On the roof of the Aish center looking down at the Western Wall with Chevra & Davai in 2011

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Torah Thought: Parsha Bereishes

I was walking with my 4 year old son on Succas in some strong winds and he asked me why G-d made it so cloudy & windy and that he wished every day would be nice and sunny.  I tried to explain to him that we don’t know why G-d does what he does, but we can be confident that everything is for the best, even though it's often hard to see it.  Several days later, we were driving home from New York on a hot sunny day and my same son complained that the sun was too bright and bothering his eyes.

In the Torah, G-d describes himself using many different names to help us understand how he's relating to humanity with that particular action.  Example: The divine name "Elokim" typically represents our perception of G-d dispensing strict justice to the world.  The divine name "Hashem" typically represents our perception of G-d being kind to the world. 

In the beginning of the Torah, it tells us that G-d created the world and everything in it through his name "Elokim."  We may have expected G-d would have created the world using that name "Hashem", knowing that humanity is flawed and we simply can't exist in a world where strict justice dominated.  Can you imagine if we actually died for every sin that the Torah hands out the death penalty for?  We need the kindness of the name "Hashem" in order to survive.

While this is correct, we also can't live in a world that's dominated solely by kindness.  Can you imagine if a parent only gave a kid ice cream, because that was is favorite food?  Or we let them stay up all night to watch TV or skip school whenever they wanted?  The child wouldn't have a chance. 

Just has the sun is only pleasant when it's filtered down by the clouds, we need Hashem's filter, because G-d's divine light is too great for us to be able to exist in.  That being said, every time that we perform one of G-d commandments or avoid violating one of them, the unfiltered divine light of G-d becomes a little bit more pleasant. 

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