Everything begins with light, and light is the destiny of all things.

“In the beginning, G‑d created the heavens and the earth.” And what is the first thing G‑d said? “Let there be light!”

But isn’t that strange? What’s the point of turning on the lights when there’s nothing yet there to see—and no one there to see it?

So here’s a secret: The original Hebrew doesn’t really read that way. It’s better read as “When G‑d was about to create heaven and earth . . .”—meaning, before G‑d had even started—at that point, He set a mandate: “Let it be light.”

He set the purpose and meaning of everything about to be created: That it should become light.

That explains why, after He creates each thing, G‑d looks at it and “sees that it is good.” It is good, because each creation has its own unique way to shine that light. Once all is complete, G‑d says, “It is very good.” When you have many things each saying the same thing in its own way, and they’re all in harmony, then it’s beautiful, very good. It’s the ultimate light.

It’s just that, for the ultimate light to shine, a story must first unfold. So, our sages tell us, this light was hidden away for a time to come. Gradually we learn how to uncover that hidden light within each event, object and person that enters our lives.

Now here’s another secret. A secret about secrets:

The Hebrew word for secret—raz—has the same numerical value as the Hebrew word for light—ohr. Secrets and light, it seems, are related.

But that’s puzzling, because a secret is something hidden, and light is something that reveals things that are hidden. The two words don’t seem related—they seem opposite.

So this is the secret of life: that each thing holds its own secret. And this is how the story unfolds: Through our struggle with life and with the world, we crack its shell and get that secret out into the open. The secret of all darkness is that it desires to become light; the secret of all conscious beings is that they must perceive that light; the secret of all existence is to know that it emerges out of that which stands beyond existence.

Those who know the secret reveal the light. Those who have light reveal the secret. Until eventually that light shines, everywhere and through everything.