BREISHIT/Breishit—Let us begin…

I invite you to join me for an unusual and extraordinary theater experience.  As we enter the room, there are no house lights, no playbills.  Guided to our seats, we hear a quiet voice briefly chanting, but we can not distinguish where it is coming from.  It seems to be distant, but at the same time it surrounds each of us in a way that keeps us from being afraid in the total darkness of this room.  Now all is silent.  We are ready for the show to begin.

The scene is set with a stage of nothingness, an incomprehensible nothingness that we have never experienced and could never begin to imagine.  But somehow, in the darkness, we know it is there.  “LET—THERE—BE—LIGHT!!  We gasp at the power of the voice and at the light that bursts from no place and from every place.  The fixtures from the ceiling are not illuminated, and we have to wonder where the Speaker of the Words is.  We are not only squinting at the sudden brightness.  It is also our reaction to the spoken words that seemed to bring the light into being.  And then, after a certain interval, we watch as darkness sets in, and we realize that this scene has ended.  One Scene…

There are no stage hands to change the scenery, but we watch as the light comes up again and the atmosphere on the stage becomes separated into distinct upper and lower sections.  This is the strangest phenomenon that we would be hard pressed to describe fully.  The light dims again.  The end of Scene Two…

When the light returns, there are waters on stage that gather into bodies, and land becomes visible.  We can tell that these land masses are holding the potential for greenery to sprout.  How do we know?  We wonder about it as Scene Three comes to an end…

And now, it is necessary to put on the sunglasses that were placed at our seats in preparation for a huge blindingly bright light that takes the stage.  It remains for about half of the scene and then exits stage west as a second player somewhat smaller and less bright enters.  The new one takes its place along with myriads of tiny twinkling sparkles.  We sense that this luminary will change from a complete circle of light to a sliver of a crescent while it disappears to end Scene Four…

Suddenly, there are fish in the water that is still on the stage since scene three (how…?) and birds fly overhead.  This is a pleasant setting which remains as a backdrop even when Scene Five ends…

We anticipate the beginning of the next scene.  The stage is pretty full now with the entrance of beasts and creeping things, but we notice with amazement the harmony that encompasses all that we see.  Each of the players in this extraordinary show has a song of its own, and we thrill to the prospect of an inspired grand finale.  But then we sense that there is something missing.

We do not see the Director of this production, but we have heard His pleasure expressed with the words, “This is good.”  Taking stock of all that graces the stage, satisfied with all that His handiwork has produced, He addresses the Creations saying, “Let us make Man.”

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It has always disturbed me to hear people say that Hashem consulted the angels when He said, “Let us make Man.”  Those people explain that anybody in a prominent position can retain the authority while taking council with underlings.  But this is HASHEM we are talking about!!  Omnipotent, Omniscient, He did not (and does not—since he is Omnipresent) need input from any other source because He is the Source—of everything.  So I struggled with this interpretation.

Several years ago, one of my dear daughters-in-law introduced me to Perek Shira, the Chapter of Song.  Each page of this powerful little book relates how a particular part of the Creation contributes to the Song of the Universe.  The introduction in this book suggests that when Hashem said, “Let us make Man,” He was inviting the rest of Creation to be spiritually included in this ultimate part of the Creation.  Indeed, everything in the universe is associated with Man and exists for the sake of Man.

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This is not the end of the show.  After all, this is Breishit…just part of the beginning.

About the Author
Once a stay-at-home mother of four children, and now grandmother to 12, Barbara has spent 50 years 'children watching.' For the past decade, she provided childcare in her home and was also a substitute teaching assistant at Gan Ephraim Preschool in Columbus OH. Over the past 23 years, she has made 19 trips to Israel, finally fulfilling her dream of making aliyah in 2019. She pursues ongoing independent study of Torah.
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