Thursday, October 27, 2016

The Purpose Of Creation

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The Haftora for parshas Bereishis is from the book of Yishayahu (Isaiah). Sefardic and Chabad custom is to conclude at the end of chapter 22, Ashkenazic custom is to continue on to chapter 23. The Lubavitcher Rebbe had a unique personal custom, that his father-in-law, the Previous Lubavitcher Rebbe, instructed him to follow, but not as a rule for the community. That in a regular year, he would conclude at the end of chapter 22 and in a Jewish Leap Year, he would continue on to chapter 23. (I don't know the reason for this. If anyone does, please share it in the comments section below.) I will be using both chapters as the basis of this Dvar Torah.

There are several reasons we read this Haftora on Shabbos Bereishis.

First, because it starts with, "So says the Almighty G-d, Who created Heavens . . . Who laid out the earth. . ."  Which is similar to our parsha, that speaks of the creation of the heavens and the earth. However, if this were the only reason, we would stop after the first verse. There has to be more.

We must look deeper. The Haftora shares with us the reason for creation. The Haftora is all about Moshiach, it speaks about learning Torah, doing mitzvas, "Hashem wants . . ., him to make Torah great and to strengthen it." It speaks about the Jewish people, how the world will realize that we were right, and Hashem's disappointment with us for not doing our job well. But He also tells us that he is always with us, through all the hardships, and he says, "You are My witnesses. . . My servant I have chosen."

What is the connection between all these things, creation, Moshiach, Torah, mitzvahs and the Jewish people?

The reason why Hashem created this world, is because, He has a divine desire, to dwell in this world openly, and that we make that possible through our efforts. This is what the Jewish mission is all about. We were not just chosen because of Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov, rather, we are part of Hashem's plan, from the very beginning. Hashem created an unfinished world, and made us His partners in creation, to complete it, of our own free will.

Hashem gave us special Neshamas, that are actually a part of Him. These Neshamas are what enables us to bring out the potential hidden in creation.

He gave us Torah and mitzvas, with which to accomplish this mission. Every mitzvah is done with physical objects, time or place. When you do a mitzvah, you transform the physical into holy. Even when doing every day activities, like working, eating, exercising, etc., if you are doing them, to support your life of Torah, they too become holy and transformative actions.

When our work is done, the purpose of creation will be realized, the world will be an open dwelling for Hashem, and by definition, Moshiach will be here.

Now you can see that everything has purpose and how it all fits together. The world, the Torah, and the Jewish people, are parts of a puzzle, which together, complete Hashem's desire, the coming of Moshiach.

This is why we read this on Shabbos Bereishis, because as we start the Torah from the beginning, its purpose must be made clear.

May we soon see the prophecies in this Haftora come true. May we witness the culmination of our transformative work, Hashem's open revelation, with the coming of Moshiach. May it happen soon.


  1. Beautiful! Vintage Rav Yitz!
    Have a Good Shabbos and may we be zoche already for the Geula Shelama for all Am Yisrael!!!

  2. Dear Rabbi Hurwitz,

    I was raised very, very irreligious (I used to think the Sabbath was on Sunday as well as eat bacon & cottage cheese all the time growing up). I am now trying to make the Sabbath holy, I keep Kosher (but not "strict"), and even recently started to wear Tzizi. I am still unfamiliar with "Haftora stuff" so your blog this week was exceptionally good and helpful......thank you for teaching me!! Sincerely, Jeff

  3. Thank you for continuing to make the world a brighter place through your beautiful teachings.