Shabbat Shalom Chaverim!
This week’s parsha is Bereishit, “and in the beginning”, and is the first parsha in the Torah. A lot happens in this parsha (it’s pretty long) but in a nutshell this is what happens:
G‑d creates the world in six days. On the first day He makes darkness and light. On the second day He forms the heavens, dividing the “upper waters” from the “lower waters.” On the third day He sets the boundaries of land and sea, and calls forth trees and greenery from the earth. On the fourth day He fixes the position of the sun, moon and stars as timekeepers and illuminators of the earth. Fish, birds and reptiles are created on the fifth day; land animals, and then the human being, on the sixth. G‑d ceases work on the seventh day, and sanctifies it as a day of rest (i.e. Shabbat).
G‑d forms the human body from the dust of the earth, and blows into his nostrils a “living soul.” Originally Man is a single person, but deciding that “it is not good that man be alone,” G‑d takes a “side” from the man, forms it into a woman, and marries them to each other.
Adam and Eve are placed in the Garden of Eden, and commanded not to eat from the “Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.” The serpent persuades Eve to violate the command, and she shares the forbidden fruit with her husband (Adam). Because of their sin, it is decreed that man will experience death, returning to the soil from which he was formed, and that all gain will come only through struggle and hardship. Man is banished from the Garden.
Eve gives birth to two sons, Cain and Abel. Cain quarrels with Abel and murders him, and becomes a rootless wanderer. A third son, Seth, is born to Adam; Seth’s eighth-generation descendant, Noah, is the only righteous man in a corrupt world. (Sourced from Chabad.org)
A predominant theme that arises from this parsha is the idea of taking responsibility for one’s own actions. It seems that whenever we do something wrong, we immediately begin to defend our actions or thoughts; or blame someone or something. In the parsha this is seen by Adam blaming Eve for eating the forbidden fruit and Eve subsequently blaming the serpent. Neither one of them take responsibility for their actions. Likewise when Cain kills Abel he asks the famous line “Am I my brother’s keeper?” and is banished for his actions.
Taking responsibility for our own actions is, in my humble opinion, one of the most liberating and empowering thing we as humans can do. It means that you will no longer simply be a victim of circumstances. It means taking responsibility for your own life. It means becoming a proactive decision maker. You become whoever you would like to be. To draw in what we spoke about during Parshat Ha’azinu performing the act of Hagshama Atzmit (self-actualisation) allows you to be the person that you would like to be, and not just the result of determinist events outside of your control.
It can sometimes seem to go against our nature to declare to others (or yourself) that “I was wrong”, but as Adam Lieberman asserts, “when you can truly acknowledge to yourself that it’s you – and you alone – who’s responsible for whatever you do – and not anyone or anything else – then you will have taken complete and total control of your life.” I personally love being wrong as much as when I’m right. It means that I learnt something, about myself or about something I thought I knew. Being wrong is fun! We should all try it sometime. It is a very humbling thing to do this (believe me on this).
As always, try and strive to be better and if that means that you are wrong sometimes so be it!
Shabbat Shalom and Aleh V’Hagshem,