Join our weekly Peninim on the Torah list!





ויאמר לו ד' לכן כל הרג קין שבעתים יקם

Hashem said to him, “Therefore whoever slays Kayin, before seven generations have passed he will be punished.” (4:15)

Kayin sinned egregiously, going down in history as the first murderer. He took the idyllic state of Gan Eden and transformed it into a killing field. What makes his deed all the more pernicious is the reason for the murder: jealousy. Instead of learning from Hevel’s act of offering a korban, sacrifice, from his choicest flocks, Kayin killed him. Envy does that to a person, blinding him from seeing what is usually a simple truth that could change his life. Instead, he kills the messenger. Kayin realized too late that he acted disastrously, but he repented. Hashem accepted Kayin’s teshuvah,…

Continue Reading

ויאמר ד' אלקים לא טוב היות האדם לבדו אעשה לו עזר כנגדו

Hashem Elokim said, “It is not good that man be alone; I will make him a helper corresponding to him.” (2:18)

The words lo tov, not good, tell it all. Man was independent and self-sufficient. Procreation was an ability with which he was created. So, why did he require a helpmate? A life alone is “not bad,” but it is also “not good.” For man to achieve his primary function, he needs the companionship, support and challenge inherent in every good marriage. Hashem wanted the children born to Adam and his future mate to be born from and raised by a father and mother. Interestingly, prior to the creation of woman, Hashem brought every species of animal – wild beast and…

Continue Reading

וייצר ה' אלקים את האדם עפר מן האדמה ויפח באפיו נשמת חיים ויהי האדם לנפש חיה

And Hashem Elokim formed the man of dust from the ground, and He blew into his nostrils the soul of life; and Man became a living being. (2:7)

Adam HaRishon, and, subsequently, all of mankind are a creation comprised of both earthly and Heavenly elements. His body is composed of dust of the earth, his soul from the spirit. As the Zohar HaKadosh comments to Vayipach b’apav nishmas chaim, “And He blew into his nostrils the soul of life,” One who blows flows from within himself, thereby indicating that man’s soul is an aspect of Hashem’s essence. It was this soul that was blown into him that made man into a living being. Targum Onkelos defines this metamorphosis as transforming Adam into ruach memalela, “speaking spirit.” Thus, the…

Continue Reading

ויאמר אלקים נעשה אדם בצלמנו כדמותנו

And G-d said, “Let us make Man in Our image, after Our likeness. (1:26)

The Midrash Rabbah relates that, when Moshe Rabbeinu was writing the Torah as Hashem’s “secretary,” he came to the above pasuk. He asked Hashem incredulously, “Ribbono Shel Olam, why give an excuse to the heretics?” This pasuk appears to imply that Hashem either needed assistance in creating or had partnered with the angels. In any event, it seems to dispute the Oneness of Hashem. The Almighty replied, “He who wants to err – will err.” This statement begs elucidation. There are many places in which we find Hashem doing things – even miraculous occurrences – to prevent people from making…

Continue Reading

בראשית ברא אלקים את השמים ואת הארץ

In the beginning of G-d’s creating the heavens and the earth. (1:1)

Who does not know the opening words of the Torah? Bereishis – “In the beginning” seems to be a very appropriate way to commence what is Hashem’s Magnum Opus, His Book, our Heavenly guide to life. What does seem strange is that the Torah begins with the second letter of the Hebrew alphabet – bais. One would think that a “beginning” commences with the first letter – aleph. Many and varied are the responses to this question. Perhaps the most notable is the one given by the Midrash Rabbah (1:10). Bais is the lashon, language, of b’rachah, blessing; aleph is…

Continue Reading

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our weekly Peninim on the Torah list!

You have Successfully Subscribed!