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Bereishit 5766

Bereishit (Genesis 1:1-6:8 )

by Kalman Packouz

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GOOD MORNING!   There is a very beautiful prayer we say every Yom Tov (holiday) before taking out the Sefer Torah. It contains just about everything for which a person would want to pray. So, I decided to share it with you. Perhaps keep a copy in your wallet or in the upper right hand drawer of your desk!

"Master of the universe, fulfill the requests of my heart for good, satisfy my desire and grant my requests for me, Your servant, and merit my spouse and family to do Your will with a complete heart. Rescue us from base desires and grant us our portion in Your Torah. Merit us that Your Divine Presence rests upon us and spread upon us a spirit of wisdom and understanding. Let it be fulfilled in us the verse that is written: 'And the spirit of the Almighty shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and strength, the spirit of knowledge and fear of God.'

"And let it be Your will, Lord our God and God of our fathers, that we merit to do good deeds in your eyes and walk in upright paths before You. Sanctify us with Your commandments in order that we merit a good and long life until the days of the Messiah and to the life of the World to Come. Guard us from evil deeds and bad times that spread out upon the world. May kindness surround the one who trusts in the Almighty."

It fascinates me that this prayer doesn't specifically mention health. So many times people tell me, "Health is the most important thing." Maybe health isn't the most important thing? Maybe living a meaningful and righteous life is more important?

Many people mistakenly feel that they should only pray for big things like medical emergencies. Not so. Prayer is about creating a relationship; it's about understanding and appreciating the source of all blessing. God is the loving parent who wants only good for us. Unlike a loving parent who has been ignored for decades, God will listen to us when we call out to Him. Why pray more often than for emergencies? It focuses us on recognizing from where comes our good and makes it easier to ask. Imagine the difficulties of asking your father or mother for help after not speaking with them for years... Personally, I pray for parking spaces.

A prayer has three components:

  1. Praises of God. (He doesn't need our praises; it focuses us on Who we are talking to.)
  2. Our requests.
  3. Thanks.

It is the height of good manners to show appreciation. A short prayer might go something like:

"Almighty, Master of the Universe, Who has given me all good things, please help me find a parking space so that I do not keep these people waiting. Thank you for this and for all that you have given me."

It is not ridiculous to ask for God's help in small things. It builds the relationship with the Almighty and it brings awareness. Man proposes and God disposes. Everything that God does for us is for our good ... even when the answer to our prayer is "No!" Prayer focuses us on what we want out of life and what is good for us. Perhaps the following beautiful piece by A. Nonymous says it best:

I asked for strength, and
God gave difficulties to make me strong.
I asked for wisdom, and
God gave me problems to solve.
I asked for prosperity, and
God gave me brawn and brain to work.
I asked for courage, and
God gave me dangers to overcome.

I asked for love, and
God gave me troubled people to help.
I asked for favors, and
God gave me opportunities.
I received nothing I wanted.
I received everything I needed.
My prayers were answered.

For more on "Prayer" go to!


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Torah Portion of the Week

The Five Books of Moses begins with the Six Days of Creation, the Shabbat, the story of the Garden of Eden - the first transgression, consequences and expulsion, Cain & Abel, the ten generations to Noah, the Almighty sees the wickedness of man in that generation and decrees to "blot out man" (i.e.. the flood).

One of the most profound verses in the whole Torah is: "And God created man in His own Image." Since God does not have a physical being, this means that we are endowed with free-will, morality, reason and the ability to emulate God Who bestows kindness. Also, if we really appreciate that we are created in the image of God, we realize that we have intrinsic worth. Therefore, there is no need to be depressed wondering if you have intrinsic worth!


Dvar Torah
based on Growth Through Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

The Torah states:

"In the beginning the Almighty created the heaven and the earth." (Genesis 1:1)

What can we learn from this verse?

Says Rabbi Yeruchem Levovitz: As soon as you start studying Torah, right from the first verse you become aware that there is a Creator and Ruler of the universe. This first awareness already makes a major change in you for the rest of your life. You realize that there is a reason for everything. The world has meaning and purpose.

Without meaning in life - even if you accomplish very much, have health and wealth, fame and fortune - there is a strong feeling that something is missing. It is. Without meaning there is no real enjoyment or satisfaction. Yes, a person can have moments of excitement, joy, and even ecstasy. However, they are short-lived. When the high feelings settle down, there is emptiness. Nothing seems to really matter.

As soon as you internalize the awareness that there is a Creator of the universe, you see plan and purpose. There is an inner glow and a drive for spiritual growth. Those who lack this realization see only the external actions and behaviors of those who live with the reality of the Almighty. They are unaware of the rich inner life of such a person.

The true believer in the Creator is a fortunate person. He is the only one on the planet one should envy. He sees divinity in every flower and tree and in every blade of grass. He sees the design of the Creator in every living creature. He sees something special in every human being. His life, regardless of how it unfolds, is full of purpose and meaning. While he appreciates this world as a gift of the Creator, he looks forward to an eternity of existence. This is the profound message of the first verse of the Torah!

(or go to

Jerusalem  4:18
Chicago 5:31  Guatemala 5:16  Hong Kong 5:30
Honolulu 5:38  J'Burg 6:04  London 5:22
Los Angeles 5:44  Melbourne 6:28  Mexico City 5:49

Miami 6:23  Moscow 4:42  New York 5:39
Singapore 6:34  Toronto 4:55


Character is made by what you stand for;
reputation by what you fall for.
--  Robert Quillen

In Memory of
Jerry Hahn
with love, Lynn Hahn

In Honor of Heid
Chaya Rivkah Tamarah
Beila Brocho bas Roizah

--  for a shidduch, serenity,
menuchas hanefesh,
menuchas haguf,
Shalom v'shalva, hashket uvetach

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