There is no “it was good” written in the Torah after the creation of man. Only after animals, plants and everything else. How can that be?
By Rabbi Ari Enkin, Rabbinic Director, United with Israel
We’re back to the beginning of the Torah, and the annual Torah reading cycle starts anew this week!
This week’s Torah portion is “Bereishit” (Genesis 1:1 – 6:8), and in it we read about the Creation of the world. Each day, for six days, God created comething different. From the sun to the stars, plants to fruit, fish to beasts, insects to humans it was all done in six days.
It is noted that after each individual item was created, the Torah says: “And God saw that it was good.” In fact, on Tuesday the words “it was good” appear twice, which is why Jews try to arrange for weddings to be held on Tuesdays. It is taught that Tuesdays hold special luck and blessing for beginning a major endeavor.
There was one exception, however, and that was with the creation of man. There is no “it was good” written in the Torah after the creation of man. It is eerily missing. The sun, stars and moon ” was good”; apples, oranges, grass and plant life “was good”; lions, tigers and bears “was good.” But man? Created “in the image of God”? Was it not “good”?
It is explained that when the apple was created, it was possible to say “it was good.” The apple is there, created, fully formed, ready for consumption – it’s reached its full potential. Its mission is completed. There is no more that it can do. Same thing with the animals. Once an elephant is created, it’s done. Lions, tigers, bears – once created, the job is done. The animals don’t check into yeshiva. They don’t take courses to improve their skills. They won’t be finding the cure to cancer. They’re done. And so it is with everything God created in the world. The creations are complete.
When it comes to man, however, the journey only begins at birth. Birth is the start, not the completion. Man has much more potential than what he is born with. We need to give man time to grow, produce, find his life mission. Only after 20,40, or even 100 years will we know if the creation of a person “was good.”
Sadly, there is much evil in this world rendering those who contribute to the evil as, well, “not good.”
The lesson of the absence of “it was good” at the creation of man is a lesson for us to live by each and every day. We must never stop growing, never stop seeking our potential, never stop trying to become better people. We need to demonstrate that we are different from animals. We need to show God and the world around us that we were worth being created. We must contribute to do good in the world.
Make sure that God can say regarding you, “it was good!”
For more articles by Rabbi Enkin on this week’s Torah portion, click on the links below: