We just finished a wonderful uplifting Yom Tov of Succos and Shemini Atzeres. Here in Eretz Yisrael the Simchas Bais Hashoaivah and the tefillah of Geshem are still alive, for at the time of this writing we see the immediate results, it is raining. I am therefore reluctant to leave so fast these inspirational days, and my heart beckons me to connect the parsha with Zman Simchasainu. Chazal tell us (Vayikra,2,13 Rashi) that When Hashem created the world and separated the lower waters from the upper waters (Bereishis 1,7), the lower waters began to cry that they did not want to be so distant from Hashem. Hashem appeased them with two things; one that they will be used to fulfill the mitzvah of Nissuch Hamayim during Succos, and that on every korban will be poured salt whose source comes from the water. The sefarim write that this is the explanation of the passuk על נהרות בבל שם ישבנו גם בכינו As the Yidden journeyed into Galus Bavel they sat at the Babylonian river beds and also cried over their misfortune. What does it mean they also cried? The answer is that as long as the Bais Hamikdash existed, the lower waters felt appeased because of the two mitzvos that had to be fulfilled with them. Now that the Bais Hamikdash is destroyed they once again re-experienced their misfortune and wept together with Am Yisrael over the galus. Now we must address a very perplexing and gnawing question. How did the mitzvah of Nissuch Hamayim, which was only for six days of the year, appease their being separated and distant from Hashem? Does one really think that each day, by pouring one lug of water equivalent to the volume of 6 eggs on the mizbaiach, was sufficient to do the trick? And for how long? The two Bais Hamikdashes were only in existence for 830 years while the world is almost 6000 years? Would such a settlement in court sit well with you and your lawyer concerning your visitation rights with Hashem for the next 6000 years? I hate to say this, but if we really allow ourselves to get stuck on such a question, this demonstrates that our problem lies in us, in the fact that we just don’t even begin to fathom our Creator and why He put us here in this world. Let us first clear the air with this immovable fundamental of life. We had no choice or rights to be created in the first place. At this very moment, absolutely no entitlements for our lives exist. The fact that we are breathing this second and partaking from this world is only because of Hashem’s incredible goodness, chesed and rachmanus. With this clear understanding, we can now bring the Chazal who say in Pirkei Avos (1,17) יפה שעה אחת בתשובה ומעשים טובים בעולם הזה מכל חיי העולם הבא that one hour in this world accompanied with the fulfillment of teshuvah and good deeds is far greater that the eternal life of the Next World. Only on this world where there is constant battle between the yetzer tov and yetzer harah can we show our allegiance and gratitude to Hashem for enabling us to serve Him. Our sefarim tell us that there are malachim who wait 3000 years or more just to be able to say one word ofקדוש before Hashem and then immediately afterwards they disintegrate into nothingness. In contrast, here on this world, Am Yisrael is privileged to address Hashem as קדוש thirty eight times during each day. Do we fully appreciate the magnitude of such an opportunity of a lifetime each day? The Shemen Rosh comments on the passuk (Devarim 10,14) הן לה’ אלקיך השמים ושמי השמים הארץ וכל אשר בה To Hashem belongs the heavens, the heavens of the heavens, the earth and all that exists on it. Isn’t the listing of these three out of order? If we start with the heavens and then go higher to the heavens of the heavens then the earth should not follow but should precede all of them? The answer is that the earth is really higher than the heavens of the heavens and that is why it is listed last. This same concept is repeated by Dovid Hamelech in Tehillim (148,1) הללו את ה’ מן השמים הללוהו במרומים הללוהו שמי השמים והמים אשר מעל השמים הללו את ה’ מן הארץ תנינים וכל תהומות יהללו את שם ה’ כי נשגב שמו לבדו הודו על ארץ ושמים וירם קרן לעמו First Hashem is praised in shamayim, next the shemai hashamayim, and finally on earth with earth preceding the heavens הודו על ארץ ושמים . These pessukim attest to our Chazal which state that struggling with the challenges and battling the yetzer harah for Hashem here on this earth, in a physical body, gives more nachas to Hashem than automatically being close to Him in the heavens above the heavens. This is proven to us by the waters being appeased when given the mitzvah of Nissuch Hamayim. No way would they miss out on this most precious opportunity of being granted even a one hour opportunity to praise Hashem in this world? The settlement that the waters received was way beyond their wildest expectation and could not have been better. That is why the pouring of the waters brought so much extreme simcha into the lives of those who participated in the Simchas Bais Hashoaivah. They caused everyone to realize how thrilled one should be with the opportunity to give testimony that he is a servant of Hashem, even amidst a harsh life of struggles, challenges, poverty, difficult child rearing, etc. For every single moment spent in davening, learning Torah, fulfilling mitzvos, and raising children with the proper chinuch and kedusha, is far greater than an eternal life in the Next World of reward. The story is told that in the town of the Kedushas Levi on Erev Succos no Four Minim were able to be found. A Yid was passing through the town just happened to possess them. The Kedushas Levi begged him to stay for Yom Tov but he refused. He then promised him that if he would stay he would merit to be with him in Olam Habah. The Yid acquiesced to such an incredible offer. Immediately, the Kedushas Levi went around to all the people of his city telling them not to allow this Yid into their succah for Yom Tov. After davening this Yid entered someone’s succah but they told him that they would give him food to eat in the house but he could not use his succah. In disbelief he went to find another hachnasas orchim but the same scenario repeated itself. After many attempts he realized that the Kedushas Levi was behind all of this and he went directly to him demanding an explanation for this mistreatment after he did the city a tova by staying with them for Yom Tov. The Kedushas Levi said “Only if you will be mocheil me of my promise to share with me Olam Habah will I allow you to enter which ever succah your heart desires”. The Yid was in a quandary of what to choose, to be with the holy Kedushas Levi in Olam Habah for eternity or to fulfill the mitzvah of succah right now. At the end, the Yid chose to give up the incredible opportunity of Olam Habah and chose to fulfill the mitzvah of succah. Immediately after his decision, the Kedushas Levi said to him “ I really had no intention of going back on my promise to share with you my place in Olam Haba. However, to merit such reward it was not enough just to stay here for Yom Tov and give the town your Four Minim. Rather, you had to demonstrate that you were willing to surrender your eternal Olam Habah in exchange of a mitzvah which now became extremely challenging because of the trade – off. You showed that to serve Hashem even though it takes only an hour in Olam Hazeh, was of greater importance than to gain eternity. Only now, you truly deserve to sit next to me in the Next World”. The first word of the Torah is בראשית . Chazal tell us (Succah 49) that it is really a combination of two words ברא שית that Hashem formed the two holes under the mizbaiach through which the Nissuch Hamayim was poured. Why is this fact deemed so significant that is should be already hinted in the very first word of the Torah which contains the entire Torah? According to what we explained it is to relay the message of the waters that although living in this world is challenging, nevertheless יפה תשובה שעה אחת בעולם that one hour of teshuvah in this world has far greater worth than all the reward in the next. This concept is even hinted in the very word בראשית which contain the letters שאיבת the drawing up, referring to the waters of Nissuch Hamayim. שאיבת is the acronym יפה תשובה שעה אחת בעולם. Or another perspective using all the letters ofבראשית is the acronym of רב יותר שעה אחת בעולם – ת. The Sefer Yetzirah explains that the highest value letter ת symbolizes עולם הבא in contrast to ש which symbolizes the highest level of עולם הזה . Therefore, the wordבראשית conveys that even though Olam Habah symbolized by ת is gevalt, nevertheless, in comparison to the world we are living in, רב יותר שעה אחת בעולם greater is the one hour in this world than ת. The Medrash Tanchuma (Bereishis 4) comments on the passuk בראשית ברא אלקים What beracha does one make when he builds a new בית? Our Chachamim taught he makes the beracha of שהחיינו in order to give nachas ruach to his creator. What is the connection of building a new house and the beracha of shehechiyanu in relationship to the words בראשית ברא אלקים? We can answer according to our mamar that the body of a person is called a בית because it houses the neshamah. When a person takes on challenges and overcomes his yetzer harah and bodily cravings then he is deemed as if he built a new house. He has brought light were there was once darkness, sanctity where there resided the mundane. He has renewed and elevated himself, and he must be grateful to Hashem for helping him achieve this and say שהחיינו. When enlightening one’s body with the light of the neshamah, one experiences יפה שעה אחת בתשובה which gives tremendous nachas to Hashem. As we explained above this challenge is more fulfilling than the entire Olam Habah which is hinted in the very word בראשית . In conclusion I want to share with you a personal story. On Simchas Torah many of the Yeshivas sing the Yiddish song עולם הבא איז א גוטעקר זך לערנין תורה איז א בעסער זך וערפט אוועק יעדין יאך לערנין תורה נאך און נאך. Olam Habah is a great thing, however, learning Torah is a better thing. Throw away every other yoke and learn Torah more and more. I still have a vivid memory when I recall my bachur days at my first Simchas Torah in Far Rockaway in Yeshivah Chaim Berlin. During one hakafah, the Yungerlite of the Kollel and bachurim together gathered and all started dancing in front of the Rosh Yeshivah, Rav Hutner ztl singing this niggun with heightened joy and enthusiasm. The Rosh Yeshiva was so appreciative of the olam’s deep expression of their love for learning Torah, that in the middle of the niggun he changed the words to לערנין תורה איז די בעסטער זך. That learning Torah is not just better than Olam Habah but rather it is the best possible scenario of both worlds. Of course, with the one change of a word, the already dancing olam immediately responded with an even wilder intense divaikus of singing and dancing, fueled by their new appreciation of Torah that the Rosh Yeshivah had just gifted to them. Gut Shabbos Rav Brazil