Day 1 of Creation
In Bereshit Rabbah, Gimmel it says: You aren’t allowed to make a bracha on Havdalah until you benefit from the light. This is why we look at our fingers in front of the Havdalah candle, so that we create a shadow on our hands, thus benefitting from the light. Because it says in pasuk וירא אלקים את האור
The Lesson: This teaches us that we need to fully appreciate everything before we can be thankful for it. Also, we see that everything Hashem made is for us to enjoy. We should take time every day to just look around and appreciate what we have. There is the beautiful world we live in, the fact that our bodies function, the incredible scientific phenomena that surround us at all times. All of this, Hashem made specifically for us to enjoy, and we should be thankful for it. We should also be careful that our actions reflect our appreciation for everything. Hashem gave us a beautiful world, and we should make sure to keep it clean and healthy and continue to keep this world a beautiful place. Try to take 5 minutes of each day and sit outside in silence. Look around at the beauty of nature. This can help us take time to really appreciate all Hashem’s creations.d
When we say borchu in Shachrit we can have this in mind especially during the words מה רבו מעשיך הי.
(ג) ברא אלהים. ולא אמר ברא ה', שבתחלה עלה במחשבה לבראתו במדת הדין, ראה שאין העולם מתקים, הקדים מדת רחמים ושתפה למדת הדין, היינו דכתיב (להלן ב ד) ביום עשות ה' אלהים ארץ ושמים:
(3) God (Elohim - God's name traditionally associated with His trait of strict judgment) created: And it did not state, 'the Lord' (God's name traditionally associated with His trait of mercy). Since, at first, it came up in [His] thought to create [the world] with the trait of strict justice, [and] He saw that the world [would] not [be able to] exist; [so] He brought the trait of mercy in front and combined it with the trait of strict justice. Concerning this is it written (Genesis 2:4), "on the day that the Lord, God, made earth and heavens."
By using the name Elokim, it’s showing us that Hashem planned to create the world using His middat hadin (judgement), because Elokim represents judgement. We can understand why, in a perfect world, everything would be run by judgement, because it is fair and even-sided. Throughout history, societies have tried to be just in their governmental systems. However, we as people would not be able to function if the world had been created that way. We all make mistakes, and if we were punished instantly for the all of the things we did wrong, people would give up trying to be good, because it’s be impossible to be perfect. Therefore, Hashem created it using both middat hadin and middat harachamim. Hashem allows us to make mistakes, and gives us the opportunity to repent.
Lesson: We should seize this opportunity and also be sure to judge others with a mixture of din and rachamim. If someone does something wrong to you, be sure to give them a chance to explain themselves, and give them the benefit of the doubt. The situation could have been very different than you might have imagined. We also see from here that Hashem cares about us and made the world specifically for us. Even though the method of Judgement is more satisfying, fair, and just, He created the world using also mercy, to make sure we can thrive and do our best in it. So too we should treat others with mercy and not quick to judge.
During the Chazan's repetition of Shachrit Shemona Esrei on the second day of Rosh Hashana you can have this in mind during the paragraph of אמרתפך צרופה. There we are davening that Hashem does not judge us meticulously but instead has mercy on us.
Day 2 of Creation
The אוצר המדרשים states that the skies were masculine and the seas were feminine. They had to be be separated because they were too powerful and together they were going to destroy the world. This shows how much power man and women have together and that they when they are united their power becomes dangerous.
Lesson: Too much power can be a bad thing. We have to learn how to work with our power and not let it cause destruction. Two people in power must learn to work together not as separate powers.
In רצה, we ask god to be favorable to US, THE JEWISH NATION, and to restore our work in the Beit Hamikdash. This shows us that we are asking God to help the ENTIRE nation, implying that we have to work together to earn that reward. Also all of the shemonah esrei for shacharit, is in plural, which shows the importance of working together and sharing the power.
In Rabbenui Bachei we learn that disagreement and gehonim were both greater on day 2. These two relate because if you get in a serious disagreement you can end up going to gehonim. This is not talking about a disagreement l'shem shamayim but a disagreement lo l'shem shamayim.
Lesson: This doesn’t mean you can never get in a disagreement. It refers to disagreements lo l'shem shamayim. Meaning don’t have pointless arguments. When we involve ourselves serious disagreements we often lose sight of our morals and it can end up affecting the way we leave our life. We should try to not get caught up in pointless arguments because they can effect us in the long run.
During our personal shemona esrei at Shachrit on Rosh Hahsana we say the paragraph that starts off as אלוקינו ואלוקי אבותינו, מלוך על כל העולם כלו בכבודך and then continues. In this paragraph, it talks about how in the times of Moshiach, everyone will agree and know that God is the one and only. So up until now there will be disagreements with all the nations of the world about who is God, but once Moshiach comes (and that is what we are praying for) everyone will agree and know that Hashem is the one and only. So have kavana for Moshiach to come so we can have no more disagreements.
Day 3 of Creation
According to Ramban when Adam and Chava ate from the tree they adapted the status of a tree. Before they ate from the eitz hada'at they couldn't have children. But once they ate from it they were able to produce just like a tree.
Rav Hirsch then brings in an idea that the children are like the fruit/seeds. Both children and fruit are offspring.
Parents/trees want to make the best offspring (children/seeds) to grow up to be good parents/trees to make good offspring. So it is an ongoing cycle
Lesson: Take the lessons you learned from your parents, and the mistakes they made and apply them to the way you live. Not all parents are perfect, but they work on the things their parents weren’t strong in, making that aspect good for you. So take the things they aren’t perfect at, and make them good for when you’re teaching little kids values (this could be for babysitting or being a camp counselor)
We can connect this to Avinu Malkeinu. In Avinu Malkeinu we are discussing how Hashem is our Father. Just like parents want their children to emulate them, we should try to emulate Hashem, our father.
Day 4 of Creation
The Michtav Me'Eliyahu states that there where two big lights which ended up becoming one big light and one small light. The moon didn't get who there could be two leaders. He thought that he should be made bigger than the sun. But because the moon said that he was made smaller. This did not make him happy and he then complained to Hashem.
Lesson: Being small isn’t a bad thing, because being small=humility and that makes us closer to Hashem. When we realize that not everything is about instant gratification, and there is a greater purpose for our actions, we can be humbled by that and see Hashem in our lives. Moshe was an extremely humble person, and realized that his successes came from Hashem helping and guiding him. He was also one of the closest people to God.
During the Chazan's repetition of Mussaf of second day of Rosh Hashana we say כי כשמך. Here we talk about how man originated from dust. It also talks about how we are small. We should take this paragraph not has small being bad but as an act of humility.
In the Parsha Anthology it says that man tends to not appreciated things shared by all such as the sun. Man is selfish. G-d made us this way to help us grow as people. Once we can put our own personal selfishness out of the way, we can connect better with other people. People need to realize that when something is shared with others it becomes so much greater.
Lesson: Try to notice the everyday things in life and appreciate them because they were made for you, but also for everyone else. Notice how nice the weather is, or the little flowers growing outside your house. Also notice how a classmate is always helping other people out, or how someone else always gives someone a smile. Noticing the little things makes them so much bigger.
During Mussaf during the Chazan's repetition we say עלינו. In עלינו we are praising Hashem and telling Him that he is the Master of everything and the Creator. We thank Hashem for making us great and not like the other creations. Hear we are recognizing that there are other people. We realize that Hashem is greater than us and we aren't better than Him.
Day 5 of Creation
In the Rabbeinu Bachaya it says that when they get to olam haba the Tzadikim will feast off the Levitan. This isn't for our physical body but to awaken our neshama. Although food is a physical need it can be used for spiritual. When we don't eat we aren't able to serve Hashem properly.
Lesson: Make sure we are well fed so we can serve Hashem properly. We don’t need to fill up on food not needed but we need a sufficient about to properly serve Hashem.
When we are eating we should have in mind why we are eating. We should have in mind that we are eating so we can be the best Ovdei Hashem as possible. Eat a substantial amount so you will be able to daven properly with enough kavana.
Day 6 of Creation
The Nefesh HaChaim tells us that man was made B'tzelem Elokim, man was mad in the image of G-d. Just as Hashem controls everything so too we are in control of our speech, thoughts, and actions. Also we should make sure we emulate the behavior of Hashem.
Lesson: We can use our speech, actions, and thoughts to change things spiritually, or practically. By saying nice things and being nice to people, we can positively change the world. However, we also have the power to negatively affect things if we speak or act badly. We can smile at someone, or compliment them, and that can make them happy and cause them to be nice to others, continuing the cycle. But if we make a negative comment to someone or insult them, they will become angry and more likely to continue the cycle of hurtful comments
At the end of Shemonei Esrei we say אלקי נצור. Here we are asking Hashem to guard our tongue and lips from speaking evil. This paragraph is really showing us how to act. Here we ask Hashem to help us be extra careful with our actions.