This week we begin again at the beginning of our Torah readings – with Bereishit, Gen. 1:1-6:8.
בְּרֵאשִׁ֖ית בָּרָ֣א אֱלֹהִ֑ים אֵ֥ת הַשָּׁמַ֖יִם וְאֵ֥ת הָאָֽרֶץ׃
1 – When God began to create heaven and earth—
וְהָאָ֗רֶץ הָיְתָ֥ה תֹ֙הוּ֙ וָבֹ֔הוּ וְחֹ֖שֶׁךְ עַל־פְּנֵ֣י תְה֑וֹם וְר֣וּחַ אֱלֹהִ֔ים מְרַחֶ֖פֶת עַל־פְּנֵ֥י הַמָּֽיִם׃
2 – the earth being unformed and void, with darkness over the surface of the deep and a wind from God sweeping over the water—
וַיֹּ֥אמֶר אֱלֹהִ֖ים יְהִ֣י א֑וֹר וַֽיְהִי־אֽוֹר׃
3 – God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.
As Torah begins, we notice that before the creation of light, the earth was “tohu va’vohu – unformed and void, with darkness over the surface of the deep…” We might ask “what is this ‘unformed and void'”?
Rashi defined this formlessness as “spiritual desolation”, and the Netivot Shalom (the Slonimer Rabbi, 1550-1619) taught that “whenever people become overly involved in physical pursuits, we eventually reach a point of “tohu va’vohu” – spiritual desolation — we’re too involved in ourselves and in the material world around us to make room for the spiritual… to be aware of Divine Light – Godliness.”
Our challenge, is to stop…. and to seek that light for ourselves, connect with it… and let it, in turn, shine from us out into the world.
May your Shabbat be filled with holiness and light. And may it be good.