“In the beginning God created…” The renowned portion that has been recounted through numerous generations and many centuries of time is once again upon us. As we read through this portion, I have heard people in the past speculate about what was before the universe’s beginning. It is definitely an interesting topic, one that generally leads to unproductive blasphemous speculation, which benefits no one, except maybe humor the Creator. Theories concerning creation, whether an evolutionary process or a literal 6-day cycle, whether a big bang or God’s divine light revealed/concealed, all of these are topics that, though precisely unknowable, can be beneficial to our understanding of the nature of God. But as soon as we think prior to the creation of this realm, we are gazing into a sphere beyond time and space. A time which humanity cannot comprehend, a time of no beginnings or ends, this topic is beyond mankind’s highest of imaginations. The reason I write this is to say that we must “keep our heads below the clouds…” The creation story tells us that God put us into this realm; therefore, our exploration should be this realm and the Creator of this realm. “Why did God put us here?” is the question we should be asking of ourselves. Not, “What was before God put us here?” For even if we were able to comprehend what came before creation, what good would we have done in fulfilling our purpose in the world? Rabbi Ari Kahn writes, “Proper fear of God will dissuade the inquiring mind from delving into unfathomable issues. Human wisdom can only flourish when it realizes its own boundaries.”God made man and put him into the world “L’avada Ul’Shamara —To work and protect it.”(Genesis 2:15)
We must be about our “Father’s Business.” (Luke 2:49) When Yeshua our Master walked this earth, He didn’t go into great detail concerning pre-creation philosophy. He showed us what mankind was created for. He said “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to preachabout the things before this realm, past the scope of understanding?”  No, that’s not what He said. Isaiah 61, the passage Yeshua speaks from is all about bringing healing and wholeness to this world; and if this was Yeshua’s focus, shouldn’t it be our focus as well? Paul warns Timothy in his letter of 1 Timothy to not “give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which cause disputes…” Let us focus on the important things of life and not become distracted by the many theories, disputes and arguments for naught. Even as the children of Israel proclaimed, “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever…” May God reveal His purpose and plans for each of us as we continue in our journey toward Him. 
When God created mankind it says in Genesis 2:7, “V’yitzer Hashem Elokim Et-HaAdam Afar Min Ha’Adamah—and the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground…” Then it says, “V’Yipach B’Apav Nishmat Chaim—And breathed into his nostrils the breath of life…” What is humanity made from? Well, it’s not like the nursery rhyme “Snips and snails and puppy-dogs’ tails…” or “Sugar and spice and everything nice…” Rather, Dust of the earth + Breath of God = Mankind. Why did God take from the most base and most precious of all ingredients to create man?  It had to do with mankind’s ability to truly experience freewill. The Nobleman and Philosopher, Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, from the time of the Italian Renaissance, was an interesting character of his time. He wrote a public discourse titled “Oration on the Dignity of Man” in which he imagines God’s first discourse with the first man, Adam. In his (Mirandola’s) vision, God spoke to man and said, “It will be in your power to descend to the lower, brutish forms of life; you will be able, through your own decision, to rise again to the superior orders whose life is divine.” He is saying that mankind has the ability and choice to descend to the level of dust or to ascend to the level of the divine. This is the choice of freewill. God made humanity the last act of His creation. For this reason Chazal (the sages may their memory be blessed) write, “Why was man created last? In order to say, if he is worthy, all creation was made for you; but if he is unworthy, he is told, even a gnat preceded you.” As humanity, we have the choice to view ourselves as the pinnacle of God’s creation and recognize His breath within us, or, descend to the bottom of the pedestal beneath even the gnat, thinking that we are worth nothing but dirt. We can act as God’s treasured creation, or act like dirt…this is the choice that faces us all. The breath of God wants to return to God and the dust of the earth wants to return to the earth. Our job is to align our earthly bodies with the breath of God that is within us. We must train our earthly body to be submitted to our spiritual being. As it says in Galatians, “Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” Now that we understand the makeup of our being, I want to pose the question, what exactly was this “Nishmat Chaim—Breath of Life” that was breathed into the first man’s nostrils? In Genesis 1:2 it says “V’Ruach Elokim Merachefet Al-Pnei HaMayim —And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.” Why was the Spirit of God hovering…and, why does something hover? It has no place to rest. The Spirit of God had no place to rest. In Genesis Rabbah, a Midrash (biblical exegesis by ancient Rabbinic authorities) on the book of Genesis, Rabbi Shimon ben Lakish says, “V’Ruach Elokim Merachefet, Ze Rucho Shel Melech HaMashiach—And the Spirit of God hovered, This is the Spirit of King Messiah.” The Spirit of God hovering at the moment of creation was the Spirit of King Messiah waiting to find a worthy resting place. Where to does the Spirit of God/King Messiah find an acceptable resting place? In mankind, God created man with the ability to be a resting place for God’s Spirit. God breathes into man’s nostrils the breath of life = the Spirit of God/King Messiah. How can we prove this idea? In Lamentations 4:20 it says,Ruach Apenu Mashiach Hashem—The breath of our nostrils, [is] the Messiah of the Lord…”The Messiah of God is the breath of our nostrils. The Messiah is our very life’s breath. Every breath we have means that He has not given up on humanity. Every time we awake means that He trusts us with another day. Chaim Kramer, in his book, “Mashiach” writes, “…just as breathing sustains each person, whether one is conscious of it or not, so too, Mashiach, the world’s ultimate rectification, has sustained the world from its inception, whether we are conscious of it or not.” The Messiah sustains creation as it says in the Psalms By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth.”
Why is it so specific in Genesis that God breathed through “man’s nostrils” the breath of life? In today’s world, numerous medical studies show that breathing through the nose is healthier and more beneficial for the body than breathing through one’s mouth. Obviously, the nose was created for breathing more so than the mouth, but what is it about the nose that sets it apart from the rest of our senses? In Genesis 3, when the serpent in the garden tempts the woman, she listens (ears) to the serpent, she sees (eyes) that the fruit is good, she takes (hands) of the fruit, and she eats (mouth/taste). The only sense that the woman did not use in the whole garden scenario was her nose. You can’t really sin with your nose. The nose just tells you if where you are going reeks of death and destruction or beauty and life. Is the direction of our life leading us to a place where the sweet aroma of God is evident? The Chief Rabbi of Safed, a community up in the Galilee, Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, has said that we are living in a time that “the fragrance of Messiah is in the air.” So now, what is our calling? I believe my writing here is finished. I will allow Rav Shaul/the Apostle Paul to finish out this email with his words from 2 Corinthians 2, [T]hanks be to God, who in Messiah always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Messiah to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing…”
 We are the Aroma of Messiah!
Grace and peace from God’s bondservant,
Shabbat Shalom,
Samuel

32 thoughts on “Parsha Bereshit “In the Beginning”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.