October 14, 2020 / 26 Tishrei, 5781 • Parshat Breishis
Issue 636
Dedicated in loving memory of Mrs. Miriam Friedman

וַיְבָ֤רֶךְ אֱלֹ-הִים֙ אֶת־י֣וֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִ֔י וַיְקַדֵּ֖שׁ אֹת֑וֹ כִּ֣י ב֤וֹ שָׁבַת֙ מִכָּל־מְלַאכְתּ֔וֹ אֲשֶׁר־בָּרָ֥א אֱלֹ-הִ֖ים לַֽעֲשֽׂוֹת:

G-d blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, for on it He abstained from all His work that G-d created to do.

The New Perfect

On the seventh day from the start of Creation, G-d rested from his creation of the world -- "His work that G-d created to do."

What is the meaning of this phrase? Would it not have been more accurate to refer to Creation as the work "that G-d created and did"?

The Midrash explains that indeed G-d created the world "to do" -- i.e., to be perfected by humankind. In the words of the Midrash, "Anything created in the six days of Creation requires enhancement."

This perspective seems to contradict the oft-repeated teaching of our Sages that the world was entirely perfect and complete upon creation. Which one is it? Was the world perfect upon creation, or does it require further improvement -- "to do"?

These two views are not contradictory, however, when we consider the context of the verse that refers to creation as the work "that G-d created to do" -- a verse which speaks about the seventh day, Shabbos.

In the first six days of Creation, the creation met all "expectations": it was perfect and complete. When the seventh day arrived, however, and G-d sanctified that day as Shabbos, the additional holiness drawn into the world made it suddenly possible for the world to attain greater heights than it had been capable of before, rendering its initial state of perfection deficient.

Thus began the requirement for humankind "to do" -- to bring creation to its newly endowed potential, for greater potential obligates greater responsibility and accomplishment.

-- From: Lightpoints