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"Let There Be Light!"

10/15/2020 08:29:51 PM

Oct15

Rabbi Reuben Israel Abraham, CDR, CHC, USN (ret)

At the beginning of this week’s parashah, Parashat Bereshit, we see that the very beginning of the Story of Creation speaks of darkness: "In the beginning of      G-d's creating of the heavens and the earth, the earth was wondrously void, and [there was] darkness upon the face of the deep...."  (Bereshit 1:1-2) We read further on in the parashah: "...and the spirit of G-d was hovering over the surface of the waters.  And G-d said, "Let there be light, and there was light.  And G-d saw the light - that it was good, and G-d separated the light and the darkness." (Bereshit 1:2-4)  In this day and age we seem to be surrounded by darkness, and more and more it appears to be similar to that thick, "touchable" darkness that made up the "Choshech Afaylah," the "Darkness of Blackness," that lasted for three days throughout the entire Land of Egypt causing the Egyptians to remain in place, not being able to move or live their normal lives.  In our own time, we seem to have gotten lost in the middle of the "Darkness of Blackness" called COVID-19 which once again seems to be engulfing our society, our country, and the world in its deadly grip.  There are those who, in the name of religion, are using this pandemic like a "kardom lachpor bo," "an axe with which to gore," saying that, because people are wicked sinners, because they act like Adam and Chavah in Gan Eden (the Garden of Eden) by defying what is believed to be “the Will of God,” they are the cause of this disease in this world at this time.  How do we combat this illusion of darkness that seems to control our lives at this time?  How can we bring more light into this world that seems so dark and bleak while we battle this dreaded virus?

 

There is a short story written by Joseph Epstein entitled "Felix Emeritus."  The story is about two residents of a retirement community, both all alone in this world, who engage in a conversation.  One is a bitter, divorced man who lost his business in a lawsuit.  The other is a retired English professor who keeps secret the fact that he is a Holocaust survivor.  The divorced man shares his written life's story with the English professor.  After reading the story, the professor asks, "You have very, very dark thoughts about life...Does life seem so bleak to you?"  The divorced man replies, "Only when I think about it."  So, how do we stop “thinking about it” when we are surrounded by what appears to be the “second wave” of COVID-19?

 

If we read a little further on in this week’s parashah, we find the following: "And G-d created the man in H-s image – “beTzelem Elohim” (“in the Image of G-d”) did He create him...." (Bereshit 1:27) This verse is the pinnacle, the high point, of the Story of Creation.  Because we have been created “beTzelem Elohim,’ we are duty-bound to reflect the Tzelem Elohim in all that we do in this world.  We do this anytime and every time we perform a mitzvah (duty/obligation) as commanded by the Torah.  And most important of all, because we are the People Israel, we must not and cannot reflect that Tzelem Elohim in darkness; we must do so in the light created by Hashem for this purpose.  We must give evidence to the rest of the peoples of this world that the Torah is meant to be as important to them as it is to us.  After all, we are commanded to be "a light unto the nations."

 

As we continue to proceed into this year of 5781, may the light of the People Israel shine unto ourselves, unto our families, and unto the world in an effort to combat and rid the world of this “Darkness of Blackness.

 

 

 

 

Sun, March 7 2021 23 Adar 5781