Male and female He created them (1:27)
Midrash Rabbah states that G d created the first man as a two-sided creature—one face male, and one face female. He then hewed him in two and made a back for each half. But If G d desired mankind to be comprised of both male and female, why did He not create them that way in the first place—as He did with the other animals? The Lubavitcher Rebbe explains: “If they were to be originally and intrinsically two, each would be trapped in the exclusivity of his or her identity. Their encounter would be a relationship at best, a war at worst. Neither would have it in them to transcend the individuality into which they were born. The two would remain two, however integrated. But neither did G d desire man to be a singular being. As a single individual, man was without match, without challenge, and thus without potential for growth and creation. “It is not good that man be alone,” said the Creator; he requires a “helpmeet” and an “opposite.” So G d created them one, and then split them into two. Thus man searches for woman, and woman yearns for man. Thus each has it within their power to reach within their splintered self and uncover their primordial oneness. Thus man and woman cleave to each other and become one.”
And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day (1:31) The six days of creation embody the whole of history, for the world shall exist six thousand years (Talmud, Rosh Hashanah 31a), which is why it is said that “G d’s day is a thousand years” (Midrash Rabbah).
The Ramban comments: “The first day of creation, which saw the creation of light, corresponds to the first millennium of history—the millennium of Adam, the light of the world, when the world was still saturated with knowledge of its Creator and was sustained by the indiscriminate benevolence of G d. The second day, on which the Creator distinguished between the spiritual and the physical elements of His creation, yielded a second millennium of judgment and discrimination—as reflected in the flood which wiped out a corrupt humanity and spared only the righteous Noah and his family. The third day, on which the land emerged from the sea and sprouted forth greenery and fruit-bearing trees, encapsulates the third millennium, in which Abraham began teaching the truth of the One G d, and the Torah was given on Mount Sinai. The fourth day, on which G d created the sun and the moon, the two great luminaries, the greater luminary and the lesser luminary, corresponds to the fourth millennium, during which the First Temple and the Second Temple in Jerusalem served as the divine abode from which light emanated to the entire world. The fifth day, the day of fish, birds and reptiles, represents the lawless and predatory Dark Ages of the fifth millennium. The sixth day, whose early hours saw the creation of the beasts of the land, followed by the creation of man, is our millennium—a millennium marked by strong, forceful empires, whose beastly rule will be followed by the emergence of Moshiach, the perfect man who brings to realization the divine purpose in creation and ushers in the seventh millennium—the world to come—a time of perfect peace and tranquility.”
‘And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat parts thereof; and G d paid heed to Abel and to his offering’ (4:4) By the same token, the Rambam explains, everything that is for the sake of G d should be of the best and most beautiful. When one builds a house of prayer, it should be more beautiful than his own dwelling. When one feeds the hungry, he should feed him of the best and sweetest of his table. When one clothes the naked, he should clothe him with the finest of his clothes. Whenever one designates something for a holy purpose, he should sanctify the finest of his possessions, as it is written (Leviticus 3:16), “All the fat is to G d.
Prepared by Devorah Abenhaim