Vertluch: Parshas Bereishis

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There are many lessons that one can learn from the first week of creation. One of them, which I felt was powerful, was when Hashem split the waters. On the second day of creation, Hashem split the waters between the mayim elyonim and the mayim tachtonim. There was now water in the heaven and there was water down below. However, the waters on earth had a complaint. The waters said to Hashem ‘why were we chosen to be put down here, we want to be up in heaven and bask in your glory?’ The Ribono Shel Olam answered them by saying ‘since you have to stay down here I will compensate you. I will make it that on yom tov, my children will be instructed to pour you on the Mizbayach , with the ritual that is called nisuch hamayim. Not only that, but with every korban that is slaughtered they will need to have salt, and that too will come from you (which comes from the oceans).’

One can ask what type of compensation package was this. The waters were still on earth and not in the heavens! Imagine you ask your Rov to sit up front on the mizrach wall and instead, the Rov tells you ‘you know what I can do, I can put you all the way in the back but I will give you an aliyah on Yom Kippur.’ You’re still sitting in the back all year long; as nice as that gesture may be it still won’t help you. The same is true here. All year long the water is down here. How does this satisfy the complaints that the waters had to Hashem?

The answer is a fundamental yesod that we should all constantly bear in mind.

The response given by Hashem was that it doesn’t make a difference where you are, as long as you are serving the Ribono Shel Olam all the time. You’re right, the mayim tachtonim will always be down here on this world-but he will serve Hashem every single day-through the salt (מלח) that comes from the water for the korbanos. It doesn’t make a difference if it’s the water from this world or from up top as long as he is doing his job every single day. Just because a person is away from home, in a foreign country, in yeshiva learning or in an office working-it makes no difference where you are as long as you’re careful to serve Hashem every single day. This is the lesson that we can learn out from the dialogue between the water and Hashem. It wasn’t a satisfactory compensation; it was a powerful lesson.

The beauty of this lesson is that it serves as a constant reminder; it’s everywhere. No matter where a person finds themselves, there is always water. In the office, at home, in shul, in the mall-even in the coffee shop. There is water everywhere to remind us of this lesson and of the dialogue between Hashem and the waters.
As we just finished the yomim noraim, it reminds me of a very appropriate vort that I heard from my Rosh Hayeshiva, Rav Chaim Zev Levitan Shlit”a-who said it over in the name of Harav Moshe Wolfson Shlit”a, the Mashgiach of Yeshiva Torah Vodaas.

There is a custom that during the yomim noraim the Baal Shachris starts off with the words Hamelch, but from his seat. Such unusual arrangements we don’t find during any other time of the year. What seems to be the significance in this seemingly odd trait where he starts leading the congregation from where he is seated?

Says Rav Wolfson a similar concept. It doesn’t make a difference where a person is holding in life. Be it his seat, the podium, New York, London or Miami. As soon as he cries out and yells Hamelech he will end up where he is supposed to be. Serving Hashem from wherever you may be-is all He asks for. Cry; to Him; in the end you will be where you belong. Wherever you may be- always remember to serve Hashem.

With this in mind may we all be zoche to a gut yur and a gut kvittel and may we merit the coming of Moshiach speedily in our days.

HAVE A GREAT SHABBOS