Why did the Torah Begin with the Story of the Creation of the World and Did Not Begin With the First Commandment Given to Israel?

posted in: English Divrei Torah | 0
globeRashbam: [on Gen. 1:1] The story of creation is a necessary introduction in order to understand the commandment.
“Remember the Sabbath day to sanctify it [etc.] for six days Hashem made the heaven and earth, the sea and all that is in them and rested on the seventh”.
Rashi: Psalm 111:6 says the power of his actions he told his nation to give to them the heritage of the gentiles.
That is to say, if the nations of the world will say “you are robbers, because you conquered the lands of 7 gentile nations”, we will respond to them “all the world belongs to the Holy One Blessed be He. He created it and gave it to whoever he deemed it proper.
In his will he gave it to them and in his will he took it from them and gave it to us.

Comment by Shlomo Moshe Scheinman

of Middle East

A very secular relative once commented to me, “what are you doing stealing Palestinian land based on “5000 year old” land claims?

Some people would answer him with historical answers, to show why Israel did not steal Palestinian Land.

In the long run I think that approach is doomed to failure for a number of reasons.

  1. People based on their personal desires and interests evaluate facts of history differently. The facts that the secular Zionist might raise might not be that convincing to the anti-Zionist who believes that Jewish control of Israel harms his interests.
  2. The anti-Zionist might have his own set of “facts” to justify his opinion and has no real interest to check if his “facts” are really true.
  3. If Israel belongs to the Jews merely because of historical facts, there is room for other people to conquer the land by peaceful methods, for example, “Democratic Votes”, “Peace Treaties”, Land Sales, Flooding the land with non-Jewish immigrants, Phony conversions, etc.  In truth Jews do not have the right to give up any part of the land of Israel to other nations, even if a great majority of Jews in the current generation, favor this option.

    Jews do not have the right to let other nations conquer the land by peaceful methods, because Biblical commandments, such as, Ramban’s addition #4 to Sefer Hamitzvot, לא תחנם (Deut. 7:2) לא ישבו בארצך (Exodus 23:33) do not allow Jews to make such concessions.

  4. Yishayahu/Isaiah 54:17 although it could be interpreted differently is telling me that ultimately the debate over the heritage of the servants of Hashem, will be won by appealing to religious arguments and not “political arguments”.

    However, I will admit though that when Yiftach in Shoftim/Judges chapter 11 argues with a Non-Jewish king about our rights to a part of the land of Israel under contention, he used a combination of political and religious arguments.