26 October 2016

In the Beginning G‑d Created the Heavens and the Earth. . .

WE JUST CAME OUT OF THE EXPERIENCE OF SIMCHAT TORAH, AT WHICH WE COMPLETED OUR TORAH PARSHIOS CYCLE AND THEN IMMEDIATELY BEGAN A NEW CYCLE OF TORAH PARSHIOS, IN A CONTINUUM SINCE THE GIVING OF OUR TORAH AT HAR SINAI BY THE CREATOR OF HEAVEN, EARTH AND MAN, AND READ TO US BY MOSHE RABBEINU. IF ONE WAS SURELY IN THE MOMENT, THIS WAS A PROFOUND AND MOVING EXPERIENCE, TO GAZE UPON THE LETTERS OF THE VERY TORAH SCROLL BEING HELD HIGH. OUR TORAH SUSTAINS THE ENTIRE WORLD. I CANNOT EMPHASIZE ADEQUATELY THE DEEP FEELINGS OF REVERENCE AND AWE FROM THIS VISION.  
AND LIKEWISE THE CREATION NARRATIVE: 

In the beginning G‑d created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and void, and darkness was on the face of the deep; and the spirit of G‑d hovered above the surface of the waters. G‑d said: “Let there be light,” and there was light. G‑d saw the light, that it was good; and G‑d divided the light from the darkness. G‑d called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night; and there was evening and there was morning, one day.


“In the beginning” refers to 
the beginning of time—the first, 
indivisible moment, before which 
time did not exist.
(Sforno)

G‑d said: “Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide water from water.” G‑d made the firmament, and divided the waters which were below the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament; and it was so. G‑d called the firmament Heaven; and there was evening and there was morning, a second day.


G‑d said: “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together to one place, and let the dry land appear,” and it was so. G‑d called the dry land Earth, and the gathering together of the waters he called Seas; and G‑d saw that it was good. G‑d said: “Let the earth sprout grass, herbs yielding seed, and fruit trees yielding fruit after its kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth,” and it was so. The earth brought forth grass, herb yielding seed after its kind, and trees yielding fruit whose seed was in itself, after its kind; and G‑d saw that it was good. There was evening and there was morning, a third day.


G‑d said: “Let there be luminaries in the firmament of heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, for seasons, for days and for years. Let them be for luminaries in the firmament of heaven to give light upon the earth”; and it was so. G‑d made the two great luminaries: the great luminary to rule the day, and the small luminary to rule the night; and the stars also. G‑d set them in the firmament of heaven to give light upon the earth, to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness; and G‑d saw that it was good. There was evening and there was morning, a fourth day.


G‑d said: “Let the waters swarm abundantly with moving creatures that have life, and let birds fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.” G‑d created the great sea-creatures, and every living creature that moves, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged bird after its kind; and G‑d saw that it was good. G‑d blessed them, saying: “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let the birds multiply in the earth.” There was evening and there was morning, a fifth day.


G‑d said: “Let the earth bring forth living creatures after their kind, cattle, creeping things and beasts of the earth after their kind,” and it was so. G‑d made the beasts of the earth after their kind, and cattle after their kind, and everything that creeps on the earth after its kind; and G‑d saw that it was good.


G‑d said: “Let us make Man in Our image, after Our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the cattle, all the earth, and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”


G‑d created Man in His own image, in the image of G‑d He created him; male and female He created them.


G‑d blessed them, and G‑d said to them: “Be fruitful, and multiply, fill the earth and conquer it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air and every living thing that moves on the earth.” G‑d said: “Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree on which is the fruit yielding seed; to you it shall be for food. To every beast of the earth and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for food”; and it was so.


G‑d saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good. There was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.


The heavens and the earth were completed, and all their hosts. G‑d completed on the seventh day His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. G‑d blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it he rested from all his work which G‑d had created, to make.



The Torah begins with the words “Bereishis bara Elokim – In the beginning G-d created.” Rashi explains the word “Bereishis” to indicate “bishvil reishis – for the sake of reishis, G-d created….” He identifies “reishis” as referring to the Torah and to Bnei Yisroel.

The very word “Bereishis,” then, implies that Hashem, who constantly creates the world ex nihilo, is the Author. Hence Torah, known as “reishis darko,” must always be studied with the excitement of one about to begin a journey with G-d. But only the Jewish People are capable of this mission because they alone are called reishis tevuasa – the first crop of grain, whose essence is growth. 


These three – Hashem, Torah and Bnei Yisrael – are intertwined with the eternal message that the Jewish People must immerse themselves in the Creator’s Torah, the Blueprint of Creation, to forever maintain their identity as the Children of Israel, a people who are constantly beginning afresh.


2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Beautiful post but we must not forget that included in H', Torah, Bnai Yisrael, Eretz Yisrael is also included making it all One.

Neshama said...

Yes, I thought of that but didn’t want to alter the Rabbi’s words. Of course Eretz Yisrael is included in this together – Bnai Yisrael in Eretz Yisrael.