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Lots of things were created in this parsha, but the first thing to be created was light. However, that’s a little strange, because light has no intrinsic purpose; it serves only to illuminate everything else. So, why didn’t the One Above create everything else first, and then create light in order to illuminate it?

Moreover, He immediately hid the light on the first day of creation, making it all the more strange. Why did He create light only in order to “set it aside for tzadikkim in the future”?

One more question; The Zohar makes a point of equating the Hebrew word for light – “ohr” – with a word that means secret – “raz.” The two words have the same gematria, or numerical value - 207. If the Zohar points this out, it means that the two words also share a similarity in content. However, at first glance, they seem to be diametrically opposed to each other: light implies revelation and illumination, while secrets are hidden and concealed. What is the Zohar trying to tell us is the common thread?

When a person conceives of a project, the first thing he does is to refine and clarify his objectives. Only when he knows clearly want he wants to achieve does he begin to act. The first thing that illuminates his path is a grand idea, a bright illumination that inspires him to get to work and translate his inspiration into reality. And so it was during the six days of creation. First, it was established that the purpose of creation is light, G-dly illumination. Since the purpose of creating the universe was that it should become imbued with the light of G-dliness, G-d first created light. Since, ultimately, light is the goal of creation, it was necessary to create it first.

However, we find that in the story of creation, every day ended with G-d looking at His creation and declaring that “it is good.” The rabbis tell us that “good” in this context indicates light; that G-d saw that His creation was good because it contained light. If so, then light is not only the initial and ultimate goal of creation, but is also something that continues to be drawn down into the creation every day. Why, then, does the midrash tell us that the initial light of creation was set aside for the future? How does this daily dose of illumination mesh with the initial light of creation?
By way of explanation, achievement of goals (for example, one’s life goals) takes place in two steps:
1) There is the initial revelation that includes all of the details of the goal in potential, in thought, before it is put into action.

2) There is the process of working upon the goal in order to achieve it. At that point, the person feels and experiences all the details, worrying about actualizing them such that they work together. And as long as the final goal has not yet been achieved, he no longer feels the light and inspiration of the initial idea. Upon getting involved in the details, the original light and inspiration leave him. As he buries himself in the details of making his dream a reality, the dream itself fades into the background.

Analogously, there were two stages in the supernal goal of creation:
1) The essence of the G-dly light and illumination itself, as revealed on the first day of creation, when light became the first creation, preceding all others and serving as the goal and purpose of all creation.

2) A ray and reflection of that light as drawn into each and every individual creation. This light is the particular level of spirituality that enables every creation to reach and achieve its purpose, which is to express G-dliness. This light is hidden, but present in the creation nonetheless.

What we see operating here are two different kinds of light. The light of the first day is the revealed light (“ohr”) that we need in order to inspire us to work and persist in the task. The hidden light (corresponding to “raz”) is what secretly motivates us every day, even though we don’t feel the original inspiration and illumination. The rabbis ask where the original light and inspiration was hidden, and they answer – in the Torah. It is by learning Torah that we recover the original light and illumination that keeps us going until we finish the tasks of our lives. And that is why the Zohar equates the two; “ohr” and “raz.” Even though one is revealed and the other is concealed, both serve to inspire and encourage us on the path until we achieve the initial plan – and then we perceive and experience G-dly illumination in full force.

And that’s why light was created first, even though it only serves to illuminate everything else. Without the initial inspiration and impetus of light and illumination, we wouldn’t find it possible to persist and ultimately succeed in the difficult task of bringing light to the world. Without knowing that the ultimate goal is the same initial illumination that we experienced in the beginning, we simply wouldn’t have enough encouragement to continue on the path. At the same time, though, the original light had to be hidden. Since the very point of our path is to illuminate a universe otherwise devoid of G-dly light and spirituality, we need to get involved with and experience the dark world in order to succeed in bringing to it the light and illumination that He wants should pervade it. And the way to do that is through Torah and mitzvoth, in which the G-dly light is hidden.

Adopted from Likutei Sichot of the Lubavitcher Rebbe ztz’l, vol. 10, pp. 7-12 Rabbi David Sterne, Jerusalem Connection in the old city of Jerusalem