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We’ve all said it before: Thank God for new beginnings, right? Truly it’s most likely that in the 20, 30, or 50 plus years we’ve been here, we’ve probably had hundreds of fresh starts. The ability to forget, begin anew, and turn the page to see things in a different light, is quite the luxury of being human! This week, the cosmos actually presents us with this gift as we connect to the first portion of the Bible, Beresheet, or Genesis.
There are many significant points in this portion with powerful secrets behind them. The small part I would like to focus on is infrastructure of the letters that make up the word “Beresheet.” Before we go any further, it is important to understand that the Hebrew letters have power beyond just simple transmission of language and meaning. In truth, according to Rav Isaac Luria, the Ari, they are portals through which the energy and Light of the Creator can enter into this world.
We also know from the kabbalists that the language of the Angels is Hebrew. That is why we use this method of prayer to open the gates for ourselves and our loved ones. Think about the power of this: When we connect to the letters of the Hebrew prayers we can actually open up channels through which to send our intentions and requests. How mighty are these letters that we call the Alef-Bet!
The word Beresheet is the very first word of the Bible, the seed if you will, and it starts with the Hebrew letter Bet. The Bet represents bracha, meaning “blessing.” The Bet also represents betachain, meaning “faith,” or the ability to have trust in yourself or in an entity that is called the Creator or Light. The Bet of betchanin is one of the founding blocks for us to survive in this physical world, for if you have no faith in yourself, you can’t have faith in anyone else. If you can’t believe that you can do something, you aren’t ever going to get there. The first letter of Beresheet is the letter Bet because it is the blessing and the impetus that brings everything else into existence.
The next letter Resh corresponds to ratzon, or “desire.” The second letter is Resh, because without ratzon you don’t have a life force. You need to have something that moves you forward, something that excites you when you rise and fulfills when you go to sleep. To see a lack of desire, take a look at how many people around us that are born into wealthy families, but end up lolling on the beach just getting stoned. They don’t have any motivation. They don’t have any drive. Without motivation, you can’t have fulfillment in life. To build motivation this week, we can connect to the Resh.
The next letter, Alef, is simple. The Alef represents ahava or “love.” Can you picture this world without love? Can you picture life without love? I’m not talking about the romantic kind of love between two people. That’s wonderful. But there’s also love of the Creation and the world. There’s also looking at a flower and saying I could never create that. Really, love is knowing that every single thing that lives and breathes and grows has a purpose; from the gnat to the human, everything was created in synch and in purpose.
Now comes the letter Shin. The Shin represents sheket or “peace and quiet.”How many of us find the quiet, inside?For us to grow, we need to at least take a breath in. Why? Because, when you don’t breathe in, you don’t breathe out. We need to breathe in order to go inside to that place where we question: “What have I done, where am I going, and what do I erase? What do I find in myself to change?”
At the end of the word Beresheet is the Tet, which represents the Torah or Bible. This is because without some kind of a code, some kind of a creed, there is no essence into what we do. In other words, if you have no creed, no code, then to steal, to rob, to hurt, to endanger others, to act without human dignity, is all fair game—no problem at all. The Tet also refers to truvah. Now what does truvah exactly mean? Essentially, truvah means to understand that this world was formed with human dignity, with the ability to forgive. With the ability to do a little bit to be deserving of that Light that God had given us.
We can get so much from this reading, if we concentrate, if we look at the letters differently, if we feel the energy that can be gotten, we can get that new start. We can turn that new page. And trust, each one of us needs a beginning, regardless of how old we are or of what we’ve done before.
God put erasers on pencils because we’ve all made mistakes. And he also gives us the ability to correct them. Let’s hope that through the energy of this week, and through the power of unity, will be the culmination of all our holidays that we’ve gone through together and kindness that we’ve given to one another.