Ka’amur: L’osei orim g’dolim, ki l’olam chasdo. Or chadash al Tziyon ta’ir, v’nizkeh chulanu m’heirah l’oro. Baruch Atah, Hashem, yotzeir ha’m’oros.
As it is said: “[Give thanks] to Him Who makes the great luminaries, for His kindness endures forever.” May You shine a new light on Zion, and may we all speedily merit its light. Blessed are You, Hashem, Who fashions the luminaries.
Our last segment for the brachah of Yotzeir Or is from Rav Schwab on Prayer (reproduced from Rav Schwab on Prayer by Rav Shimon Schwab, with permission of the copyright holders, ArtScroll / Mesorah Publications, Ltd.), pages 283-288. We urge all who have this illuminating sefer to learn this beautiful piece from the original sefer itself. For this segment, we will include more quotes than usual, presenting Rav Schwab’s eloquent words.
The word “ka’amur (as it is said)” indicates a proof to the previous statement, discussed last week, which stated that Hashem renews the work of creation daily. The fact that the word “l’osei (to Him Who makes)” – quoted from the pasuk in T’hilim 136:7 and which starts today’s segment – is in the present tense indicates that Hashem is each day presently making the great luminaries. However, Rav Schwab questions this proof, pointing out that there are a number of p’sukim in that chapter of T’hilim that clearly refer to past events and nonetheless are written in the present tense. Rav Schwab then proceeds to describe the initial creation of the luminaries and presents his own beautiful understanding of their creation and of the moon’s reduction. In his own words:
Originally, these two heavenly bodies, the sun and the moon, radiated two forms of light. The sun radiated its physical light, and the moon became the carrier of the original “light of creation.” The moon was the same size and shape as it is today. However, instead of merely reflecting the sun’s light, as it does today, the moon radiated the Ohr HaShechinah, the light emanating from the presence of HaKadosh Baruch Hu, which illuminated the world. …
This “dual illumination” of the earth prompted the moon to “complain” that the single function of illuminating the earth – the keser echad – cannot be performed by two “kings.” Either HaKadosh Baruch Hu should reveal Himself by means of the spiritual light of the Ohr HaShechinah that emanated from the moon, or HaKadosh Baruch Hu should reveal His existence by means of the physical light of the sun.
Thereupon, HaKadosh Baruch Hu said to the moon, “You are quite right, the present arrangement is impossible. Therefore, ‘Reduce your size.’ Let the physical light of the sun rule during the day – shining directly on the earth – and at night, you will reflect the sun’s light to the earth.”
The condition of the moon as merely a reflector of the sun’s light – without the Ohr HaShechinah emanating from it – is called p’gimas ha’levanah, the imperfection of the moon. Since the moon was relegated to a purely physical reflector of light, instead of it being the carrier of the Ohr HaShechinah, it was “comforted” by HaKadosh Baruch Hu by the accompaniment of the stars that serve with it.
True, the moon had become relegated to a purely physical reflector of light, but when one gazes at the heavens and sees it “accompanied by its hosts” of the billions of stars, he immediately becomes aware of the Shechinah, the Great and Powerful Creator of the cosmos. …
This manifestation of the Shechinah, then, is a “consolation” to the moon for its “reduction in stature,” its having lost its own Ohr HaShechinah.
The Rambam, in fact, teaches that contemplation of Hashem’s awesome creations will lead a person to both yir’as Hashem and ahavas Hashem – awareness and love of Hashem. By contemplating the awesomeness of trillions of stars, each one with an average size larger than the earth, we become awestruck and want to attach ourselves to our Creator through His Torah and mitzvos.
We continue with Rav Schwab’s words:
Each month, during the brachah of Kiddush Levanah, when we witness the new moon-cycle, we see it as a constant reminder that just as the moon-cycle is renewed, so will HaKadosh Baruch Hu renew our relationship with Him, and return the Ohr HaShechinah to the world. …
This tefilah makes a direct reference to the return of the Ohr HaShechinah to the world: “May it be Your will, Hashem, my God, and the God of my forefathers, to fill the flaw of the moon that there be no diminution in it. May the light of the moon be like the light of the sun and like the light of the seven days of creation, as it was before it was diminished, as it is said: ‘the two great luminaries.’”
The moon has been a symbol of our hope for the renewal of our relationship with HaKadosh Baruch Hu, through the geulah…
We then conclude the brachah with a request that we all speedily merit to see the Ohr HaShechinah, the original great light that the moon reflected. May that day come very speedily in our day.
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You can direct any questions or comments to Eliezer Szrolovits at 917-551-0150.