When it all starts: The beginning of the world

Can we understand everything involved in creation? No. But we should try to understand it, appreciate it, and emulate it in a productive way

Phil Chernofsky ,


As I've presented many times, there is a major school of thought that considers the first two p'sukim of the Torah to be describing what happened before day one of Creation, and that day one begins with VAYOMER ELOKIM Y'HI OR.

Furthermore, B'REISHIT BARA... and TOHU VAVOHU can be thought of as G-d's creating something from nothing, YEISH MEI'AYIN - and, at first, the result was a chaotic mixture of everything - matter, energy, time, concepts...

From the third pasuk, we find the description of creation of YEISH MIYEISH, the forming and separating and organizing all the elements of Creation.

How long was each 'day' of the first six days (or seven)? Could have been a day as we know it, since the Torah speaks our language, so to speak.

Could have been 1000 years each, based on a pasuk in T'hilim.

Could have been eons each.

I have no problem with a day is a day - VAYHI EREV VAYHI VOKER...

How long did G-d need to accomplish creation? He could have done it with a snap of His Divine finger, so to speak. He could have taken six days. He could have taken longer. Almost not important.

What is important is for us to appreciate what G-d did for us. The details in the Chumash are not extensive, but they do give us insights into the World into which HKB"H placed us.

Creating something from nothing - Creatio ex nihilo - is something we accept but not something we can reproduce (purposeful choice of word).

But creation of something from something is definitely within our ability to do. We can plant a seed that will grow into a flower or vegetable or grain or tree. We can fry an egg or soft-boil it, and many other things. That is our act of creation. We can have children and raise families - and that is not only creative, it is the first mitzva of the 613. And it is a major indicator that G-d wants us to continue the creation that He so spectacularly (not sure that's the best word) started.

The account of Creation includes the challenge to humans to care for G-d's creatures and for the environment.

Do we - can we - understand everything involved in Creation? No! But we should try to understand it, appreciate it, and emulate it in a productive way.