Part 1 - Chapter 5 - Note 41
The portions of the following texts that are the most relevant to the book appear in bold.
Midrash Rabbah - Genesis III:6
It was taught: The light which was created in the six days of Creation1 cannot illumine by day, because it would
eclipse the light of the sun, nor by night, because it was created only to illumine by
day. Then where is it? It is stored up for the righteous in the Messianic future, as it
says, Moreover the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of
the sun shall be sevenfold, as the light of the seven days (Isa. XXX, 26). Seven! surely
there were but three, seeing that the luminaries were created on the fourth day!2 It is like a man who says, ' I am pro-viding
so much for the seven days of my [wedding] feast.3
R. Nehemiah said: It refers to the seven days of mourning for Methuselah, when the Holy
One, blessed be He, lavished light upon them.4
AND GOD SAW THE LIGHT. R. Ze'ira, the son of R. Abbahu, lectured in Casarea5: Whence do we know that you must not recite a
blessing over a lamp unless you can enjoy its light? From this: AND HE SAW...AND HE
PRONOUNCED A DIVISION.6 R. Judah b.
R. Simon said: He [God] set it apart for Himself.7
Our Rabbis said: He set it apart for the righteous for the future, just like a king who
had a goodly portion [served to him at table],
(1) I.e. the light which came into existence at God's command, not that shed by the sun.
(2) The light of the seven days is the special light created by God's fiat Let
there be light . But this served for three days only, not seven, since the sun was
created on the fourth day, which rendered the first light superfluous.
(3) Though he does not intend it to suffice for the whole period. Similarly we speak of
the light of the seven days, though it did not serve for so long.
(4) V. infra XXXII,7, and Sanh. 108b.
(5) Several cities bore that name: (i) Caesarea by the Sea, originally called
Strato's Tower, and some 7S miles from Jerusalem; (ii) Caesarea Philippi,
identical with Paneas; and (iii) Caesarea in Cappadocia, of which it was the capital.
(6) A ceremony, called habdalah (division), is performed at the termination of Sabbaths
and festivals, in which the distinction between these and non-holy days is mentioned. Part
of the ceremony consists of pronouncing a blessing over light (v. Pes. 54a), and R. Ze'ira
states that one must actually benefit from the light before he may pronounce the blessing.
Wayyabdel (E.V. divided) is thus connected with the ceremony of habdalah, and
we learn that it can be done only when the light is seen, i.e. enjoyed. 7 This first light
which He created.
but set it aside for his son. R. Berekiah said: Thus did two men of world renown, R.
Johanan and R. Simeon b. Lakish, expound it: And he divided (wayyabdel)
connnotes a literal division. Imagine a king who had two chiefs of the guards, one in
command by day and the other in command at night, who used to quarrel with one another,
each claiming, I must have command by day. Thereupon the king summoned the
first and said to him, ' So-and-so, the day shall be your province; summoning the
second he addressed him, So-and-so, night shall be your province.Thus GOD
CALLED THE LIGHT [for service by] DAY, saying to it, The day shall be thy
provinCe; AND THE DARKNESS CALLED HE [for service at] NIGHT, saying to it,
Night shall be thy province. R. Johanan observed: That is what the Holy One,
blessed be He, said to Job: Hast thou commanded the morning? (Job. XXXVIII,
12)-strange twere indeed! And caused the dayspring to know its place
(ib.)-twere amazing! hast thou really made it known which is its place [i.e. time-to
function in]!1 R. Tanhuma said: I can cite the grounds [for this statement]: I form
the light, and create darkness, I make peace (Isa. XLV, 7); having created them, He makes
peace between them.
AND GOD CALLED THE LIGHT, DAY (I, 5). R. Eleazar said: The Holy One, blessed be
He, does not link His name with evil, but only with good. Thus it is not written here, And
God called the light Day, and the darkness God called Night, but AND THE DARKNESS CALLED
Return to the Reference Notes Index Page