The Jewish holidays are over. The books are closed. The scroll has been rewound. And so, this weekend we start again. This Shabbat, the Torah reading is from the book of Genesis — Beresheet.
The first book and early chapters of the Bible are my favorite. The story begins with a world that is unformed. A place with nothing but darkness, chaos, and a deep abyss. The “Great Architect,” with a clear vision and plan, begins to build. With intention and focus, each day’s creation is — in and of itself — significant. More importantly, each day of accomplishments offers a solid and necessary foundation for the next.
The process of Creation was a masterful reorganization. From a sort of environmental anarchy, order ensued…Day and night. Sky and earth. Land and seas. Vegetation and fruits. Sun, moon, and stars. Animals and birds. Man and woman. It was logical; a careful building of a world — step by step — in which plants, animals, and humans could survive and thrive together.
At the conclusion of each phase, an assessment was made. Once it was declared “good,” the Great Architect continued. And then, when all parts of the plan were completed and firmly in place, the project concluded with a “very good” and a much needed Sabbatical.
Last week, I saw the movie Joker. It’s depictions of chaos, anarchy, lack of social and moral responsibility, and inclinations of evil were terrifying. But not as in the “scary movie” type. What was troubling was how the movie closely portrayed the world in which we currently live. I’ve been disturbed by the potential outcomes ever since.
The Great Architect’s creations were spectacular.
Yet, even within the first few chapters, we learn of competing “evil” forces that aim to challenge or destroy the good. Temptation, competition, evasion, falsehood, immorality, jealousy, and even murder all exist “in the beginning” too.
And so, we indirectly meet the Great Destroyer (Home-wrecker?) and learn of its equally awesome potential.
My takeaway? From the beginning, humankind was put on earth to create, order, assess, evaluate, and do good in a sustainable way. But, on a daily basis, we’ll have stay clear-headed and focused. We must be vigilant and, if necessary, fight valiantly to protect and defend our creations.