Simcha's Torah Stories - Bereishet

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Simcha's Torah Stories

Parshat Bereishet


"Now, boys, step this way and we will enter the antique furniture exhibition."

"Wow, Avi. Isn't this museum great?"

"It sure is, Chaim. We get to see how people lived two hundred years ago."

"Boys, please notice the fine handiwork on these wooden chairs. Each piece is hand carved, finished, and polished."

"Avi, we don't see chairs like that today. Everything is made with machines."

"So true, Chaim. You can judge the skill of the craftsman by his handiwork. The carpenter who made these chairs must have been very talented. His work is beautiful. Look. Here are more intricate pieces of furniture and fine wood carvings covered with silver."

"You can judge the skill of the craftsman by his handiwork."

"That's what I said, Chaim."

"It is as true nowadays as is was 5761 years ago."

"That's ancient history, Chaim. What are you referring to?"

"The first words of the Torah, Avi, 'Bereshis barah Elokim,' 'In the beginning of G-d's creating.' Wouldn't it have been better to begin the Torah with G-d's name and say, "Elokim barah Bereshis?"

"I guess so."

"Rav Shlomo Efraim from Lontshetz, who is known to us as the Keli Yakar, asks this question."

"What is his answer, Chaim?"

"He explains that we cannot know G-d directly. We can only appreciate who He is by observing his handiwork. Therefore, the word barah comes before the word Elokim. It is only through the creation (barah) that we know Elokim."

"That is very philosophical, Chaim."

"True, Avi, but it is practical also. Just look at the marvels of the world. The majestic mountains, the deep seas, the vegetation, the orbits of the planets, and the complexity of even the tiniest creatures. G-d's handiwork shoes that He is quite a craftsman."

"Do you know that we refer to this in our daily prayers, Chaim? In the second blessing of the silent Amida we say, 'Who is like You, Master of mighty deeds, and who can be compared to You?' The Rabbis explain that no one is capable of doing as many mighty deeds as G-d, and no one can do even one of them as well as He can. Just think about how many millions, billions, and trillions of things G-d has created and is supporting. Then think about the complexity of even the simplest of them."


"Now you can start to get some appreciation of our Creator."

"Avi, this is truly amazing. Here we are in a museum, looking at antique furniture, and we have turned it into an opportunity to appreciate G-d's greatness."

"Inspiration is everywhere, Chaim. You just have to look for it. This world if full of G-d's handiwork. You have to see it to appreciate it."

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Written by Simcha Groffman
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