Genesis

The Torah begins with the story of the creation of the world. Hashem created light and dark, the heavens and the seas, the earth and trees, the sun and the moon, the fish and the birds, animal and humans in six days with a seventh day dedicated to the creation of rest. Rashi poses an unusual question. We might think that the creation of the world is a fitting introduction to the Torah. But Rashi queries this assumption. The Torah is not a book of stories but rather a book of law. The point of the Torah is to guide us in how to lead our lives in the service of Hashem. If so, why does the Torah begin with the story of Genesis. It would be more appropriate for the Torah to begin with laws and guidance as to how to lead our own lives! Rashi answers that the Torah begins with the creation in order to let us lay claim to the land of Israel. When the nations of the world claim that Israel does not belong to the Jewish people, we can state that Hashem, the creator of Israel and the entire world gave us this land. Israel's status as a disputed homeland for the Jewish people is not something new - it is something that has been apparent for centuries. The arguments for our exclusive ownership of Israel will never be accepted by those who choose to undermine our position. But at the end of the day we know we have more right to Israel than any nation has to their own sovereign land. Nobody was given land from Hashem except for the Jewish people in Israel.

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