Breishis – The Plus and Minus of Division

This dvar Torah for the Torah portion of Breishis is based on notes written of a shmuz I heard around 18 years ago from Rav Moshe Chait zt”l, Rosh Yeshiva of Chofetz Chaim Yerushalayim at the time.
Now for some food for thought:

The world was built on kindness. The ethical ramifications of the creation of the world is a major theme that Chaza”l concentrate on.

By every day of creation the Torah says “It was good” except for the second day.
The Yalkut Shimone asks why it doesn’t say “It was good” on the second day. The medrish answers because machlokes or division was created on that day, as it says “and let it be a separation between water and water” (Breishis 1:6, also see pasuk 7). The word michalek in Hebrew means to divide. The creation was a positive factor; each stage was built on a previous stage; every day was an ongoing process. Here we see the language of dividing being used as breaking up the totality, and what divides the total. Even though parts make up a whole numerically, but when taken apart it cannot do anything by itself. So, to divide is a negative connotation; therefore it is not considered “it was good”.

If this was a machlokes or division which benefited the world and the Torah does not say “It was good” all the more so a division that brings disruption is not considered “It was good”.

The creation of the world reflects the elements of character traits and kindness that Hashem employed for the process of creation.

We are living in times of great division. In every corner of the world you find argument, war, etc. Everywhere technology is being developed and men are being creative, but this is just a cause for more fighting. This is because there is no real purpose for a scientist or secular person in what they do today. If people would do things for the sake of Heaven then there would be no violent fighting. People talk about unity but at the same time today there is the greatest disparity. We have to recognize the division between the secular world and the Torah observant world [in order to work to close the gap.]

On the other hand there are two times “It was good” is mentioned in the third day of creation. We find division this day also; the water and land are divided. But this is necessary in order to make dry land. A division between two unlikes is considered “It was good.”

Our Rabbis have taught that if there is division between land and water and “It was good” then definitely by man.

Chaza”l say there is a difference between what a person thinks and does. Man wants to be drawn to his friend and associates. It is a natural tendency to be drawn to what people in his or her country do. Therefore one should identify with righteous people and sages so that they will draw a lesson from their behavior. On the other hand one should distance themselves from the wicked and their darkness because there is always some magnetic force that draws one to bad.

As the Rambam is quoted to have said: “When dealing with man one must differentiate and compare people to choose who to allow to influence you.”

Leave a Reply