Braishis 2006

This week we begin again to read the Torah, from the very first Parsha, Parshas Braishis. The first famous words of the Torah are Braishis Bara Elokim - in the beginning of the creation of Hashem… The name of Hashem that is used here is Elokim – rather than Hashem. Later, in chapter 2 verse 4, the Torah tells us that “these were the happenings on the day that Hashem Elokim created the heaven and the earth”… There, both names of Hashem are used. Why this change? Why is the name Elokim no longer used alone? Rashi tells us that the name Elokim is meant to show strict judgment. The name Hashem shows mercy. The reason that the Torah begins with the name Elokim is because the first intent of Hashem was to run the world with din, with strict judgment. He saw, however, that the world could not survive if He would run it with strict judgment, so He added to it rachamim, mercy. This is why the later verse says that Hashem Elokim created the world. What does this mean? Could there be such a thing as Hashem changing His mind? What is the lesson that we are being taught here? When the sages tell us that Hashem wanted to run the world with strict judgment, they are not describing a possibility that was dismissed. They are describing the ideal, preferred way that each of us should live. If we are able to stand up to strict judgment, to live a life that will merit reward without special mercy, then we will have done the best we can. If we don’t, then we will need mercy. How much mercy? That depends on us. It could be that our conduct is enough to live a life based on 90% din (judgment) and needing only 10% rachamim (mercy). It could be that we will need more mercy, and less judgment. One thing the Sages are making clear: The more we strive to do what’s right, to live a life that can merit based on din, the better off we are. This will make our life a more successful, meaningful, and accomplished achievement. We must strive to do mitzvohs properly, to the point that they make us the great successful people that we can be. Wishing you and your family a great Shabbos!!! Rabbi Moshe Travitsky