"G-d said: 'Let there be an expanse of sky...'." (1:6)
The Baal Shem Tov taught that the words and letters of this divine utterance
are forever enclosed within the firmament of all the heavens, and if this
sustaining utterance were ever to cease, the heavens would revert back
to nothingness as though they had never existed, just as before the Days
of Creation. Beware of the false analogy of a work of art or crafts, which
when completed exist separate from their creator, for they are formed
from already existing substance, while the divine Creation is 'something-from-nothing.'
(from Tanya, Book II, ch. 1-2 - translated from Sichat HaShavuah #)
"G-d created the great sea-monsters." (1:21)
As Rashi notes, these were "the Leviathan (livyatan) and its
mate." As explained by Chasidut, the Hebrew word "livyatan"
means connection or joining. It refers to the very highest spiritual level,
at which a person's attachment to G-d is constant and uninterrupted. Nonetheless,
even on this superior level, every individual still needs a "mate,"
a good friend and supporter to help him in his service of G-d.
"G-d blessed them, saying, be fruitful and multiply, and fill
the waters in the seas." (1:22)
On the fifth day of Creation the fish were blessed; on the sixth day man
was blessed, and on the seventh day the Shabbat was blessed. The reason
it is customary to eat fish on Shabbat is to obtain this three-fold, consecutive
blessing, a "woven rope of three strands that is difficult to cut."
"G-d said: 'Let us make man...'." (1:26)
Who is 'us'? Whom is G'd speaking to? G'd is speaking to each and every
person, saying, "Let's you and I make you anew and renewed each day."
(Tchortkover Rebbe - translated from Sichat HaShavuah #459)
"G-d created man." (1:27)
Why doesn't the Torah state after the creation of man, "and it was
good," as it does after all the other things created during the six
days? Every other creature was created complete, with its nature and instincts
ready to be applied to the world. Man, however, was created incomplete,
and it is his purpose in life to perfect himself. Human beings are given
free will and the responsibility for their own development and improvement.
That is why it doesn't immediately state, "and it was good"
- we must wait and see how man behaves before passing judgment.
"G-d blessed them and said to them, Be fruitful and multiply,
and replenish the earth and subdue it." (1:28)
The birth of a Jewish child brings joy not only to his parents
and extended family but to the entire Jewish people. And it signifies
a step closer to the coming of Moshiach.The Talmud states that Moshiach
will not arrive until "all the souls in waiting in Heaven have been
born. The birth of a Jewish baby therefore hastens the Redemption and
brings closer the blessings of the Messianic Era.
The first mitzva in the Torah is the commandment to be fruitful and multiply.
From this we learn that the first responsibility of a Jew is to ensure
the existence of another Jew in the world, and to try to influence other
Jews to be "more Jewish."
(Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi)
"G-d saw every thing that He had made, and behold, it was very
Our Sages commented: "'Good' - refers to the good inclination; 'very
good' refers to the evil inclination.' " The phenomenon of teshuva,
repentance, could not exist without the creation of an evil inclination.
Teshuva enables man to attain an even higher spiritual level and completeness
than before he sinned; thus, G-d declared the creation "very good"
only after Adam was created with this potential.
"G-d blessed the seventh day and sanctified it." (2:3)
The day of Shabbat is intrinsically holy. Nonetheless, the Torah commands
us to "Remember the Shabbat day to make it holy" (Ex. 20:8).
For when a Jew remembers and observes Shabbat, it enhances its G-d-given
sanctity and adds to it.
"And He sanctified the seventh day." ( 2:3)
The very first time "sanctifying" is mentioned in the Torah
is with reference to Shabbat, to indicate that the source of all holiness
lies in the observance if the Shabbat.
(R. Moshe Yehiel Epstein)
[From "Hasidim in Israel" by Tzvi Rabinowicz
"He put him into the Garden of Eden to till it and to keep it."
In the "Seven Blessings" of the marriage ceremony, the bride
and groom are blessed with the following: "Happy and joyous may you
be, O loving companions, like the joy of your progenitors in the Garden
of Eden many years ago." May the young couple, just embarking on
a life together, be as true and faithful to each other as Adam and Eve
were in the Garden of Eden, when they were as yet the only two people
in the world.
(Otzarenu Hayashan - from L'chaim #791)
"And whatever name the human will give to the living thing, will
be his name" (2:19)
What is the wisdom in naming names? The point is that in the holy tongue
a name is not only a means of identification, as in other languages, it
is also an expression of the spiritual root of the named. This was the
wisdom of Adam the First, who understood the root-paths of all the different
creations; therefore he was able to call everything by its true name.
(The Magid of Mezritch -translated from Sichat HaShavuah 249)
"Hevel brought, also he
Hevel (Abel) brought not only his offering, he also brought himself! He
dedicated himself and all of his powers to G-d. That is why G-d's response
was, "G-d was receptive to Hevel and to his offering." Both
were received favorably.
(Kotzker Rebbe - translated from Sichat HaShavuah #459)
"The spirit of G-d hovered over the surface of the waters."
The Midrash explains that this "spirit" is "the spirit
of King Mashiach." From this we learn that G-d's objective in creating
the world, mentioned in the Torah before the creation of man, is the Messianic
Era. We must yearn, therefore, for the complete fulfillment of the realization
of G-d's Divine Plan.
(Lubavitcher Rebbe) [from L'Chaim]
"The spirit of G-d hovered over the waters." (Gen. 1:2)
Our Sages tell us that this actually refers to Moshiach. In fact, the
Hebrew words of the verse "v'ruach Elokim m'rachefet - and
the spirit of G-d hovered" have the same numerical value as the words,
"zeh haya rucho shel Melech HaMashiach - this was the spirit
of King Moshiach."
(Based on Rebbeinu Bachaya's commentary) (from L'Chaim
"And G-d saw the light, that it was good." (Gen.
Even before the world was created, G-d created the soul of Moshiach. It
shone very brightly, and is hinted to in the verse, "And G-d saw
the light, that it was good." The forces of evil also saw this light,
and asked G-d, "Whose light is this?" G-d answered, "This
is the king who will defeat all of you in the End of Days."
(Yalkut Shimoni on Isaiah)
[Reprinted with permission from L'Chaim Magazine (www.lchaim.org).]
The main goal in creating Adam was to bring forth King David and his
descendants, the most important one being Mashiach.
This is hinted to in the acrostic for the Hebrew word "Adam":
"alef" stands for Adam, "dalet" for
David and "mem" for Mashiach. The principal purpose of
creation was for the generation of Mashiach.
(Belzer Rebbe) (from L'Chaim #339)
"He saw all that He had created and, behold, it was very good."
According to tradition, this reflection occurred in the very last moments
of the sixth day of creation, preceding the onset of the seventh day,
Shabbat. So, too, with regards to the Messianic era, which is compared
to Shabbat, the completion and culmination of world history will occur
just before the onset of Shabbat, on Friday afternoon, which is where
we find ourselves now on the timeline of history.
In the days of Moshiach the Divine light will be utterly revealed in
the heart of every individual, and in every heart there will be a constant
and visible fear of G-d; as it is written, (Isaiah) "They shall go
into the caves of the rocks and into the tunnels of the earth, for fear
of G-d...." The body too will change. It will be like the body of
Adam before the sin of the Tree of Knowledge, clean of any evil. As the
Midrash states, "His heel threw a shadow on the orb of the sun."
That is to say, his body was nullified to the Divine Will even more than
was the inanimate sun.
(Derech Chayim, p. 25) (from L'chaim #936)