By Rabbi Gedalia Fogel
Hi! This is Rebbe speaking:
We have just experienced the most holy and important days of the year. We had a chance to repent, ask for forgiveness and pray for a year of health and prosperity. But we must remember to hold on to all this throughout the year. Each and every day we must try to keep the commitments that we have undertaken and we must not despair when we fail for we can and should try again. All the blessings will stay with us if we believe that Hashem has forgiven us and we are starting with a clean slate.
Many people go to a Rabbi for a blessing. It seems that some of those blessings do not bear fruit. But a great Rabbi once said, “All those blessings are legitimate and have the power to come true, but some lose them on their way out, at the door, others the next day and some a week later. We must really believe that Hashem will and can perform those blessings, in order for them to be fulfilled. If those who received the blessings would truly believe, then their blessing would be fulfilled.
This week’s parsha, Parshat Bereishit, speaks about the wondrous creation. Hashem created the world in six days and on the seventh day, Shabbat, he rested. So too, we work all week, but on Shabbat we rest.
In the time of the Rambam, Reb Moshe ben Maimon, (Maimonides) there were a group of people that did not believe that there was a creator. They assumed that the world just happened by chance. The holy Rambam wanted to teach these people a lesson. He hired a professional artist. He had him paint a room. Then he invited these people to come see this artwork, but he did not tell them about the artist.
They entered the room and glanced at the wall they were facing and were amazed. It looked like a forest with all sorts of wild animals. It looked so real they reached for their bow and arrow to shoot at the animals. They then noticed the wall to their right, a glorious scene of water with all wondrous fish and underwater plants. It was breathtaking. They took a look at the ceiling and could not believe that they were indoors. It depicted a clear blue sky with fluffy white clouds scattered throughout. Beautiful birds of all sizes and a large eagle were there too. Wow!
Who created all these beautiful paintings? It was then that they noticed a small table in the center of the room. On it was a paper, an inkwell, a feather, brush, and paints. The paper had a beautiful scene of glorious mountains, some with water running down its sides. Truly astounding! They looked around for the Rambam to ask him who the master of these magnificent paintings was. But the Rambam had stepped out of the room and allowed them to ponder this thought for a while.
The third wall was a scene of a stunning garden, plush green grass with flowers of every color adorning it. They even bent down to smell the scent of the flowers since they looked so real. The final wall was a field of wheat and an orchard with flourishing tall fruit trees.
Who created all this? At that moment the Rambam returned. “Who painted this room, created a truly magnificent, real setting? The Rambam responded, “Don’t you see the feather, ink, brush and paints? Why, they created these scenes by themselves. It just happened by chance.” “Of course that can’t happen.” They retorted. “There must be someone that used these tools to paint this room.”
“You’re right. There was an artist that made these paintings, which only look real but in essence it is not. But come on men, if this room could not manifest itself do you really believe that a world so intricate with so many wondrous creations can be created by itself?!” The point was clear and each man left the room a believer.
The word בראשית is written with a big ב. The dot in the ב is like the letter י. This is to show that the entire world was created for כלל ישראל, for the Jews. It is our job to use what Hashem has created to do His will.
What have we learned today?
What are some ways that we can keep the spirit of the days of Tishrei, from Rosh Hashana through Simchat Torah, with us throughout the year?
We can try to think of one thing that uplifted us throughout these days. Was it the time that you heard the Shofar that you were inspired? Was it the dancing with the Torah? Was it when you shook your lulav and etrog? Or was it when you stood and prayed on Yom Kippur? If you pinpoint the time that you felt uplifted, you can reminisce this feeling throughout the year as a reminder of repentance and belief that Hashem forgives and we can change.
How can we strengthen our Emunah, belief in Hashem?
If we just look around us and notice all the things that Hashem has created we will strengthen our belief. When you go to the zoo, look at all the amazing animals and you will be reminded that Hashem is the creator. On a bright clear day, glance up at the glorious blue sky and remember that Hashem created this outstanding world. When taking a walk take notice of how many different shades and shapes of leaves there are and how many different types of flowers.
Keep your eyes open and you will surely notice that there is a masterful creator that created this amazing world.