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Wednesday, Tishrei 26, 5781 / October 14, 2020


This Shabbat we began the Torah from the beginning for a new reading cycle for the year 5781.


In the beginning of Parshat Breishis, the Torah describes the creation of the world, from the first day of creation through the seventh day, the day of Shabbat, when G-d rested and sanctified it as the Holy day of Shabbat. 


On the sixth day of creation (Friday) G-d created the animals and also Adam and Eve. The Torah tells us, "And G-d created man in His image, in the image of G-d He created him, male and female He created them." Later, the Torah describes in greater detail how the creation of Adam and Eve came about; their being together in the Garden of Eden, and their sin of eating the forbidden fruit from the Tree of Knowledge.


The first Parsha of the Torah covers ten generations from Adam and Eve until Noah. These ten generations cover a span of over 1500 years.


Q.  After creating the animals on the sixth day, the Torah tells us, "And G-d saw that it was good."  Yet, after the creation of Adam and Eve, the Torah does not state, "G-d saw that it was good!" Why?


A.  Everything else in creation has not been granted freedom of choice. The only exception was Adam and Eve and their descendants. Humans can build or destroy, live life according to G-d's will or go against G-d's wishes, G-d forbid. People have the ability to build upon G-d’s creation or to destroy it.


Thus, at the time when G-d created Adam and Eve it was premature to say that their creation was good. It is up to every individual to live their lives in a way which makes G-d’s creation good and worthwhile.  It takes a lifetime to know whether an individual's creation was good or the opposite.


The Midrash tells the following story: The Roman Emperor Hadrian once asked the Talmudic sage Rabbi Yehoshua, "You claim that G-d is the creator and master of the universe. If that is true, why doesn't He reveal Himself to us at least a few times during the year so that we can all see Him?"


Rabbi Yehoshua replied, "G-d tells us in the Torah (Exodus 33:20), 'No man can see Me and live.'" 


But Hadrian persisted, "If your claim that there is a G-d is true, I want you to show Him to me!"


Rabbi Yehoshua had no choice.  He agreed to fulfill the Emperor's wish. At noon, Rabbi Yehoshua returned to the palace and asked the Emperor to come out to the courtyard, where he will show Hadrian the Master of the Universe.  When the two men stepped outside, Rabbi Yehoshua said to Hadrian, "Now look straight up into the sun and you will see G-d!"


"This is impossible! No one can stare at the blazing sun without becoming blind," exclaimed Hadrian.

"You have answered your own question!" exclaimed Rabbi Yehoshua.  "If, at the sun, which is only G-d's creation, you cannot look due to its great light, how can you even conceive of seeing G-d Himself whose light is infinitely greater than the glare of the sun!"