For an explanation of the methodology of this series, see the introduction.

"In the beginning of God's creation of the heavens and the earth." (Gen. 1:1)

Peshat (basic meaning):

"The entire earth belongs to G‑d..."

Rashi: "In the beginning"
Said Rabbi Yitzhak: It was seemingly necessary to begin the Torah from "This month is to you," (Ex. 12:2) which is the first commandment that the Israelites [as a people] were commanded. So for what reason did He commence with "In the beginning"? Because of [the teaching] "The strength of His works He related to His people, to give them the inheritance of the nations." (Ps. 111:6) if the nations of the world should say to Israel, "You are robbers, for you conquered the lands of the seven nations [of Canaan] by force," they [Israel] will reply, "The entire earth belongs to G‑d; He created it [as we learn from the story of the Creation] and gave it to whomever He deemed proper. When He wished, He gave it to them [the Canaanites], and when He wished, He took it away from them and gave it to us."

Remez (hinted meaning):

Baal HaTurim:"In the beginning"
The Midrash relates that the Torah begins with the letter beit rather than the letter alef because beit [is the first letter of and thus] connotes Beracha/blessing, while alef [is the first letter of and thus] connotes Arira/curse. (Tanhuma 5)

G‑d said: 'I will begin with a beit with an expression of blessing. May it be that the creation will be able to endure.' Alternatively: beit = 2 and alludes to 2 worlds: this world and the World to Come. Also, the beit refers to the 2 divisions of the Torah — Written and Oral, to teach you that the world was created in the merit of the Torah and those who study it.

Derash (interpretive meaning):

...beit hints to two types of Yirah — reverence or fear of punishment.

Ohr HaChayim: There are 22 explanations of the word Bereishit. [#7] The letter beit hints to two types of Yirah — reverence or fear of punishment. Fear of G‑d may be due to fear of being punished for misdeeds or it may be due to a feeling of awe or reverence for G‑d's grandeur, called Yirat Rommemut. This latter Yirah is morally a much higher category than mere fear of punishment. Both of these fears are alluded to in the letter beit. G‑d had to create both fears so that the universe would exist.
The first fear is alluded to by the use of the Name Elokim, the attribute of Justice, the second corresponds to Yud+Kei+Vav+Kei (the letters of Havayah) in the verse where Shamayim/heaven is mentioned last.

Sod (esoteric, mystical meaning):

Introduction to Zohar:
Come and see, the Holy One, blessed be He, created the world using the Torah. And this has been explained in the verse, "Then I was by him as an apprentice, and I was daily all his delight." (Prov. 8:30) He looked at the Torah once, twice, and thrice. The fourth time He addressed them. Eventually, He used the Torah to teach the sons of Man how not to be misled and how to study the Torah properly. As it is written, "Then he saw and declared it; he established it and searched it out. And he said to man..." (Job 28:27-28)

So according to these four times (or steps), expressed as, "Then he saw it and declared it; he established it and searched it out," (Job 28:27-28) The Holy One created what He had created. And He did not accomplish His mission until He brought forth four words. Therefore it is written, "Bereishit (In the beginning) Bara (created) Elokim Et (the)..." (Gen. 1:1) which contains four words. After that is [the word] "heavens." So these are the four times that the Holy One, blessed be He, looked into the Torah before He brought his works into actuality.

BeRahamim LeHayyim:
We may think we are using one mode of expression or reflection, but really we are always multi-tasking. Well, sort of. See, all is inter-included. No one ever acts completely in one pure fashion. We've all got other stuff going on.
"You are wherever your thoughts are. Make sure your thoughts are where you want to be."
So, just like during the Omer period, we concern ourselves with the inter-inclusion of the middot/Attributes, like gevura within chesed or chesed within gevura, so too are there levels of Worlds within Worlds [Asiya D'Atzilut, Atzilut D'Asiya], and levels of interpretation within interpretation [Peshat of Sod, and Sod of Peshat] We have action, feeling, thought, and intuition aspects of our actions, feelings, thoughts, and intuitions. Hashem looks into the Torah on the 4 levels, on the 4 within 4, and the 4 within each of those, etc.

"You are wherever your thoughts are. Make sure your thoughts are where you want to be." This appears as our main intention for much of daily work. See where you are [with your inner vision/intuition]. Declare it verbally [with your power of speech]. Establish it [in the world of action and deed]. Search it out [with your feelings].

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