Creation Begins with Separation

Creation Begins with Separation
by Carl Josehart

It’s my least favorite part of vacation – perhaps you have faced it as well. You return from a vacation relaxed and in a good mood and one of the first things you face is a giant pile of unsorted mail – a big, chaotic pile that can seem overwhelming to face. If you are anything like me – my natural instinct is to bring order to the chaos.

I start placing the mail into piles. Bills go into one pile so that I will later take to my home office to be paid, I put catalogues and magazines into another pile that I will later take to the den so I can enjoy them during leisure time, personal correspondence and invitations go into another pile and of course – the ever present junk mail – is separated out to go into the recycling. As I sort through the pile and organize it into categories I find that a sense of order begins to emerge from the chaos – I begin to have a sense of what is urgent or not, what is for leisure or pleasure and what is not, what requires action and so on.

In Genesis, the bible describes the creation story in much the same way. We read that in the beginning, “the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep…” From chaos God begins the process of sorting and organizing the elements of creation. God creates heaven and earth – separating creator from created. Then God begins organizing the newly created world. Heaven is separated from earth, light from darkness, day from night, the firmament and the seas, dry land and waters. Next we begin to see the differences within aspects of creation. For example certain parts of our world are set into a regular course – such as the sun and the moon moving in a fixed pattern of day and night, the regularity of the seasons. As creation continues we see the emergence of aspects of creation that can move as they please – animals and human beings. Finally there is the distinction between humans – who have free will – and all other living creatures.

Just as God makes order out of chaos by sorting and separating the different aspects of creation – human beings have given the same power to make order out of our chaotic world.

One of the ways that we create meaning is to create separate times and places for different uses. For example, objects take on special meaning – become sacred – when we separate them from all others and use them only for special purposes. One of my childhood friends came from an extended family that had created their own unique tradition. Each Passover the family who had the youngest child was sent a glass wine pitcher and small drinking glass to use at their Seder. The pitcher and glass had belonged to my friend’s great-grandmother and had been originally purchased for 25 cents – to look at them the objects themselves had no distinguishing characteristics – no intrinsic value. This pitcher and drinking glass became a cherished heirloom because, over several generations, they were separated from all other objects and came to represent the welcoming of a new life into the family and into Jewish life.

Candlesticks transform into Shabbas candlesticks if we separate them from the other candlesticks we may own and use them only to light Shabbat and Festival lights. Through this process we begin to associate them with special times and their presence helps to create a mood. Special foods can take on special meaning when we separate them from others and only use them in certain circumstances –for example matzah on Passover, apples and honey at Rosh Hashanah, or latkes on Hanukkah.

In much the same way, places become special when we set them aside for special purposes. For example a building becomes a place of worship –when we set it aside and use it as a place of prayer, learning, teaching, and gathering to celebrate with member of our faith community.

In Genesis we witness the step-by-step process of God transforming chaos into a beautifully organized world that has day and night, seasons, sea, land and vegetation that supports life. Perhaps as humans we have the opportunity to create meaning in our often busy and chaotic lives by separating certain times and places from all others. If we set aside special time with the ones we love and protect it from all other intrusions we create the equivalent of “sacred” spaces in the midst of our ordinary routine.

What Makes A Moment
by Carl Josehart

Unmarked by daily use
the accouterments of daily
life become wrapped in charm
and disappear amid the
profound and pleasing

Unreachable by troubles past
so it seems
new trouble
wrapped in adventure
marks the journey
will spice up the retelling

A single seagull
sings out his song
and quickly flies to find
where friends have gone



by Carl Josehart

For these things I give thanks
Food in abundance
A safe place to stay
Family and friends who surround me with love
And a sense of order and caring, and a belief in God, in the heavens above

For these things I pray
Food in abundance – for those who are hungry
A safe and warm place to stay – for those who are out in the cold
Family and friends – for those who are without love
And a sense of order and caring, and a belief in God, in the heavens above

For all these things were given to the people of the earth
Along with laughter and gaiety, and mirth
With all that was given – the knowledge of good and evil was taken
But, it seems, the responsibility that accompanies that power has been forsaken
We have forsaken family and friends, and those who need us to surround them with love
Along with a sense of order and caring, and a belief in God, in the heavens above

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These Tiny Hands

“It has been said that time heals all wounds. I don’t agree. The wounds remain. Time – the mind, protecting its sanity – covers them with some scar tissue and the pain lessens, but it is never gone.”

– Rose Kennedy

Too many friends and loved ones have had to say goodbye to children – all taken too soon. My heart breaks with yours and I pray you find strength, comfort and courage to live with the pain.

These Tiny Hands
by Carl Josehart

These tiny hands
slender fingers
perfect and pretty
close around my finger
hold on tight
my little one

These tiny lips
tinged blue
still nurse and suck
nourishing a body betrayed
by nature’s random luck
my love run’s deep
and I have milk a plenty

This fragile body
yet grows
already scarred
and bruised
I pray my tears
will wash away your pain

This tiny heart
broken in half
still beats
inefficient pump
reluctantly fuels a powerful spirit
you smile
as if to comfort me
while I wonder
how I will care for you

These tiny hands
perfect and pretty
curl hopefully around my finger
hold on tight
my little one
nourishes a powerful spirit
will wash away the pain
gives us a chance to dream

This tiny life
touched by joy and sorrow
crawls slowly forward
toward an unforgiving destiny
tenderly I’ll hug you with open arms
a warm embrace
to cradle my precious one
on gentle upturned arms
to let your soul take flight

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Don’t Let the Light Go Out

Don’t Let the Light Go Out
by Carl Josehart

When the children of Israel were lost
wandering in the desert
God appeared to them
a pillar of smoke by day
a pillar of fire by night
a guide to them
a reminder to them
they were not alone

Dear God
I have been feeling lost
feeling alone
surrounded by danger
feeling afraid
missing the familiar
comfort and safety
of home
Don’t let the light go out

After the flood
destroyed the earth
God set a rainbow in the sky
a symbol
a covenant
to never again
destroy the earth

Recently it seems the rains
have come again
floods threaten the world
show me the rainbow
remind me of your promise
Don’t let the light go out

God called to Moses
from within a burning bush
surounded by flames
Mosed beheld with wonder
he realized he stood on holy ground
Moses cried out
an answer to the call
“Here I am!”

In a world ablaze with
and confusion
we join the cry
“Here we are”
Don’t let the light go out!

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