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Start of winter z’man

With autumn and winter comes freshness. Parshas Bereishis outlines Hashem’s creation of the universe. The Kabbalah tells us that this creation is perpetual. The haftarah for Bereishis describes Hashem as בורא שמים וארץ – not ברא the One Who created but בורא in the present tense, the One Who is creating. Thus, the world is full of renewal and this time of year one can feel it. 

We are literally partners in the act of creation. Every good thought creates another and brings another raindrop, another tree, another building as Hashem rewards our best efforts with bracha. The wise person utilizes the renewal for spiritual flourishing. Yes, we have renewed other things: maybe there is a new hat, a new suit, and the like. But the main thing is to consider eternal life planted within us. This world is a corridor, as a shadow passes, as a wind blows, and as a dream it will fly. Let us invest in the palace of Olam Haba. 

We talked in the yeshiva at the end of simchas Torah about the privilege of rejoicing in the joy of the Torah. אשרינו מה טוב חלקנו ומה נעים גורלינו, Our destiny is pleasant and our inheritance is beautiful. לב טהור ברא לי אלקים, We have been blessed with a pure heart, but we must apply it. Consider a businessman who went to China for the production of goods. He invested in manufacture, and the production and was met with success. But, wait, this is just the first step. The production is not over. Now he enters the main stage where he markets and sells his product. He must do something with the goods he acquired. This takes more planning. So too, we take what we acquired over the yomim tovim and apply it into everyday life, through marketing and checkpointing. 

אם תבבקשנה כזהב וככסף וכמטמונים תחפשנה אז תבין יראת אלקים. 

Devarim 16:7 says that after preparing and eating the korban Pesach  וּפָנִ֣יתָ בַבֹּ֔קֶר וְהָֽלַכְתָּ֖ לְאֹֽהָלֶֽיךָ “you shall turn away in the morning and go to your dwellings”. My friend Reb Ari Heitner  told me that Rav Samson Raphael Hirsch explains that it is also a mitzvah of the chag to import all the rich cargo we acquire for use during the winter. Here planning and thinking is required. How do we implement all these things? We need a plan just as companies need a plan to market and sell their merchandise.

A story is told about Rabbi Baruch Ber that his family decided that he needed a new hat, and after much pleading the Rabbi agreed. In those days, one had to go to Vilnius to get a hat. So they got him a hat, but after a day saw that it was crushed. They inquired and learned that Rebbe Baruch Ber, because of his preoccupation with learning, came across a deep insight of the Rashba, and out of admiration, gave a blow to the hat that was laying on the table, and that’s how it stayed. And you can really see in most of the pictures of the Rabbi that his hat is bunched up. The Rabbi didn’t apply thought how to keep a new hat. However, we who are not as elite as him, we do know how to protect our possessions, so we should also protect our spiritual baggage.

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