Shabbat Parashat Bereshit | 5764
Bereishit | | 1/2/2004
Many societies refer to the ground under our feet as Mother Earth. According to the account we read this week, it is a very appropriate name. “Hashem created man, ground from the earth, and He blew into his nostrils the soul of life, and man became a living being” (Bereishit 2:7). So indeed the ground can historically be called our mother. Hashem’s instructions to His creations only strengthened the relationship. The earth was to generously sustain man (ibid.:16), and man was to work and guard it (ibid.:15).
We have a tendency to want to neatly categorize laws of the Torah according to their realm and character. There are religious ceremonies, family law, civil law, etc. The Tur, and after him, the Shulchan Aruch, arranged the Torah’s halachot into four groups. While some sets of laws are easily categorized, others are somewhat difficult to label. One such set of laws is that of returning lost objects (hashavat aveida).
The line that separates between the realm of intellectual, philosophical attainment and that which one knows based on belief is one that separates the great Jewish thinkers into two camps. Can human intellect come to proper conclusions about the purpose and source of the world, and is it the place of the intellect to search for answers to these questions?
This edition of
A weekly divrei Torah leaflet: A Glimpse at the Parasha, Ask the Rabbi, From the writings of Harav Avraham Yitzchak Hakohen Kook, zt”l, Pninat Mishpat (Jewish Monetary Law).