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Friday, Tishrei 28, 5781 / October 16, 2020


Shabbat we begin the new cycle of Torah reading with Parshat Breishis. Here are interesting points:


Q.  Who instituted the weekly reading of the Torah?


A.   Moshe (Moses) established reading the Torah on Shabbat. Thus, the custom of reading the Torah each Shabbat is over 3000 years old. 


If a Jew who lived 3000 years ago walked into our synagogue today, he would immediately feel at home listening to the Torah reading.  Incredible!


This Parsha contains the story of how Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden fruit from the Tree of Knowledge.  As a result, they were driven out of Paradise and sentenced to die eventually. According to our sages, death was not in God's original plan of creation; it happened through their sin.


In addition to sentencing mankind to die, G-d punishd Adam and mankind to work hard for a living; "By the sweat of your brow you will eat bread." G-d also punished Eve and the women of future generations with pain during childbirth and with toil raising children.


Q.   For how long were Adam and Eve forbidden to eat the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge?


A.   Our sages in the Midrash state that the prohibition was only to last a few hours! Yet, they couldn’t resisit.


Q.   The Torah doesn't identify the Tree of Knowledge.  Do we know which tree it was?


A.   There are different opinions in the Midrash: 1) A grape vine; 2) A fig tree;  3) An Etrog tree.


Q.   Why didn't the Torah tell us which tree it was?


A.   Since eating from the Tree of Knowledge resulted in death for mankind, the Torah didn't want to identify the tree and cause that fruit everlasting shame. There is a great lesson in this. If G-d concealed the identity of the tree to avoid shaming it, how much more should a person avoid embarrassing another human being.


On the lighter side: "Who were the first communists in history?" asked the teacher her first graders during the Soviet communist regime.


A little Jewish boy from the back of the class raised his hand, "It was Adam and Eve!"


"How do you know that? asked the teacher.


"That's simple.  They both had no clothes.  They had no home. They only had one fruit between them. Yet, they believed that they were living in paradise!"




Montrealcandle lighting time: 5:48 / Shabbat ends: 6:49