Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Parashat Bereishit

G-d Saw the Light was Good...
Parashat Bereishit

Bereishit 1:4 G-d saw that the light was good, and G-d divided the light from the darkness.

The light that was created on the first day was extremely brilliant. We can have some idea of it if we imagine a small room filled with intense lights, illuminating it from all sides.

With this primeval light, it was possible to see from one end of the universe to the other. (Bereishit Rabbah; Tosefot, Shabbat 22) One could see not only tangible things, but even ethereal things, which are normally invisible. (Zohar 2; Moed Katan, Chapter 2; Chagigah 12a; Yad Yosef. Also see Zohar Chadash) This light was very fine, filled with glowing mental power. Through it, one could attain knowledge with which he could see to the ends of the world. (Bereishit Rabbah; Zohar Chadash)

Since human beings would be evil, such as those in the generations of the Great Flood, the Tower of Bavel, and the idolatrous contemporaries of Enosh, they were not worthy of enjoying this light. G-d therefore set it aside for the righteous in the Olam Haba. The light that remains in our world is merely a seventh of the light that existed during the days of creation. Some say that this primeval light was 60,075 times as bright as the light of the sun.

- MeAm Lo'ez - Bereishit

Bereishit - In the Beginning

To begin all over again!

What possibilities lie before us! What unforeseen potential awaits us!

We don't simply begin back where we started from one year ago, we begin all the way back at the beginning. The very beginning, the beginning of beginnings: That is, the book of Bereishit, Genesis, which is not merely an account of the beginning, a narration of how it went, but it is the very blueprint for the beginning that G-d Himself, as it were, consulted when He chose to begin the creation. Its letters, their shapes and sounds, and the words and verses that they form, are the very DNA of the world of darkness and light, day and night, rivers and streams and oceans and mountains, livestock and wildlife, fish and fowl, stars and planets, moon and sun, that we live in.

These letters are the stuff of our very souls, and to study, to examine, to ponder, to immerse ourselves in the depths of the Bereishit reality, is not only an immensely satisfying and gratifying endeavor, but it is part and parcel of the fulfillment of our purpose on this earth: to behold G-d's wonders and to praise Him and draw near to Him. [Rabbi Chaim Richman - The Temple Institute -]