Friday, 30 September, 2016 - 12:00 am


A doctor, an architect, a lawyer and a politician were arguing over which profession was the oldest in the world. 

The doctor said, “The medical profession is the oldest. Eve was made from Adam's rib, and that was a surgical operation.”

The architect said: “Before that, there had to be a place for them to live, and that was a job for an architect.” 

The lawyer said: “Before the architectural job there was chaos, and that had to be straightened out by a lawyer.”

The politician paused for a moment, then said, “Who do you think created all that chaos?” 

“Blessed are You G-d, who fashions light and creates darkness.” This blessing, recited in the Rosh Hashanah prayers, speaks about G-d bringing order out of chaos and light out of darkness. It is adapted from a verse in Isaiah that reads, “He fashions light and creates darkness; He fashions peace and creates evil.”

The prophet Isaiah used the term “Yotzer,” “fashions,” when he spoke of light and peace. He used the term “Borei,” “creates,” when he spoke of darkness and evil.

These terms were purposely chosen. There is a linguistic difference between Borei, “create,” and Yotzer, “fashion.” You create something out of nothing, but you fashion something out of a substance that already exists.

Accordingly, when G-d created the world out of nothing, the Torah used the term Borei. When He fashioned humans out of earth, the Torah used the word Yotzer.

The words of the prophet suggest that it is easy to create darkness and evil, for they can be created out of nothing. 

However, it is not easy to fashion light and peace. There must first be something with which to work. 

There must be thought, there must be motivation, there must be determination, there must be effort. 

On Rosh Hashanah, we rededicate ourselves to doing away with the darkness. We commit ourselves to fashioning peace and light and joy. 

Wishing you a Shana Tova and a sweet New Year!

Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi Yoseph Geisinsky

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