So What’s New?

October 1, 2021
Tishrei 25, 5782
Candlelighting Time 6:23 PM

            The thought occurred to me that since Rosh Hashanah is really the beginning of the year and we struggle very hard to enhance our lives in comparison to the previous year, then why are we beginning anew with the parshios of the Torah. After all, we are in the midst of the year already and perhaps we should call this parsha ‘the continuation’. Didn’t Hashem ‘know’ that there was going to be a Rosh Hashanah, a new beginning, so why start the Torah with the word “Bereishis’ which loosely translated means the beginning?

            Perhaps we can postulate that the question is itself the answer. The Torah in its pristine form is beyond the reach of the human mind, after all it is the innermost ‘mind’ of Hashem imparted to us. Therefore, it has been ‘modified’ in order that we can absorb it to a certain extent based upon the level of our effort and the Divine assistance that we merit. Therefore, in the final analysis, we can grasp Torah if we are prepared to. Not everyone can actually process Torah well even though they may be able to read its words, but comprehension of those words can only be truly efficient if one’s preparatory stages have been met. Without having experienced and internalized well the lessons of Rosh Hashanah through Simchas Torah, we would be truly unable to study Torah and imbibe its depth and have some degree of perception. This interpretation leads us to another well-founded assumption and that is the level of simcha that we were able to achieve on Yom Tov and especially on Simchas Torah has a profound impact upon our very being, our soul, allowing us to be passionate about Torah and its insightful meaning.

            With this in mind maybe we can go even one step further. Since the dominance of simcha is so potent, it would behoove us to attempt to maintain even somewhat the level of simcha that we attained during the Yom Tov in some fashion. Perhaps we could daven with more passion as a result of our simcha that we acquired. Maybe when we study, we could be more engrossed and eliminate distractions as a result of our new level of simcha. Or even just our attitude in life could be enthused as we proceed in our new year. The opportunities that one has upon acquisition of such a powerful tool are manifold.

            And that is truly the lesson of the parsha of Bereishis. Everything was created pure and unsullied, ex nihilo, and we can become inspired and introduce that characteristic into our lives as well. Indeed, Chofetz Chaim questions that the Sages teach us that Hashem created two enormously large fish at the beginning of creation. The female was killed and salted awaiting to be used by the righteous for their meal at the end of time when Hashem will reveal Himself to the world. Why not just take fish that will be present at that time and use one of them for that special feast? He responds that the original creations from the beginning are truly more pristine and therefore appropriate for that exclusive banquet at the end of time! As we proceed to institute into our lives the integrity that we have established with Hashem’s assistance from Rosh Hashanah through the entire holiday period, the originality that has become our new identity can serve to create a novelty that will propel us to continue to accomplish more with the tremendous aid of the simcha that we secured as well.


The novelty of creation was that Hashem was able to convey from His eminence of spirituality a world that is totally physical.                                                                                                                    S’FAS EMES