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A World is Born

Rosh HaShanah recalls the creation of the world, as we see from the prayer, “Today the world was born.” According to our Sages, however, the world was created on the 25th of Elul, so that Rosh HaShanah actually marks the sixth day of creation, the day on which G-d created humans.

Why do we commemorate the creation of humankind and not the creation of the whole world? This is especially strange, given that the creation of the world demonstrates G-d's absolute power in His unique ability to create something from nothing. Only G-d's essence, free of all limitation, can bring about being from utter void.

Despite its uniqueness, the 25th of Elul is eclipsed by Rosh HaShanah. This is because the creation of man opened up a new and deeper relationship between G-d and the created world.

Of all the beings in the physical and spiritual realms, humans alone can choose to accept G-d's sovereignty. Only their relationship with G-d stems from conscious decision and free will. Though G-d creates and regulates all the other beings in the universe, they do not consciously accept this relationship. Their link with G-d flows from G-d's creativity; it does not result from their own decision.

Unlike every other created being, humans have the choice of accepting G-d's dominion or rebelling against it. They alone have been empowered to acknowledge the unity of G-d through their own thought processes, and to relate to Him as sovereign.

Our Sages teach that G-d created the world because He “desired a dwelling place in the lower worlds.”  Humans were created not only for expressing unity with G-d in their own lives; they were also given the potential to suffuse the entire world with an awareness of G-d's unity. Adam, the first man, gave expression to this potential on the first day of his existence by addressing all of creation: “Come, let us bow down; let us bend the knee before G-d our Maker.”

By imparting their superior relationship with G-d to the entire world, humans become G-d's partners in creation and contribute a necessary element to the world's existence - a conscious union with G-d. This uniquely human perception of G-d's pervasive unity makes Rosh HaShanah, the day of man's creation, eclipse the 25th of Elul, for the potential for oneness with G-d that came into being with man's creation overshadowed all previous levels of creation.

The ultimate state of unity between G-d and the world will be expressed in the Era of the Redemption, when “the world will be filled with the knowledge of G-d as the waters cover the ocean bed.”

This will be accomplished through man's efforts. The revelation of G-dliness in the Era of the Redemption depends on our present endeavors to perceive and express the G-dliness invested within the world.  By developing a conscious bond with G-d and extending that relationship into every element of our existence, we hasten the time when that connection will blossom forth into complete fulfillment in the Era of the Redemption. May this be realized in the immediate future.

(Excerpted from Timeless Patterns in Time, published by Sichos in English.  Adapted from the Sichos of Shabbos Parshas Nitzavim-Vayeilech, 5744; Erev Rosh HaShanah, 5733)


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