Breishis – Hashem’s Ultimate Expression of Love

“Rebbe Chananya ben Akashya said: HaKadosh Baruch Hu wanted to give merit to the Jewish people, therefore he gave them a lot of Torah and mitzvos, as it says: ‘Hashem desires for the sake of His righteousness, that the Torah be made great and glorious’ (Yeshaya 42:21)” (Last Mishna in the tractate of Makkos).
This famous verse in Yeshaya is said in our prayers every day at the end of U’va Litzion. It is also in the haftorah for the Torah portion of Breishis. The pasuk before states: “There is much to see but you do not observe, to open the ears but no one listens” (Yeshaya 42:20). Yeshaya then says, in the very next pasuk:  “Hashem desires for the sake of His righteousness, that the Torah be made great and glorious.” Rashi over there comments that Yeshaya is telling the Jews: “You see a lot of things before you but you don’t watch to concentrate on My deeds and to return (do teshuva) to Me. I am actively opening your ears through My prophets and no wise person is listening to My word.  Hashem desires to show you and to open your ears for the sake of His righteousness; therefore He makes great and makes more splendorous Torah for you.” (Click here for Hebrew text.)

Hashem’s will can potentially be seen all around us, simply by looking around at the world. The medrish relates that Avraham Avinu figured out how to observe the entire Torah simply by opening up his eyes and ears to what was around him, with the express intent to try and figure out what the Almighty wanted from him. This is obviously not an easy task; the people in the times of Yeshaya were not even listening to the prophets Hashem sent them (in order to return them onto the right path). Eventually, the Beis HaMikdash was destroyed and the Jewish People were exiled.

Hashem said that out of his pure righteousness and love for his people, he set down on a silver platter the means to follow His will and to make this world a better place. That is why He gave us the Torah on Har Sinai – because He knew it would not be easy to figure it out all by ourselves. The Torah, with all its depth, breadth, and minutia, is still not out of our reach. It will also be with us forever. However, we still have to willingly open our eyes, ears, and hearts, in order to find it, and to live a life of merit.