In the beginning G‑d created heaven and earth (Genesis 1:1)

For a change, let's talk a little philosophy.

We are often burdened by the past From the first verse of the Torah it seems that once upon a time there was nothing. Then the Creator brought the universe into existence. According to the Tanya, seeing as the world didn't always exist, it isn't quite natural for it to exist now. Therefore, the creative force of G‑d, which brought the world into existence initially, must constantly be present to fuel its continued state of being. Remove that Divine energy from the world, and it simply ceases to exist. It would be like pulling the plug on creation.

This concept is known as the law of continuous creation. Indeed, in our daily morning prayers, we describe G‑d as the One who "in His goodness renews each day the work of creation." The Tanya, then, would understand that to mean not only each day but also each moment.

I suppose we could understand this idea from the simple analogy of a person throwing a ball up into the air. When he throws the ball, his strength will determine how high the ball will fly. The stronger his arm, the higher it will fly and the longer it will defy the natural law of gravity. But as soon as the power of his throw is spent, the ball can no longer defy nature and comes hurtling down again.

if we want the initial or "natural" state of the world—which was non-existence—to be defied, then we need to keep fueling the thrust of creative energy that brought the world into existence in the first place Likewise, if we want the initial or "natural" state of the world—which was non-existence—to be defied, then we need to keep fueling that same initial thrust of creative energy into the world that brought it into existence in the first place. Otherwise, the universe simply reverts to its initial state of nothingness and non-existence, just like the ball that runs out of steam and falls back to earth.

Now let's move from the philosophical to the practical and we discover a beautiful message of hope and inspiration in this concept. We are often burdened by the past, weighed down by our personal history and experiences. Our mistakes and failures still haunt us and prevent us from moving on.

Here then is a stirring message for all who would be hampered by past disappointments. It's a brand new world. Every day, every minute, every second G‑d is recreating the world anew. Forget about the past. What was was. Today is a new world, a new present filled with exciting new opportunities. At any given moment we can begin again.

Especially in the week of Bereishit, when we read the Torah from the very beginning, it is a most opportune time for each of us to make a fresh start and a new beginning. New beginnings aren't always easy. But this idea of continuous creation offers powerful inspiration to give ourselves a new chance filled with new opportunities. As we start a new Jewish year, let us embrace this promise and be encouraged to begin again.