Contributed by: R. Ezra Mizrahi
"And God said, "Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth." (Beresheet 1:14-15)
In a subtle way in the verses at the beginning of parashat Beresheet we learn a very important lesson that can be applied to many various aspects of our lives. When we carefully read the above-mentioned verses, we learn of Hashem's creation of the lights in the sky, specifically the sun and moon.
But upon a more careful read, we examine the reasons that the Torah states, in the order that the Torah presents them, the lesson becomes clear.
First, the Torah tells us that the purpose of the sun and the moon is to "separate the day from the night". The Oreh Hayim explains that this is referring to differentiating the night and day for purposes of tefilot, sisit, and other misvot. Second, the Torah dictates the purpose of the meorot is to "serve as signs to mark seasons [holidays] and years". Third, the Torah states the reason as to give light on earth.
If we were asked what the main purpose of the sun and the moon, we would not hesitate to answer that they are mainly in the sky to light the world. The Torah lists this as the third reason! Instead, the goal of the meorot is to service Jewish misvot and establishment of Jewish holidays. It is after this main goal is achieved can the tertiary goal of lighting the earth sky be addressed.
What we think is the main reason that something exists is not necessarily the divine main reason for its creation. The gemara tells us that the world was created for the Torah, the pursuit of its direction, and the study of its depth. So too, many of the modern advances resonate great progress in Torah study. For example, the Internet – for some it is a source of pornography, while for others great recordings of classes and resources are currently being coded, to make the Internet a great tool for Torah study and research. Advances in printing have made it easier for books to be produced, and be produced in clear typesetting. Instead of spending splitting time trying to understand what is written and what it means, scholars can spend all their time focusing on just what the text means and interpret.
Still, the sun and moon are lighting the sky, and many of these scientific advances can be used for other purposes, but it is important for us to recognize the grand scheme- a scheme that revolves around our precious Torah.