Project Genesis



Is the World Holy?

Question: Did G-d create a holy world and does He want us to keep it holy or make it a holy place by our deeds?

Answer: Thanks for the great question. When Hashem created the world he created it with the intention in mind that His creations were perfect in that they were not yet spiritually tarnished. It was up to us to take the potential (good and bad) and create our own realities.

Man lowered himself in the Garden of Eden and caused us to have to be punished on this earth for our deeds through death. We control our own spiritual destiny. That is a major concept in Jewish thought called bechira, or free will. God is perfect in every way, and we have the potential to reach spiritual unity with Our Creator. The problem is that as humans, we have desires that sometimes override the inclination to do good. As a result we do not live up to our potential.

In short, God created a place for us to take care of and perfect in a spiritual way. That comes down to the deepest, most inner thoughts and intentions of a person’s being. He did create a “holy” place, but we can make the holy impure or that which is currently disgraceful into something holy.

This is a very deep and difficult concept to portray in a short correspondence.

Be Well,
Rabbi Litt

Question: So I assume it is the Jewish responsibility by his actions and example to bring holiness to the world and where is this written? What a great idea to shape ones life.Thank you,

Answer: There are so many places that I could sight for the concept of human responsibility towards this world that I could not possibly write them all here. However, I would like to make you aware of one concept that might help shed some light to the situation.

I am sure that you know about a bris. When a baby boy is eight days old he has a ritual circumcision as prescribed in the Torah. That occurs on the eighth day. Why? Eight symbolizes that which is beyond creation. G-d created the world in seven days. On the eighth day that which was beyond the realm of creation was established. This concepts exists even today. When we give a boy a bris what we are saying to G-d is that we are taking part in the creation process and preserving that covenant that brings us back to Abraham, the first to take part in this covenant. This is just one example how we can have a role in creation.

I really like this example and I hope you see that value in it as well.

Be Well,
Rabbi Gershon Litt

1 Follow-up »

  1. Do you have other examples in scripture where we contribute to the holiness of this world?

    You can come up with your own examples of contributing to the holiness of the world. There is inexhaustible supply of such examples. Anything one does in accordance with G-d’s requirements, or refrains from doing also in accordance with G-d’s requirements, contributes to the holiness of the world.

    A Jew contributes by adherence to G-d’s Jewish Covenant, and a non-Jew contributes by adherence to G-d’s Noachide Covenant. (Don’t mix up your covenants.) Anything which is counter to correct covenantal observance soils the holiness of the world, rather than contributing.

    Eliahu Levenson

    Comment by ATR — December 5, 2006 @ 5:22 pm

We respond to every follow-up question submitted, but only publish selected ones. In order to be considered for publication, questions must be on-topic, polite, and address ideas rather than personalities.


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