Vayikra – Yearning for Meaning

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We find a very fascinating medrish at the end of this week’s Torah portion of Vayikra, that one can share at the Pesach Seder: “Rebbe Abba bar Kahana said that darkness (choshech vi’afela) was used in the land of Egypt for 3 days as it says, ‘and there was thick darkness over the entire land of Egypt for three days’ (Shemos 10:22). But void and desolation (tohu va’vohu) was not used in this world. Where will they be used in the future? In the great metropolis of Rome, as it says, ‘and He shall stretch over it a line of waste, and weights of destruction’ (Yeshayahu 34:11)” (Medrish Rabba Vayikra 6:6).

The Maharz”u explains that it appears from the medrish that since darkness (choshech vi’afela) was used there, then it must be that void and desolation (tohu va’vohu) will also be used at some point. This concept which is being alluded to by the medrish is that at the beginning of creation it writes, ‘Now the earth was astonishingly empty, and darkness was on the face of the deep’ (Breishis 1:2). The main part of creation started from tohu va’vohu and choshech (void, desolation, and darkness). Even though it says that light came forth from darkness and all of existence was brought forth from out of the tohu va’vohu, still in all this choshech and tohu va’vohu did not cease to exist. They were and still are yearning to be used in the world at the right time and place. We in fact see in many places that it says, ‘If the Jews accept the Torah that is good, if not I will revert the entire world back into tohu va’vohu.’ This is what is meant here; that choshech (darkness) found a place to be used in Egypt, but tohu va’vohu did not yet find a place to be used until in the future.”

The Etz Yosef adds that in the future Gog and his allies will be flanked with darkness, but will be preceded with tohu va’vohu, which is a green line that will surround the entire world which, from it darkness (choshech), will spread out into the world. (Click here and here for Hebrew text.)

The darkness that plagued Egypt in the 9th plague was no ordinary darkness; it was something that could be felt. It was so thick that the Egyptians froze and were not able to move for three days, as it says in Shemos Rabba 14:3. This darkness will come forth again in the future, emanating from a green substance of tohu va’vohu which will encompass the Metropolis of Rome, Gog and his allies, who don’t believe in Hashem and have their own line of worship.

Everything has a proper time and place to be used in this world. Nothing ever goes to waste and rather it is recycled; hopefully with excitement, at its designated time and place.

If you think about this a bit, there is something actually quite astonishing going on here. Hashem created the world out of these two substances, choshech and tohu va’vohu. They must have been pretty important to be used as the basis for the entire existence of this world. Yet the Maharz”u seems to hint that one might have thought that once they were done being used they would just have been thrown away and never used again, having lost a purpose for their further existence. Yet that wasn’t the case, and they are reserved for a special time and place which they are eagerly waiting for, to be used again. But if you look what they were used for it would seem highly disappointing. Both were or will be used in seemingly negative and destructive ways. The darkness was used for the 9th plague of Egypt, not even the first or the culminating tenth; rather in the middle, or really towards the end. Tohu va’vohu could have also been used to destroy the world if the Jewish people would not have accepted the Torah, and will be used against the heathens in the future who will not accept Hashem as One at The End of Days. What kind of jobs are those that they are yearning and eagerly waiting for, especially compared to the first position they ever had?

However the truth of the matter is these substances are just ingredients in doing Hashem’s will, and they realize that whatever Hashem wants them to be used for they are willing to do, and yearn for the opportunity to be used again.

All the more so, us human beings, whom the entire world was created for, we are the purpose of creation, and there are multiple roles that Hashem has given us to play in the history of this world. We have to be excited and eager to see how it plays out and to enthusiastically accept whatever roles they are. By realizing that they are jobs given to you by the Master Of The Universe, King Of All Kings, that will make it easier to yearn for the jobs and to wholeheartedly accept whatever comes your way and lands in your plate.