As we start the new cycle of reading the Torah, we have the opportunity to refresh ourselves with the concepts of the book of Bereshit. One could ask, since this book comprises mainly of historical events of our forefathers, why was it designated as the first of the five books of the Torah, whose purpose is to instruct the Jewish People about the mitzvot?
The answer is that the book of Bereshit, otherwise known as Sefer HaYashar – the Book of uprightness, teaches and defines our goals, aims and purpose in this world. We are first introduced to the creation of the world and its most amazing, complex and important component – man. Then, we are told, in great detail, about the actions, ways and correct paths, which our forefathers and mothers exemplified. Not only was this their essence, but their actions also injected the innate character traits of kindness, bashfulness and mercy into the genes of our nation. These traits are fundamental and a prerequisite to being able to accept and adhere to the Torah. Hence the Torah begins with the book of Bereshit.
Concerning the creation of man we are taught (Rashi, Bereshit 1:27)that, at first, G-d created man and woman as one being, having two faces, one of a man and one of a woman. Then, (Bereshit 2:21-
24) G-d separated woman from the original being, by thrusting him into a deep sleep, removing one of his sides and reconstructing it. Thus, there were two stages in their creation. Firstly, man and woman were created as one, and then, they were separated. The second stage brought with it the allocation of roles and job definition. With their appropriate roles established, they could work as a partnership, fusing together in perfect harmony. This harmony would resemble their level at the first stage of creation, where no conflict was possible.
One may ask, why was it necessary for man and woman to be created initially as one being, if later, they were anyway to be separated? The answer is that without this previous state, their ability to return to a state of perfect harmony would have been impossible.
When studying the book of Bereshit,let us explore the roles and purpose of both men and women, so that our marriages will reach the level of harmony of the first stage of man’s creation.