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Not Politically Correct

By: Rav Moshe Stavsky

Parshat Bereishit relates to us some details regarding ‘briyat ha’olam’. While it's difficult for us to grasp the depth of the secrets of ma’ase bereishit, there are lessons and ideas that we can most certainly learn from the way the process is described in the parasha. 

I would like to focus specifically on the concept of Havdalah which plays an important role in the creative process. In just the fourth pasuk in the chumash we are introduced to the concept of havdalah. We read “v’yavdel Elokim bein ha ohr u’vein ha choshech”. The Ribono shel olam is ‘mavdil’ between ohr and choshech in order to create yom and laila. Just two psukim later we read of the separation of the waters in the universe: “yehi rakiya betoch hamayim vayehi mavdil bein mayim l’mayim”.  Finally we read about the meorot barakiya hashamyim; the sun, moon and stars which are created to distinguish between day and night.

One must wonder why the concept of Havdalah plays such a prominent role in the creation of the world. On some level couldn't the world have been created without a need for a separation" after things were created? Why create in one fashion and then separate things out?

Perhaps we can learn an important lesson from the concept of Havdalah imbedded in the creation of the world. We live in times when all societal lines are blurred and the very concept of drawing distinctions is frowned upon and certainly not politically correct. Equality and sameness are regularly interchanged and the very idea of creating distinctions and making separations is looked upon as being judgmental/racist/sexist/elitist.

The Torah is perhaps teaching us that life is full of separations and distinctions which we must constantly make in our lives. We need to distinguish between good and bad, between forces of light and forces of darkness. We need to distinguish between thing things which are "heaven related" and "earth related". While we need to view and treat all people with dignity and respect as befits every tzelem elokim, we must realize that there are differences and distinctions between people, differences between cohanim, leviim and yisraelim, etc..

Indeed our ability to make judgments and distinctions is what makes us uniquely human. It allows us to grow and become better people. In an age of moral relativism, when any desire to maintain a distinction and national identity is under attack we would do well to remember the lessons of Havdalah  inherent in the creation of the world.  

Shabbat Shalom







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