Rabbi Tuvia Bolton: Bereishis – Creation a Mistake?



    Rabbi Tuvia Bolton: Bereishis – Creation a Mistake?

    That is why He created the Heavens and the earth (spiritual and physical) and all the obstacles that come from both; So that man can do something that Gd ‘alone’ cannot do… overcome these obstacles. I want to illustrate with three stories. Read the full article by Rabbi Tuvia Bolton • Full Article

    By Rabbi Tuvia Bolton

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    This week’s Torah reading introduces the theme of the entire Torah; G-d wants man to be His partner.

    That is why He created the Heavens and the earth (spiritual and physical) and all the obstacles that come from both; So that man can do something that Gd ‘alone’ cannot do… overcome these obstacles.

    I want to illustrate with three stories. First about physical obstacles. In this case…money.

    About two hundred years ago lived a very righteous Tzadik called Rabbi Naftoli of Ropshitz. In addition to having mastered all the works of the Great Rabbis of all generations, including the mystical, he was a great ‘baal Tzdaka’; he loved to help others.

    His custom was that every morning he would return home from prayer, put down his Tallis and Tefillin, and immediately leave his house once again going from door to door collecting charity. Only after distributing it to the poor people that gathered each day at his house would he sit and have something to eat. It wasn’t easy work, the rich didn’t easily part with their money and the HaShem through this all-important commandment.

    One day after he finished his rounds, handed out the money, and was just about to wash his hands and begin his morning meal, he heard a knock at his door. He turned around and saw that there was another poor man that had pushed the door open a crack and was peeking through. The Rabbi went to the door, opened it and said, “I’m sorry, you’ll have to return tomorrow, my friend, I’ve got a lot of Torah learning to do today, and I’ve just handed out all the money.” But the sad look on the poor man’s face made him abandon his plans to eat, and set out to collect money again.

    However, this time he really had problems. At each door he got an angry stare and sometimes a few words to boot “What, all day you just collect money? You were just here, did you forget? Tell me, are you going to other houses or just to me? Etc.”

    He collected only a fraction of what he usually got but he happily returned home, gave the grateful man the money, bade him good day, and again took the towel and went to the sink to wash for bread.

    But just as he was about to pour the water on his hand he heard the unmistakable sound of someone standing behind him loudly clearing his throat.

    He turned around and there was yet another man who had let himself in, “I know, Rabbi, I know. I came late, right? Well, I know you are busy; I don’t want to bother you, G-d forbid Rabbi. No, no, I’ll come back tomorrow. I only want someone to tell my problems to. I won’t take long. I promise.”

    The Rabbi nodded. “My wife is not in good shape; the doctors say that her life will be in danger. Also my daughter is getting older and I have no money for her wedding. And finally, my entire house fell in yesterday,” At this point the man began weeping and Rav Naftali again put down the towel, told the man to sit down, put on his coat and went again collecting.

    But this time it was completely different. When the owner answered the first door (for the third time that day), instead of cursing Rav Naftali, he greeted him with a smile and open arms. “I’m so sorry that I gave you that bitter look before.” He apologized, “Now I see that you must be a real Tzadik if you are willing to visit me again after what I did to you, you must think only of the poor and not of yourself at all! And instead of giving the usual ruble I’m giving you ten rubles!”

    So it was at all the houses thereafter.

    But this time when he arrived home Rav Naftali wasn’t so happy. He gave the man the money and said with a bit of a frown, “Listen, my friend, the money is yours, I’m not going to take it back, I promise. But tell me the truth. You were lying, weren’t you?! Your wife isn’t sick and that story about your daughter and your house falling in, it’s not true, is it.”

    The poor man hemmed and hawed and finally answered sheepishly.

    “Well, not exactly lying, Rabbi, maybe I exaggerated a little, but not lying. I mean my wife is pregnant and it says in the law books that when a woman goes to give birth her life is in danger and you can even break the Shabbos.”

    What about your daughter’s wedding?”

    “Well, it’s true that now she is only five years old, but I always say ‘why wait till the last minute, you never know what may happen’ right Rabbi? And about my house; well to tell you the truth not exactly the entire house collapsed. But my rocking chair that I found in the garbage last month broke completely, which made me feel just terrible!”

    Then the visitor thought for a second and added, “But tell me Rabbi, How did you know? How did you know I wasn’t telling the truth, and if you knew then why did you go collecting for me?!”

    Rav Naftali answered simply. “Because there is always some obstacle to holiness. So usually, every time I go collecting money it is always with difficultly. But this time, when I collected for you, everything went so easy, in fact too easy. I thought to myself, ‘something is wrong here, somehow or other I must not be doing a Mitzva’ so I figured the simple solution is that you must be lying.”

    The second story is about the spiritual obstacle of idolatry. Not all that glitters is gold and not all that is spiritual is G-d.

    For instance, years ago I was visiting New York with my son for his bar-mitzva and we took a trip to a museum. There we were approached by three missionaries trying to convince us to accept the Gospels. I waited for them to pause for breath and then I asked them,

    “Tell me, do you believe that G-d is spiritual?”

    They looked bewilderedly at one another and then turned to me and answered in unison, “Why yes, of course He is! G-d is spirit and He is THE spirit etc. etc.”

    I looked at them with pity and shook my head from side to side saying, “Why I’m surprised at you! Don’t you know the first sentence of the Bible?”

    They replied that they know the entire Bible and the first sentence is: In the beginning G-d created the Heavens and the earth.

    “So that’s it! Just as I said! I replied.

    When I saw they were sufficiently confused, I continued.

    “‘The Earth’ means the physical, and ‘The Heavens’ means all the spiritual worlds. So, G-d isn’t spiritual, He CREATES the spiritual!
    Or, in simple terms that even you can understand,” I concluded, pointing first at myself and then at them,

    “Our G-d Creates your god!”

    They looked again at each other, turned around and walked away.

    The third story is about philosophical obstacles .

    Once I was approached by a Physics major who ridiculed the Torah’s version of creation stating Scientific proof that the world was not created and certainly not in six days as the Torah says but rather evolved in the course of trillions of years.

    I asked him if he could tell me what he thought existed before those trillion years. He explained that there are many theories but he believes some form of simple energy or force.

    I replied that if so both he and I base ourselves on belief. We believe it’s Gd and he believes in energy.

    So I asked what he thinks would be more difficult; to evolve the entire universe from simple energy, or to create simple energy from nothing?

    “Obviously the latter” he answered “because you can’t make something from nothing.”

    “But if you could, how much time would it take?”

    “Obviously it would take no time at all.”

    “So”, I concluded, “the question on the Torah is the opposite, ‘Not how did G-d create the universe so quickly, but why did G-d drag out the creation for six days? When He could have done it instantly.” (The answer to this is explained at length in the works of the Chabad Rebbes called ‘Chassidus’)

    Furthermore, according to us, before there was a  world there was nothing; the world is made from NOTHING, If so, what power constantly keeps creation looking like ‘something’?  We believe it is G-d. The same Gd that created the world creates it now every moment anew. And He’s creating it from love.

    This and much more is all contained in the first sentence of the Torah. (In fact there is a Mystical book called ‘Tikuni Zohar’ that has seventy explanations on just the word ‘Breshis’!)

    That is one of the main reasons we are waiting impatiently for the arrival and revelation of Moshiach to explain and make all this real, much more than even what has been understood till, now (as Rashi comments on the second sentence of Shir HaShirim ‘He will kiss me with the kisses of His mouth’).

    And it all depends on us to make it happen even one moment sooner. That is the message of the Torah; we are partners with the Creator and even just one more good deed, word or even thought can bring……

    Moshiach NOW!

    Rabbi Tuvia Bolton
    Yeshiva Ohr Tmimim
    Kfar Chabad, Israel

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