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Moshav Me'or Modiim, Israel
Rabbi Avraham Arieh and Rachel Trugman have over thirty years of experience in the field of Jewish education.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Creation of the World, the Ten Crowns, and the Ten Utterances

A new perspective on the connection between the small alef of Vayikra and Rosh Chodesh Nisan, discussed in the precious section, emerges if we place it in the context of the Talmudic debate over which month the world was created in: Tishrei, the month in which Rosh Hashanah, the New Year of years falls, or Nisan, the month in which Pesach falls and which is the New Year of the months (Rosh Hashanah 11a). Both sides make numerous arguments, but the Talmud reaches no definitive conclusion. Rabbeinu Tam, a later commentator, explained the underlying unity of both opinions: the world was created in potential in Tishrei and in actuality in Nisan. This sheds a totally new light on the significance of Rosh Chodesh Nisan, as according to this explanation the erection of the Tabernacle occurred on the same day in the calendar that God created the world!
    Indeed, Rosh Chodesh Nisan’s “ten crowns,” the ten rituals first performed on the day the Tabernacle was erected, are a manifestation of the ten utterances through which God created the world. (See “The Ten Divine Utterances of Creation” above.) This correspondence is alluded to by Vayikra’s (“and He called”) being, quite literally, an utterance. Serving God gives us the strength and creative ability to renew ourselves again and again, thus connecting our service of God with the power of creation itself.
     Furthermore, building on this confluence between creation and the Tabernacle, the mystical tradition teaches that the Tabernacle’s construction and contents were intended to reflect the upper spiritual worlds. On Rosh Chodesh Nisan, God clarifies the offer He made at Mount Sinai: “And you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Exodus 19:6). At Mount Sinai, the Jewish people were passive, but in the Tabernacle, they took an active role in partnering with God in the creation and maintenance of the world, and even in influencing the upper worlds. The service that God invited Moses and all Israel to partake in on the day the Tabernacle was inaugurated is reflected in the prayer we recite every morning: “In His goodness He renews daily, perpetually the work of creation.” By serving God we assist Him in this endeavor.

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