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Posted on December 7, 2023 (5784) By Rabbi Label Lam | Series: | Level:

In the beginning of G-d’s creation of the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was astonishingly empty, and darkness was on the face of the deep, and the spirit of G-d was hovering over the face of the water. 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 between the light and between the darkness. And G-d called the light day, and the darkness He called night, and it was evening and it was morning, one day. (Breishis 1:1-5)

And G-d saw the light that it was good, and G-d separated: Here too, we need the words of the Aggadah: He saw it that it was not proper for the wicked to use it; so, He separated it for the righteous in the future. – Rashi

What happened to that original light from the beginning of creation? Where can it be found?

I asked one of my grandchildren who was learning Breishis in school, “What kind of light was that first light? At that point the sun and the moon and the stars were not yet created!” He answered without hesitation, “Zeidy, it was a different kind of light!” He’s 100% right. This light is a hidden spiritual light that is hard for us to describe from a materialistic vantagepoint. Dovid HaMelech writes in Tehillim, “A light is sown for the righteous, and for the upright of heart, joy. (Tehillim 97:11)” Rashi explains, “A light is sown for the righteous: An actual sowing is prepared to sprout for them.” This is not a theoretical abstract light. It’s real! It exists! It can be found! But where!?

Every Friday Night before making Kiddush I make the same declaration. I can see my children from the corner of my eye mimicking the words and saying it like a parrot along with me. That’s OK! It’s exactly what I am aiming for. While holding the Kiddush cup, I say in differing ways, “We are remembering now that HASHEM made the world YEISH M’AYIN- Something from nothing.” Meaning that before HASHEM decided there was to be a world there was nothing. HASHEM created everything, small and large particles, energy, gravity, human nature, you name it. It’s all the precise and explicit work of HASHEM.

That’s only the first declaration. Now the second statement goes something like this, “From a physical standpoint HASHEM created the world YEISH M”AYIN- Something from Nothing, but from a spiritual vantage point HASHEM created the world AYIN M’YEISH – Nothing from Something!” That statement is crying out for an explanation! Before the BEIS of Breishis, prior to the Big Bang or the Big Beis, what was there? What comes before BEIS? The Aleph of “Adon Olam Asher Malach B’Terem Kol Yetzir Nivra, Master of the Universe Who was King before the world was created”. HASHEM Who is real, existed, exists, and will exist. This is ultimate and current reality. The Zohar refers to HASHEM as OHR AIN SOF- An endless light! Infinity is beyond our finite minds, but we appreciate that HASHEM’s light is the source of all existence!

When we were kids, we used to play a game called “Hot and Cold”. I played with my own kids many times. Somebody hides an object and the people who are invited to search for it are given verbal clues that they are getting closer or farther away. The further away you go, “you’re getting cooler”. The closer you get, “you’re getting warmer”. When you are so close and maybe even touching it then, “YOU ARE ON FIRE!” You can’t get closer than that! It seems you can be that close and not even realize it.

Moshe Rabeinu tells us, “It is not in heaven, that you should say, “Who will go up to heaven for us and fetch it for us, to tell to us, so that we can fulfill it?” Nor is it beyond the sea, that you should say, “Who will cross to the other side of the sea for us and fetch it for us, to tell to us, so that we can fulfill it?” Rather, [this] thing is very close to you; it is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can fulfill it. (Devarim 30:12-14)

Whatever we are busy searching for is not in the heavens. It’s not far off or transcendent. It’s not someplace else. Rather it is very close, not just close, but very close. Moshe is telling us, “You’re on fire!”

On Chanukah that light shows up in an obvious way. It is not in heaven, in a mystical book, or across the sea. It is in your home, growing in your window, glowing in your heart.