On the day they were created, Adam and Eve sinned and were expelled from the Garden. As the sun set and the world grew darker they said, “Because of our sin, the world is ending.”
They stayed up all night, praying to God. When the sun rose at dawn, relieved they said, “There is a path that the sun always follows. It goes down in the West and comes up again in the East. Perhaps it will do this every day for as long as we live.”
Adam offered a sacrifice to God in gratitude for the gift of the light. Before he died, he gave instructions to his son Seth to give thanks to God every day for the gift of sunlight. When Seth died, he gave the same instructions to his children, and they did to theirs. That is why we recite a blessing thanking God for the gift of sunlight in our morning prayers.
A second story…
When God finished creating the world, he had to find a place to hide the Primordial Light that is meant for the righteous. God knew that there was one place humans would never look. He decided to hide it inside every single human being.
Two stories: one about the light that appeared at the beginning of the world, and one about the light that is reserved for the righteous to enjoy at the very end of the world.
Let us appreciate the light in our lives and thank God for it every day, especially at the beginning of every year, for that is when the sun and the moon finish their yearly cycles and start all over again.
And when we do, too.
Rabbi Jack Riemer is the founding chair of the National Rabbinic Network, and among his colleagues, he is known as the “rabbi’s rabbi.”