Parashat Bereshit — Fundamentals of The Torah's Inner Wisdom

 The Guide to Discovering Who I Think I Am

Questions accompany the whole of the story of Genesis. We need to understand that the Torah was given to us for no other purpose than to guide us in our path in life. The Torah does not – heaven forbid – simply tell us stories – as is written in the Zohar (and in HaSulam, Be'ha'alotcha 64) "Woe to those evil men who say that the Torah is no more than a story and they look at the garment, and no further. May they be praised, all who look upon the Torah as is proper. Wine is not contained, but in a vessel. So too the Torah is not contained but in this garment. Therefore, we must look at what lies beyond the outer garment. And therefore, all these things and all these stories are no more than a garment."

So too, this story of creation is only a garment, and it has two functions: to conceal and to reveal the truth. If not for this outer garment, man would not be able to grasp a thing. When we wish to look at the sun, we can do so only through a darkened glass – which on one hand blocks the light, and on the other gives us the very ability to see it. We must apply this understanding to our reading of the story of creation. This story comes to reveal truth – the very secrets of the Torah.

Our curiosity is always aroused when someone comes to tell us a secret about something close to our hearts, and even more so if it is about us.

The Kabbalists know all of reality from the story of creation. They can tell us what will happen in this world, when there will be wars, when the Messia will come, and more.

Do you want to know when the Messiah will come? Most people are curious abuot this. Try to hold the same depth of interest for the next questions:

Do you want to know what spiritual work you need to do???

Do you know what the truth is???

Do you know what choice is???

Do you know how the upper worlds are structured???

Every person is deeply curious about things that relate to him. When the Rabash (Rabbi Barush Shalom HaLevi Ashlag, the eldest son of Ba'al HaSulam) would teach inner secrets, many listeners would fall asleep. The honorable, holy Rav was once asked 'Why do people fall asleep upon hearing things of such great import?' His answer: 'If they had thought that we were speaking about them, they would be very attentive.' And afterwards added: 'That is how one should approach his study of the Zohar. He should know that it is all about him. That is how we should study Torah. To know that it is all about us. Even when we are speaking of the upper worlds – of angels and of the spheres.'

Those who identify with the physical garment, with material reality, constantly seek out the physical phenomenon in the Torah; the material rewards. They want to know the external actions and events; when there will be war, how many years they'll live, how many children they'll have, whether they'll be wealthy. They want to know how much pleasure and satisfaction they'll obtain from the Torah – what peace of mind they'll gain.

The truth is that we must identify with the spiritual – not the physical – side of our self. Physical reality is not the essence of man, but rather the means to obtain the quality of 'Man' within us, the means to engage in spiritual work, to correct our true, inner self. The 'self' is man's inner desire. There are true desires, and there are illusions.

Man's true essence is his true desires, not his illusions. Thus, with the help of Hashem, if we slowly work on ourselves to identify more with our internal, spiritual nature, we will be able to relate even to the Torah – not as literal or historical stories, nor as a fortune teller. Man must know that the Torah is a guide to connect his higher perception (Hakara) and consciousness (Toda'ah) to his end purpose.


Excerpt from Parashat Berishit (Genesis)

"HaTorah, Ha'Adam, vemah sheBeineihem" ("Between Torah and Man"), by Rav Adam Sinai.