Bereishis 2

D'var Torah by Rabbi Jay Spero


Why Was the World Created? 

Contact Rabbi Spero at 862-9546 or


This week’s parsha starts off with the creation of the world. The first question we must ask ourselves is why was the world created? Science can answer many of the “how's” in the world, but it is unable to answer the “why’s”. In order for us to understand why the world was created, we must look at the world, and see if any purpose for it exists.


If one sits and contemplates, most normal human beings will come to the conclusion that there must be a Creator, the world did not merely come into existence.


And if we contemplate further, we will come to the obvious conclusion that there is purpose to it all. That if there is a Being with the ability to create the world, why would this Being have created it without a purpose?


This brings us back to our previous question of why.  


If one looks at the world, he sees possibilities for good and evil. What are the obvious ramifications of good? The ramifications usually lead to a degree of harmony and happiness (ethical laws between man and his fellow man). The ramifications of evil are the exact opposite.


Who decides these laws of ethics? As we see from the world today, when man decides ethics on his own there is tremendous disagreement.  To a large group of people in the Middle East , the men who blew up the World Trade Centers and the Pentagon are righteous martyrs. To us they are evil murderers. Reuters, one of the most respected news agencies in the world refuses to refer to these men as terrorists, because “one man’s terrorist, is another man’s freedom fighter”. So how do we decide on moral laws, and not get stuck in the muddled values of relativism?


Let us look to the story of Adom and Chavah (Adam and Eve) to try to gain some insights. Hashem created Adom and Chava and placed them in paradise on earth, the Garden of Eden. He did, however, give them one condition: that they not eat from the tree of knowledge. Of course, we know the tragic end of the story, that they did end up eating from the tree. The question remains, why did Hashem command them not to eat from this tree? Why did He not make life easier for them, and not put that tree there?


The answer is that Hashem created Adom and Chavah so that they should do good and perfect the world. If they would not have the opportunity to perform evil, than they would not have the opportunity to perform good. It would be like up with no down, right with no left, a burger without fries. Hashem created the world for us to do good, and we have the responsibility to perfect the world.


How do we know what to do in order to fulfill this goal? The same way Adom and Chava were able to know. Just as Hashem spoke to them, Hashem speaks to us. The way that which He communicates is the Torah. That is our instruction manual as to how to perfect the world.

Rabbi Jay Spero is the rabbi of the Saranac Synagogue in Buffalo.

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