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"For Instruction shall come forth from Zion, The word of the L-rd from Jerusalem." -- Isaiah 2:3


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GENESIS — 1:31 very good

This is a reference to death.  Death can also be good – by subduing the spirit of man, bringing the dread of G-d into his heart, and preventing one from turning this world into his primary one.  There are some people who, as a result of their preoccupation with worldly affairs, do not free themselves for the designated times needed for comprehending their end, as the pasuk [this verse] states Job 4:21, “Their excess journeys [from them], and they die bereft of wisdom.”  This means+H201 “Their excess” – their money – “journeys” from them when they travel [from this world], for they derive no benefit from it. On the contrary, it has deprived them of much good, since it causes them to “die bereft of wisdom” – for they were not wise enough to comprehend their end, to mend their souls, and to prepare provisions for the way, as the pasuk states Deuteronomy 32:29 “ Were they wise, they would understand this; they would comprehend their end.”  GATES 145-7

GENESIS — 2:7 dust-breath

It is clear from the Torah that the soul of man is supernal, [unlike an animal’s soul,] for it states that the animal soul is from the earth, as the pasuk (verse) says Genesis 1:24, “The earth shall produce living creatures.” Yet, when referring to man the pasuk says, “And He breathed into his nostrils the soul of life.”  I.e., An animal’s soul comes from the earth, while man’s soul comes from “the breath of Hashem.”  GATES 137-9

GENESIS — 2:18 alone

(Continued from Exodus 22:10 oath GATES 420). If a sinner is one who [generally] fears sin, the observer should tell himself that the sinner has surely repented already.  It is also fitting for him to fear for his own soul and to tell himself, “Since that person is G-d-fearing, perhaps his merits are greater than his sins” – our Sages said Kiddushin 39b that one whose merits are greater than his sins is counted among the congregation of the righteous. (I.e., he should be concerned for his own soul, for speaking lashon hara about a righteous person is a grave sin and brings severe punishment.) However, if the sinner is of those fools whose nature is to repeat their foolish ways, it is best to inform the judges so they can punish him in order to separate him from that which is forbidden.  Nevertheless, if he is the only witness, it is not good for man be alone bearing purposeless testimony, for his testimony is for naught since it cannot be relied upon, as the pasuk says Deuteronomy 19:15, “A single witness must not arise against a man, [to condemn him] for any punishment or sin-offering.”  Therefore, he is considered a slanderer.  GATES 422-3 (Continued at Leviticus 2:6 break GATES 421-3)

GENESIS — 3:18 thorns 

[Man] is comparable to a field possessing poor soil; with all the effort to improve it and with all the toil in cultivating it, the field will [still] produce [only] a small amount of grain.  Yet, if no effort is put into its improvement, it will not sprout or raise up any sort of vegetation; only thorns and thistles will grow.  Just sowing the field, without any effort at its cultivation, is beneficial only by a field rich in soil.   GATES 149

GENESIS — 4:7 right

This should be explained as follows: [Hashem said to Kayin,] “Why are you downcast? If you improve your deeds and return to Me, then you will raise up,” which means you will raise up your face [from being downcast], the same language as Job 11:15, “then you will raise up your face without blemish. (Another understanding of Rabbeinu Yonah’s meaning here is that “raise up your face” means “[be able to] show your face,” i.e., you will regain your self-respect (see Ibn Ezra on Bereishis, ad loc.). This can further be interpreted as an expression of forgiveness. (i.e. the word שאת is an expression of forgiveness: “If you improve, you will be forgiven.”  [The verse continues] “But if you do not improve, then sin crouches [in wait] at the entrance” – if you do not repent from your sin, that is not the only iniquity that will remain with you.  For the yetzer crouches by the entrance, ready to cause you to sin in all that you do – once it is victorious, it will continue to be so.  It will lay obstacles in your path and you will find yourself ensnared Jeremiah 50:24, bereft of repentance. “Its longing is towards you” – to lead you astray, and it lies in wait for you, at all times.  GATES 67

GENESIS — 4:15 mark

By repenting, the majority of his transgression was forgiven, the main [portions] of his punishment were removed, and he escaped death.  What remained for him was the punishment of exile, as the verse says Genesis 4:16 “He settled in the land of exile to the east of Eden.”  Our sages, z”l, said Leviticus Rabbah 10:5 that even the punishment of nomadic existence was lightened after his repentance; before this, the decree of nomadic existence was double, as the verse Genesis 4:14 says, “I will become a wanderer and an exile on earth” – the nomadic existence was referred to twice. (“wanderer” and “exile.”  Yet subsequent to the repentance the verse says Genesis 4:16, “He settled in the land of exile.”  (only “exile” remained).  GATES 451-3

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