And Hashem said to Moshe and Aharon in the land of Egypt saying: “This month is for you the head of months, the first of the months of the year it will be for you.” (Shemos 12:1-2)
The first comment of Rashi (Genesis 1:1) in all of the Torah points way ahead to this verse and declares that this verse containing the first command to the Children of Israel, is the logical place for the Torah to have begun. Why? Why should this be the point of departure?
Imagine you are called to a meeting to discuss a great investment opportunity that comes around once in a lifetime. You arrive dutifully on time, sharpened #2 pencil in hand, ready to take notes and consider the options. The president of the board of directors launches into an endless historical diatribe about how the company came to be originally and how it has developed over time.
After a while you begin to wonder if you entered the correct meeting and if perhaps the conference on investment opportunities you were seeking isn’t taking place in some other boardroom. After what seems like an eternity, your ears perk up and your pencil is poised. The present has finally arrived. At a furious pace information about high yield investment possibilities and all the potential risks and benefits are outlined in great detail. The meeting has really begun.
“The beginning,” Rashi explains, was important to chronicle in case any future challenge should be raised about the qualifying status of the Jewish Nation to receive the Torah and enter the Promised Land. The world at large needs to know that “the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness therein”. He judiciously awarded the great prizes of history to those who had made themselves most-worthy at those important junctures.
Just as the ones gathered at the investor’s meeting, we are mostly interested in the “now” dimension of the creation as we say daily in our prayers, “The One Who through His kindliness renews constantly the act of creation.” Our ability to continue building upward is based on our historical foundation. However, that is not the prime focus of Torah. Rather, it is to delineate how we function in regard to the creation that is _presently_ being willed into being, and how we relate to The One Who is willing it to be so at each moment.
This idea is manifested in many daily blessings. For example, before eating a fruit we recite the blessing, “boreih p’ri’ ha’eitz- Who creates the fruit of the tree” not “Who created” in the past tense. We are not relating to the fruit as a distant relative of the original and ancient fruit designed for Adam’s inauguration in the Garden of Eden but rather as one being willed into existence by The Supernal Creator at each present moment.
Similarly when we look at our computer-screens and see what seems to be a still photo, we understand well that the picture is being programmed and energized constantly. If the plug would be pulled momentarily or the program ejected, the screen would be a blank. The physical world also on a quantum level is strangely appearing constantly and only through some organizing principle finds itself repeating consistent and reliable patterns creating the illusion of sameness or age.
It is the ability to recognize the constant newness of time, which is the beginning of the freedom process, granting us the possibility of rising beyond time’s “prison walls” to realize our reason for being here and now.
Text Copyright © 2000 Rabbi Dovid Green and Project Genesis, Inc.