God called the light: “Day,” and the darkness, “Night.” And there was evening and there was morning, one day. – Genesis 1:5

Our Torah opens with the stunning account of Creation in which God forms the world in six days and rests on the seventh. The central work of the first day is the separation light and darkness into successive periods of day and night by which all subsequent time will be marked. Sunlight is demarcated as a fundamental prerequisite for sustaining plant, animal, and human life which are created on the third, fifth, and sixth days, respectively.

The prophet Isaiah imparts the message of [The One] who forms light and creates darkness; who makes peace…(45:7). This descriptor is incorporated into a blessing of gratitude in the morning liturgy: Baruch Atah, Ad-nai Elokeinu, Melech ha’olam, yotzer or uvorei choshech, oseh shalom uvorei et hakol. Hamei’ir la’aretz v’ladarim alei’hah b’rachamim.

“Blessed is the One who forms light and creates darkness, who make peace and creates all things, who with mercy sheds light upon the earth and upon all who dwell on it.”

In the northern hemisphere, we return to the beginning of the Torah just as the days are becoming noticeably shorter. There are fewer hours of sunlight. Night falls earlier. As it recedes later, we may awaken in darkness. What better time to deepen our appreciation of the most fundamental cycle of time, our thankfulness for sunlight, and their Source.

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