Beit Emunah
Rabbi's Talks
Shabbat Streaming
Ways to Donate
Home Page
A Dvar Torah for Bereshit

Our Dvar Torah: In the beginning there was Voice, and there was Speech
A Dvar Torah for Bereshit: Genesis 1:1-6:8
By Rabbi Shlomo Nachman ben Ya'akov © October 15, 2020

In the first Parshah of the Torah, Bereishit, we learn that Adam Adam HaRishon, the first human, was “formed” by the Creator to be distinct from all others. Adam was “formed” – the Hebrew word here is “yetzer.” From this word “yetzer” or “formed” we gain the realization of our initial and intended dual nature, our “yetzer hatov” and “yetzer hara” as we have often discussed. This is found at Genesis 2:7. Prior to this, at 1:26, we learn that humans were created in the very image of the Holy One. This is to say that Adam, and subsequently all humans, were endowed by the Creator with a reasoning mind, drawing upon our dual nature, capable of distinguishing the positive and negative, the right from the wrong. We are created to be moral and ethical beings, like G-d Himself. By utilizing our unique faculties humans were given the job of being the caretakers of the earth and all that exists within it.

As the caretakers of terrestrial life it fell to Adam to choose the proper Hebrew name for each animal, a name that would expressed that being's innermost nature and purpose, its essence. Clearly then Adam, and later Chava or Eve, were of a much higher nature that we are, at least prior to their eating of the forbidden fruit, before the darkening of their countenances as revealed at 3:7 when we were clothed in mortal flesh.

The language of Adam and Chava is known as Lashon Kodesh, the holy tongue. Which s to say, Evrit or Hebrew. There is no language like Hebrew! It is, so to speak, G-d's native language!

Beginning this Sunday, October 18th, 2020, you are invited to join us for our Beginning Hebrew Course. It will be half of our Judaism 101 course and will run weekly from 5-7 PM Eastern.

Inherent in the Hebrew name of each creature, whether a human, an animal, an inanimate object even, is an expression of that creature’s essential nature, purpose and essence. Other languages are descriptive but none to the degree of the Lashon Kodesh.

In Parsha Bereshit Adam also proclaims the name of his primarily helper, his wife, Chava (Eve.) Rashi tells us that the name Chava is a play on the word Chaya, which means “life” or “alive.” Chava is the Mother of all life. Rebbe Nachman of Breslov teaches that “Chava” is an acronym for the phrase “who encircles (or crowns) you with loving-kindness and mercy,” found at Psalms, 103:4. This is because an “Eshet Chayil,” a godly woman of virtue enshrouds her family, her community, and all of humanity with morality, virtue and loving kindness. A woman abandons these divine qualities however becomes a curse. A society lacking in righteous women will not long survive as we are now beholding. We need many more women of virtue to arise!

Our Rebbe further explains that Adam represents a person’s voice and Chava represents speech. Without “Chava,” the feminine, “Adam,” the masculine, can not express civilized “speech” for the good of terrestrial life. Chava helps Adam and without this help he could not perform his purpose as caretaker of terrestrial life.

A Voice is only a noise until it is articulated as clear and focused Speech. Such Speech requires Balance, Chava and Adam are necessary. See the metaphor here? As Chava is Adam’s helper, so too speech is a person’s helper, helping a person connect to HaShem and attain devekut or spiritual attachment! Likewise, through balanced words a human can Speak with HaShem and, more importantly He speaks to us! Which Words? Through the Words of Torah, Divine instruction which, if one is wise, one will embrace and apply.

Avot 5:1 says: “The world was created by means of ten utterances.” Ten Words. We see these Words in the first chapter of Bereshit at:

See the power of Divine Words? Through Ten Words everything that exist was called into Being!

Pirkei Avot 5 tells us:

With ten utterances the world was created. And what does this teach, for surely it could have been created with one utterance? But this was so in order to punish the wicked who destroy the world that was created with ten utterances, And to give a good reward to the righteous who maintain the world that was created with ten utterances.

[There were] ten generations from Adam to Noah, in order to make known what long-suffering is His; for all those generations kept on provoking Him, until He brought upon them the waters of the flood. [There were] ten generations from Noah to Abraham, in order to make known what long-suffering is His; for all those generations kept on provoking Him, until Abraham, came and received the reward of all of them.

With ten trials was Abraham, our father (may he rest in peace), tried, and he withstood them all; to make known how great was the love of Abraham, our father (peace be upon him).

Ten miracles were wrought for our ancestors in Egypt, and ten at the sea. Ten plagues did the Holy one, blessed be He, bring upon the Egyptians in Egypt and ten at the sea. [With] ten trials did our ancestors try God, blessed be He, as it is said, “and they have tried Me these ten times and they have not listened to my voice” (Numbers 14:22).

Ten wonders were wrought for our ancestors in the Temple: [1] no woman miscarried from the odor of the sacred flesh; [2] the sacred flesh never became putrid; [3] no fly was ever seen in the slaughterhouse; [4] no emission occurred to the high priest on the Day of Atonement; [5] the rains did not extinguish the fire of the woodpile; [6] the wind did not prevail against the column of smoke; [7] no defect was found in the omer, or in the two loaves, or in the showbread; [8] the people stood pressed together, yet bowed down and had room enough; [9] never did a serpent or a scorpion harm anyone in Jerusalem; [10] and no man said to his fellow: the place is too congested for me to lodge overnight in Jerusalem.

Ten things were created on the eve of the Sabbath at twilight, and these are they: [1] the mouth of the earth, [2] the mouth of the well, [3] the mouth of the donkey, [4] the rainbow, [5] the manna, [6] the staff [of Moses], [7] the shamir, [8] the letters, [9] the writing, [10] and the tablets. And some say: also the demons, the grave of Moses, and the ram of Abraham, our father. And some say: and also tongs, made with tongs.

It is only through Divine Unification, signified numerically by the number ten, that one is able to harmonize with the 613 Mitzvot of HaShem, as taught by Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, who reveals the connection between the Asarah Ma'amarot (the Ten Utterances), the Aseret Hadibrot (the Ten Commandments) and the Eser Sefirot (the Ten Emanations of Adam Kadmon, Primordial Be-ing).

How does this all come together? Rebbe Nachman explains that a person who reaches the level of holy and pure speech -- a person who attains the level where speech is always consistent with Torah, is awarded HaShem’s Mercy. For such a person the Treasury of Unearned Gifts opens. When ones speaks only the words of Torah, words that are harmonious with the Way of the Beloved, when a person speak with HaShem in prayer, when a person uses the power of speech to uplift others; such a person becomes blessed and achieves ever deeper levels of devekut, attachment with the Beloved.

So, as we once again begin the Torah with Parsha Bereshit, as though for the very first time, may the desires our hearts be to merit Unity with the Beloved and through that Unity may we all achieve Shalom, both for ourselves and for our beleaguered world.

Got Questions or Comments?

Let us know

Visit Our Shul: Beit Emunah

Be the Blessing you were created to be
Don't let the perfect defeat the good

index sitemap advanced
search engine by freefind