In the Beginning...?
Did you know that the day we celebrate as Rosh Hashanah does not commemorate the creation of the universe?
According to the Talmud, the world was created on the 25th of Elul, and Rosh Hashanah – the 1st of Tishrei – was Friday, the sixth day of creation. And, as the Torah describes, the final creature that G-d created on the sixth day was mankind, Adam and Eve.
Throughout the Talmud and Kaballah much emphasis is placed on the fact that the world was not considered “complete” until humans were created. The purpose of creation was for man to be created. It is for this reason that Rosh Hashanah is considered the beginning of the world, because before man was created, the world’s existence was purposeless.
True, all of creation —including the skies and the seas, plants and trees, animals and insects— existed before man. But with the arrival of Adam and Eve the world began to function.
Humans are the highest level of G-d’s creatures. The lowest being the inanimate, one step up is vegetation, and the third level is the animal kingdom. Humans are greater than all these because we maintain a level of intellect far beyond that of animals, which we utilize not merely for survival and self-satisfying purposes.
G-d created man to fulfill His commandments, which requires this unique intellect gifted to man. Therefore until man was created, the purpose of creation was not yet fulfilled, and, in G-d’s eyes, creation itself was not yet complete.
Although the world was full, complete with its natural beauty and efficiency, it lacked quality. The world required a being whose life represented a purpose greater than itself.
However, although human beings are the essential purpose in creation, this should not be a cause of conceit and arrogance. In fact, the Talmud notes that if you ever feel a bit too sure of yourself and your accomplishments, remember that even the smallest of all insects was created prior to you.