As we entered into the New Year, we rerolled the scroll and began our story back at the beginning. Bereshit, in the beginning, God created all that was. Often, we read the story as binary; light and darkness, day and night, land and sea. Yet we know that as we follow the light through the day, from morning to night time, it changes in increments; twilight, dawn, dusk.
The stories in Genesis, before Abraham, are universal stories of humanity. No tribe is set, no religion. In creation, we learn that all humans are created in God’s image. Famously, when asked the ‘golden rule’ of Judaism, Rabbi Hillel answered, “Treat your neighbour as you would want to be treated.” Rabbi ben Azai argued that the word ‘neighbour’ is too narrow. In fact, the golden rule should be to remember that all humans were created in the image of God and we are all descendants of Adam.
In Exodus, we’re taught that all people whose hearts moved them, contributed to the building of the Mishkan (Tabernacle). The artists who were wise of heart brought the plans, and the women whose hearts stirred them spun the goat’s hair. Together the Israelites built the tabernacle where God would dwell. Upon the Mishkan sat two cherubim, from the root keruv, to draw close. The two cherubim facing each other teaching us, according to Torah scholar Avivah Zonberg that, “God is in the place where the two gazes intersect.”
The divine is found in connection and relationship, and through those divine encounters, we are moved and changed. Divinity is found in the connection between, and knowledge and truth are found in an understanding that often, when things seem binary, we must look for the twilight.
Rabbi Anna Posner