Dear Readers,

Several weeks ago, during the sweltering summer heat, a short but severe thunderstorm created havoc in our neighborhood. Branches snapped due to the strong winds, collapsing on the electrical wires. From morning till evening, the electrical company was busy with repairs, but too many fallen trees needed to be cleared. As a result, our entire area had no electricity for four days!

Being without electricity meant that we had no light, no air-conditioning, no fridge, no hot showers, no washing machine and no oven. Flashlights provided the only light at night, and a long drive in our car was how we charged our phones.

Luckily, not too far away, our relatives’ electricity was working perfectly. We schlepped boxes of frozen food to their freezer, and bought blocks of ice as “refrigeration.” Some lucky neighbors were running mobile generators that provided limited electricity, and they generously offered us to recharge our laptops.

As the week wore on, so did our patience. I had never realized how reliant we are on electricity. I wondered how many other things in my life I fail to appreciate. Do I ever stop to think about my health, my ability to walk or talk? Perhaps even worse, how many people in my life do I take for granted? How many of their kind actions do I assume will just automatically continue?

The temperature soared, and as Shabbat was approaching, we considered leaving. Late Thursday night, as we were trying to weigh our options, my bedside lamp suddenly turned on!

At first, I didn’t believe it. Holding my breath, I ran to open another light to see if indeed the electricity was working. As quickly as it had turned off, it was now on full-speed. The house was bathed in light, cold air was coming out of the registers, and the refrigerator was once again humming. A hot shower had never felt so exhilarating.

In an instant, life had changed. Though the walls and floors of my house were the same, the context was entirely different. From one moment to the next, this new charge of energy altered our environment. It actualized the saying of our sages, “G‑d’s salvation is like the blink of an eye.” Redemption can come instantly, without notice, completely transforming our hardships, shining light on the darkest circumstances.

This week, we begin the book of Genesis, which describes that on the very first day of creation, G‑d created light. Our sages teach us that G‑d also set aside a special light for the future for the time of the redemption.

By creating light as the first act of creation, G‑d set it as our mandate. “Let there be light” needs to be our guiding mission—to find and appreciate the light, the goodness and the purpose within all of creation. We can only fathom what we have if we take the time to stop, appreciate and be thankful for it.

As fast as a switch of a light, the hidden light that G‑d created in the beginning of creation will finally be revealed, and the dark exile will forever be transformed into a bright redemption.

Chana Weisberg

Editor, TJW