October 11, 2015
Dvar Torah – Beresheet – Tzvi and Ne’eman’s Bar Mitzvah
בראשית was your Grandfather Yitz’s favorite parsha. He taught that בריאת העולם, the Creation of the World, was the greatest act of Love that God ever performed … and continues to perform. What a wonderful thing that you both got to read Grandpa Yitz’s favorite parsha, and that you did it so beautifully.
We also know that the Creation of the World wasn’t only an act of Love, it was also a tremendous act of Will … of רצון, and that the Creation of Humans, which happened shortly after, was no less an act of Love and Will.
However, as Ne’eman pointed out in his D’var Torah, it didn’t take long before the Humans that God created weren’t exactly acting in sync with God’s Will, as their behavior both inside and outside Gan Eden would demonstrate.
Eating from the עץ הדעת was just the beginning. By the end of the parsha, sadly, Man has become consumed by evil … and God is preparing to destroy the world. And as Tzvi just discussed in his D’var Torah, society had collapsed and the moral structure of the world had fallen apart.
What can we learn from this story? The world’s very first story?
We have to wait a few months … or maybe a few thousand years … or perhaps a few billion years, to transition from בריאת העולם to מתן תורה, when we receive a set of commandments that we can apply toward Guiding Human Life on Earth.
But we’re still left with the question: How do we bring our own Will into alignment with God’s?
We have lots of great teachings — and teachers. Yet we live in a time when it’s not always entirely clear to us what we ought to be doing with ourselves, our time, our attention, and even our thoughts.
When do we go out and seek answers from our Sources? And when do we focus our attention inward and seek answers from within?
When do we look for guidance in the law, and when do we look into our own hearts?
Tzvi and Ne’eman, I think you’re both developing a toolbox to help you wrestle with these questions. I’d even say you’ve both been working on gathering those tools for a while already.
We hear a lot these days about the importance of making good choices. The news is filled every day with stories about people who made poor choices.
Yet how do we know whether the choices we’re making are the right ones?
In trying to answer this question, I wrote down a few ideas that I thought of today to help guide you.
- Choose good mentors.
- Choose friends and companions not for their popularity and status, but for their honesty, integrity, and decency; because they can help you become better people.
- Strive to do what’s right, not necessarily what’s popular.
- Be kind to Planet Earth … and to its people.
- Remember that people are never perfect. None of us will ever be. Be patient with people.
- And then, have patience, and even more patience.
- Remember that the easy answers are often not the right ones. Take time to really think!
- Most importantly … Keep adding to this list!
I love you boys. I’m happy for your accomplishments. And I’ll admit … I’m proud of you.
Thank you Ilana for making the impossible a reality.
Thank you Mom for your wisdom and love.
Thank you dear friends for your kind support, and for making our simcha so special.
May we all merit experiencing מעשה בראשית … constant creation and renewal … in every moment of our lives.