By Rabbi Yisroel Shusterman, Dean, Cheder Chabad of Monsey
At the end of Succot, we celebrate Shmini Atzeret and Simchat Torah and the conclusion of the annual cycle of weekly Torah readings. Immediately we begin anew the cycle of weekly Parshios, with the portion of Bereishis, (Genesis 1:1- 6:8) telling of the creation of the world, Adam and Chava (Eve), the Garden of Eden, births of Cain and Abel and the development of the human race.
It’s been told that the Chassidic master Rabbi Simchah Bunim of Pszcyscha (1767-1827) started out in life as a pharmacist, but later he became a Rebbe (Chassidic leader) and loved discussing Torah with his disciples.
One day he was talking about the snake which cajoled Eve in the Garden of Eden to eat of the forbidden fruit. The Torah relates that G-d cursed the snake, "On your belly you shall crawl, and dust you shall eat, all the days of your life" (Genesis 3:14).
“Wouldn't it be convenient if we could live on dust?” Rabbi Bunem pondered: "Is that such a terrible curse? Dust is everywhere, so the snake's table is always full, no matter where he goes. Now look at the people in our shtetl and elsewhere: they earn their bread with difficulty, many families are poor, children go hungry and some never know where their next meal will come from. How convenient it would be for us if we could live on dust!”
"However, life as a human being," explained the Chassidic master, "means that we are constantly crying out to G-d for help: women in childbirth, hungry children, fathers without a job... So mankind has a connection, a very strong connection to G-d which the snake does not have. It needs nothing, it asks for nothing. And that is truly a curse. But we, we are like children with our father. G-d is our father, the one to whom we turn countless times a day to provide for us and protect us...
"A poor man is always aware of this blessing. The wealthy man, too, is so blessed, but it is a little more difficult for him to acknowledge this or remember this. The challenge of wealth is that one should always keep this in mind, and turn to G-d every day for help and guidance, and constantly remember the source of his blessings."
(Excerpts from Chabad.org - by Shoshannah Brombacher)
May you have a meaningful and uplifting Shabbos!