Torah Fax 

Bereishit - Friday, October 24, 2008 - 25 Tishrei, 5769


Torah Reading: Bereishit (Genesis 1:1 - 6:8)
Candle Lighting: 5:43 PM
Shabbat ends: 6:42 PM 
Molad for the New Moon Wed. 10/29, 2:42 & 14/18 PM

Shabbat Bereishit

Rosh Chodesh MarCheshvan is Wednesday & Thursday, October 29 & 30


A New World


The Torah contains 613 commandments (Mitzvot). The first Mitzvah mentioned in the Torah in this week's parsha of Bereishit is "Be fruitful and multiply." The very last Mitzvah mentioned in the Torah, is to write a Sefer Torah, a Torah scroll. In light of the Kabbalistic teaching that "the end is wedged in the beginning," we should try to understand the connection between these two rather different Mitzvot.


In a legal context, the connection between these two Mitzvot is alluded to in the Talmudic ruling that one may not sell a Torah scroll for any reason except to study Torah or to get married. In other words, if one could not afford to study Torah or to pay for a marriage, they may sell a Torah scroll, and use the proceeds to either further their Torah education or to fund their marriage.


Now it makes sense that one would be permitted to sell a Torah in order to study Torah. After all, of what use is the Torah scroll if one cannot study its contents? However, it is not as clear why marriage would be a justification to sell a Torah scroll. If one is not permitted to sell the Torah to facilitate the observance of any other Mitzvah—such as to provide for one's Shabbat and Holiday needs, purchase of a Mezuzah or pair of Tefillin, Matzah for Passover, etc.—why would marriage be different?


The classic commentary on the 613 Mitzvot known as the Chinuch provides the following simple rationale: If not for marriage and the ensuing birth of children, one could never impart the teachings of the Torah. Of what use is a Torah scroll if there is no future generation to perpetuate its study and application to life?


Another connection between these two Mitzvot might be the following: clearly, the intention in writing a Torah scroll is that people should ultimately study from the Torah scroll and follow its directives. Yet, when G‑d commands us to write a Torah, there is no guarantee that the ultimate objective of Torah study will be fulfilled with this scroll. In other words, there is an intrinsic Mitzvah in writing a Torah scroll even though the ultimate goal may never be met. Similarly the Mitzvah to procreate is a Mitzvah that one engages in within the context of marriage for the purpose of having children, but one cannot guarantee its outcome. One can engage in the procreative act and not be assured of having children.


But there is also a deeper connection between these two Mitzvot. Torah study, the objective of having a Torah scroll, is the means to spiritual procreation. As our Sages state, "One who teaches one's friend's child Torah is as if he has fathered that child." Whereas the biological parents contribute the physical DNA to the child, the teacher of Torah contributes the spiritual genetic material to the child because a person who studies Torah acquires a new identity.


Thus, by writing the Torah scroll—the medium through which Torah is taught to others—we fulfill the Mitzvah of being fruitful and multiplying in the spiritual sense of the word.


The story of creation by G‑d is not restricted to the Divine Creator. Every one of us has the obligation to be a creator, by engaging not only in the Mitzvah of bringing new physical life into the world, but also by writing Torah scrolls, or/and by disseminating other Torah works and materials, which, according to many authorities, is equivalent to writing a Torah scroll.


The Mitzvah of bringing new life has an added dimension in today's world. We are on the verge of entering into a new era of life, in the Messianic Age. The prophets describe this age as a rebirth of the world; of the heaven and the earth. Through our efforts in bringing new children into the world and new students of Torah—the fulfillment of the first and last Mitzvot of the Torah—we hasten the process when we will witness a new world; a world of perpetual holiness and goodness.    


Moshiach Matters 

Moshiach will come through the joy we have in the Torah (Rabbi Ya’akov Emden, Siddur Ya’avetz)

Moshiach - It’s a Jewish issue. For more info, visit  

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