Bereshit A: Chapter 36

Bet Resheet


In response to a question by his student, Rabbi Yosi, Rabbi Shimon reveals a profound secret contained in the very first word of the Torah.

The Hebrew word for In the beginning is Beresheet. When you separate the first letter of the word, Bet ב, from the rest of the word, you have Bet and Resheet .ראשית

The letter Bet refers to the Sfirah of Malchut, our physical world. The word Resheet corresponds to the Light of Chochmah, the highest grade of Light emanating from The Creator.

The realm of Malchut - signified by the Bet - is the world most distant from the Light source, the Light of Chochmah. For that reason, Malchut experiences the greatest need. This need, in turn, produces the maximum Desire to receive the Light. This truly titanic desire is necessary to draw down the Light through the entire structure of the Sfirot, and without this great desire Malchut would remain an empty vessel, desolate and impoverished. From the perspective of the Kabbalist, human desire is not necessarily a negative trait. While other spiritual doctrines call upon us to nullify and negate all earthly desires, the Zohar maintains that desire is a vital force essential for arousing and revealing the Light.

The purpose of our creation, however, is to transform this impulse from a covetous Desire to receive for the self alone, into a Desire to receive for the sake of sharing. The power to bring about this transformation in our self-seeking desires is contained within these passages.