The Real Beginning

Free translation of a discourse by
the Lubavitcher Rebbe,
Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson
Rosh Hashanah 5733 - 1972

by Rabbi David Rothschild

I. Early Works
In the Beginning
A Delighting Drive
Pleasure Principles
Stamp of Strength
Revelation Reason
II. Private Paradise
III. Beginning of the End


I. Early Works

In The beginning
We recite in our Rosh Hashanah prayers, "This is the day which is the beginning of Your acts." A Midrash, however, reveals that the world was created on the twenty-fifth of Elul -- six days previous. Why, then, do we declare on Rosh Hashanah, "This is the day which is the beginning of Your acts?"

It is also necessary to understand the very concept, "beginning of Your acts." For, this infers that "Your acts" include both a beginning and an end. But the Talmud informs us that on Rosh Hashanah, "All of creation is seen in a single Divine glance." The implication is that within an instantaneous glimpse, beginning and end are equivalent. If that's the case, what could the "beginning of Your acts" mean?

An additional question arises. The phrase, "Your acts" is written in plural. But G-d viewed the entirety of creation in a momentary look. A single act was performed which embraced but one entity.

Due to these apparent contradictions, Chassidus imparts an inner interpretation of "Your acts." They allude to the Inner Lights which are enclothed within the system of worlds. For, it is specifically the Inner Lights which manifest differentiation, one entity from the other. Likewise, they exhibit sequence and position -- beginning and end. We must understand why Rosh Hashanah and the creation of the world relate exclusively to the Inner Lights.

A Delighting Drive
The Sages asked, "What motivated G-d to create the world in the first place?" A Midrash answers, "G-d desired a dwelling place in the physical world." This particular rationale exceeds all others. For, it addresses G-d's deepest aspect: His Supernal Desire and Delight.

Midrash Rabba draws support from the verse, "The world was established with the six attributes" (Song of Songs 5:15). The Hebrew word King Solomon chose to express "the world" actually means "delight." The Sages of Midrash Rabba understood the world was created as a result of G-d's Delight from other verses also. The conclusion of the Creation narrative states, "Thus the heaven and the earth were completed" (Gen.2:1). "Completed" is derived from the same root-word as "delight", as in, "My soul yearns, indeed it expires from ecstasy" (Psalms 84:3).

G-d's dwelling below is brought about by man's Divine service. It's known that Adam, himself, caused G-d's abode in the physical world. Likewise, Jews, through their Divine service, achieve a similar result. For, the Talmud teaches, "Israel is called Adam."

Pleasure Principles
G-d's desire for a dwelling place below has two components. The first aspect is the simple fact that He desired. His Supernal delight exceeds all manner of reasoning and knowledge. It is above and abstractly beyond the system of worlds. Delight is the most sublime of G-d's attributes. It manifests His Innermost Being.

The second element is the delight itself. What did G-d delight in? He expressly desired to obtain a dwelling below; in a revealed manner within the confines of creation.

G-d is above time and space. When He wants something, it automatically comes to fruition. It follows that a perfected world replete with an exposed Divine Presence, in fact, already exists. The moment the Six Days of Creation were completed -- relative to G-d's Delight -- His earthly dwelling place was established.

But relative to us -- the observers -- His lower residence remains concealed. G-d isn't satisfied with His invisible Presence. His ultimate intention is to be revealed within the boundaries of creation. This is the innovation achieved by man's toil: Divinity's exposed presence in the world.

Stamp of Strength
G-d wants us to repeat Adam's feat; King David reports that. Adam's Divine service caused, "The L-rd is King; He has garbed Himself with grandeur" (Psalms 93:1). When is G-d majestic? He becomes King when His Majesty is acknowledged. Adam was the first one to introduce Divine revelation into creation. As a result, every living creature recognized, felt, and submitted themselves to G-d's Kingship.

In a similar fashion, we effect G-d's revelation in creation by learning Torah and observing mitzvot. That's why David's aforementioned verse concludes, "The L-rd has robed Himself, He has girded Himself with strength" (Psalms 93:1). And a Midrash posits, "The only strength is Torah."

Chasidut elucidates the link between the verse's beginning and end. "He has girded Himself with strength" -- alluding to Torah, is associated with, "He has garbed Himself with grandeur" -- hinting to G-d's Kingship.
This causal relationship is further highlighted by the Talmud's statement, "G-d imprints every Jew with the seal of Adam." What do the Sages imply? A seal signifies ultimate might. Esther tells us, "For an edict which is written in the king's name and sealed with the king's signet may not be revoked" (Esther 8:8).

Revelation Reason
It follows that the principle innovation regarding G-d's dwelling place below brought about by Jews' effort -- is its revelation. Chasidut explains that the culminating fulfillment of the physical world's creation -- indeed the very reason it was created -- is the Messianic Era and the Resurrection of the Dead. For, at that time Divinity will be illuminated as Isaiah prophesized, "The glory of G-d will be revealed, and all flesh together will see that the mouth of G-d has spoken" (Isaiah 40:5).

The future revelation is also present today. Chasidut elucidates how G-d's power is constantly found within His creation: The cause is always inside its effect. King David said, "Forever, G-d, Your word stands firm in the heavens" (Psalms 119:89). The Baal Shem Tov interprets the verse as, "G-d's speech brings every entity into existence. It is always present within the object, continuously sustaining and enlivening it."

Today, with the exception of a few rare individuals, we can't see G-d's life-sustaining power. But in the Future Era it will be revealed to all. That's why Isaiah said, "All flesh together will see that the mouth of G-d has spoken." Everyone will observe Him with their physical eyes.

A similar state of affairs will prevail regarding Messiah's Torah. The novelty of his Torah will be the method of its instruction. It will be transmitted in a manner of sight, openly revealed to everyone.

on to Part II


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