By: Herschel Karp (11th Grade)
This week’s Parsha is Bereishit, which begins by describing the creation of this world. This is obviously a monumental event, and every detail pertaining to the creation is significant. Therefore, it seems strange that out of all the things Hashem could create first, he creates light. Hashem said, “Let there be light” - and there was light (Bereishit 1:3). Why was light the first creation? On a practical level, the entire purpose of light is to illuminate other creations; what good is a light which has nothing to shine on? One could suggest that it preceded creations that require light, such as plants, animals, or people, but it did not have to be created before other inanimate objects. On a deeper level, Sages suggest that the light that was first created was hidden away for the Tzadikim in Olam Habah, which strengthens this question even more. Clearly this light was not needed right away, for any practical reason, and even according to the Chachamim, it was only going to be used in the world to come. If so, what message can be found in Hashem’s seemingly odd choice to create light before anything else in the world?
The following parable is brought to explain our question. When a builder begins a project, he already has a vision of the building’s purpose. Only with a process in mind can he begin building. Similarly, light represents the purpose of Creation. When Hashem created light first, He did that not because it is the first individual part of creation that needs to be addressed, but because it encompasses the entire purpose of creation. When someone is building a specific room or section of a building, they do not need to know the plans for the entire structure; they only need to know what they are working on. This is why Hashem concealed the light, the purpose of creation, so that it will only be revealed in Olam Haba through studying and fulfilling the Torah, the work that needs to be done now.
This idea has a very practical application in our everyday lives. When we wake up in the morning, we say Modeh Ani, acknowledging and making us aware of the purpose of our creation. We need to be able to hold onto that awareness throughout the day, even subconsciously. We cannot let ourselves forget that there is a purpose to our existence. Even when we feel like we cannot amount to anything or that we are wasting our time, we have to remember the greater purpose of our studying Torah and doing mitzvot. No matter how insignificant our job may seem, it contributes to the construction of a far greater building.
This Dvar Torah was adapted from one on projectlikkuteisichos.org