Before the Beginning . . .

Before the beginning, there was nothing but light. Infinite light. The notion of a world was absurd. Even a brilliant, shining, glorious world would be fully consumed within the intensity of that light, a light that knew no bounds.

So He hid the light. All of it. There was absolute darkness.

And now there could be a world.

How does darkness allow a world? Because in darkness you know only yourself.

When there is light, you see that you stand within a greater whole, that you are only a small being, a single iteration of that whole. Before, it was impossible to imagine a world. Now it is impossible to imagine anything but world. When you feel the primal light that projects you into being, your very sense of self begins to dissolve. Within infinite light, you are not a thing at all.

But in darkness, a world can exist, a world that can say “I am.”

And it does. To the point that it cannot imagine anything other than its own existence.

In effect, a radical reversal has occurred. The background has become foreground, and the foreground has become background. The light has receded into darkness, and the darkness has become the energy of being. Before, it was impossible to imagine a world. Now it is impossible to imagine anything but world. This world.

Which is all good, very good.

Etchings in the Sky

Return to that radical first step towards our creation. What came before the darkness?

“When the King first desired a world,” says the Zohar, “He engraved its forms in the pure supernal light.”

The Zohar speaks in rich metaphor. It asks us to imagine engravings within pure light—that which can neither be seen nor known. Until the light is dismissed.

Think Think of a program for existence etched into a bright sky.of a program for existence etched into a bright sky, engulfed within endless light, but there nonetheless containing all that would ever be, awaiting its birth, its chance to become real.

With the removal of that infinite light, a trace of those engravings remained. And now a trickle of light burst through from beyond into the darkness, from a place where this great vacuum had never occurred, where it remained an absurdity, where there was still nothing but the infinite light.

As an electric force propels static code to dance and play upon your screen, so this stream of light breathed life into that trace left behind, those formulas and patterns, so that they became a reality and began to tell their story.

Surprised to Exist

What is our place in this story?

It is to latch onto that trickle of light and draw more and yet more into this darkness. Until the darkness is flooded with light.

For this we were given a Torah of light, with deeds prescribed to transform the darkness. Because the Torah comes to us from the very origin of that stream of light, from the bowels of the fountain from which it flows.

Our roleOur role is to reverse the reversal. To create something yet more radical. is to reverse the reversal. To create something yet more radical:

To make a world that is surprised at its own existence. A world that says, “Isn’t it wondrous that I am? That a rotting seed yields a great oak out of sunlight and thin air; that a newborn child cries out to catch its first breath; that a whole new world of life is reborn at every moment, where there is no reason that anything should be? Isn’t it wondrous that there is anything at all?”

Where once the light was the domain of prophets and lofty souls, attained by solitude and revelation, in the high places and the courtyards and chambers of the Holy Temple, we will have a world where “your sons and daughters will prophesy,” where even “the physical eye will see” that there is nothing else but G‑d.

The light will become the obvious reality, the natural state of life. As for this world, it will be a perpetual wonder.

No Return

Which answers a tough question: If the darkness was meant to be flooded with light, what was the point? We will simply return to where we started, when there was nothing but the infinite light.

No, there is no return. For two reasons.

First, because now there is already a world. And this world will remain. There will be a world, and the world will be filled with infinite light. Because it is through our efforts in this world that this infinite light has come to shine within it.

Second, because this infinite light will reflect a much deeper reality. The initial infinite light told of a Creator who is a source of light.We are almost there. Keep tugging. But this new light that we will draw will tell of a Creator of darkness and light, world and not-world, being and not-being. All of these can coincide and find union in His presence, for He knows no bounds.

We are almost there. Keep tugging on that stream of light. Just one more tug . . .

Maamar V’nachah Alav 5725

From the upcoming book Wisdom To Heal the Earth.