Beth Elohim Messianic Synagogue
Parashah #1 (B’resheit) In the beginning: B’resheit (Genesis) 1:1-6:81
Haftarah: Yesha’yahu ((Isaiah) 42:5-21
B’rit Chadashah: Revelation 21:1-5
Today we are going to explore the first parashah from the perspective of G-d’s purpose; to make a dwelling below and fill it with His creation with man at the hierarchical head. This will be explained through the Hebrew Alef-Beit; specifically, the letter “Beit.” One may ask why does the beginning of the Torah begin with the second letter of the alef-beit? This is a very valid question for one who is even remotely acquainted with the Hebrew numbering system of Gematria, since this system of numbers is uniquely connected with the Torah in simple and mysterious ways.
The letter beit from the Hebrew word for house refers to G-d’s house. This makes since as the entire universe was created by G-d and all belongs to Him. But there much more to this connection. G-d said, “My house will be called a House of Prayer for all peoples.” The Midrash states that G-d’s motivation for creation was that He desired a dwelling place in the lower reality which would start with the creation of a physical body and the breath of life placed within it. Man would multiply, “conquer” the whole world and make it the kingdom of G-d. before we proceed, we must acknowledge this rabbinical interpretation is lacking knowledge of the whole of G-d’s Torah, for the majority of Jewish sects do not believe that Yahshua is the Messiah, therefore ignoring the beautiful detail Yahshua provides in the refreshed, renewed covenant mistakenly called the “new” Testament. Indeed, this additional explanation of the Tanach in no way abrogates G-d’s commands and rules found within it. Yahshua as part of the Echad of G-d (see the Alef-Tav) in Genesis 1:1 that clearly identifies Yahshua when compared to Revelation 22:13. Man was created to glorify G-d. This fact is supported in 2 Cor.6;16; Ex. 29:45-6; Ezekiel 37:27; 43:7-9; Zech. 2:1-11, and Revelation chapter 21. We are not simple pawns in a chess game of life. “Conquering” the whole world does not have the same connotation in Hebrew as in English. We must internalize G-d’s Word and live as a testimony to it. This is how Yahshua ministered. He is the Word and He went from place to place teaching and living the Word. We have no idea the effect we can have on the world if we but hear, internalize, and act upon the words of G-d’s Torah. This is just one way, but the most readily available way to glorify the G-d of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Beit is numerically equivalent to the word ta’avah meaning “desire” or “passion. In a general sense, it connotes a negative human attribute. But in several places, it denotes the positive passion of a righteous person, even G-d. we must understand the context in which this word is used and not simply translate it one way and attribute that particular translation to the entire Torah’s use of the word. An example in English is the word “wind.” It can mean to physically wind something up or around something else, or to express a weather observation such as the wind associated with a hurricane.
The large beit which is the first letter of the Torah, expresses the grand purpose of G-d’s creation of the universe. In the first word of the Torah, (B’resheit), the three “servant” letters so to speak are beit (at the beginning), and yud tav at the end of the word which spell beit (house). The letters in between are also significant. Riesh, which translates as “head” or “beginning,” such as “the beginning of wisdom is the fear of G-d.” Alef, is formed by two yud, joined by a diagonal vav. These represent the higher and lower waters and the firmament between them. The shin is the final “servant” letter found in the word “b’resheit.” The letter shin is found on both sides of the tefillin, but one has three heads and the other four heads. In kabbalah, the three- headed shin represents the shin of this world and the four- headed shin is of the world to come. The secret of the shin is the Divine Revelation (flame) bound to the Divine essence (coal). If we look at a smoldering piece of coal, there is an invisible flame within it that is sparked and ascends from the surface when the coal is stoked or blown upon. One meaning of the letter shin is “change.” The coal symbolizes a changeless essence although its form may change. We may equate this idea to Yahshua. G-d never changes but manifest a part of Himself as matter (Yahshua). Another teaching we can obtain from the concept of coal and flame is that the Ruach ha Kodesh “stokes” or “fans” the flame of our inner spark when we seek to gain wisdom from above by developing a fear of G-d followed by a love for G-d. The changeless Essence of G-d was present before His creation and continues through His sustenance of it. The explicit name of G-d as Elohim is the only name of G-d that appears in the pleural; Who was, and Who is, and Who is to come.
The three heads of the shin in this existence correspond to the three levels of the changeless, potential, and actual change that are used in science to explain the concept of energy as we know it. In this world, a piece of dark, black coal without the revealed flame that exists within it. However, endurance of the invisible flame depends on the changelessness of the coal. In the Olam ha ba (world to come), the changeless essence (YHVH) will reveal Itself (Yahshua) within the flame. This revelation of the future is the secret of the fourth head of the shin just as the fourth cup of wine is the final cup representing praise/salvation, “I will make you a nation” (G-d referring to all true believers according to the Seven- Fold witness in Revelation and John Chapter 14 and those defined as true Jews in Romans Chapters 2-3.This fourth cup is the last of the “I will” statements found in Ezekiel “ I will take you to be my people, and I will be your G-d, and you shall know that I am the L-RD your G-d, who has brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. (Exodus 6:6-7 ESV).
When we look at a candle, we see three levels of light. First is the dark light around the candle, then the white flame, and finally an aura around the white flame. Each of these three levels of light that we can see manifests a dimension contained within the invisible flame in the coal. In Kabbalah, it is taught that the flame symbolizes love. The dark light symbolizes the love of Israel, souls encased in physical bodies. The white light represents the love of G-d’s Torah. Finally, the aura symbolizes love of G-d. These three critical manifestations of love were taught by the Ba’al Shem Tov. The fourth head of the shin represents the future. The revelation of the essence of the coal itself. This corresponds to the love of the Land of Israel that will become the praise of all the lands of the earth. Isaiah 66:22-3 reads For just as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, will endure before Me,” declares the LORD, “so your descendants and your name will endure. 23 From one New Moon to another and from one Sabbath to another, all mankind will come to worship before Me,” says the LORD. 24“As they go forth, they will see the corpses of the men who have rebelled against Me; for their worm will never die, their fire will never be quenched, and they will be a horror to all mankind.”… As Messianic Jews, we know this revelation will manifest as the return of Messiah ben Yosef and Messiah ben David; Yahshua who is Prophet, High Priest, and King.
In summary, we explored the first word of the first sentence of the first parashah for this cycle of Torah readings. Perhaps this teaching lights the internal spark within all of us to spend more time in G-d’s Torah. If we can gain so much from one word, just think about how much more waits for our exploration and humble prayer for knowledge and wisdom from above.
Haftarah: Yesha’yahu (Isaiah) 42:5
There are two connections between the Parasha and the Haftarah.
First, the Parasha begins with the creation of the world. In the Haftarah, the prophet Isaiah reminds Israel that G-d is the creator of the world, sustaining the creation each day. Creation is not something that was done once; it is a continuing miracle. We are to be reminded of this with each Shabbat observance.
Second, in the Parasha, man is the only creature given the power to choose between right and wrong, In the Haftarah, Yesha’yahu tells the people that G-d created Israel to be a “light for the nations.” It is our responsibility to show the nations what is right, so that they too, can come closer to G-d. How do we accomplish this? The Chassids have a great definition of what we are supposed to be if we are to identify ourselves with Israel and as servants of YHVH/Yahshua. We are to be constantly moving from what we are to what we can be, and from what we have made of ourselves to a deeper truth of what we really are. We are to be engaged in perpetual quest to improve ourselves and G-d’s world; to transcend the world and transcend our “selves”. We are to be engaged in a lifelong conversation with G-d: to present our questions, needs, grievances and aspirations to Him; and then listen carefully for His responses. We are to do good because G-d commands it and because we love Him. G-d told Abraham to: Lech lecha me’artzecha, me’moladetcha, ume’beit avicha, el ha’aretz asher areka… which is translated in English “Go, you, from your land, from your birthplace, and from your father’s house, to the land that I will show you.” In Kabbalistic interpretation the phrase means: “Go to your innermost self: move away from your will, from your feelings, and from your intellect, to the desire that I will reveal to you.” To be a light unto the nations, we must learn to imitate the Light of the world. Make sense?
B’rit Chadashah: Revelation 21:1-5
The first passage describes the sinless condition of Eden that will be restored after thousands of years of groaning with the pains of childbirth to be finally set free from its bondage to decay, to enjoy the freedom accompanying the glory that G-d’s children will have (Rom. 8:19-23). It describes the restoration spoken of in Acts 3:21 in which Yahshua “has to remain in heaven until the time comes for restoring everything, as G-d said long ago, when he spoke through the holy prophets.” It is also the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy (Is. 65:17-19; 66:22-24).
The Bible depicts creation as in a constant struggle. For example, light conquers darkness. The sea is allied with darkness. It has to be contained and limited- this is done on the second day of creation (Gen. 1:6-10). The sea is active in bringing destruction and death through the Flood of Noach. But the sea is under G-d’s control as seen in the episode of the red Sea, and Yahshua’s calming the sea. Psalms 148 attests to the subservience of the sea to His command. The sea will never be used again as a means of universal destruction. Our internal battle between our Esau and Jacob is also a constant struggle. However, we can emerge victorious at the finish line through trusting in the faithfulness of Yahshua and following the commands of G-d.
The Holy City of Jerusalem mentioned in Verse 2 is considered feminine (Ga. 4:26) Could this resemble the verse on our Parasha that describes a man leaving his father and mother in the context of Yahshua leaving His Father and “mother” and cleaving to His wife (Israel in the future?) This is food for thought. Jerusalem is seen coming down out of heaven from G-d (as a bride is brought to the alter by her father), prepared like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. The bride is Israel (all true believers defined by Yahshua in the book of Revelation and NOT the church!
Verse 4 speaks of the restoration of the relationship between Israel (all true believers) and G-d as was the relationship between Adam, Eve, and G-d in the beginning. G-d (YHVH/Yahshua) will dwell with His own, never to be separated again.
I want to touch on Verse 6 because of its applicability to the Alef Tav (Yahshua). Here is validation that Yahshua is the Alef Tav mentioned in genesis 1:1. Verse 6 reads “And he said unto me, it is done. I am the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that thirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. The Greek word for beginning is arche, “beginning, ruler, initiator, beginner,” that is, he who stands above and beyond time, Who creates and rules everything. YHVH/Yahshua was not only essenced “in the beginning”; He is the beginning as G-d/Yahshua!
Et Ha’or (1:4)
By studying Torah and keeping all of the commandments that G-d gave us, we will see the Light.
In Hebrew, “the light” is et ha’or. Its numeric value is 613, which equals the number of the commandments in the Torah. Add each letter of et ha’or and it equals 613.