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Each of the first six days of Creation finishes with "It was evening, and it was morning, and it was the first/second/third/fourth/fifth/sixth day". In contrast, the seventh day - when G-d rested from His work - presents a blank. It does not say: "It and it was morning: the seventh day".
This could imply that the seventh day is still not complete. G-d created Man on the sixth day. God rested on the seventh day by standing back, making it possible for Mankind to be a partner in advancing the Creation towards its final destiny.
The idea of Man being a partner in the Creation is illustrated by a Midrashic comment on the work of Moses as judge. As the Israelites traveled through the wilderness, Moses sat to judge the people, who stood around him from the morning until the evening (Ex. 18:13).
Rashi comments homiletically:
A judge who carries out his duties with complete integrity is reckonedů as being G-d's partner in the Creation, as it says "it was evening and it was morning". Broadening this idea, G-d did not complete the Creation. He endowed Mankind with the special capacities to initiate and carry through initiatives and activities for the benefit of Creation, to leave the planet a better place than he found it.
But the journey for mankind to be G-d's partner was - and is - a long one. For the nature of Man is that he does not learn by instruction, but by experience.
Indeed, this is implied in the content of the immediately-following story of Adam and Eve. For although Adam's G-d-designated task was to work and take care of the Garden of Eden (2:15), he was not ready listen to his 'Creator-partner' when told not to eat from the Tree of Knowledge.
Since then, the principle has repeated itself over and over again with Mankind. Desire for gratification, desire for power, and sheer selfishness have successfully wrestled with Mankind's striving to leave the world a better place that he found it. Sadly, many people have inflicted misery and suffering on their own kind and left the world a worse place than they found it. This includes wars, unethical sources of enrichment involving, and various species of 'isms' that have caused national disasters down the centuries.
Man's quest for Chochma - wisdom - knowledge, understanding, skills, and the factors causing the relentless march of technology - is theoretically part of the process in helping to perfect the Creation - 'a partner with G-d'. So is His revealed plan for humanity, revealed as the Torah. These two forces in the appropriate combination set the way forward to make the world a better place for all people. At best, they can strike the right balance between humanity and social justice, and the physical and economic environment. They can greatly enrich people's lives in educational and employment opportunities which can enable them to reach their full potential in their years on the planet. On the other hand, they may be mixed as forces of mass destruction, breaking the partnership between G-d and Man.
The fact that the world has not been at war for nearly 70 years, that worldwide initiatives are set to effect improvements in climate quality, disease eradication, and soil quality may suggest that some of those lessons implicit in Man's being a partner in the Creation are being learnt.
For those looking for more comprehensive material, questions and answers on the Parasha may be found at http://www.shemayisrael.com/parsha/solomon/questions/ and on the material on the Haftara at http://www.shemayisrael.com/parsha/solomon/haftara/ .
Written by Jacob Solomon. Tel 02 673 7998. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org for any points you wish to raise and/or to join those that receive this Parasha sheet every week.
Parashiot from the First, Second, and Third Series may be viewed on the Shema Yisrael web-site: http://www.shemayisrael.com/parsha/solomon/archives/archives.htm
Also by Jacob Solomon:
This article is provided as part of Shema Yisrael Torah Network
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