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All Beginnings are Hard...  D'var Torah for Genesis, 5783

10/19/2022 05:18:52 AM


Rabbi Rudin


ויאמר אלוהים יהי אור- ויהי אור

And G-d said: Let there by light- and there was light!


As we set out on a new Jewish year, the Midrash (Mechilta R. Yishmael, Parshat Yitro) gives a cautionary note: Accept it upon yourselves: All new beginnings are hard!

Yet when we read in Genesis about the creation of the world, G-d seems to have no problem at all!  "And G-d said, let there be light... and there was light!"   What's hard about that? 

Only when we look deeper do we see signs of obstacles overcome.  The Hebrew word for "let there be" is "Yehi".  Simple and straightforward: Let there be... in the original Divine Thought, like our own thoughts, ideas and hopes arise easily and spontaneously in our consciousness.  How pleasant, how simple it seems!  The way to our dreams seems like no problem at all. 

But the very next word: Vayehi Or- "and there was light" reveals a world of struggle.  The literally meaning of the world Vayehi- "and there was" is "there was travail."  How is this possible?  Break the word into two words:  "Vay" means the same as "Oy vey!"- Alas!  Trouble!  and the second syllable: "Hee" means "it is."  

So a deeper reading of the phrase: G-d said, "let there be light".  And following travail: there was light!  

Psalms 74 and others describe G-d overcoming vast forces of chaos opposing Creation.  "You drove back the primordial waters in Your strength, shattered the power of the Sea Beasts."   In the end, light emerges.  

And here's why: Because the word Vayomer, "and G-d said", isn't really past tense.  The literal meaning is, "G-d eternally says- let there be light".  That eternal speech, eternal, inexhaustible will to be: that is what powers creation.

Each of us continues G-d's creation in our own lives.  Spend a few minutes each day, each morning, focusing on the Voice inside of you that says joyfully, unceasingly, "BE".   We know that struggle and obstacles are built into the very fabric of the world.  But we also know that the powers of life and creativity can mold and form that chaos into beauty and meaning.  Creation begins again every morning- let us celebrate even the struggle and let us also say: Yehi Or- let there be light!

Shabbat Shalom!



Sat, May 25 2024 17 Iyyar 5784