simply suffers,” and this is the obvious hand of God upon him. As much as there is a real reason and thus a need for a real empathy, some matters [actually all matters] are purely the dreadful Hand of God that in a paradoxical way allows Free Will and fate to coexist with a harmony that beckons the enigma of “Shamayim” – fire and water in a type of metaphysical companionship. For all that Adam endured and was responsible for, at the same time, Hashem was busy establishing the Torah, and Creating Messianic Light. Once we remove our gaze from upon Adam [“what DID he do wrong?!”] we can then look forward to Sinai, and the rectification of Adam through Jews and Gerim; even more acute in these matters are Jethro and Pinchas, who play several roles, such as Iyov, Adam, and Messiah.
One may notice that the Torah was given in Parashas Jethro, yet he wasn’t even there! Jethro chose to fulfill the goal of Torah to make Gerim, even at the expense of becoming Jewish [which gives new meaning to preconceived notions all many levels]. Yet one could easily say, that he should have arrived and stayed at Sinai for a plethora of reasons. Such decision making can be seen [in the arena of Free Will] as the proverbial Good vs. Very Good debate. Jethro certainly chose Good, and this turns out [by history standards] to have been the Will of God. Yet by the standards of logic, he could have stayed [thus even arrived on time] at Sinai, and allows himself to contemplate [albeit through struggling] the Iyov program, while “sinning” like Adam – as a compulsion from God [and one filled with angst]. Should that have gone down that way, we would have met the son of Putiel, i.e. Pinchas, i.e. descendant of Jethro in a much sooner and more dramatic way.
Just as we are told to view Adam in the same lens as a proper viewing of Iyov, by allowing him to exist without the constant grill to probe the unknowable [as to why he/they do in fact suffer/sin], Jethro would have come into the same light, and Pinchas [he who sees the hand of God repeatedly in Torah history] would have seen the Divine Hand intervening at Sinai itself! The Creation of Adam even hints to Sinai as the seal of Creation, as it was the repair of Adam, giving of the Torah, and even hints in the Hebrew itself by referring to 6th of Sivan by usage of the Kabbalah. [הששי as opposed to ששי – the ה implies the specific 6th Day in history, i.e. Shavuot.]
In the end, Jethro did not opt to go to Sinai first, Iyov took a different route in history in the actual cementing of the story [although the plot thickens each attempt we apply Iyov to Torah lore], and Pinchas became elected for redemption through a completely different deed with Zimri and Cozbi [which was also aided by Jethro his grandfather]. What we have accomplished however is a way to understand Adam and why he was compelled the way he was. One can faithfully say he employed the Iyov / hypothetical Jethro program, in hopes that it will appeal with a Messianic glow in a way most never bother to view it as. For when we view Adam as a Torah story that serves as a beacon of redemption and high intellect to bring that fateful day close, the Torah gets off on the right foot and paves the path to that which we all seek: the way of the Tree of Life – on every level. In other words, a consistent Torah is born and uniform in her desires from cover to cover.
We can learn a lot from Adam and Eve, and as Iyov has shown us, we can even fathom the light of Redemption in a contemplative way. Yet with every mental calculation and circus act of cogitative prowess, the main goal was never lost in the process, and remains the same throughout the entire Torah – the art and passion of making Gerim. Hashem has shown us that Creation is Very Good, and for no other reason than making Gerim. Thus from deeper introspection from Adam and friends, we gain insight to a theme that bleeds through the entire Torah: Hashem loves Gerim and so should you. We may even be surprised to wake up one day and realize that redemption depends on it, for this could truly be Very Good, and the Shabbat Shalom that we all seek.
Audio Shiur On Parasha Monday 11 P.M. [Tzfat]
***Notice Parasha Shiurim from Parashas Noah onwards
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