Bereishit October 10, 2015 / 27 Tishri, 5776

What was there before there was Creation? This age-old question, triggered by this week’s parasha, is answered in various ways in Jewish sources. Some midrashim state that God created and destroyed many worlds (some texts say even a thousand prior worlds) before settling on this one, declaring: “This one pleases me; those did not.” The mystical work of Judaism, the Zohar, takes a slightly different view, claiming that God only thought of creating other worlds, but did not actually create them. Others say that it is dangerous to even contemplate what came before Creation, and that is why the Torah starts with the letter Bet. The Bet is closed on its right side and open on the left, implying that the question of what came before is closed to us and not to be pursued. (Genesis Rabbah 1:10)