Oh sweet girl, full of woe, dry your tears, I love you so.

She heard her sister cry out from her bedroom on the second floor, a heart-rending shriek.

“Zil! Zil!” she wailed.

Zilpah ran up the grand curving stair to her sister’s room. She eased the door open to see Shek sitting up in bed, a cutout of silver moonlight illuminating her dark silhouette.

“It’s mama, Zil!” she wailed. “I saw her; I saw her in my dream. She tried to take me back. She told me to get up and walk back home.”

“We are home, Shek.” Zilpah whispered. “We don’t live there anymore.”

Zilpah smoothed her sister’s hair and held her. Her small body was rigid in her arms. Gradually, she soothed her and she relaxed and laid back down on the bed. Zilpah tucked the covers around her and sang to her tunelessly.

“The sun is setting, the sun is rising, the days and nights are never-ending. Oh sweet girl, full of woe, dry your tears, I love you so.”

“Is that true Zil?” Shek gasped, “That the days—that the days will never end?”

“Yes, love.” she answered. “Hashem had to make the days before he could create the world. Each day creates the world again.”

“How did He make the days Zil?”

Zilpah’s voice fell into a gentle, poetic cadence.

Once there were no days or nights, and the world was gray and unformed. God had not created any living thing, He had not created anything at all. He was uncertain that it would be right to create. Chaos held its own deep beauty. It whorled in patterns of infinite complexity. He loved the Chaos; loved the way that unformed matter flowed and changed. But the shifting pattern consumed Him, and He could not separate Himself from it. In the midst of the Chaos He could not understand what He was. There was no limit to God, no room for anything to exist but God, and God was Chaos. For all its infinite possibility, it was always the same. There were no events, no objects, nothing to perceive apart from the infinite pattern.

So God decided he would begin to create. In order to do that He had to withdraw. He had to transcribe limits around himself to make room for other things to exist. So He wrote a circle around Himself and resolved not to leave it. He was separate from the Chaos then, and was filled with a great despair that he could no longer experience its beauty. But even as he longed to look upon it again he found that without it he had a new freedom. He could structure his thoughts, he knew his own mind and will. Suddenly He realized that Darkness was one half of a duality. If there was darkness there could also be light. Now there was something outside of Himself that he could see, but He had no senses. He created eyes so he could see, ears so He could hear, and a voice so He could speak.

“Let there be light.” He said, and the words gathered their own power. They began to glow before Him, and they collapsed into a single point, infinitely small, with no breadth or width. But even a single point of light is enough to move through the Darkness, because Darkness has no material of its own. The point collapsed on itself and the force reversed, and the light began to grow, exploding outward through the universe, revealing the surface of the Chaos.

God saw, suddenly illuminated, the creatures of Chaos, dark shadows against the light. The chaos had despaired when God had withdrawn. The Chaos had freely shaped the mind of God, and now that God was separate it screamed in sudden agony at the abandonment. It screamed at the realization of its own formlessness, and began to structure itself. They were beings of the infinite pattern that had wrenched themselves free from the unstructured gray sea. And when God shed light upon them, they were terrified, revealed in their vulnerability. They fled from Him, dissolved back into the gray Chaos, or burned in the light. As He watched, God saw that the light and the darkness begin to flow back together, the universe began reverting into Chaos again. God knew that He had to set the light into motion in order to counteract the entropy, So he pulled the darkness and the light apart again and gathered the light into sun and moon and stars, and set them spinning in a great wheel. Now the light and darkness moved together, and formed the music of days and nights. And that music will never ever end.

 

Shek was sleeping lightly, she tossed in bed and held on tighter.

“Zil,” she muttered in her sleep.

“Yes, love?”

“What happened to the creatures—that formed themselves from the Chaos?”

“They vanished, Shek. They were divided into light and darkness.”

“Zil,” Shek whispered,”Will the music ever stop?”

“No sweetheart. It will go on and on. On and on forever.”

She let go with a heavy sigh and fell into a deep sleep.

Leave a Reply