Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Last Thing Created

The Mishna in Pirkei Avot 5:8 says that ten things were created during twilight on Erev Shabbos, the sixth and final day of creation. The last thing mentioned in the Mishna is tongs, a work tool to build things. What is the significance of the twilight creations, and what is with the tongs out of all things? Moreover it says "also tongs with the original tongs were created", what does this mean? 

The Meforshim explain that twilight is the time that things are wrapping up and all major work is already completed, except for the finishing touches. With this understanding maybe we can offer as follows. The whole point of the world is to create a situation that masks Hashem's control over every facet of the natural world, and every detail and happening in our life. To this end for six days Hashem created a nature that is used to deny his presence. Nature, to the blind, screams that a system is in place that runs on its own. Hashem need not control everything all the time. He can take a break and let it run on auto pilot, which although terribly incorrect, seems to be the case to the undiscerning eye. 

The last key to the ability to deny Hashem's control is the power of man himself. Each and every day we fight for our self survival and use serious brain power to accomplish it. Our power to think deludes us into believing that we are masters of our own fate. Where did this notion come from? The tongs! Animals do not need to work to earn a living and their needs are naturally supplied without much effort. Rebbi Shimon B"R Elazar says [Kidushin 82b], in my life I have never see a wise fox operate a store, yet the fox and all the animals sustain themselves without toil, while man, who they are meant to serve, toils to survive. 

The finishing touch of the world, which is meant to be a test for us, is the tongs. Without the tongs we would know that only Hashem sustains us. However with tongs in our hands, we ply our trade, thinking it is the tongs that sustain us. This was Hashem's final creation before he sent our Neshamas down for their big test. 

Yet like everything else in the world, Hashem makes the truth abundantly clear to all who look past the surface, otherwise we'd be doomed to fail our test. In this case the Mishna teaches us by answering the question that we all need to ask, who made the first tongs? Obviously Hashem. Every subsequent tongs and all the fruits of our labor are nothing more than His decree and His will. As we play the game called Hishtadlus and survival in Olam HaZeh we need to ask ourselves, who made the first tongs? For He is the one who, with or without our hard work, is controlling everything, and our tongs are just a show.

Source: Revach L'Neshama

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