The weekly Parsha – Parshas Bereishis

This Shabbat, the first after the conclusion of the Festivals, we begin the new cycle of reading the Torah with the very first section of the book of Genesis – Bereishit. This week’s portion, Bereishit tells of the six days of creation, culminating with G-d’s creation of the first people, Adam and Eve. One of the first episodes that we read is the story is of the cunning deceit of the snake, who attempts to convince both Adam and Chava to go against G-d’s will.
It seems that this is the beginning of all of humanity’s troubles. It is also replayed over and over again in every generation. The cunning deceive the world to go against truth and decency, to go against G-d.

Why is this the first story of humanity? What lesson can we take from this for ourselves and for our time?

This story is our personal daily struggle with the snake, the evil inclination. Every day, he cunningly plays on our weaknesses, wanting only to create distance between us and G-d. This story is first in the Torah because this is our essential struggle.

Every time we overcome the snake’s cunning, we are drawn closer to G-d and He is filled with pride. His truth wins at the moment false deception is trumped.

In the same way that we must overcome the enemy within, we as a people are constantly threatened by external enemies, many that seek to annihilate the Jewish Nation. The nature of man is to follow his perceived best interest, regardless of what is right and true. So even civilized nations that claim to be our friends can end up treating us with deceit, enabling and supporting the snakes that seek to annihilate us.

This too is a test. Our brothers and sisters in Israel are living under threat, and much of the world is supporting the murderers. They have often been tempted to play by the world’s dishonest rules in the hope of proving that we are a civilized nation. G-d wants us to stand strong and do what is right in His eyes.

Righteousness and decency are on our side. We have nothing to prove. All that is necessary is the courage to do what is right. May the leadership in Israel have the courage to do what G-d wants, despite the pressure of the world.

May G-d protect us and our brothers and sisters the world-over. And may we have the ultimate protection with the coming of Moshiach now!