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All In A Word

Rabbi Yehoshua Alt

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R’ Alt merited to learn under the tutelage of R’ Mordechai Friedlander Ztz”l for close to five years. He received Semicha from R’ Zalman Nechemia Goldberg. R’ Alt has written on numerous topics for various websites and publications. He lives with his wife and family in a suburb of Yerushalayim where he studies, writes and teaches. The author is passionate about teaching Jews of all levels of observance.

All In A Word

We have a principle that everything is hinted to in the word בראשית.[1] This can be understood through the following: when one has freckles at age 20, it was already encoded in the mother’s womb[2] at the time of conception.[3] Likewise, all is encoded in the word בראשית. Here are some of the many examples:


1) One is obligated to read the Parshaשנים מקרא ואחד תרגום.[4] One can also learn Rashi instead of the Targum and fulfill his obligation. This is alluded to in בראשית: ב has a Gematria two since we should read the Pesukim twice. א,ת are the first letters of אחד תרגום. The remaining three letters spell רשי since that can take the place of Targum.


2) We have תורה שבכתב and תורה שבעל פה, the written Torah and the oral one. בראשית is a contraction of ב’ ראשית, two Torahs as Torah is called ראשית as in ראשית דרכו.[5]


3) The Megale Amukos tells us that hinted to in the Nekudos of the word בראשית are the special relationships we have with Hashem—אב and בן, father and son (as in בנים אתם לה’[6]),חתן  and כלה, אח and אחות, brother and sister.[7] The ב of בראשית has a Shva symbolizing the father and son relationship as the father is on top. The ר has the Nekuda of a Tzeirei which is two dots side by side representing the brother and sister relationship. Under the ש there is a Chirik alluding to the Chosson Kallah relationship since אשתו כגופו; one’s wife is like his own self.[8]


4) R’ Levi Yitzchok of Bardechiv was known to always say the praises of Jews. In Bardechiv they said בראשית forms an acronym ofרבי אמר שבח ישראל תמיד  ברדיטשובר.


5) Rashi is the commentary most learned. The word בראשית rearranged spells רש”י תבא.[9]


6) It is known that the wicked ישו was hung. בראשית-בא רשע אחד שמו ישו תלה.


7) We are taught that we should say אמן יהא שמיה… with all our strength.[10] The Agra Dkalla finds an allusion to this in בראשית: תענה אמן יהא שמיה רבה בכח.[11] בראשית is also an acronym for אמן יהא שמיה רבה בקול תפלה.


8) Rav Ashi and Ravina are the ones who collated the Gemara—Talmud Bavli. Again this is hinted to in בראשית: The letters אשי refers to רב אשי. ר is for רבינא. Theת  and ב are the first letters of תלמוד בבלי.


9) A hint to Shabbos lies in the word בראשית as it spells ירא שבת.[12]


10) בראשית is composed of the letters א’ בתשרי, the first in Tishrei as Rosh Hashana (בראשית refers to Rosh Hashana as it is the beginning of the year) is on the first of Tishrei.


11) The Mitzva of פדיון הבן is coded in the word בראשית-בן ראשון אחר שלשים יום תפדה, redeem a firstborn son after thirty days.[13]


12) The Gemara[14] teaches that without Torah there is no world. בראשית: בראשונה ראה אלה-ים שיקבלו ישראל תורה, Hashem saw from the outset that we would accept the Torah.[15]


13) We know Rebbe arranged the Mishnayos. בראשית-רבי יכתוב ששה תורות אשר בינינו.


14) Chazal instituted that we should Daven three times daily. בראשית-רצה אלה-ים יתפללו בניו שלש תפלות .


15) עולה לרגל is also alluded to in בראשית as it is the first letters of שלש רגלים תבוא בית י-ה-ו-ה אלה-ינו.


16) An allusion for Bris Mila in בראשית is בן רך אחר שבעת ימים תמול.


17) R’ Shimon Bar Yochai is alluded to as followsתנא אלו-הי רשמעון בר יוחאי.


18) The first Luchos (10 commandments) were broken. Moving around the letters of בראשית we get את י’ שבר.


19) A Tzadik inherits 310 worlds.[16] בראשית: בראת שי (He created 310—Gematria  of ש and י).


20) We are taught that one who embarrasses another doesn’t get a portion in the next world.[17] The word בראשית can also spell ירא בשת, fear of embarrassment.


21) Torah is compared to fire as it says אש דת למו andדברי כאש…[18] So, בראשית is a contraction of ברית אש. Another explanation given why בראשית is a contraction of ברית אש is because Torah protects from the fire (אש)[19] of the Yetzer Hara[20] as the Gemara saysבראתי יצר הרע ובראתי לו תורה תבלין, I have created the evil inclination and I have created Torah as its antidote.[21]


22) The Midrash[22] states that Yaakov recited Tehillim in the house of Lavan. The Agra Dkalla shows us a hint to this in בראשית as it is an acronym forיעקב אמר תהלים בעת שהיה רועה.[23]

[1] Pri Tzadik, Breishis, 1.

[2] See Nida 16b that it is decided if this “drop” will be strong or weak, wise or a fool and wealthy or poor.

[3] This also explains the Rashi (Breishis 1:24, see 1:14 Rashi) that says everything was created on the first day, they just needed to be brought forth (see also Breishis Rabba 12:4).

[4] Orach Chaim 285:1,2, Brachos 8a, see Baal Haturim Shemos 1:1.

[5] Mishlei 8:22.

[6] Devarim 14:1.

[7] Shir Hashirim 8:8.

[8] Brachos 24a

[9] See Agra Dkalla.

[10] Shabbos 119b. יהא שמיה רבה is even higher than Kedusha (Mishna Brura 25:56).

[11] The Shomer Emunim (Pischu Shearim 15) says ישראל is an acronym לענות אמן יהא שמי-ה רבא.

[12] See Demai 4:1 that the fear of Shabbos is by an עם הארץ. Also, Shabbos is the purpose of the world as this is why it is the last day of the week in accordance with סוף מעשה במחשבה תחלה—just as when one builds a building the last action done is the actual building which was the first thought in the builder’s mind. Thus, בראשית which is the beginning point is composed of the letters ירא שבת (the last point).

[13] Peninim Mishulchan HaGra, Breishis 1:1.

[14] Avoda Zara 3a.

[15] Baal Haturim 1:1, Bereishis Rabba 1:4. See Shabbos 88a.

[16] Sanhedrin 100a.

[17] See Kesubos 67b.

[18] Devarim 33:2, Yirmiya 23:29. See Taanis 7a.

[19] It also protects from the fire of Gehinom.

[20] One place we see the Yetzer Hara referred to as fire is in Tefilas Zaka.

[21] Kidushin 30b.

[22] Breishis Rabba 68:11.

[23] Agra Dkalla, Breishis, 11. Another acronym he says isיעקב אמר תהלים בביתו של רמאי, Yaakov said Tehillim in the house of (Lavan) the deceiver. The Divrei Yoel (Vayeitzei, p. 91) says that Yaakov already comprehended Sefer Tehilim with prophecy but it wasn’t revealed until Dovid Hamelech. He prepared this power for the generations of Galus that through this the Jewish people will exist and be saved from their troubles.

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