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The Cherubs' Secret: How to Read the Biblical Creation Story
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I suggested to you that - and again this is a little bit of a review - but I suggested to you that the Torah is designed as a kind of guidebook, and it's giving us a perspective on creation from that point of view. That's pretty much the argument that I made to you last week. If you want to just sort of summarize what we talked about last week in just a sentence or two, you would say that the story of creation 1 and creation 2 together, those two dual perspectives, are designed to try to guide you in how you could live your life. It's important for you as a human being to understand something about where you came from so that you can understand the meaning of life, you can understand your place in the universe, your place in the cosmos, how you relate to the fundamental important things. How you relate to your spouse, how you relate to children, how you relate to land, how you relate to the environment, how you relate to G-d. All of those things will depend upon understanding creation and G-d is going to tell you about creation - again, because it's a guidebook, and He's trying to guide you.
I suggested in our first week that many of the difficulties that we often experience [and try/when trying 2:34] to reconcile science and Torah come from a certain delusion that there is a contradiction in the first place, and I think a more proper way of understanding is that science is one kind of book, and a guidebook is a different kind of book. The Torah is talking to you about scientific facts but from a different perspective, from the perspective of trying to guide you. To read creation the way we read it last week, is to buy into that game and to allow the Torah to guide us by talking to us about creation.
To play a different game is to sort of play the science game and to try to shift perspectives. Again, just to go back to that analogy I gave you last week, the question is could we possibly say the following? Look, I get it Fohrman, the Torah is trying to guide us and it's not really telling us a scientific narrative, and we shouldn't expect it to comport with science, and all of that. But, bottom line, the Torah is talking about events that happened - right? I mean we're talking about an actual event that happened, creation of the world happened, and if the Torah is talking about something real that actually happened is there a way to somehow infer from the Torah what the Torah thinks actually happened? In other words, can we play the science game? Granted the Torah isn't designed to tell you about it but what the Torah does say, it should be relating to that stuff somehow. Could we try to shift perspectives away from guidance and towards science and say so what are the events that the Torah is actually talking about? What does the Torah think that they are?
The analogy I gave you last week is kind of like if you would imagine going to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and looking at a Renoir, so the Renoir is painted from a particular perspective. Could you imagine feeding the data from the Renoir into a computer program, a sophisticate computer program, and asking the computer program to re-create the painting from a different perspective? So I'm looking over here from the perspective of the grassy knoll over here, but what if I was sitting on the park bench at a 70-degree angle, what would the same scene look like? So you could imagine a sophisticated program being able to take the data, factor out that perspective and show me what it would look like from this perspective. Could you do that with the Torah? Could you say, all right so the Torah is giving me this perspective on creation, could I factor out the guidance that the Torah is trying to give me and arrive at what actually happened?
And tonight we're going to try a speculative experiment designed to do just that. What we're going to try to do in a way is suggest that the Torah is, in trying to talk to human beings - in other words, let me put it to you this way. The main difference between a scientific perspective on creation and a guidebook perspective on creation is that a guidebook is going to look at it from the perspective of the particular interest of human beings, the particular interest that human beings have in creation in trying to figure out their lives. Science in terms of what actually happened doesn't care about a particular perspective of human beings, it's just what actually happened. So in order to arrive at a scientific definition of what happened, what you might do is go back to the guidebook perspective and try to factor out the human perspective.
The idea is that the Torah is going to give you an overly anthropomorphic perspective on events, it's going to emphasize a human perspective, it's going to be talking to you as a human being in terms of what you should know, is there a way to factor out the human perspective? And if we could factor that out - almost like an algebra problem, when you have an algebra problem and you want to solve for x and you factor out the things that aren't x, and there's things you can do, you can divide both sides of the equation by the same thing. There's rules of what you can do to factor something out so you arrive at x. Could you factor out the human element in the Torah's story, the human perspective, and arrive at what just actually happened? Tonight I want to try a speculative endeavor in trying to do just that.
One device I want to use to help us in this is intertextuality. For those who have been around the block with me, you know that every once in a while I will suggest that there's a particular section of Torah that sheds light on another section of Torah. I think something like that exists with creation; there is an intertextual pair to the creation story and I'd like to suggest to you what it might be, or the rationale behind this. You'll see what I'm talking about in a moment, but what I want to suggest to you is sort of something bold and it comes from the following fact of Jewish life.
You may know that all of Melechet Shabbos - all of the Melacha that we avoid on Shabbos, has its prototype in Melechet HaMishkan, which is to say the entire 39 categories of work that we stay away from, they are derived in the Gemara from the 39 categories of labor which human beings involved themselves in, in establishing the Mishkan - the Tabernacle, in the desert.
Now why is that? So the Gemara in Shabbos provides you with a rationale and the Gemara in Shabbos says it's because of a juxtaposition in text at the beginning of Parsha Vayakhel. In the beginning of Parsha Vayakhel the Torah talks about the laws of Shabbos and immediately thereafter talks about the laws of the Mishkan and from that juxtaposition the Torah says that - or rather the Gemara infers that there is a connection between the two and that Melechet HaMishkan is the prototype for the Melacha that we're supposed to stay away from on Shabbos.
Now that may be true in a legal sense - the technical, legal answer to the question why is it that Melechet Shabbos is patterned after Melechet HaMishkan might be the juxtaposition of text in the beginning of Vayakhel, as I just talked about. But what if someone said to you, but why should that be? That seems like such a crazy, arbitrary thing. You could have patterned Melechet Shabbos after anything, what in the world does Melechet Shabbos really have to do with the Melacha of constructing the Mishkan? Why should it be that way? Why should such a fundamental aspect of Judaism, as the entire nature of Sabbath law, be willy-nilly, randomly connected to some completely unrelated event just by the virtue of the happenstance of a juxtaposition of texts?
In order for that to be satisfying you would have to suggest that underlying that connection between texts…
…it must be that underlying that juxtaposition of texts there is a basic thematic connection that makes sense. It has to be that there is a reason why Melechet Shabbos just obviously should follow Melechet HaMishkan. I want to just meditate upon that with you in a moment and see if we can discern the reason why. Why should it be that way?
It must be that it's just obvious that it's that way. Here's what I want to suggest to you. It is obvious in a certain kind of way. If you think about it the two really are two sides of the same coin; the Melacha that was used to create the Mishkan and, if you think about it, Melechet Shabbos originally comes from what? The idea of Melacha on Shabbos where is it that we first get the word Melacha used in connection with Shabbos? It's all the way back in creation. The Melacha of creation itself.
What if I told you - if we think about creation deeply and I asked you this question, how did the first act of creation, G-d making the universe, how did that change the status quo? So what would you say? What was the difference between before creation and after creation in just a couple of words? So you'd say well obviously you could imagine no greater change in the status quo than this; before creation there was nothing and after creation there was everything. I mean, like, that's the biggest difference that you could possibly imagine. It's crazy. But the craziest thing is - again talking about perspective shifting - that that's true only from a certain perspective. That's actually only true from our perspective, from man's perspective. But if you adopt G-d's perspective it wouldn't be true anymore.
Imagine you were talking to G-d and G-d asked you this question; so human being what do you think the difference in the status quo was from before creation to after creation? And what if gave that answer? What if you said to G-d, oh no problem G-d, You see before creation there was nothing and after creation there was finally something - what do you think G-d would say? Like He'd be a little miffed; what do you mean before creation there was nothing? Hello? What about Me? I existed before creation.
As a matter of fact, G-d's perspective would actually be the complete opposite. From G-d's perspective G-d would say, let Me tell you what actually happened. Before creation there was everything. Before creation there was Me, I was living in My majestic world, doing My own thing, I was fine, everything was good. You know what happened in creation? Creation wasn't the creation of something, creation was actually the inverse of that. It was the diminishment of everything. It was Me deciding that I actually wanted to hollow out this little space in everything, to sort of contract Myself, as it were - and this is the Kabbalistic concept of Tzimtzum really. It sounds like a really fancy concept this idea of Tzimtzum - contraction, but if you think about it, all Tzimtzum really is, is creation from a different point of view, creation from G-d's point of view. From G-d's point of view G-d would say yeah, I just had to sort of contract Myself a little bit to make room for something that wasn't Me.
What happened? G-d wanted to have a relationship with a creature, a human being, that was separate and apart and independent from Him, a little creator - as we talked about last week - that would be similar to Big Creator. But the problem was that G-d knew that He couldn't create that human being in G-d's world, couldn't survive in G-d's world, so first He had to create an environment for him. So G-d had to go through the laborious process of creating a universe; He had to create this vessel, this universe, this nursery, as it were, where human beings could come into existence. It would require the creation of space and time itself. It would require the creation of all the laws of physics and those laws of physics would have to be held in perfect balance with one another in order for this whole thing to work.
I mean, the inverse square law of gravity has to actually always work. What if the inverse square law of gravity worked sometimes? It wouldn't be very fun living any more - do you know what I mean? So we depend upon the consistency of the myriad laws of physics: Planck's constant, the four laws of thermodynamics, the ratio of the nuclear weak force, nuclear strong force. All of that stuff has to actually work.
So G-d set up all these laws and interestingly, if you think about it from the philosophical standpoint, G-d's attending to those laws, making sure that those laws are consistent, is itself an act of love, an act of altruism. Because those laws are necessary for us in order to be able to live, they're not necessary for G-d in order to be able to live. G-d has no interest in the inverse square law of gravity Himself, He has no interest in any of these laws of physics. That which He keeps them is only to allow the environment to work so that human beings could ultimately exist and so that G-d can ultimately relate to us.
Interestingly, philosophers of science wonder about why these laws are even there. Why should it be that the inverse square law of gravity that exists here on earth applies the same way in the Andromeda Galaxy? Why should there be any laws of physics? Why can't it just be random? There really is no reason for it that we can discern other than - again from a religious perspective it's not such a question. From a religious perspective we say [no, there's a 17:01] lawgiver, the lawgiver isn't just G-d who gave the Torah, it's G-d who gave nature, and G-d who gave these laws of nature to allow existence to develop in such a way that it could support life. Develop in such a way that it could support human life.
At the end of this process G-d finally created human beings, this little creator, and this little creator looks at himself and sees himself as a Tzelem Elokim - as someone like G-d, who can create. And what I want to suggest to you now is that the idea of Tzelem Elokim as a descriptor of mankind, as man created in the image of G-d, may not just describe our potential in terms of what we can do, but may actually describe our destiny in terms of what we ought to do, or what we should do. Or where it is that we're going in order to truly become human.
What I mean by that is that if you take this idea that we talked about last week a little bit further, this notion that human beings are creators - little creators like G-d is a Creator, so that's one to see Tzelem Elokim. That's in terms of his potential. A human being has the potential or the capacity to create (writ small), just like G-d can Create (writ large). But if you think about it you might say, well what was it that G-d actually did with His gift of creativity? G-d wasn't just creative, it wasn't just that He had a gift of creativity, G-d actually did something with that gift. Maybe man's potential is also not just to be creative but to do something with that gift? To do what G-d did with that gift. Man is truly Tzelem Elokim when he chooses to do what G-d did with that gift.
What did G-d do with the gift? G-d made the universe? But what does that mean? What that means is G-d took His everything, hollowed out this little place to create this apartment for a being that He could love. And then He did that; He created and He kept all of these laws in order to be able to have that being survive so that He could relate to him and love him. What is the destiny of that being? The destiny of that being is to do the exact same thing. That being, which we call man, he looks at his everything, but man's everything is different than G-d's everything. When man looks at everything what does man see? We're like fish in a fishbowl, you can't see out the fishbowl so everything is our universe, that's everything. All of space and time itself. We look at that little apartment that G-d created and that's our everything. So what is it that we do? What's our destiny?
Our destiny is to create what G-d created, a little apartment for the one that we love. What do we call that apartment? A little place that would be a summer home in our everything, that would be G-d's own little space, own little world? In order to make that world work, we would have to take upon ourselves to observe certain laws to make Him comfortable. Laws that are not really designed for us but laws that are designed to make comfortable the guests that we want to bring into this place. The apartment of course that I'm talking about is the Mishkan - is the Tabernacle. And the laws are all the things that you need to keep to, to be able to make the Mishkan work.
Laws of Tumah and Taharah, Kodesh and Chol - all of these laws, which if you think about it are godly laws, they're not focused on human beings, they're about the Divine, they're not really relevant to us. And if you say, why should I keep them because they don't seem to be relevant to me? The answer is you keep them out of love. You keep them for the same reason G-d keeps the laws of physics. G-d keeps the laws of physics so that your environment works, so you're going to keep the laws of Kodesh and Chol and Tumah and Taharah so that you can maintain an environment that G-d is going to be comfortable in. You don't understand it, fine, you don't understand it. It's not about you.
When we do that then we reach our human potential - which might explain the name of the guy who does it. Who is the artisan who constructs the Mishkan? It just happens to be named Bezalel. What if that were an acronym? Sure sounds like a lot like; B'tzelem Elokim - the one who is created in the image of G-d. Bezalel is the one who fulfills the destiny of humankind to actually create this place for the one that we love.
Now if that's true - if this whole idea is true - it might explain the centrality of the Mishkan for example, why the Mishkan takes up so much space in a story that seems to not really be about the Mishkan. If you think about the Torah as a whole you might say the Torah as a whole really is, in a way, about the Mishkan. The Mishkan is at the center of the story. The entire second half of Sefer Shemot, all of Sefer Vayikra, the entire first half of Sefer Bamidbar, they're all about the Mishkan. It literally is the center of the Torah.
What happens in between that? In between that G-d in creation makes a home for us, we get kicked out and eventually Avraham is told that his children are going to have a special time but then end up in Mitzrayim instead and the story of the Torah is really a homecoming story. A story where G-d is trying to bring people home and on the way the people try to make a home for G-d. Both stories end kind of almost done, and the question is where are these stories going to go? Will the Jewish people make it home? When they're home will they make a permanent home for G-d in the Beit Hamikdash? These are the stories.
Getting back to Shabbos and the Mishkan, it now should be self-evident why it is that the basis for Melechet Shabbos is the Melacha that we used to create the Mishkan - why? Because if you think about our Shabbos - our Shabbos is really just a reflection of the Creator's Shabbos. The very first one to keep Shabbos wasn't us, that which we keep Shabbos is just because G-d kept Shabbos. G-d was Shoveis - G-d stopped working, G-d let go of all of the Melacha that He did and that's what Shabbos is. So if I say what's the definition of Shabbos? The definition of Shabbos is a creator taking a break from all of the Melacha - the creative activity, that he used to create the apartment for the one that he loves. That's what - that's the definition of Shabbos, that's what G-d did. So that means that when human beings go and we make the Mishkan - the apartment for the one that we love, and we want to emulate G-d, that we too need to take a break from all the Melacha that we used to create for the apartment for the one that we love. So obviously we're going to take a break from Melechet Mishkan.
Our Melechet HaMishkan is analogous to G-d's Melacha of creating the universe. These are just the things you engage in when you're creating an apartment for the one that you love. G-d engages in His version of it when He creates the universe, we engage in our version of it when we create the Mishkan.
Okay, if we're willing to accept that general rubric for understanding Melechet Shabbos - why it is that Melechet Shabbos is patterned after Melechet HaMishkan; that no, it makes perfect sense, it's really the same thing. That suggests a deep connection between the Melacha that was used to create the Mishkan and the Melacha that was used to create the universe - in a way. In other words, it's not just that there is this juxtaposition of text and therefore we do it, no, they are the same thing and they're just mirror images of each other. G-d created the world, that was the apartment He made for us; we created the Mishkan, the apartment for Him.
Leading us to the tantalizing question might the construction of the Mishkan parallel in some way G-d's - in other words, is there something similar about these two construction projects? Are these two apartments related to each other in any way? Is there - could it be that if we are seeking to understand creation, that if we really want to understand how an intelligent person in the twenty-first century might go back and read the first chapter of Sefer Bereishis, the way we could get an insight into how to do that would be to look at the Mishkan and how it was constructed. It's a parallel building project; you can learn a lot from looking at parallel building projects.
To extend this idea a little bit further we might say that - or we might - let me put it to you this way - one might challenge the idea that I am suggesting to you now. One might offer the following challenge against it. One might say, okay Fohrman, let me just get this straight. So you're saying that there's this connection between us building the Mishkan and the universe, but this whole idea is a little bit crazy, because when G-d builds the universe for the one that He loves, for human beings, He's G-d, so He understands what a human being is, and He understands the environment that He needs to build for a human being to work. So He gets it, so He knows what the laws are, and He follows all of those laws. But for G-d to ask us to create an analogous environment for Him, how does that work? Like how are you supposed to have any idea what kind of environment works for G-d? Like you would have to understand something about G-d's environment in order to actually make it work. How could you - you have no idea what G-d's environment actually is.
In other words, if someone said re-create G-d's environment on earth. So how would you go about doing that? You would have to know what it - where does G-d live outside of space and time? What is His environment really like? Now re-create it here. We have no idea, we're completely at a loss. So you might say, well all right, fine, we're at a loss, so that's why G-d gives us these laws. So He tells us exactly how to do it. But is that really true? We have, like, no idea what it is we're creating?
So I want to offer something - again - a little bit radical here, but here's the suggestion I want to argue. Let's say - let's take G-d out of the picture. Let's say you were creating an apartment for the one that you love. And it's very complicated if G-d is the one that you love because you have no idea how to create G-d's environment. But let's say - let's make it easier. You're creating an apartment for your Aunt Sadie. You really like your Aunt Sadie, your Aunt Sadie lives in Detroit; your Aunt Sadie decides she's going to move in for three months. So you're going to remodel your house because Aunt Sadie is a very special visitor and you figure you're going to give her your son Jimmy's room. So Jimmy is seven years old and you're going to give Sadie Jimmy's room for three months.
But, you want to make Aunt Sadie really comfortable, so if you understood a lot about Aunt Sadie so you could fill the room with Aunt Sadie memorabilia, you could paint it her favorite color and you could make it just right for Aunt Sadie. But let me ask you, what if you didn't know anything about Aunt Sadie? She's this long-lost aunt and you haven't seen her a long time, so you can't really do that. You can't make the room perfect by putting all those Aunt Sadie stuff in there because you don't know what Aunt Sadie is like. Kind of like us and G-d.
What's the least you could do if you wanted to give her little Jimmy's room and have Jimmy move up to the attic? You look at little Jimmy's room and what does it look like? It looks like little Jimmy's room. So there's a bunk bed there, there's Mets' paraphernalia, and there's this ratty rug with the New York Mets or something, like there's all this little seven-year-old stuff, there's boxing gloves, whatever there is, in that room. So you say at the very least what do you need to do to make this room work for Aunt Sadie? You at least have to expunge all the seven-year-old stuff. You at least want to give Sadie a nice, clean room. So you're going to pack up all of the stuff which makes this little Bobby's room or little Jimmy's room and you're at least going to give her an nice, clean room which she'll decorate the way she wants to decorate it.
Maybe that's what we're doing in creating the Mishkan. In other words, the least we can do is what? Now take the analogy to us. If we're going to create an apartment for G-d, what's the least we can do? If we look at our world, our apartment, what's wrong with the idea of inviting G-d into our apartment? We might not know what G-d's environment looks like but we know one thing for sure, it doesn't look like our room. There's a lot of stuff in our room, in our apartment, that G-d doesn't need, that are extraneous; like all the little Jimmy paraphernalia.
Let's take stock of all the stuff that are extraneous in our apartment. Think about it. Everything G-d did in creation to make it perfect for human beings, all of that is extraneous for G-d because He doesn't need it, because that was just made for us. Which means all of creation, it means all of the stuff, it means vegetation, it means every - it's like you would have to get rid of it all. And by the way I don't just mean the stuff of creation, you'd have to get rid of all the laws, you'd have to get rid of space and time. You'd have to like take everything apart.
In a deep kind of way what I want to suggest to you is that constructing the Mishkan is nominally a construction project because we engaged in Melacha in order to make it, but what it really is, is a deconstruction project. What we're really doing in constructing the Mishkan is deconstructing creation. We're actually taking apart creation to try to bring it back to a pristine state, so all of the stuff that G-d made for us isn't there, so it doesn't clutter up G-d's space. Conceptually we're going backwards through creation. So I want to suggest that if we follow the construction of the Mishkan carefully you're going to see that the construction of the Mishkan is almost like a reversal of creation. Everything is being done to take apart creation. It's almost like a demolition project.
What does that mean? How would you demolish creation? Like how would you even do such a thing? Like that's like a crazy, crazy idea. How would you demolish creation to make it work for G-d? If we could answer that question, we would have ourselves a solution to a number of very puzzling things about the Mishkan. And, if we can answer that question, I believe we'll have a solution to a number of very puzzling things about creation itself. The two are going to shed light on each other, once we understand that constructing the Mishkan is deconstructing creation.
Let me give you a short inventory of problems with creation and problems with the Mishkan which I think will go away once you see this. Once you begin to see how constructing the Mishkan is deconstructing creation, these problems with creation on the one hand and the Mishkan on the other will evaporate. Here are the problems.
In week 1 with you, I referenced a few problems with creation. Just to go back and review, they were three. Here were the problems. Problem number 1, if creation is really creation ex nihilo, if creation is really about G-d creating the world from nothing, how come there was so much water everywhere? In the very beginning without even creating it we hear; Veha'aretz haytah tohu vavohu v'choshech al pnei tehom v'ruach Elokim merachephet al pnei ha'mayim - there's all this water. And the wind of G-d is hovering over the water. Whenever G-d creates stuff you hear Him create it; when He creates light, He creates light, when He creates vegetation, He creates vegetation, when He creates the sun and the moon and the starts, He creates the sun and the moon and the stars. The exception is water. Somehow there's just water there. Like where did all the water come from? Question 1.
Question 2, if you look at Day 3, Day 3 involves G-d creating all of this wonderful vegetation, but Day 4 involves G-d creating the sun. That means that all the wonderful vegetation seems to precede the creation of the sun. Now you don't have to be that much of a scientific Chacham to understand that trees don't do very well without light. How could you possibly imagine a world with flourishing fruit trees in which the sun had not yet been created yet? That's like basic question number 2 that you have to ask about creation.
Basic question number 3. If I asked you your top three reasons for being glad that our solar system contains a sun, what would they be? So I suggested that you would say well, heat very important, light very important - like these would be the main things. If you wouldn't have a sun, life is impossible, there is no heat, life isn't that much fun at minus 297 Kelvin - or whatever absolute zero is in space - and life is not that much fun in absolute darkness. We know that these things would make life cease, so this is the reason the sun is important, and yet strangely, if you look at the Torah's commentary on the creation of the sun we get none of that.
It says that G-d created the sun so that it would be: Vehayu l'otot ul'mo'adim ul'yamim v'shanim - that it would be calendar markers for us. That G-d says, oh I know you guys, you're going to want to festivals and you're going to need days and months and years, so this is going to help you track time. And in fact the sun does help us track time because daylight cycles with the sun are the way we actually track time. A daylight cycle on the earth we call it day. A daylight cycle on the moon we call a month. A daylight cycle in terms of days that are darker and lighter we call a year. When the days come around and they're just as dark as they used to be so then we know that a year has elapsed.
So we actually do use the sun for calendar counting but if I had to ask you what's your top priority about the sun, that's like a distant third after heat and light. Heat and light is what he sun is about and yet, not according to the Torah. The Torah actually doesn't mention heat and light, the Torah says, oh the sun is there to help you count time. Very strange.
These are the basic questions about creation. Now I'm not talking about the fancy questions about creation; questions that you could ask if you are a twenty-first century physicist. I'm just talking about the basic questions that anybody at any time would ask about creation; these are some of the basic questions we would ask. These questions, I think, go away once we understand the connection between the Mishkan and creation, and once we understand that creating the Mishkan is deconstructing creation. These are some questions about creation that go away.
Let me talk to you about some questions about the Mishkan which are going to go away. Here are some strange things about the Mishkan. What's inside the Holy Ark - the Aron? We all know the Ten Commandments - the Tablets. But the Midrash tells us something strange about the Ten Commandments, it says that the Ten Commandments was written with black fire on white fire. Black fire on white fire is a very psychedelic thing, very weird to think about that, what does the Midrash want us to understand with such a strange image of words of black fire written on white fire? It's a strange thing.
Here's another strange thing in the Mishkan - a lot of psychedelic, really weird things in the Mishkan. We know that the Holy of Holies was a very special place. We know according to the Mishna that if anybody went there in an unauthorized fashion he would die. The Kohen Gadol was only allowed there one day during the year and if he went there in an unauthorized way or not wearing the right clothes he would die. So what if I was somebody who said, that's very nasty of G-d, here's G-d's very special place and He kills anybody who comes in, like isn't the whole point that He wants to hang out with us? Why would such a vengeful G-d be killing people? So you would say well I don't know the answer to that, but let's just understand what the Kohen wears and how that really works.
So here's another question, what does the Kohen have to wear? So when the Kohein goes into the Holy of Holies on Yom Kippur it turns that he has to have very special clothes. They have to be what's known as Bigdei Lavan - they have to be white clothes. Now the Gemara wonders why they have to be white clothes? So the Gemara says well normally the Kohein Gadol on Yom Kippur is wearing what's known as Bigdei Zahav - golden clothes. So the Gemara says it wouldn't be appropriate for him to wear golden clothes when going into the Holy of Holies because; Ein Kateigor Na'aseh Saneigor - because golden clothes remind you of what nasty thing in Jewish history? The Golden Calf. The Golden Calf is not exactly the thing that you want to remind G-d of on Yom Kippur, so the Kohein Gadol divests himself of golden clothes and wears other clothes instead.
Great, that explains why we don't have golden clothes worn by the Kohein Gadol in the Holy of Holies, but it does not explain why the particular clothes that he wears just happen to be all white. So the question is why does the clothes that the Kohein Gadol wears have to be all white in the Holy of Holies? That's question number 3.
Question number 4 about the Mishkan. Here I am in the Holy of Holies and there is a math problem that the Gemara in Yoma talks about. The math problem basically is, is that there's not enough space for the Aron. So if you do the math there's 10 Amot to the side of the Aron to the wall of the Mishkan, and there's 10 Amot on the other side. The problem is, is that the whole Mishkan is only 20 Amot wide, which allows for absolutely no space for the Ark itself. The Gemara in Yoma when confronted with that problem says, ah no problem; Aron eino min ha'midah - the Aron just didn't take up any space.
Oh really? So you want me - like you expect - like the Gemara can say that with a straight face, like the Aron just didn't take up any space? And I'm just supposed to yeah, obviously the Gemara - right? And you're just supposed to nod your head and go on? What are you talking about? How can you expect me to take you seriously when you tell me that the Aron didn't take - the Aron is 10 Amot wide, what do you mean it doesn't take up - the dimensions for the Aron are given in the Torah and you're telling me that all of a sudden the dimensions aren't really there? It didn't take up any space? How could it have dimensions and not have dimensions? Crazy. How was the Gemara expecting me to take that and understand it?
By the way if you're a Harry Potter fan, it sounds like magic, like they actually have this in Harry Potter land, where there's this tent which is really small but when you get inside it's really big. Like it seems like something like that is going on here, how do we understand Harry Potter land in the Mishkan?
Okay, here's some other weird stuff in the Mishkan. If you look carefully at the stuff that the Parochet - that the curtain in the Mishkan is made out of, the stuff that the Yeri'ot - the curtains, are made out of, the stuff even that the Bigdei Kohein Gadol are made out of, you'll find that there's a common denominator in every last one of them. They're all made out of Shatnez. Couldn't - like you really had to do it that way? It's like we all know Shatnez is like the worst, right, so why would Shatnez be everywhere in the Mishkan? Like that's crazy. If you're really so anti-Shatnez, so at least in your very special place you shouldn't have Shatnez right? Okay next question.
The next question is a question of placement. If I told you where do you hear about the various vessels of the Mishkan? Where in the Torah do you hear about the various vessels of the Mishkan; what they are, how they're constructed, what their function is? Where do you basically hear about this? Come on guys? Right, it's in Shemot, in Parshiyot Terumah and Tetzaveh and Vayakhel and Pekudei, that's where you hear about it. With a little exception, the end of Emor. Turns out that if you go to the end of Emor - if you have a Chumash you can follow along, otherwise just listen to me, I'll just read you very quickly what I'm talking about.
The very end of Emor, after the Parshat of Mo'adim, you find something strange. The Torah goes through all the holidays from beginning to end and when you're done with the holidays, without any warning, this is what you get. Vayedaber Moshe et Mo'adei Hashem el Bnei Yisrael - that's the end of the holidays - G-d tells Moshe about the Mo'adei Hashem. Very next words; Vayedaber Hashem el Moshe leimor - and I'm reading now from Chapter 24 in Vayikra, verse 1. Tzav et Bnei Yisrael - command the Jewish people; Veyikchu eilecha shemen zayit zach katit la'ma'or le'ha'alot ner tamid - you should take pure oil to make the Ner Tamid - a light that never goes out. Where should you put it? You should put it on the Menorah. Mei'erev ad boker - from morning till night, on the Menorah; Lifnei Hashem tamid - it has to be all night long - it has to always be there. Chukat olam l'deroteichem. Al ha'menorah ha'tehorah ya'aroch et ha'neirot lifnei Hashem tamid - you have to have this light on the Menorah always.
Very strange. Out of nowhere, immediately after the Parshat of Mo'adim I hear about the light on the Menorah, which has nothing to do - trust me - it has nothing to do with any of the holidays, it's just a complete digression. And if that's not enough, we then go on to another implement of the Mishkan. V'lakachta solet - and then you take flour, and you make 12 loaves and you put them on the table and that should be there; Tamid - always before G-d. The loaves of bread on the table and it's there for 7 days and the Kohanim eat them. And then we have that story.
And then that's it, and this is - we just thought we'd let you know about these two implements in the Mishkan. What is this doing here? None of the other implements in the Mishkan are discussed; we have no discussion of the Mizbayach; the Mizbayach Ha'Ketoret, the Mizbayach Ha'Chitzon, nothing else. Two little implements of the Mishkan dropped out of nowhere in the middle of - at the end of Parshat Ha'Mo'adim, somewhere in the vast recesses of Vayikra, completely out of place, what is this doing here? That's question 5 or so.
All of these questions, I think, will go away once we understand, again, that the Mishkan is a deconstruction project. It's deconstructing creation.
How would you deconstruct creation? This brings us to one final question on the Mishkan, a question that brings us to the title of this series. I bet you were wondering when we would ever get there, the mystery of the cherubs. Let's talk about the mystery of the cherubs. Cherubs of course are Keruvim; Keruvim first appear guarding the little summer home that G-d makes for Himself in the Garden of Eden, and they then appear in the next summer home that human beings make for G-d in the Mishkan. If you think about it, that's kind of interesting, the only places in the entire Torah that we ever meet Keruvim are guarding the entrance to the Garden of Eden with the flaming sword, and the Keruvim in the Mishkan - the cherubs that appear in the Mishkan. I'll talk for a moment about where.
It turns out that the Keruvim actually most famously appear on top of the Aron - on top of the Ark, in three-dimensions. There are these Keruvim that are made out of gold that then go with their wings and shelter above the Ark. But it also turns out that that's not the only place that you have images of Keruvim in the Mishkan. It turns out that there's two other places that you have two-dimensional images of Keruvim woven into tapestry, and they are on the Parochet. The Parochet is the curtain that divides between the Kodesh HaKedoshim - the Holy of Holies, and the rest of the Mishkan - the Holy. And the other place you have it is on the Yeri'ot. And you can see this in the - if you look at Parshat Teruma - that this is so. You have it on the Yeri'ot. The Yeri'ot are the curtains of course that cover over the entire Mishkan.
Okay, now let me ask you a very basic question. Why? Why do you think Keruvim appear in the Mishkan at all? And, why would they appear precisely where they appear? In other words, if Keruvim are just a pretty decorative element, so I guess they're the kind of angels that are prettiest - like is that what it is? So we have pretty angels. So if the architect, G-d, thinks that it's really nice to have pretty angels, so put them everywhere, you should put them inlaid into the Table, you could have them on the Menorah - the Menorah has a lot of other decorations, why don't we have some images of the Keruvim there? No. There's three places for the Keruvim and that's it. The Keruvim are on top of the Aron on part of the Kaporet, they're part of the Parochet, and they're part of the Yeri'ot, why?
The answer to why is going to have to be - you're going to have find a common denominator in those three implements of the Mishkan. What is common about the Kaporet - the covering for the Ark, out of which you have these three-dimensional Keruvim, and then the two places you have two-dimensional Keruvim; the Kaporet - the curtain that separates between the Holy of Holies and the Holy and the Yeri'ot - the curtains which are on the outermost layer of the Mishkan? What would you say is the common denominator of all three of those things?
[Response from audience member: Separate.]
They separate. They're separators. They are. Each one of those things separates. The Yeri'ot separate between the outside world and the Mishkan, they're the outermost barrier of the Mishkan. The purpose of the Parochet is - in the words of the text - Lehavdil - to separate between the Kodesh and the Kodesh HaKedoshim. The Kaporet separates between what's inside - the holiness of what's inside the Aron and what's outside. It's really three levels of holiness that you're separating from, three barriers.
And by the way holiness is just a fancy word for deconstruction - by the way - of creation. Think about what holiness is? What does holiness means? Holiness just means separateness. It's the place where G-d is, it's G-d's environment. G-d's environment is holy; Kadosh, kadosh, kadosh Hashem Tzevakot meloh kol ha'aretz kevodo - so G-d's abode is holy, holy, holy. Interestingly three holinesses. So in the Mishkan you have three levels of holiness, three kinds of chambers leading you through these airlocks, closer and closer to G-d's world. It's almost like if you're going through these three airlocks, you're going through three crucial stages in the deconstruction of the universe, until you get to the primal stage at its very basis.
By the way, it's kind of interesting because if you look at the orientation of the Kaporet - the Kaporet, of course, the covering over the top of the Aron, has a horizontal orientation. If you think about the orientation of the Parochet - the Parochet which is that curtain has a vertical orientation. By the way, think about the words. Do you ever wonder why the words had to be so confusing? When you were a kid in school learning about the Kaporet and the Parochet, didn't you always get them mixed up? And you could never remember which one is which because they sound so much - it's the same word just the Chaf and the Pei get switched, and Parochet becomes Kaporet. The answer is because they're the same thing. They're just two different kinds of separators; one is a vertical separator, one is a horizontal separator. So if you flip one you get the other. If I flip the Kaporet I get the Parochet. That's true physically, it's also true linguistically. If I flip the letters of Kaporet I get Parochet.
So if the Kaporet is a horizontal separator and the Parochet is a vertical separator, what kind of separator is the Yeri'ot - the curtains? If you think about the curtains, they're both. The curtains overlay the Mishkan horizontally and then drape down vertically on the sides of the walls. So I have horizontal, I have vertical, I have vertical-horizontal.
I asked you before the common denominator of all of these things and you said separators. That's true. Going back to the original Keruvim, the original Keruvim were also separator angels. You might think of Keruvim as barrier angels. When G-d needed to make a separation between the Garden of Eden and the rest of the world, the separation was achieved through the Keruvim. So the Keruvim had a flaming sword and that flaming sword kept us from going back into G-d's world, but it's as if G-d says, hey the only world that I'm keeping you back, that's My world, is My world that I created, that's the Garden of Eden. But if you guys want to make a world for Me, if you want to go on a construction project and make a special place, totally! Then let Me bring back the Keruvim and they will usher you into that world. Notice that the Keruvim in the Mishkan don't have swords, because the Keruvim in the Mishkan are not there to keep you away, the Keruvim in the Mishkan are there to usher you in.
As a matter of fact, not only do they not have swords, but what's the one thing that we know about swords and the Mishkan? They do not go together. The Torah says you cannot use any stone hewn by swords, because swords are anathema to the Mishkan. So it's like yeah, the Keruvim over there they're keeping you away - back to the Garden of Eden - that's the one with swords, but here, no swords allowed, the Keruvim are actually bringing you in.
Now let's go to this idea of separator angels, that's what they are, they're separator angels. The Hebrew word for separation; Lehavdil - that's the word the Torah uses to describe the Parochet; Lehavdil bein [hakodesh u'bein Kodesh Kedoshim 53:11]. Do you know that the word Lehavdil hasn't been used since when? In the Mishkan the word Lehavdil appears, but before that when is the last time you had the word Lehavdil in the Torah? In creation itself. Again, the Mishkan and creation.
Now here's the thing. How many separator points do we have in the Mishkan? Three of them. Go back to creation and ask yourself how many separator points do you have in creation? How many Havdalot are there in creation? It turns out that there's exactly three. And now the question is might the three separation points in creation be mirrored by these three separations of the Mishkan? Could one set of separations actually line up to the other, that they're exactly parallel to each other?
I think the answer to that is going to be yes. What are the three separator points in creation? What's the very first separation in creation, do you remember? The separation between Or and Choshech on Day 1 - the separation between light and darkness on Day 1. What's the second great separation? On Day 2 the separation between Mayim l'mayim - G-d says; Vayavdel bein ha'mayim asher mitachat la'rakiyah - G-d makes sky to be Mavdil between water above and water below. And then, the next separation, number 3, it occurs on Day 4 with the creation of the sun and the moon and the stars. Sun and the moon and the stars are there; Lehavdil bein ha'yom u'bein ha'lailah - to separate between night and day.
Okay, now let's talk about these separations - the three separations in the Mishkan, the three separations in creation. Why are the Havdalot so crucial? Here's the theory I want to suggest to you. They're crucial in any deconstruction project, or any construction project. In any construction project or deconstruction project the Havdalot play a particularly crucial role and here's why.
Let's talk about deconstruction first. If I were involved in the business of demolition, that was my thing. Let's say my business was I demolish buildings for a living and you come and you say there's a skyscraper that I'd like you to demolish - not terrorism but it actually has to come down. So a skyscraper that needs to be demolished, it's 57 floors, the problem is it's in a residential area, it's a dangerous thing, how do you take apart - how do you demolish that? So a real expert in demolition would be able to take down that building very gently, just in its footprint. I don't want stuff flying all over the place and killing people, how do I demolish a building most quickly and efficiently and safely, that it simply collapses under itself? What is the strategy?
Imagine that I want to do this as efficiently as possible so I'm going to use explosives but I want to use the minimum number of explosives to create the minimum number of collateral damage, it's just going to fall. What do I do? Where do I put the explosives?
[Response from audience member: At the foundation level.]
The answer is I put it at key infrastructure points. Whenever you think of a building - any building - you can divide the building into two kinds of construction. The building has infrastructure and the building has what you might call superstructure, the stuff that gets built on top of infrastructure. Think about your house. You ever know when you want to remodel your house or move things around so the one thing you don't want to touch in your house are the load bearing walls. Because that's infrastructure - so you can't touch infrastructure. So first when you build you set up infrastructure and the infrastructure isn't like there because it's pretty or anything, it's just got to hold things up and then you can build things around that and you can build.
Similarly, if I want to take apart a building the first thing that I do is if I collapse the infrastructure. If I find three key places, three key infrastructure points and I put charges there, explosives there, the whole building is just going to collapse, because once the infrastructure is gone, the superstructure is just going to sink to the ground.
If you think about creation, I want to suggest to you that creation was done in exactly the same way. When G-d built creation there were infrastructure things that G-d did, and then there was superstructure creation that G-d did. How would you know the difference? Well think about the verbs in creation. You'll find that there's two different kinds of verbs in creation. The superstructure verbs are the kinds of creation that's visible to the eye, the kind of stuff that G-d is making new stuff. So those kinds of verbs are Barah - to create, Yatzar - to form, Asah - to make. Whenever you meet a verb like that; Barah, Yatzar, or Asah, you know that G-d is making superstructure, He's filling the universe with things.
But what are the infrastructure verbs? The infrastructure verbs are Lehavdil - the separations. In a separation you don't make anything new, whatever is there is there, you just setting things up in a way that the universe can hold something else. In order for the universe to be stable, G-d has to create the separation between these two things, in order to organize the universe better. Because a better organized universe is something that can allow for more stuff in it. So the Havdalot are really the infrastructure of creation.
Similarly, the Havdalot in the Mishkan are going to be the infrastructure of the Mishkan. The journey through the Havdalot in the Mishkan, I want to suggest to you, will look like a backwards journey through the Havdalot of creation. It's like I'm taking apart these infrastructure points to demolish creation, to get back to the essence of what was there before G-d started making things for us. In order to understand that we have to understand what the three Havdalot in creation are.
So what I want to do with you now is - in our remaining moments - is to take a very quick run-through - this talk by the way is going to run a little bit longer than the others because there's just no good way to stop it. So I apologize. But give me about 15 minutes and I'll be done with you. So the - what we're going to do is take a very quick run through creation and see the infrastructure developments. Here's how it goes.
Infrastructure development number 1, the very first infrastructure development. Let's read; Bereishis barah Elokim et ha'shamayim v'et ha'aretz - in the beginning G-d created the heavens and the earth. But everything was chaotic; Veha'aretz haytah tohu vavohu v'choshech al pnei tehom v'ruach Elokim merachephet al pnei ha'mayim. Now I want you to pay very good attention to that verse. That verse just happens to have three clauses in it. We talked about three different infrastructure points, three different Havdalot; you're actually going to see that the three different infrastructure points are actually all going to relate back to this primal verse that discusses the chaos of pre-creation. In a way, each of these infrastructure developments is going to be an attempt to do away with one element of the chaos. There's three elements of chaos; if I can get an infrastructure development that takes away all three of them I don't have chaos anymore. That's how I create the universe.
Let's take a look at the three parts of chaos. Part number 1; Veha'aretz haytah tohu vavohu - the world was chaotic, so element 1 of chaos is Tohu vavohu. Element number 2 of chaos is; Choshech al pnei tehom - utter darkness. Darkness is going to be our label for element 2 of chaos, another way of seeing chaos. A third way of seeing chaos is going to be; V'ruach Elokim merachephet al pnei ha'mayim - water.
In other words, if I would ask you - and just to make this very simple instead of making it like abstract; it's really not abstract, it makes sense, here's a way to make this concrete. If I asked you to look at the pre-creation world and describe to me why you don't think this world is inhabitable, what your problem with this world is? If G-d said, okay here is your world; Ha'aretz haytah tohu vavohu v'choshech al pnei tehom v'ruach Elokim merachephet al pnei ha'mayim - okay human being tell Me why you don't want to live here. You would give me three reasons.
The first reason you'd give me is too much water. I'm not a fish, I can't survive in this world, I have no habitable space. I can't breathe, I can't walk, just water everywhere, that's my first problem with this world. G-d says, that's it? So I say no, I have another problem, it's dark, I don't like living in darkness. Dark world doesn't do it for me, I can't support life, I need some light over here. G-d says yeah, that's it, no other problems? So I say yeah, the chaos thing is really getting on my nerves, the whole Tohu vavohu thing, I'd really like a little bit of order here. Everything is all mixed up, I don't know what's going, what's coming, I can't figure it out. So G-d says fine, so if I got rid of those three things, you'd be happy? So I say, yeah. I don't want any chaos, I want some place to breathe, I don't like all the water, and give me some light and I'm pretty good.
So that's a very concrete way of understanding it; there's three elements of chaos here that need to go away. These infrastructure elements are going to address one of these; chaos, darkness and water. Let's watch how it proceeds.
First thing that happens; Vayomer Elokim yehi or - the first thing that happens is; Yehi or - let there be light. Vayehi or - and there was light. Vayar Elokim et ha'or ki tov - G-d saw the light and it was good. And then - now even before we get to 'and then' let me just play a little game with you. So going back to our three elements of chaos, imagine that the first thing G-d did is He turned on the lights. So now there's light; Vayehi or. So describe the scene. Before it was really chaotic, it was dark and there was water everywhere, now one of these problems has gone, darkness gone, G-d turned on the lights, excellent. Now describe the scene. So darkness has gone, but what does the scene look like? Still very chaotic, still water everywhere. So what does the scene look like if you could describe the scene? Brilliant light because darkness has gone; Vayehi or - there's light, it's like an overexposed photograph. But there's water all over the place plus it's all chaotic, the waves, it's all mixed up, very problematic, but it's very light, very light, I can see as far as the eye can see.
If that's the case the next words in the Torah seem to make no sense at all. Look at the next words in the Torah. Vayar Elokim et ha'or ki tov - G-d saw that the light was good; Vayavdel Elokim bein ha'or u'bein ha'choshech - and G-d divided between the light and the darkness. So what question should you be asking now? Where's the darkness? I thought we just turned on the lights, how come there's still darkness here?
Now the Mepharshim struggle with this and the common answer that's given among the Medieval Mepharshim is something that's very profound. What they say is, is that this kind of darkness that we're talking about here, can't be the same kind of darkness that we started with. The darkness that we started with if I would ask you to define conventional darkness, so give me a good conventional definition of darkness. The absence of light. If you define darkness as the absence of light, once I turn on the lights and there's a lot of light, what happens to the darkness? It's gone, because there is no longer any absence of light. So that was the first kind of darkness. But the Mepharshim say that it must be that the darkness that we are now talking about that still exists after you flood the world with light, is not a darkness that's defined by the absence of light, but a darkness that's defined by the presence of something. By the presence of darkness.
If you want an idea of what this is later on in the Torah think about Makat Choshech. Makat Choshech was a kind of tangible darkness. There's some energy here - in other words, it's that in the original creation of light - seemingly, the original creation of light included light energy and a kind of dark energy that was part of that creation such that the two were comingled with one another. The dominant feature was light but somehow there was a dark energy there too. And; Vayavdel Elokim bein ha'or u'bein ha'choshech - the very first Havdalah was to create light as we know it which filters out dark energy from light and it just keeps us with light energy.
Now G-d then says, you know what that is you human beings? Vayikra Elokim la'or yom v'la'choshech karah lailah - we can call that just for shorthand Yom, the light energy, and the darkness we can call Lailah. Now that's a human way of relating to what we're talking about because human beings relate very well to night and day. But let's go back to our thing, we're going to factor out the human perspective. If you factor out the human perspective and you relate to what actually happened - what actually happened? The creation of light energy and dark energy and the separation between the two of them - enter science.
If you read science nowadays you will find that there's a strange thing about the universe, which is we can't figure out where most of it is. Here is the problem. We know that the universe is expanding and we know that the brakes on the expansion of the universe is the gravitational pull which is exerted by all of the galaxies and all of the matter and all of the energies in the universe, that creates gravitational force that slows down the expansion of the universe. The problem is, is that if you do the math you find that if you actually look at the rate at which the universe is slowing in its expansion, it doesn't actually add up to the amount of galaxies that are out there. There's hundreds of billions of galaxies that are out there but it's not enough gravitational force to account for the rate at which the expansion of the universe is slowing.
So scientists know mathematically that there must be more matter and energy out there than exists in the hundreds of billions of galaxies in the universe. Now it doesn't just mean that we haven't found the galaxies yet, it means that no, we know where the end is, and there aren't any more and we're off by a factor of five. Which means there has to be five times as many galaxies to account for the mathematics of the rate of the slowing of the expansion of the universe than there actually are.
So astronomers have been forced to conclude that there exists something in the universe known as dark energy. Dark energy and dark matter. And actually about 81 per cent of the universe is made up of it. The universe that we deal with, the light part of the universe, is only about 20 per cent of the universe. About 80 per cent of it is dark and what dark means is that it's completely - is that light is completely irrelevant to it. It does not reflect light, it does not emit light, it does not absorb light. The stuff is not detectable; you cannot see it because it doesn't really react with light.
The very first thing that the Torah seems to be saying is that the very first infrastructure development is at the very beginning G-d creates the stuff out of which the universe will be created; light itself, and takes light itself and divides it into dark energy and light energy and separates between the two of these, leading to the stuff out of which the universe will be created. Dark energy needs to be there, otherwise you don't have a universe, it's a stabilizing force that allows the galaxies to be able to exist as we know it, but other than that human beings don't interact with that, our world doesn't interact with it, it's just there. Infrastructure development number 1; the creation of light as we know it.
Now if I'm talking about that to human beings I'll call it day, I'll call it night, but what's really there is something much larger and more cosmic than simply day and night. Day and night are terrestrial terms for this.
Okay, what happens next? I'm just going to go through two of these really quickly and then I'll leave you and we'll do the rest next week. The next thing that happens is infrastructure development number 2, is the next thing that G-d says is, okay; Yehi rakiyah betoch ha'mayim - let there be sky in the middle of the water. V'hi mavdil bein mayim l'mayim - and let the sky divide between upper waters and lower waters. Now if I asked you - and then G-d did that; Vayavdel bein ha'mayim asher mitachat la'rakiyah u'bein ha'mayim asher me'al la'rakiyah vayehi kein - so G-d divided between that.
So now let's talk about this - and I said to you why, you human being, would you be so happy with the creation of sky? Sky divides between waters. So after this infrastructure development I'm going to have water up here that's going to be cloud vapor, and I've water down here that's going to be oceans, and I'm going to have sky in the middle. Before that what did I just have? I had water everywhere. Okay human being, why are you so happy with this infrastructure development? What does it give you? It gives you habitable human space. I'm not a fish, I can't live in a water universe. That was our other element of chaos, it wasn't just darkness that was my problem, there was too much water is my problem. Now I've gotten rid of that problem through infrastructure development number 2. Infrastructure development number 2 gives me habitable human space.
Okay, that's true - now let's go back to our Renoir analogy - that's true from a guidebook perspective, G-d is trying to describe something. Remember G-d is trying to describe a cosmic creation process in terms that are accessible to regular human beings at all moments in time. So G-d says, well let Me explain to you kind of what it's like. Imagine that there was all this water and you couldn't breathe because you didn't have any habitable human space, and then all of a sudden there was this sky and then there was water up here and water down there, and suddenly you had this space in which you could move around in, wouldn't you be happy? Now we say yeah, I'd be really happy. So G-d says good, that's what I did on Day 2 in the universe.
What does that mean when you take it out of the human perspective? Factor out the human part out of the following sentence. It wasn't that G-d created habitable human space - take out habitable human and what did G-d create on Day 2? He created space itself. The ultimate room in which we could live. It was more ultimate than just making habitable human space, G-d made space itself on Day 2. We'll talk about it in terms of habitable human space, that's what you humans understand, but what actually happened is infrastructure development number 2, is the creation of space itself.
What's infrastructure development number 3? Ah so G-d says, Day 4, let Me just tell you what happened on Day 4. Day 4, I created the sun and the moon and the stars. You know why that stuff was so good, you human beings? I know you guys, you like festivals, in order for festivals you have to have time markers because you human beings can't figure out how to mark time unless you have day and night cycles. So I'm going to give you your day and night cycles with the sun and the moon and the stars, that's why they're so important, to give human beings a way to mark time. So what did G-d create on Day 4? He didn't create something to allow human beings to mark time, that's the way He talks about it to human beings. Factor out human beings, what did G-d create? He created time.
Three great infrastructure developments; light, space, time. Everything that happens is built upon light and space and time - that's it, that's what G-d created. The infrastructure for the universe, the environment exists of these three things. And think about what happened. What happened on each day is - if you're familiar with Gemara with Shabbos you know about Avos and Toldos - major categories and subsidiary categories. All that creation is, is subsidiary categories within these three great separators - and I'm going to just leave you with that thought. The idea basically is, is that the first category, the first great separation was light as we know it. Light as we know it actually makes possible everything else, it's the first great infrastructure development, it's even before space and time conceptually. Why? In the Big Bang theory all of this happens at once; space, time and light and energy all get created at once, but conceptually the Torah gives it to you in three levels because conceptually one builds upon the other.
Einstein's Theory of Relativity - you can go home and look it up on the internet - suggests that time and space as we know it are themselves dependent upon something. We think of time and space as the absolute elements in which we exist, and for a long time we thought that was true. Newton thought that time and space were absolute, that time from your perspective is the same as time from my perspective. Space from your perspective is the same as space from my perspective. Einstein comes along 100 years ago and says that's not true, and Einstein is right. Einstein says almost everything is relative; time depends, your perspective on time depends, your perspective on space depends, you have to measure it with reference to something. There's actually one absolute thing in the entire universe, only one absolute thing, and it's not time and it's not space, the only absolute thing that's the benchmark of everything else is light.
Light is the first great infrastructure development. The speed of light is the first great absolute barrier; 186,282 miles per second, nothing moves faster than that. And time and space itself are relative to motion relative to the speed of light. So it turns out that the faster you are moving, getting closer and closer to the speed of light, you know what happens to you? Space starts to contract for you. Space gets closer and closer. Until you're at the speed of light and guess what happens? No more space. And same thing with time; as you get closer and closer to the speed of light, time starts to slow down for you. And they've proved this with experiments. You have jet liners going round the earth and you compare the clocks on the jet liners to the clocks on the ground, and the clocks are not the same anymore, because one is moving and one isn't moving.
So light is the first great infrastructure development that time and space itself are dependent upon.
The next great infrastructure development is space. After I have space, what can G-d then create? Well think about after space, after the - division number 2, what does G-d then create? He creates what? Certain kinds of life. What kind of life? Vegetative life. All the sort of vegetative life. What does He do? Space or habitable human space, creates an environment that I can fill with stuff, so the next thing G-d does is He fills the environment with stuff. That's the superstructure that you can build once you have this thing called space.
Ah, but space is static. In order to really get going I need one more element. My next great [superstructure/infrastructure 77:26] element that rides on top of space is time. What does time do? Time is that which allows me to plot motion through space, it rides on top of space. If I have space I can have a fixed point in space, but if I want to go anywhere I need time to get from here to there. Time allows for motion through space. After you have time, look what G-d creates next.
After Day 4, after you have time, what can G-d create? The next thing G-d creates is - look at the verbs; Yishretzu ha'mayim sheretz nefesh chayah - let the water swarm with life; V'ohf ye'ohfef al - let birds fly through the air, let animals creep through the ground. What's the common denominator with the creeping animals, the flying birds, and the fish swarming in the waters? It's a whole different kind of life. What's new about this kind of life?
[Response from audience member: Moving.]
It moves. It's animate life. It moves because time allows it to move. Now that I have time I can create stuff that moves. So G-d creates all of that.
Again, it's the conceptual development of the universe. It's not the chronological development in the universe. Chronologically all these three things happened at once, but G-d is saying, look human beings, do you want Me to explain it to you in terms you could understand? Okay, do you get it? You like having light around? Okay, you like having space to move around in? You don't like the chaos, you want to know exactly when things are? So I'm going to get rid of all those three elements of chaos with three great infrastructure developments. One that's going to get rid of the darkness, it's going to be light for you. One that's going to get rid of your habitable human space problem, we're going to get rid of the all the water - that's why water doesn't need to be created because water is just the absence of a place for human beings to live, it's the analogy to space itself, to just the void. So G-d says yeah, I'm going to give you human beings a place to live, you're going to actually have space. The next thing you're going to have is you're going to have time, and it's not going to be chaos anymore and Tohu Vavohu is going to go away. And you'll know what's first and what's second and what's third and you'll be able to live in an ordered universe. And then human beings can be happy and creation can exist.
When we come back next week what I want to show you is that the Mishkan is the deconstruction of this, and once you begin to see this all the problems that we had with how the Mishkan is constructed will go away. So I'll see you next week.
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