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Abracadabra

October 15, 2012

What do the author Salman Rushdie and the Broadway show, “The Book of Mormon,” have in common? To find the answer, we have to go all the way back to the beginning.

Today we began at the very beginning … telling once again the story of the creation of the world. It is a basic principle of Judaism that the world was created ex-nihlio – out of nothing. So, what did God use to form the heaven and the earth and sea and the birds and the bees and the vegetation and the human being? What he used were words. On each and every day of the six days of creation, whatever it was that was created begins with the words: “vayomer Hashem – and God said …” In the Ethics of the Fathers we are taught: “B’asarah maamorot nivra ha-olam – by ten acts of speech the world was created.” Ten times in the first chapter of Genesis we find the words, “And God said …” “And God said: let there be light.” “And God said: let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures.” “And God said: let the earth bring forth the living creature after its kind.” “And God said: let us make man in our image.” God created the whole world with words and letters … with the power of speech. How did He do it? I guess it’s magic! That magic formula, “abracadabra,” is nothing more than the Aramaic words for “I will create as I speak.” The power of speech began with the Divine and was considered so significant and so powerful that God decided to pass it on to the human being. What is it that makes man different than the animal? We read in this morning’s Torah portion: “Vayipach b’apav nishmas chaim – and God blew into man the spirit of life” which the classic Biblical commentator, Onkelos, translates as: “Ruach mimallalah – a speaking spirit.” READ MORE

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