Friday, October 12, 2012

Parshas Bereshit

This week’s parsha continues discussing the consequences of Adam’s punishment. When Adam heard Hashem calling out to him, after he sinned, Adam hid. The sin caused Adam to tremble when he heard Hashem’s voice, whereas before the sin, he could bear Hashem’s voice without fear. Hashem called out, “Ayeka—Where are you?”  Hashem, who obviously knew where Adam was asked him this question to get Adam to confess his guilt and repent. How is it that Adam hid from Hashem? Didn’t he know that Hashem, the all-knowing creator of existence, would know exactly where he was? Despite this awareness, Adam still hid because he felt such shame for his sin and now the shechina- Hashem’s divine presence- had departed from Gan Eden.

Nevertheless, Hashem persisted in questioning Adam, hoping he would confess his sin and do teshuva. However, instead of confessing, Adam blamed Chava for sinning, he said, “Did I sin as long as I was single? It was the woman You brought to me who seduced me and made me violate your command!” Hashem was displeased with Adam’s lack of remorse and how ungrateful he was for the wife He had given him.

Hashem then turned to Chava and asked her what she had done, hoping to get her to admit her sin and repent. However, she responded, “Master of the Universe, it was the snake who persuaded me to sin!”

Obviously, Hashem was displeased with their answers. Instead of taking responsibility for what they had done and asking Him for forgiveness, they just tried to shift the blame; therefore, they were eternally punished.

This infamous Garden of Eden story should shed light into our own lives. Throughout life, we too do many things that Hashem would not approve of, and that even we wouldn’t approve of. In order to avoid embarrassment and shame, we think of every excuse under the sun as to why we did what we did. When we are faced with these challenges, we must remember that Hashem is calling out to us saying, “Ayeka—Where are you?”  In other words, where is your higher self? Rather than getting defensive about past mishaps, we must take full responsibility for our sins, but recognize that that is exactly what Hashem wants from us. Once we take complete ownership for our sins, only then can we find the strength within to repent and avoid making the same mistake again. Let us learn from Adam and Chava rather than continuously repeating the mistakes of history. We have the formula to create change; it is up to us to take responsibility when Hashem asks us, ‘Ayeka,’ only then can we looking introspectively within and allow real change to be made.

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