Bereishis (5771)

Drash Cards for Bereishis (5771)

by Marc Mangel

• Today:  what happened before the beginning, in the beginning and then two practical lessons

•From Midrash Rabbah (12:15): At first, God thought to create the world with the attribute of Judgement (Gevurah).  But God saw that the would would not endure, so God combined the attribute of Mercy (Chesed) with it…Said the Holy One Blessed be God “If I create the world with the attribute of Mercy, sins (and sinners) will abound. But if I create the world with the attribute of Judgement, how will it endure?  Rather, I will create it with both the attribute of Judgment and the attribute of Mercy, and may it endure”

• If only Gevurah –> one strike and you’re out. There is no chance of Tesuvah

•  If only Chesed –> no limit to the number of strikes and you are still not out. There is no need for Tesuvah.  For the Shekinah to settle here, there is the requirement of essential harmony between Tesuvah and Gevurah

• Here’s the practical application:  you are the principal of a school and a kid is brought to your office for misbehaving.  How should you treat this student? With Gevurah only?  With Chesed only? Or with a balance?  What do you want from the student?

• At the creation, the Kabbalists tell us that God — who is infinite — had to contract (Timtzum) for our universe to exist.

• A visual: imagine a uniform region of grey. Now let a sphere emerge at some point, ‘pushing’ the grey away and becoming temporarily more dense.  After the sphere settles to its size, the grey expands to its uniform structure of before.  Thus as the expansion is occuring — our universe — there is a contraction of God (in this case, metaphorically the grey).

• The practical lesson:  we need to be more careful when discussing conflicts between science and religion.  The existence of the universe — an expansion at the Big Bang — is completely consistent with the contraction of God at the instant of creation


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