We’ll be hosting a Six-Year-Anniversary Shabbatone this Weekend in Honor of the Occasion
We have wonderful memories of our Kick-off event with Rav Dovid Weinberg (see features picture with the group).
Below you can read the first ever email Dvar Torah that we sent out before the Shabbot.
To many more years of Aliyah Out-Reach!
Dearest Friends and Family,
With tremendous excitement and thanks to The Master of the World, this Shabbas we are hosting the kick-off Shabbas of Or Bereshit. Or
Bereshit is a yeshiva which emphasizes Chassidus and Pnimius HaTorah or the Inner Dimensions of the Torah. At this stage for English speakers, the main focus of our programming involves “The Shabbas Experience,” Seminars and Events (See the attached flyer). This Shabbas, Shabbas Shira and Tu B’shvat, Or Bereshit is hosting Rabbi Dovid Weinberg and a group of his students from Torat Shraga, a yeshiva in Yerushalayim.
In this weekly email, we will learn together a short idea from our Chassidic masters on the parsha. During the next period of time we will study teachings of the “great light,” the forerunner of the Chassidic movement, the Baal Shem Tov ZT”L. Among the most important teachings of the Baal Shem Tov is not just to learn and teach Torah, but to also LIVE the Torah. It could very well be that for this reason this great Tzaddik never composed a book of his own, rather he was too busy living the Torah. It is our hope that the Baal Shem’s teachings penetrate us to the extent that we live his teachings!
ויט משה את ידו על הים וישב הים לפנות בקר לאיתנו ומצרים נסים לקראתו וינער יקוק את מצרים בתוך הים: שמות פרק יד:כז
“And Moshe stretched out his hand over the sea, and toward morning the water went back to its power as the Egyptians were fleeing toward it; and Hashem churned Egypt in the midst of the sea.”
A lost Jew once came to the Baal Shem Tov and claimed that after studying “חכמת הטבע” or natural science he concluded that according to the laws of nature the sea was naturally meant to split at the moment it did. He did not understand all of the fuss about קריעת ים סוף.
The Baal Shem Tov passionately responded first with a famous gematria. The numerical value of אלוקים equals הטבע. This gematria expresses God’s creation of and everlasting control over nature. Building on this principle, the Baal Shem Tov quoted a Chaza”l (Midrash Rabati B’Shalach 21:6) who teach that the deeper significance of the word לאיתנו to its strength, means לתנאו to its condition. The All-Mighty made a deal with the sea that its creation is predicated on the condition that at the moment the Jews would need the sea would split. This miraculous nature of the sea makes קריעת ים סוף an even greater miracle than we originally thought, exclaimed the Baal Shem Tov. This was not a spontaneous miracle, but rather something that had been destined for the Jewish people from the beginning of time. As Rashi Hakadosh teaches us on the word “”בראשית, the world was created for the Jewish people who are called ראשית. If the Jews would not have needed this miracle it would have never been part of the sea’s nature to split.
The Baal Shem Tov is teaching this Jew and teaching us that the natural or supernatural nature of the sea is not the crucial issue at hand here. Through קריעת ים סוף, the Torah is highlighting Hakadosh Baruchu’s enduring and eternal affection for the Jewish people. In fact, if you notice that at the beginning of each of the five Chumashim, Rashi demonstrates how each and every sefer opens with the glorification of Bnei Yisrael.
We live in a world where, unfortunately, there are still many lost Jews. Sadly, many Jews do not properly appreciate their בנים or son-like status in the eyes of Hakadosh Baruchu, a connection that preceded creation. One important goal of Or Bereshit, through a deep and powerful encounter with Pnimius Hatorah, is to help Yiddin foster this fundamental understanding. In this way, we will be able to go out into the world and be the Light that we are meant to be.