Boundaries and Separation

September 30, 2021

"And God said: Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear." (Genesis, Bereshith, Chapter 1, verse 9)

A prerequisite for life forming on earth, man and beast, depended on the separation of land and water. As long as the land was covered by the water, life was not yet possible for man and the animal kingdom. Boundaries for the water had to be established. 

Let us analyze the process of creation, but first, why is it even discussed in the Bible in the first place? What is the purpose? Why would we need to know how the earth was created?

The Torah is a book of instruction, its values and its lessons do not depend upon faith. It is rather the other way around; faith emerges from understanding the Bible. 

What is the Bible trying to teach us here? Is it teaching us history? The Bible is not a history book. Is it then trying to teach us how to create a world? Of course not. Certainly there is a goal of establishing that God created the heavens and earth, and therefore there are certain guidelines, but beyond that, what is the purpose of so many details in the story of creation?

We have to understand that each and every story has a lesson to teach. It is for us, over the generations to try and uncover these eternal lessons.

From the very beginning we see the idea of Separation. We begin with chaos and disorder.  "And the earth was unformed and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep." Our universe was formless and without system. But we require order, a system.

God separated between light and darkness, and then "Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters."(verse 6) and next the separation; between water and dry land. A little later there is the separation between day and night, and the various seasons, days and years. We see the idea of separation, of division, of everything having its proper place, of things having a certain natural order, and of establishing boundaries. 

Today we live in a world where people are trying to tear down boundaries, eliminate Separation, and create basically a formless society where anything goes, where there are no boundaries, no fences. The divisions that have long since existed are being challenged. The story of creation is teaching us that our first order of business, in any business, is division, order, separation, clarity. Everything and everyone has a place.  

What do we do if our house has been hit by a storm? First thing we do is begin to separate items; this belongs in the kitchen, that belongs in the bedroom, this belongs in the library. Everything has its place. When we need to locate an item we will know where to find it. 

I believe there is a lesson here for all of us in our daily lives; we need to separate the various parts of our lives, make a list of tasks, order things in terms of how and when they need to be done. When we go on errands we have an order; first the gas station, then the bank, next the post office, then the supermarket etc. We don't just randomly drive around, we need order.

The story of creation teaches us that if we wish to see dry land we need to gather all the water in one place. We need dry land as a perquisite for our lives. In self-defense training we need to make the same divisions. Many schools teach a Hodge podge of different techniques; they will have some Judo, mix in some Jujitsu, bring in some guy to teach some "military tactics", invite all sorts of interesting instructors in order to be "broad minded", but in fact it is like the Bible...Formless and without order, not really a system at all. We end with chaos, confusion, techniques that do not blend together into one natural whole, light and dark, water and earth. We need to break things down to their basic elements and assign each one its proper place. We need a logical order, as the Bible says; days, seasons, years.

We need to establish boundaries between techniques; this is for self-defense, do not mix it with sports techniques or with tournament techniques. We need a clear system, not a collection of interesting techniques from a variety of teachers. A formless system is not a system, it is unformed with darkness upon it. The message here, I believe, is to divide, to be clear, to set goals and establish a system to teach those goals, not wander around collecting tidbits from different instructors. We need to choose a clear path and devote ourselves to it. And God separated between the Light and the Darkness. 

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