Hebrew has two primary words for the idea of creating: borei and asah.
Asah is the more mundane form of creation, the one we use when we make a clay ashtray or birdfeeder.
Borei is reserved for God. It implies that it was created out of nothing.
Despite this divison, the lesson remains that creating is not solely in the providence of God. We can create, and be partners with God in the act of creation.
This is well-trod territory, fully discussed over the years. But in thinking about the kinds of creation and the fact that only one is within the grasp of humans, I wondered today if the creation we have at our disposal is an ability, a privilege, a right, or a mitzvah (commandment).
In comic books, the powers bestowed on heroes are all by definition all 4.
In the upcoming move “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”, Ma Kent tells her son,
“Be their hero, Clark. Be their angel, be their monument, be anything they need you to be. Or be none of it. You don’t owe this world a thing. You never did.”
Clark’s mother is offering him an out that we intuitively know he won’t take. Not just because there wouldn’t be a story, but because it’s fundamentally wrong for people with gifts to refuse to use them, and more so to refuse to use them for the betterment of their community.
But our lives aren’t’ comic book stories. Our powers don’t include flight, invulnerability, or super speed
But we can create.
And while our ability to create is not the same as God’s, it still might be the greatest super power ever.
Our stories give flight to dreams and fancies which often enough become reality further along. The communities of family and friends make us invulnerable to the vagaries of life. The bodies of knowledge we gather in our brains allows us to make intuitive leaps that race ahead of more methodical thought processes.
That brings us back again to the question: what is our responsibility?
CAN we create?
SHOULD we create?
MUST we create?
Maybe all those questions are unnecessary.
Here in this month of Elul the only question we need to answer, as we stand before the Creator of All Things, is WILL we create?