In the beginning, G-d Elokhim created the heavens and the earth by speaking it into existence. Bereishiet (Book of Genesis) in the Hebrew Bible describes G-d ‘s act of creation, saying, “And G-d said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.” This phrase is repeated throughout the creation story and indicates that G-d ‘s words brought all things into existence.
Was the Creation story superfluous and a code of laws not enough?
Judaism is based on a wealth of traditions, including the history of creation as we know it from the first book of the written Torah. While it is true that the mitzvot, the Jewish commandments and precepts, play a central role in faith, we must also recognize that the Creation story has another important function.
First, the Creation story gives us a profound understanding of the relationship between G-d and human man. Bereishit Parsha tells us that we are created in G-d ‘s image, with responsibility and potential to live out His holy commands. This awareness of our origins and heritage gives a deeper meaning to the way we fulfill the mitzvot. It connects us personally to our faith and fosters our commitment.
Second, the Creation story serves as a foundation for our understanding of the natural world. It emphasizes that creation is sacred and full of intrinsic value. From this perspective, the many mitzvot that guide us to care for the environment and be conscious stewards of the earth are profoundly motivated. Thus, the mitzvot take on an even higher significance, because we understand that they go beyond just a set of legal provisions. They enable us to take care of G-d ‘s creation.
The Creation story also offers an aesthetic dimension to our faith. It inspires us to appreciate and respect the beauty in the world. The mitzvot of remembering Shabbat and celebrating the holidays applicable to us invite us to experience the beauty of life and the value of rest and reflection.
Some may argue that the Creation story, because it is metaphorical and we still do not fully grasp it nevertheless is the truth of the creation of the world. Yet we must remember that Judaism is much more comprehensive than just a set of rules. It encompasses a holistic approach to life, and the Creation story serves as a mainstay to reinforce this approach.
Let´s not underestimate the power of the Creation story. It’s more than just a whimsical bedtime tale; it’s a reminder of our origins, a key to better understanding the mitzvot, and a gateway to elevating our spiritual experiences. It’s a story that calls us to be mindful of our actions, both towards one another and towards the planet we call home. Remember, connecting to our roots isn’t just about ancestry DNA tests – it’s about exploring the depths of our beliefs and finding meaning in even the quirkiest of tales.
The whole earth belongs to the Holy One, He believes, He created it and gave it to Him, who saw fit to Him; with His will He gave it to them (the 7 nations who lived in Canaan), with His will He took it from them and gave it to us (Israel); Psalm 111:6
The word and first commandment/mitzvah is בארשית ; the Creation of the heavens and the earth and emphasizes that everything belongs to G-d. He created the earth and has the potential to give it as He pleases to whomever He wants. This particular verse refers to the land of Canaan, which G-d gave to the people of Israel. It shows that G-d has the power to give and take away lands, and that He has given the land to the people of Israel according to His will.
Adam and Eve are considered to be the first humans created by G-d. They were perfect beings who lived in harmony with G-d in Gan Eden. Their role as the progenitors of humanity is crucial, as they represent the origin of our connectedness and responsibilities as followers of G-d.
According to Jewish tradition, G-d commissioned Adam and Eve to manage and maintain the world. They were meant to live according to G-d ‘s laws and commandments so that they could grow and flourish in the perfection of His creation. Adam and Eve had perfect knowledge of G-d and His will, and they were favored with a special relationship with Him.
Bereishiet 2:24. “For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”
The Holy Spirit speaks this way [G-d not Adam] to forbid immorality to the descendants of Noach (Sanhendrin 57b). Here it is also meant that a father and a mother are a certainty in the life of a man, but indicate the past, while the offspring of man signifies the future. The flesh is our future, our offspring.
Although the actions of Adam and Eve entailed a loss of perfection, it testifies to the fact that humans have free will and the ability to make choices. Judaism emphasizes man’s responsibility to strive for good and to obey G-d ‘s commandments. Adam and Eve teach us the value of obedience, but also the consequences of disobedience.
Post-apple transgression, which may not be an apple, our bumbling duo faced the consequences of their actions. No longer living in blissful ignorance, they embarked on their voyage into the unknown world beyond Gan Eden. Armed merely with a leafy apron, they had to manage and maintain everything on their own. Challenges awaited them at every turn, from gardening gone wrong to hilarious encounters with less-than-friendly wildlife. Imagine the chaos in their attempt to domesticate a pride of lions!
From garden mishaps to toiling under the weight of worldly burdens, Adam and Eve’s journey has undeniably left an indelible mark on our collective sense of humor.
Bereishiet 3:13 “You bear the higher and the lower, and my crime you could not bear,” Cain told the Eternal; My crime is too big to bear!
Cain confesses to G-d after killing his brother Abel. He expresses his fear and guilt by stating that his crime is too great for him to bear. By saying “You bear the higher and the lower,” Cain acknowledges that G-d is the ultimate judge and arbiter of justice, capable of understanding and overseeing both the lofty and mundane aspects of existence.
However, Cain feels that his actions have surpassed what he believes G-d can bear or absolve. This could be interpreted as his belief that his sin is so monstrous, so unforgivable, that even G-d cannot overlook it. This reflects Cain’s overwhelming guilt and remorse for killing his brother, suggesting that he realizes the enormity and irreversibility of his deed.
This time G-d Elokhim repeated the mitzvah of full repentance.
The Creation story provides a foundation for our faith – it raises our spiritual experience to new heights. It encourages us to marvel at the wonders of the world, reminding us that spirituality isn’t just about praying and religious rituals. It’s about finding a sense of G-d Elokhim in every splendid sunrise, each evening breeze, and the invention of chocolate chip cookies. Yes, you read that right – even baked goods can be spiritually uplifting!
Noachidisme or Noachisme isn’t just about religious practices; it’s a way of life. The Creation story ties into this seamlessly by emphasizing our responsibility for G-d ‘s laws and the care we should have for His creation. So, whether you’re remembering Shabbat or simply making eco-friendly choices, you’re living out the values that the Creation story instills. Who knew that ancient tales could guide us towards more sustainable living?
Stay curious, stay connected, and may your journey be filled with laughter along the way!
Chumash with Rashi comments, Rabbijn Samson Onderwijzer Dutch translation
Torah in Yiddish, translated by Yehoash-Shloyme Blumgarten
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