B'reshit - deciding whether to...

Rabbi Arthur Waskow

On Deciding Whether To...

Beresheit/ in the beginning
God was lonely, suffering
though everything in the universe was held within.
Unfulfilled, overpowered by chesed-energy
God breathed out, kissed out, sent it all out,
every possibility that ever was and would be.
I imagine God was frightened.
What a terribly momentous step,
even with overflowing love as catalyst and reference point.
What if something went wrong
if the universe made its own choices at breakneck speed
if there was no breathing any of it back in again.
Once it began, this process more powerful than its Creator
with beginning middle end all at once, all possible --
how could there not have been Divine panic?
So in the split second eon after that first outbreath kiss
a proclamation "Let there be light!" and there was
a moment when sight would be unhampered
a snapshot flash of eternity in which to see
before darkness was once again welcomed
the realm of comfort from all the see-ing.

So, too, in the beginning
the universe breathed its kiss into me
and with that kiss, possibilities
thousands of them
limited only by the chance of time and place.
And the world, spurred on not by love
but by something far more selfish, far more limited
to remind me of the correct response to light and darkness
according to the desires of many faces, many voices.
My panic is undeniably mortal
gripping me during folding laundry or cooking dinner.
As I stand as witness before the creation of my life,
well into its 3rd day
I try commanding light out of the confusion
but I lack Divine will
and all brilliance is gone
before I have a chance to see into the flash.
I can only comfort myself with the thought
that even God didn't know if the plan would work,
but moved forward into the darkness on faith.

by Rabbi Arthur Waskow
Director, The Shalom Center.

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