שליחי תורה מציון
שליחי תורה מציוןחזקי עזרא

Dedicated in memory of Yaakov ben Avraham and Sarah Aharonov z"l

Why start the Torah with the story of Creation?

Rashi answers that the reason to start from Bereshith is to teach us that the land of Israel belongs to us “For should the peoples of the world say to Israel, “You are robbers, because you took by force the lands of the seven nations of Canaan”, Israel may reply to them, “All the earth belongs to the Holy One, blessed be He; He created it and gave it to whom He pleased. When He willed He gave it to them, and when He willed He took it from them and gave it to us”.


While this answer might explain why the story of the creation is needed, it doesn't fully explain why the Torah starts from Bereshith. If the most important thing comes first, the Torah could have first given the commandments and at the end, perhaps in Moshe’s words to the nation before he died, we could have had a short history review, starting with the creation.


I once heard an educator using a term which made me upset. He said that he wants his students to be functional Jews - to give them the ability to function as observant Jews. While it is important to be able to read the prayers and know how to wear Tefillin, The purpose of Judaism isn’t just to be functional. Our purpose is to be closer to Hashem!

Mitzvot play a very important role in becoming closer to Hashem but they are only part of it.

In a few days the Daf Yomi will be learning the Gemara in Ketubot (110b) talking about Eretz Yisrael. According to the Gemara, in Israel we feel the presence of Hashem “anyone who resides in Eretz Yisrael is considered as one who has a G-d”. Israel is not just a place to live, it is a place where Hashem decided to have His divine presence.

With this Gemara in mind, we can understand why the Torah started from the stories of the creation. The goal of the Torah is to bring us closer to Hashem. From the creation, Hashem made Israel to be THE place where we can become closer to him, The Torah starts with the most important thing, giving us a reminder for ourselves and the world of where we belong.




Rabbi Yisrael Wende is former Rosh Kollel in Memphis (2019-22), currently Rav Kehila in Maale Adumim. For comments: [email protected]

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