In this week’s Parsha, Parshat Bereishit, we go back to the beginning of the Torah, starting with creation. G-d makes the world in six days, including the heavens and the earth, fish and birds, animals and humans, etc. On the seventh day, G-d rests. Throughout this Parsha, we follow the story of Adam and Eve, theirs in with the Tree of Knowledge, and the story of Cain and Abel. As the first Parsha of the entire Torah, each word holds special significance. Countless rabbis have studied this Parsha, searching for a central theme to frame the rest of the Torah, as well as relevant guidance for their own times. This week, we too will dive into the text as we analyze the significance of each word, or lack thereof.
After each day of creation, G-d tells us in the text, “Ki Tov,” meaning, “it was good.” G-d created light from darkness, and “saw that it was good.” G-d created the sun, moon, and stars and “saw that it was good.” Each day G-d creates something new, and each day it is something to be grateful for—it is good. On the second day of creation, however, G-d does not declare that it was good. On this day, G-d separated the water from the heavens. Why wasn’t this good? What meaning can we draw?
Every word in the Torah matters. Therefore, the omission of “good” on the second day should not go unnoticed. Unlike the other days, G-d did not create anything new. Rather, he separated. This was the first act of division in the world. The Midrash explains that because there was separation in the world, G-d could not declare the second day to be good.
Today’s world is filled with divisions. Tension over the presidential election, police brutality, climate change, health care, reproductive rights, and countless more exists in our society. Overall, it feels that our world is becoming increasingly polarized—and increasingly chaotic as a result. Just as the first recorded separation was not good, neither are the divisions we construct between one another.
Let this commentary on Bereishit serve as a lesson in our daily lives. Rather than building up walls between each other, we must tear them down. Instead of focusing on our differences, we need to focus on our similarities. Although it was necessary, G-d was dissatisfied with the separation of the heavens and the seas. We should live every day finding ways to connect with one another, the world, and our Judaism. Then, at the end of each of our days, we can declare that “it was good.”
NRE Baltimore Shlichim, Maya Taylor and Danny Freedman
Read commentary on this week's Parsha from BBYO teens around the world.
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Los pros y los contras de que los niños vuelvan a la escuela presencial.
This week's parsha is when Moses learns he must act as a messenger for G-d, to get the Israelites out of Egypt. He does not initially view himself as a leader, but he learns that G-d will support him and everyone who puts in work and effort. This applies to issues we are facing now such as racism and anti-Semitism, because we have an obligation to help as Jews and as messengers.
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