Get eight complete and original sermons for Shabbat Bereishit (or purchase them individually)
1. Are Women Superior?
Myths abound around this so-called “archaic” and “chauvinistic” Biblical account of man’s creation, with the popular stereotype being that the male is the superior center of creation, with the woman merely being his adjunct, his “helper/accessory” — a “second class citizen.” But, a close reading of the account of creation shows that nothing could be farther from the truth.
2. G-d’s Alphabet: The ABCs of Creation
What is the secret to true communication? How do we reach another’s heart and soul? We find the answer in the way G-d communicated in creating the universe. The Maggid of Mezritch offers us a revolutionary teaching derived from the first verse of the Torah, and in the process redefining the essence of creation itself – and the secret to effective communication. A memorable teaching of the Lubavitcher Rebbe related to the famous haunting Yiddish melody, Oifen Pripertchik, and how Jewish children were classically trained in the Aleph Bet, inspires us to ingrain into our children the essence of Aleph, Bet, and the entire Torah!
3. Are You Afraid of the Dark?
Life can often feel so desolate and lonely. How do we deal with dark times? This concern troubled the first man and woman. On the first Saturday night of existence, Adam and Eve did not go on a date; they huddled in fear. Because for the first time ever the sun set and darkness descended. “Is this the end of the world?” they asked, “Did our sin destroy the universe?”
4. How Old is the World?
How old is the world – 5,780 years or 13.7 billion years? Answering this question lies in an unlikely source – vintage denim! A fascinating teaching from the Talmud, and lessons learned from this week’s first Torah portion, illuminate some powerful truths about the age of the universe.
5. Let There Be Light
One of the great recent scientific breakthroughs is the discovery that “dark energy” or “dark matter” makes up the overwhelming majority of our universe. Fascinatingly, this confirms what every Torah reader, always knew – the universe is first and foremost a dark place. What science does not yet know is the purpose of this dark universe. But we find it in Genesis, which follows the description of a dark world with G-d’s pronouncement: “Let there be light.”
6. Our Fragile World. Will We Refine It or Destroy It?
Do we have any right to exploit the environment for our own needs and survival? What responsibility do we have to the world around us? What virtue and blessing is there in the fact that humans “dominate” over nature, as we read in this week’s Torah portion?
7. When No is Greater than Yes
What is the single most famous and impactful event in all of history, and one that gave birth to most of our major industries? This event, documented in our Torah reading today, is the sin of Adam and Eve eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Why did God tempt them? One seemingly inexplicable Torah verse in the Book of Genesis answers this fundamental question.
8. What We Can Do to Strengthen Israel
What can we do to help the situation in Israel? What must we do to protect us all? How can one single person affect events across the globe? The answer is in this week’s Torah portion – the opening of Genesis.