בעשרה מאמרות נברא העולם

With 10 sayings the World was created [1]

Bereishith/Gen. I:
1 – In the beginning…
3 – G-d said, “Let there be Light.”
6 – G-d said, “Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters…”
9 – G-d said, “Gather the waters under heaven together in one place…”
11 – G-d said, “Let the earth bring forth grass…”
14 – G-d said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of heaven …”
20 – G-d said, “Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature…'”
24 – G-d said, “Let the earth bring forth the living creature…”
26 – G-d said, “Let us make man in our image…”
29 –  G-d said, “Behold, I’ve given you every herb-yielding seed…” [2]

On this, the Ba’al Shem Tov taught: “…these very [Hebrew] words and letters stand firmly within the firmament of heaven and are forever clothed within all the heavens to give them life…” [3]

Reading the Ma’aseh B’rei’shith on Simchat Torah and Shabbat B’rei’shith, we note how crucial this Divine act is. Every layer of interpretation insists: Crea-tion isn’t  “mechanical;” G-d creates continuously, forever remaining present and involved in Creation.

“It was through Torah, called ‘The beginning of His way,’ [4] that G-d created the world; all things were created by means of Torah. Since the power of the Creator remains in the creature [5], Torah is to be found in all things and througout all the worlds…And since G-d and Torah are one, the life of G-d is present in all things…” [6]

“…G-d and Torah are one.” A Hasidic teaching firmly based in Kabbalah: “…Torah consists wholly of the Name of HKBH, and every letter of it is bound up with that Name.” [7] Rebbe Nachman of Breslav likewise says: “וקודשא בריך הוא ואוריתא כלא חד” — “The Blessed Holy One and Torah are one.” [8] 

How does G-d — forever unchanging — become expressed in changing created things? Hasidut says: Through the Aleph-Bet.

The Ba’al Ha-Tanya says, “And this is the meaning of the verse ואתה מחיה את כולם — ‘And You give life to them all’ [9].  The word אתה (You) indicates all the letters from Aleph (א) to Tav (ת) and the letter Hei (ה), the 5 parts of the speech-organ [larynx, palate, etc.]…” [10] He’s reading the verse as: “[The letters] Aleph to Tav [the entire Hebrew alphabet], expressed through Hei [5th letter in the aleph-bet, indicating the 5 parts of the speech-organ] are giving life to them all.”

The Chernobyler says on the same verse, “He reduced Himself, as it were, down to the lowest rungs…” [11]

In יוצר המאורות, praising G-d as Creator in the 1st brachah before the morning Shema, we say an alphabetic acrostic אל ברוך גדול on weekdays (which is expanded to אל אדון on Shabbat and holidays), because of the ancient teaching that the Hebrew letters — part of the “Throne of Glory” — were the means of Creation.

But it’s the Besht who urges us to always remember: Creation is a perpetual process; a continuous event in which G-d stays active and involved in the most intimate ways.

G-d, then, is continually creating everything — up to and including this very moment — by “speaking” the Hebrew letters, while remaining within those letters. Whatever else we’re to infer from this, we’re meant to understand that G-d’s Presence pervades Creation:

“There is no presence without His Presence; there is no life with out His Life; there is no substance without His Substance; there is no particle, no atom, without Him at its very core.” [12]

There’s no moment, then, and no place, in which we’re not as much in G-d’s Presence as the angels are; as Adam and Havah were, before their error.

It’s for us to apply the spiritual import of this truth in our lives: by it, to see the Divine Good in all people, events and things; by it, to draw on limitless peace, hope, inspiration, healing, and joy from within ourselves.

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[1] Avot 5:1
[2] There are various traditions as to which 10 verses are included
[3] Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liady; Tanya; p. 287 (English)/288 (Hebrew) (Sha’ar Ha-Yichud v’Ha-Emunah)
[4] Mishlei/Proverbs 8:22
[5צריך להיות כח הפועל בנפל תמיד; This fundamental Hasidic teaching also appears in Tanya, p. 290 (English)/291 (Hebrew), where the emphasis is on G-d’s being within the thing created continuously. Here, the Chernobyler creates a kind of syllogism: If Torah is present in all things, and Torah is the same as G-d, then G-d is present in all things.
[6] Rabbi Menachem Nachum of Chernobyl; The Light of the Eyes; Arthur Green, trans.; Paulist Press; p. 49
[7] Zohar; Soncino Publishers; vol. V (English edition), p. 73a (parshah Acharei Mot) and elsewhere
[8] Likutei Moharan vol. 1B (English; later editions, vol. 2) ; lesson 15, p. 363
[9] Nechemiah 9:6
[10] Tanya; p. 291; see also Sefer Yetzirah 2:3
[11] Light of the Eyes; p. 49; that the Alter Rebbe and the Chernobyler, both early Hasidic teachers, quote the same verses and teachings is strong indictation that these were the Besht’s own central teachings, too.
[12] Lichtenstein, Rabbi Morris; Jewish Science and Health; p. 14 (“The Divine Mind”)