Parshas Bereishis
Bereishis 1:1 - 6:8

Beginning With The End In Mind ©

By Dr. Akiva Gamliel Belk

This study is dedicated in the loving memory of Mr. Will and Mrs. Ida Simmons Belk, may they rest in peace.

What are we going to do after work today? What are we going to do for the upcoming holidays? What are we going to do on vacation this year? What are we planning to do when our children graduate? What are our plans for our children's future? What career will they embark on? What college or university will they attend? What will we do when our children marry? What plans are we making for when we retire?

We live and function with many spasmodic goals in mind. We make plans for after work and this coming weekend and so forth. We are familiar with making plans with a goal or desired results in mind.

After we graduate from high school, college or university, marry, begin a family, our life takes on a new focus... a new dimension ... This new focus / dimension should include many of these questions. Those of us who are concerned about properly planning for the future will visit a financial planner. We will draw out a long-term plan to accomplish these goals we consider so important.

As a new year approaches many businesses will be concluding their fiscal year. These businesses are already reviewing, making plans and setting goals for the coming year. While every day in the coming year is important, businesses are focusing on the bottom line. The bottom line is achieving their goals by the end of the year, five years, and 10 years ... They begin with a goal in mind! We begin with the intention of accomplishing or surpassing these goals.

Now, holy classmate, we may not consider our conduct of planning for short-term goals in the same sense as Hashem did when creating the world. Yet we have formulated a pattern of considering the end before we reach it. Our next step should be to expand on our present practice of making plans for the end.
However the end I am referring to is the one Hashem had in mind when He created the world. That end is when all people will live in peace and harmony. Every human being will live without the threat of dying ... Without dying at the hands of another human being... without dying from a serious illness... without dying in an auto accident ... Without dying here in a plane crash ... and so forth...

Dear classmate, the day I am referring to is the day when the Holy Temple is restored to its proper place and location. That end is when Israel is recognized by the world ... That is when Spirituality is clearly recognized as the kindred of Judaism. That end reaches to the next world that our rabbium teach about. They teach that the Bet {the first Hebrew letter in the word “Bereishis”} in Bereishis represents two worlds. This world and the next world. The next world is a world of peace, thank G-d!

Today we seem so very far, so very distant from realizing these goals that Hashem had in mind when the world was created. The world is filled with so much hate, crime, war, murder and evil! It seems we are going in the opposite direction of Hashem’s intended goals for this world. We look around us, we read the newspapers, we listen to the news and feel like this world is spiraling out of control!! How could something originally so incredibly beautiful reach this point?

All of this should cause us to focus on the question, Why?!! Why is the world filled with so much hate, crime, war, murder and evil? Why does it feel like the world is spiraling out of control? After we ponder for awhile we should realize that each of us is part of this very serious problem. We are part of this problem because of the things we do or the things we don't do.
What could we do to make this world a better place?

About a year ago my wife Naomi spoke to me about recycling. Her desired goal was for us to be more conscientious about recycling. We already recycle many things in our home but there are a few items that are a bit difficult because of their size. Plastic bottles are at the heart of this issue. Each week we normally consume gallons and gallons of artesian water and liters of soda pop. These empty containers need to be cleaned, crushed and stored somewhere until one of us can haul them to the nearest recycling place 15 miles away. If we fall behind in cleaning these containers then they stack up in the kitchen area. If we fail to crush them they take up more room. Yet we are attempting to overcome these inconveniences for the sake of being good to Mother Earth and ourselves and future generations ...

Many, many years ago when Interstate I-70 was being constructed through Clear Creek Valley, large earth moving equipment was required to build the freeway. Those giant earth movers require about 11 gallons of oil as compared to our autos which require only 4, 5 or 6 quarts of oil.. Now I make this point because there are mines hundreds of feet beneath the Interstate deep within Republican Mountain and Democratic Mountain. Inside this mines are locations where used oil deposits have seeped down over 350 feet from the surface of Mother Earth. I am told that these used oil deposits are the results of individuals who improperly disposed of the oil from these giant earth movers. They poured used oil into Mother Earth! During the past 40 + years this used oil has managed to seep down hundreds of feet contaminating ground water along the way.

Naomi and I live in a town 3 blocks wide by 2 miles long. Recently the city administrator gave me a map plotting out the streets of our town. After reviewing this map I was amazed at the dozens of silver and gold mines just within our town limits. Holy reader, this may not seem significant at face value but when one realizes each of these mines have tailings of which many are considered toxic, it becomes very significant! In fact we live just a few hundred feet from silver mine tailings. Last year I read a report from the EPA discussing toxic runoff from the tailings of thousands and thousands of mines within our small county.

So, dear reader, whether it's plastic bottles, overflowing dump sites, oil improperly disposed of or toxic tailings from mine sites we have done much to damage and ruin the very earth Hashem lent us to live on. Then if we add to our own carelessness and lack of concern for Mother Earth the hate, crime, war, murder and evil, it is clear we are moving in the opposite direction from Hashem’s desires for us and for Mother Earth! Again we must ask the question, Why?

It is not enough just to follow the guidelines of the Torah from a spiritual position.
It is necessary for each of us to be conscientious of the things that give life and of the things that result in death. Our every action will contribute to one of these two areas!! If we take life seriously for ourselves, those we love and for mankind then we need to emulate Hashem’s goals! In other words we need to view life from the goals Hashem established when He created everything, Mother Earth... humans... etc. We need to look at Hashem’s desired goals for all Creation from the conclusion to the beginning. Rashi puts it like this: “He relates from the beginning of something the end of something.”

Holy classmate, are we being spiritual without being practical? We must understand the Torah views everything from the conclusion to the beginning. From the first word in Genesis, “Bereishis” meaning “In the beginning ...,” Hashem created the world, so to speak, from the back door. Dear reader, when we stand before Hashem on Yom Kippur Hashem views us from our conclusion, from our perfect conclusion and not our present imperfect position or from our beginning. Hashem sees us in the final product and judges us from the final product even though we are not there just yet. This is Hashem’s great, great and abundant mercy. We are the down payment on something yet to be finished!

So, holy reader, the point is we need to view ourselves and others as Hashem views us. We need to view each other from the back door... from the finished position... from the conclusion not from the present or from our beginning!

NEXT we need to view Mother Earth from the finished product. From the tropical sense ... from a sunny sky that doesn't burn your skin ... from a cool and gentle breeze that relaxes and refreshes without pollen or irritation... from clear majestic mountains, pure lakes, rivers and oceans that can be used and enjoyed without fear of pollution or harm. Dear reader, when we view the conclusion of Mother Earth then we can understand what direction it is that we need to be traveling in.

If we view our earth’s conclusion as a place of war and death then that is the direction we are traveling in. If we view our earth as a place of massive destruction and the termination of all life then that is the direction we're headed in. It is necessary for us to be more practical with our view of Mother Earth and with the direction we are moving in! We must continue to practice spiritual goals but we must be practical in the application of these spiritual goals. In other words we must view them from the conclusion. We must view them from the final product, from Hashem’s position! When we do this our world will begin to change for the better! When we practice / observe this we will reverse the trends, patterns and conditions that led us away from what is good and away from what is perfect!! When we observe things from their conclusion, from their end as Hashem views them, then we will be on the path to the wonderful place Hashem has prepared for all of us “FROM THE BEGINNING!!”

When we conclude our day can we say that "it was very good?"

Blessings and Peace!

Dr. Akiva Gamliel Belk

Originally written 5760
Updated 5764

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