The covenant between God and the Jewish people that was sealed at Mount Sinai is embodied in the Torah and so is the “light.”
“The hidden light from the first day of creation was restored and revealed through the first set of tablets.”
Adam was unable to reveal God’s “light” in the world. As a result, the entire purpose of creation was left hanging in abeyance. From the time of Adam onwards, it was as if all of creation were holding its breath waiting for another path to open up and finally reveal the “light.” What creation was waiting for was Sinai.
“And it was evening, and it was morning, a second day…
and it was evening, and it was morning, a third day …
and it was evening, and it was morning, a fourth day …
and it was evening, and it was morning, the sixth day.”
“The sixth day is an allusion to the sixth day of the month of Sivan, the day of the giving of the Torah. For, from the time of the sixth day of creation, all of creation knew that its fate was dependent on what would happen on a future sixth day, the sixth of Sivan.”
Rashi, Genesis 1:31
The sixth day of creation was both the day on which the first human beings were created and the day on which they failed to reveal the “light.” The sixth day of Sivan was both the day on which the Jewish people accepted the Torah and the day which would provide a way for the “light” to shine.
After Sinai, that challenge that was Adam’s falls on the shoulders of the Jewish people.
“I am God; I called you for the purpose of righteousness… and I made you a Covenant people, to be a light to the nations.”
“The purpose of creation could not be fulfilled until the Jewish nation left Egypt and received the Torah at Sinai. It was then that they would achieve the potential for being a ‘light to the nations’ and bring an awareness of God to the entire world.”
Netziv, Introduction to Exodus
In the End—”Light”
After eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, God came down pretty hard on Adam and Eve. In addition to telling them that they would now have to die and be buried in the ground, God also told them that they would have to toil like never before just to eke out a living and that from that point forth childbearing would be a difficult and painful experience. When God finished telling them all about the terrible consequences of their actions, the following happened—
“And God made for Adam and his wife garments of skin, and He clothed them.”
There is tenderness in that moment. Despite all the harm they caused, God knew how uncomfortable they had become with their physicality and so He made them clothing and dressed them.
Those were special clothes, very special. The Hebrew word for skin—as in “garments of skin”—is ohr. And it just so happens that the word ohr is a homonym. Ohr also means light and “light.”
When God dressed them in ohr, He was comforting them. He was telling them that despite the fact that they had failed to reveal the “light,” still, all was not lost. The day would yet come when the “light” would finally be revealed. And at that time, just as Moses became a radiant light, mankind would realize its potential, embrace and bask in its relationship with God, and be clothed in ohr—in the hidden “light,” revealed at last.
“A new light will shine on Zion. May we all soon merit to benefit from this light.”
“The light that will shine on Zion is none other than the hidden light of creation.”
Yavetz, commentary to the prayerbook
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Shimon Apisdorf is an award-winning author whose books have been read by hundreds of thousands of people around the world. He has gained a world-wide reputation for his ability to extract the essence of classical Jewish wisdom and show how it can be relevant to issues facing the mind, heart and soul in today’s world. Shimon grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, and studied at the University of Cincinnati, Telshe Yeshiva of Cleveland and the Aish HaTorah College of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem. He currently resides with his wife, Miriam, and their children in Baltimore. The Apisdorfs enjoy taking long walks, listening to the music of Sam Glaser and going to Orioles games.
Shimon can be reached at [email protected]
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