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by Rabbi David Zauderer    
Torah from Dixie Staff Writer    

The holy Kabbalistic work, the Zohar, makes a fascinating statement. It says that "G-d looked into the Torah and created the world." This means that when G-d was about to create the world we live in, He used the Torah as a blueprint.



The holy Kabbalistic work, the Zohar, makes a fascinating statement. It says that "G-d looked into the Torah and created the world." This means that when G-d was about to create the world we live in, He used the Torah as a blueprint. Everything here on earth was tailor-made to fit into G-dís scheme of creation as laid out in His magnum opus, the Torah. This is a pretty radical concept for the contemporary Jew to accept, but if we take a moment and think about it, it actually makes a lot of sense.

Take the idea of parents, for example. Did you ever wonder why we need to have parents? (Iíll bet there are many children out there who have been troubled by this very question.) And donít answer that we need parents in order to bring kids into the world. G-d created amoebas too, you know. He has many tricks up His sleeve. He could easily have created a world without the entire concept of Mommy and Daddy. So why then do we have parents?

The answer to this question goes back to the beginning of creation. G-d had a plan to create a world in which His creations would enjoy a reciprocal relationship with Him. G-d provides the earth, oceans, fresh air, animal and plant life. In turn, we have to respond in kind by following His orders (read: the Torah), which are only given to us for our own benefit.

Thereís a slight hitch, though. Once weíre born and we come into this beautiful, ready-made world, how is He going to ensure that we realize who created all this good stuff for us. So G-d proceeded to create the concept of parents who are responsible for creating and bringing into the world the physical aspects of the child. He would then be the silent partner in the creation process, contributing the most important part of who we areóour souls. When G-d commanded the Jewish people to honor their father and mother, His plan was that we would make the following equation:

I have to show gratitude and honor to my parents for giving birth to me and raising me; how much more so do I have to show gratitude and thanks to G-d, the most important partner in the creative process. (This explains why the fifth commandment of honoring your parents is on the right side of the two tablets, together with all the commandments between Man and G-d. The essence of the commandment is about showing gratitude to those who love us and take care of us. And that applies to our father and mother down here, but even more so to our Father in heaven who loves us more than weíll ever know.)

This idea applies to other areas as well. We tend to think that there is a mitzvah to give charity to poor people because theyíre poor and they need it. In reality, the exact opposite is true. If we believe that G-d created this world we live in, we must ask ourselves some tough questions. Like, why did He make some people poor, while other folks live in Buckhead and vacation in Aruba? (Thatís a question you only hear from poor peopleóthe rich folks tend to accept their "lot" without questioning G-dís Divine plan.) The real reason why some people are economically challenged is so as to enable the rich people to fulfill the mitzvah of charity through them. The beautiful concept of tzedakah (charity) and its implicit lessons of faith and trust in G-d, as set forth in G-dís Torah, made necessary the creation of an entire system of people with different economic levels in which the rich can sustain the poor and thereby gain spiritually as a result.

This idea of the Zohar challenges our cozy, neat, and convenient perception of the way things work in this world. We are trained in Western society to think that the successful tycoon is where he is because of his amazing business acumen, and the poor schlepper is poor because heís either lazy or itís just fate.

What the Zohar is asking us to do is to remove ourselves for a moment from the conventional way of thinking, and to think about the bigger picture. Hopefully, through the study of Torah, we can gain new and deeper insights into who we are, and why the world is the way it is. Thatís what blueprints are all about!


Rabbi David Zauderer is a card-carrying member of the Atlanta Scholars Kollel.

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