Finally, Simchat Torah. A chance to dance with the Torah , roll it to the right and begin again….in the beginning.
There is something about beginnings that are pretty overwhelming. The first day of school or a new job, a blank page, a new year, or creating the world. It can be pretty stressful, not knowing how things are going to work out. Can you imagine what God was thinking at the beginning, I mean, really the beginning? God had to make order out of chaos, out of the tohu v’vohu. Where does the chaos end and order begin, especially when you’re trying to maintain some, well, creativity?
We tend to think that God started creating out of nothing , “creation ex nihilo”. But when I read the opening text a little closer, it occurred to me that creation wasn’t “ex nihilo” at all; God didn’t start with a blank slate. “When God began to create heaven and earth – the earth being unformed and void, with darkness over the surface of the deep and a wind from God sweeping over the water” (Bereshit 1:1-2). The earth (though unformed), darkness, and water were already in existence. They were the raw materials God started with. I don’t think that made the Creation any less remarkable, because creation is not just about building something. It’s being able to envision something new out what’s already there; that’s real creativity.
There’s a lot of “tohu v’vohu” staring me in the face right now, and I’m not sure I can make something out of it. I know I have resources, things that are already in existence, that I can work with, but it’s so very unclear to me at this point how the next stage will play out, what it’s going to look like. I don’t particularly like the lack of clarity! I wonder if that’s how God approached Creation, not sure what was coming next, but knowing that something had to be done because the status quo was unacceptable. Did God know “in the beginning” that Creation was going to be good until it was all out there and done?
Going from “tohu v’vohu” to “and it was good” needed the hand of God. I’m going to need it, too. And so we begin….