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Beginnings and Divisions

BeraishitSigart by Laya Crust

Bereshit- Genesis 1 – 6:8

This Saturday we begin reading the Torah, the Five Books of Moses, again. Genesis is an incredibly rich source of narrative, adventure and lessons in family dynamics. The first of the narratives covers a lot of territory figuratively and literally. We read about the creation of the world, of Shabbat, of humanity, and the history of the first family on earth. In reading this parsha I was struck by the use of the words יבדיל and מבדיל. Both mean divide or seprate.

The story of the Creation of the World, as recounted in the Torah, is often  translated this way:

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”darkness 20048

The narrative continues that the earth was תהו ובהו, unformed and void. There was darkness on the surface of the depths. Then a wind from God, רוח אלהים, swept over the waters. It seems things were chaotic at the beginning of creation..  There was neither form nor order.

God introduced light, separating the light from the darkness. This division was the introduction of organization. Let there be light 300 dpi B

Light, separated from darkness, created day and night.

Although light and darkness were introduced the expanse of creation was still swirling waters. God divided the waters so that there would be seas below and sky above.ad0009Land appeared and vegetation was introduced. Then God created the sun and the moon to divide day from night.

In the story of the six days of creation we read a form of the word “separate” five times. Without separation one element flows into another. Without dividing day from night would we have gorgeous velvety nights studded with stars? Would we have huge, blue prairie skies? Our world would be a disorganized mass of water, earth, greyness, light and darkness, making it difficult for us to appreciate what is around us.

So, remember to separate yourself from the hustle and bustle around you. Notice the air and the water and the details of creation around you. The separations God made allowed elements of the world to appear and evolve into the plethora of colours, shapes and forms around us.

Enjoy the diversity and the experience.

Shabbat Shalom,


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