Imperfection Can Be Beautiful

I know how busy everyone is.  So many of you tell me that you try to make it to services on Friday night – but at the end of a long week, you are just exhausted.  Others are trying to juggle family Shabbat dinners and busy schedules.  I completely understand!  This is why I am committed to making so much of what we do here at Ramat Shalom as accessible as possible.  As many of you know, our services our streamed, live online at livestream.com/ramatshalom.  Many of my sermons and articles are posted on my blog – rabbiandrewjacobs.org.  I encourage you to share your comments and join the discussion on the blog.  And, most recently, at the urging of many of you, I have ventured into the world of podcasting.  Today, I share with you a podcast of last week’s Shabbat discussion on the story of Noah which can be found on my podcast site: http://www.buzzsprout.com/7399/64184-imperfection-can-be-beautiful.   The podcasts are also available on iTunes at https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/podcasts-rabbi-andrew-jacobs/id560921029.  

Cantor Natalie also has her music online – visit her site at natalieyoungmusic.com.

Of course we love to see you face to face and nothing can replace the power of coming together as a community.  But, in this day and age, when technology provides us with new ways to connect, I feel it is so important for us to evolve with the times.  So, if you can’t join us in person this week, click on the podcast.  Learn a little and connect “virtually” with your spiritual home.

 

The First Light of Creation

Sorry for being so quiet on here. Been busy with the wonderful holidays  Hope you all are well!!!

 

Last week, we began reading the Torah all over again, beginning with creation story.

On the first day of creation, Gd said, “Let there be light”, and there was light.

Gd called the light day and the darkness Gd called night.

And the light went away (for a time) and there was evening.

And the light came back and there was morning – the beginning of the second day.

On day two of creation, Gd spent time moving the waters of the earth around and creating heaven.  Gd did so during the day, while the light shined brightly.

On the third day of creation, Gd called the earth “land” and the gathering of the water – He called “seas”.  Also on the third day, Gd created plants, trees and all types of vegetation.

And the light went away and came back again.   The fourth day, the day that presents us with a problem.

On day four, Gd said: “Let there be luminaries in the expanse of the heavens, to separate between the day and between the night and they shall be for signs and for appointed seasons and for days and years.  And they shall be for luminaries in the expanse of the heavens to shed light upon the earth.” And it was so.  And Gd made the two great luminaries: the great luminary to rule the day and the lesser luminary to rule the night, and the stars.”  And Gd placed them in the expanse of the heavens to shed light upon the earth.

What is our problem here? Gd already created light on the first day!

So what is this light that is created on the fourth day?  What is the difference between the light of day one and the light of day four?

To understand this, we have to look at what the first light is NOT.  It is not darkness which is there before Gd creates light on the first day.   The Torah tells us that before Gd begins creating, “the earth was astonishingly empty and darkness was on the face of the deep.”  Darkness is associated with what the Torah refers to as tohu va’vohu – chaos, emptiness, nothingness.

Given this, what is light?  Order, peace, wholeness or “shalom” in Hebrew.

The light that is created on day four is the light we know of as sunlight and moonlight.  The light created at the beginning of it all – on day one – this is the light of shalom, a light that leads us to wisdom.  Once we appreciate this, we are led to ask: who creates the darkness, the chaos, the void that exists at the beginning of creation?  The Torah teaches us that all that Gd does is name this negative energy we call “darkness”.  Gd does not create it.  It is already there.

Gd creates the light of shalom.  Gd creates the light that leads us to wisdom.  Gd creates the first light to fill the emptiness associated with darkness.  But, this powerful light does not completely obliterate the darkness.  It doesn’t go away.  In fact, it returns every evening, as the sun sets.  The light of the moon and stars might weaken the darkness slightly – but it is still there.  The truth is that darkness is forever a part of our lives.  But it does not need to get in our way.  Gd does the work of creation during the day – in the light.  Darkness does not have to interfere with us creating meaningful, beautiful lives.  Like Gd, we need to work around the darkness.  We need to learn how not to be consumed by the darkness.  We know that, too often, the darkness can rear its ugly head.  People can embrace the darkness.  They can make choices that remind us that darkness is still there.  Bad things happen in this world that can only be linked to the darkness.  At these moments, it is so important for us to remember that Gd does not create the darkness.  Gd creates the light – the antithesis of the darkness.  And our job is to discover that light and hold onto it as long as we can.

May each of us live in the light that was created by Gd on the first day of creation and may this light guide us on paths filled with blessings.