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World of Thought

World of Thought

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There’s something that has always bothered me about the Torah’s account of creation. “Let there be light” lacks the expressive sensitivity you would expect from the ultimate creative act. It sounds cold and removed.

How about, “And the Creator began to consider the concept of luminance, and as He did, light came into being”?

Or perhaps, “And then a sense of clarity arose in the Supernal Consciousness, and so there was light”?

I suppose what really bothers me is this: Why did the Creator have to speak in order to create? Wouldn’t it be so much more wonderful if we were all just a thought?

Actually, we are. That’s how things started off. And that’s what we connect into on the day of Shabbat.

You see, first there was a World of Thought. The written Torah doesn’t start with that world. The Torah begins with a beit—the second letter of the Hebrew alphabet. It starts at the second part of the story. But at first there was a world that just emanated out of thought—and never left that place.

The second part of the story is when all those thoughts descended to become a concrete world. A place that seems separate from its Creator, outside of its source. Like speech: Your words travel outside of you and become part of someone else.

That’s the world we live in for six days. A world that pretends to have no source. We try to push it around a little, it pushes us around a lot, and we both pretend that this is a real and autonomous world. That there is a world, and there is us, and we are all separate things.

But then, on the seventh day, the Creator let into this world a taste of that higher plane of the “World of Thought.” We tune into it by no longer pushing anything around—or letting anything else push us around. We don’t change anything. We don’t create anything. We don’t make fires, we don’t cook food, we don’t stink up the air with carbon monoxide or make cyberspace connections. We only meditate, contemplate and enjoy. We get a feel of a world that is no more than a single, vast, expressive and wondrous thought.

And then we return to the other six days. But we’ve already experienced this world’s hidden truth. We can see through its facade. We can rip it away. We can draw on that higher plane to illuminate our mundane world.

Rabbi Tzvi Freeman, a senior editor at Chabad.org, also heads our Ask The Rabbi team. He is the author of Bringing Heaven Down to Earth. To subscribe to regular updates of Rabbi Freeman's writing, visit Freeman Files subscription. FaceBook @RabbiTzviFreeman Periscope @Tzvi_Freeman .
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Tovah Feldman April 17, 2015

Creation of the world through speech also shows us how very important and powerful speech is. Reply

Shelly Tolbert NY February 8, 2014

So incredibly beautiful These analogies and short stories continue to enlighten my 24 year old brain, it is as though I have already felt this in my soul and reading it solidifies the meaning and wisdom of it. as well as the practical daily application of these lessons

Thank you sincerely Rabbi Freeman. and may G-d continue to reveal his will, word, and purpose through you Reply

Steve E Abraham New York December 3, 2013

speaking Does Hashem speak like a human speaks? Can we compare our idea of speaking to G_d speaking? Hashem has no mouth, no vocal cords, Hashem is not a corporeal being, speaking is just a way of describing something that we admit we are not able to understand. Reply

Anonymous August 9, 2012

World of thoughts א Creative power of Elokim, Albert Einstein , quoted him as the father of light , time, and speed. Bibliography. Reply

Ruth marshfield hills, ma July 6, 2012

illuminating our mundane world Aleph for me, when I say the letter, has to do with possibility, as in ALL IF. And F is actually the key, as in what could be, opens doors. Imagination begets Creativity. IMA, the Mother in Imagination. I am taking a walk across Babel.

I think it's not random our word, FLOCK contains the F and LOCK, and I see eff, as part of what is "ineffable". In fact the English letter F looks like a key.

Let there be light, refers to all aspects of light, and humor is one, and also of course, the amazing lightness of being, and what is enlightenment.

What is amazing about our mundane world is it's not so mundane, and I think we never actually left Eden. Look to the garden, and to the Cosmos, and the Asters. It's all ONE.

Look to the signs on the road we travel, because they also deeply reflect our very lives: Dead End, Sharp Curve Ahead, No Exit, Detour, Breakdown Lane. the greatest sign of all for me: Share the Road. It all mirrors and there's a story running sub rosa, in all our lives. Reply

Richard John Mesle Curry County, OR./USA June 29, 2012

Living As Commanded Thank you all so much for your Chabad.org web site.

It certainly is exactly as I have told others it is. It does matter who it is, who comes to your rescue, in your hour of need.

All of my life I have desired to live rightously before God. The men of your organization have become my teachers.

Sincerely, Reply

Anonymous Europe June 27, 2012

...and the word stands for vibration What about the lost ancient knowledge of metaphores:" I suppose what really bothers me is this: Why did the Creator have to speak in order to create?" Vibration creates the word to speak as words spoken create vibrations. Isn't Vibration the source of life of all animated and inanimated matter?
The lost knowledge of ancient times when mankind moved in sync within the Laws of Nature, the lost knowledge and techniques vibration and magnetism that build the pyramids. We are led to believe that slaves... built the pyramids, how wrong we are in the name of today's religions that have deformed the ancient knowledge. How to strive for knowledge and history instead of allegory? Reply

David St.Kitts, WI June 27, 2012

world of thought why did the creator have to speak in order to create? (Because of His majistic power)
Wouldn't it be so much wonderful if we were all just a thought? Oh no, we would not have been fearfully and wonderfully made and we would not have felt that love of His intimacy. Only HE knows while we have an idea. Reply

Dann Montevideo, R.O.U. June 27, 2012

World of thoughts and words Alef is a consonant like the Bet .or it is an unsound consonant ?
What about the vowels?.In Hebrew they seem to lag behind the consonants .But in other languages no.
Great reading ,thanks R. Tzvi Freeman Reply

izzy nmb June 26, 2012

loved it! thanks so much!

keep up the amazing work - acting as a humble emissary of G-D. Reply

Laura Swift Essex, UK June 26, 2012

One of my favourite Chabad.org authors. So well written! Thank you! Reply

Celine Bennett Elliot Lake, Canada, Ontario May 28, 2009

"dabar" What a mysterious word, what power behind spoken words! Have you looked in quantum physics? It's outrageously interesting and answers many questions in scientific terms backing up The Word. Just fascinating! G_d is so gooood! Reply

Herbert Schwarz, MD, FACS Santa Ana, CA October 3, 2008

Shabbat It is that moment when the centrifugal and centripetal forces of the universe are equal and we are gravitationally and intricately neutral and at ease and most importantly centered. We are neither spinning out or being drawn into the tumult of the universe. If we are the center of a thought we can use this time to meditate upon our roles. Reply

Mitch Schapira Anchorage, AK October 2, 2007

Why G-d created disease It says, "When G-d began to create ..." The work is not done. What remains is a residue of "sohu v'vohu." Let's call it chaos.

When disease randomly strikes a person, this is chaos.

G-d created man to complete the work of creation. Eliminate this remaining chaos. Find a cure for the disease. Reply

lanc shepherd sydney, australia via chabadhouse.org.au December 26, 2006

wonder I like this but... tell me what was G_D thinking when different diseases man gets were created, do you ever wonder what was happenning for eternity before the brief flash of our existance, the endless stark empty black nothingness, and whats behind that, I dont understand and no one will answer me, you quote the bible and do all this fussy stuff about a particular word as if GOD wrote it, but man did , do you get that, man, maybe he was inspired by GOD, But I find that Blasphemous, I love GOD , but it is really strange to ponder some of these great writings about GOD when you are in the grip of a painful disease, thank GOD doctors and nurses and hospital cleaners and cooks keep going to work on all days, I love GOD everyday, I see GOD in all the majesty of the universe, I embrace the mystery for what it is, mans desperate need to explain and interpret tells me more of mans fear than of mans understanding. Reply

jason Port Huron, MI via theshul.net May 13, 2005

The Timeless Torah I am in awe of the spectacular way you have shown the timelessnes and relevence of the Shabbat for us to embrace in an everchanging world so contaminated with G-dless relativism. Reply

Jacob Sacks Dallas, TX March 15, 2004

Regarding the Shabbat article I loved it, I was truely moved. I passed it on to all my friends, and I would like to thank you. Reply

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