Torah Through the Lens of Midrash Part 1: Creation
1 א

(א) רַבִּי הוֹשַׁעְיָה רַבָּה פָּתַח (משלי ח, ל):

וָאֶהְיֶה אֶצְלוֹ אָמוֹן וָאֶהְיֶה שַׁעֲשׁוּעִים יוֹם יוֹם וגו',

אָמוֹן פַּדְּגוֹג,

אָמוֹן מְכֻסֶּה,

אָמוֹן מֻצְנָע, וְאִית דַּאֲמַר

אָמוֹן רַבָּתָא.

אָמוֹן פַּדְּגוֹג, הֵיךְ מָה דְאַתְּ אָמַר (במדבר יא, יב): כַּאֲשֶׁר יִשָֹּׂא הָאֹמֵן אֶת הַיֹּנֵק.

אָמוֹן מְכֻסֶּה, הֵיאַךְ מָה דְאַתְּ אָמַר (איכה ד, ה): הָאֱמֻנִים עֲלֵי תוֹלָע וגו'.

אָמוֹן מֻצְנָע, הֵיאַךְ מָה דְאַתְּ אָמַר (אסתר ב, ז): וַיְהִי אֹמֵן אֶת הֲדַסָּה.

אָמוֹן רַבָּתָא, כְּמָא דְתֵימָא (נחום ג, ח): הֲתֵיטְבִי מִנֹּא אָמוֹן,

וּמְתַרְגְּמִינַן הַאַתְּ טָבָא מֵאֲלֶכְּסַנְדְּרִיָא רַבָּתָא דְּיָתְבָא בֵּין נַהֲרוֹתָא.

דָּבָר אַחֵר:

אָמוֹן, אֻמָּן.

הַתּוֹרָה אוֹמֶרֶת:

אֲנִי הָיִיתִי כְּלִי אֻמְנוּתוֹ שֶׁל הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא,

בְּנֹהַג שֶׁבָּעוֹלָם מֶלֶךְ בָּשָׂר וָדָם בּוֹנֶה פָּלָטִין, אֵינוֹ בּוֹנֶה אוֹתָהּ מִדַּעַת עַצְמוֹ אֶלָּא מִדַּעַת אֻמָּן, וְהָאֻמָּן אֵינוֹ בּוֹנֶה אוֹתָהּ מִדַּעַת עַצְמוֹ אֶלָּא דִּפְתְּרָאוֹת וּפִנְקְסָאוֹת יֵשׁ לוֹ, לָדַעַת הֵיאךְ הוּא עוֹשֶׂה חֲדָרִים, הֵיאךְ הוּא עוֹשֶׂה פִּשְׁפְּשִׁין.

כָּךְ הָיָה הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא מַבִּיט בַּתּוֹרָה וּבוֹרֵא אֶת הָעוֹלָם, וְהַתּוֹרָה אָמְרָה בְּרֵאשִׁית בָּרָא אֱלֹקִים.

וְאֵין רֵאשִׁית אֶלָּא תּוֹרָה, הֵיאַךְ מָה דְּאַתְּ אָמַר (משלי ח, כב): ה' קָנָנִי רֵאשִׁית דַּרְכּוֹ.

(1) The great Rabbi Hoshaya opened with the verse (Mishlei / Proverbs 8:30):

"I [the Torah] was an amon to Him and I was a plaything to Him every day."

Amon means "pedagogue" (i.e. nanny).

Amon means "dressed."

Amon means "concealed."

And some say amon means "great."

Amon means "nanny," as in (Bamidbar 11:12) “As a nanny (omein) carries the suckling child."

Amon means "dressed," as in (Eichah 4:5) "Those who were dressed (emunim) in purple are sprawled on refuse heaps."

Amon means "hidden," as in (Esther 2:7) "He hid away (omein) Hadassah."

Amon means "great," as in (Nahum 3:8) "Are you better than No-amon [which dwells in the rivers]?" which the Targum {Aramaic translation of Torah} renders as, "Are you better than Alexandria the Great (amon), which dwells between the rivers?"

Alternatively, amon means "artisan."

The Torah is saying,

"I was the artisan's tool of the Holy Blessed One."

In the way of the world, a king of flesh and blood who builds a castle does not do so from his own knowledge, but rather from the knowledge of an architect, and the architect does not build it from his own knowledge, but rather he has scrolls and books in order to know how to make rooms, how to make doorways.

So too Hashem gazed into the Torah and created the world. Similarly the Torah says, "Through the reishis God created [the heavens and the earth]," and reishis means Torah, as in "Hashem made me [the Torah] the beginning (reishis) of His way" (Mishlei 8:22).

2 ב

(א) הֲלֹֽא־חָכְמָ֥ה תִקְרָ֑א וּ֝תְבוּנָ֗ה תִּתֵּ֥ן קוֹלָֽהּ׃ (ב) בְּרֹאשׁ־מְרוֹמִ֥ים עֲלֵי־דָ֑רֶךְ בֵּ֖ית נְתִיב֣וֹת נִצָּֽבָה׃ ...

(ז) כִּֽי־אֱ֭מֶת יֶהְגֶּ֣ה חִכִּ֑י וְתוֹעֲבַ֖ת שְׂפָתַ֣י רֶֽשַׁע׃ (ח) בְּצֶ֥דֶק כָּל־אִמְרֵי־פִ֑י אֵ֥ין בָּ֝הֶ֗ם נִפְתָּ֥ל וְעִקֵּֽשׁ׃ (ט) כֻּלָּ֣ם נְ֭כֹחִים לַמֵּבִ֑ין וִֽ֝ישָׁרִ֗ים לְמֹ֣צְאֵי דָֽעַת׃

(י) קְחֽוּ־מוּסָרִ֥י וְאַל־כָּ֑סֶף וְ֝דַ֗עַת מֵחָר֥וּץ נִבְחָֽר׃ (יא) כִּֽי־טוֹבָ֣ה חָ֭כְמָה מִפְּנִינִ֑ים וְכָל־חֲ֝פָצִ֗ים לֹ֣א יִֽשְׁווּ־בָֽהּ׃ (יב) אֲ‍ֽנִי־חָ֭כְמָה שָׁכַ֣נְתִּי עָרְמָ֑ה וְדַ֖עַת מְזִמּ֣וֹת אֶמְצָֽא׃ (יג) יִֽרְאַ֣ת ה' שְֽׂנֹ֫את רָ֥ע גֵּ֘אָ֤ה וְגָא֨וֹן ׀ וְדֶ֣רֶךְ רָ֭ע וּפִ֨י תַהְפֻּכ֬וֹת שָׂנֵֽאתִי׃ (יד) לִֽי־עֵ֭צָה וְתוּשִׁיָּ֑ה אֲנִ֥י בִ֝ינָ֗ה לִ֣י גְבוּרָֽה׃ (טו) בִּ֭י מְלָכִ֣ים יִמְלֹ֑כוּ וְ֝רוֹזְנִ֗ים יְחֹ֣קְקוּ צֶֽדֶק׃ (טז) בִּ֭י שָׂרִ֣ים יָשֹׂ֑רוּ וּ֝נְדִיבִ֗ים כָּל־שֹׁ֥פְטֵי צֶֽדֶק׃ (יז) אֲ֭נִי אהביה [אֹהֲבַ֣י] אֵהָ֑ב וּ֝מְשַׁחֲרַ֗י יִמְצָאֻֽנְנִי׃ (יח) עֹֽשֶׁר־וְכָב֥וֹד אִתִּ֑י ה֥וֹן עָ֝תֵ֗ק וּצְדָקָֽה׃ (יט) ט֣וֹב פִּ֭רְיִי מֵחָר֣וּץ וּמִפָּ֑ז וּ֝תְבוּאָתִ֗י מִכֶּ֥סֶף נִבְחָֽר׃ (כ) בְּאֹֽרַח־צְדָקָ֥ה אֲהַלֵּ֑ך בְּ֝ת֗וֹךְ נְתִיב֥וֹת מִשְׁפָּֽט׃ (כא) לְהַנְחִ֖יל אֹהֲבַ֥י ׀ יֵ֑שׁ וְאֹצְרֹ֖תֵיהֶ֣ם אֲמַלֵּֽא׃ (פ)

(כב) ה' קָ֭נָנִי רֵאשִׁ֣ית דַּרְכּ֑וֹ קֶ֖דֶם מִפְעָלָ֣יו מֵאָֽז׃ (כג) מֵ֭עוֹלָם נִסַּ֥כְתִּי מֵרֹ֗אשׁ מִקַּדְמֵי־אָֽרֶץ׃ (כד) בְּאֵין־תְּהֹמ֥וֹת חוֹלָ֑לְתִּי בְּאֵ֥ין מַ֝עְיָנ֗וֹת נִכְבַּדֵּי־מָֽיִם׃ (כה) בְּטֶ֣רֶם הָרִ֣ים הָטְבָּ֑עוּ לִפְנֵ֖י גְבָע֣וֹת חוֹלָֽלְתִּי׃ (כו) עַד־לֹ֣א עָ֭שָׂה אֶ֣רֶץ וְחוּצ֑וֹת וְ֝רֹ֗אשׁ עָפְר֥וֹת תֵּבֵֽל׃ (כז) בַּהֲכִינ֣וֹ שָׁ֭מַיִם שָׁ֣ם אָ֑נִי בְּח֥וּקוֹ ח֝֗וּג עַל־פְּנֵ֥י תְהֽוֹם׃ (כח) בְּאַמְּצ֣וֹ שְׁחָקִ֣ים מִמָּ֑עַל בַּ֝עֲז֗וֹז עִינ֥וֹת תְּהוֹם׃ (כט) בְּשׂ֘וּמ֤וֹ לַיָּ֨ם ׀ חֻקּ֗וֹ וּ֭מַיִם לֹ֣א יַֽעַבְרוּ־פִ֑יו בְּ֝חוּק֗וֹ מ֣וֹסְדֵי אָֽרֶץ׃ (ל) וָֽאֶהְיֶ֥ה אֶצְל֗וֹ אָ֫מ֥וֹן וָֽאֶהְיֶ֣ה שַׁ֭עֲשֻׁעִים י֤וֹם ׀ י֑וֹם מְשַׂחֶ֖קֶת לְפָנָ֣יו בְּכָל־עֵֽת׃ (לא) מְ֭שַׂחֶקֶת בְּתֵבֵ֣ל אַרְצ֑וֹ וְ֝שַׁעֲשֻׁעַ֗י אֶת־בְּנֵ֥י אָדָֽם׃ (פ)

(1) It is Wisdom calling, Understanding raising her voice. (2) She takes her stand at the topmost heights, By the wayside, at the crossroads ...

Listen, for I speak noble things; Uprightness comes from my lips; (7) My mouth utters truth; Wickedness is abhorrent to my lips. (8) All my words are just, None of them perverse or crooked; (9) ... (13) To fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate pride, arrogance, the evil way, And duplicity in speech.

(14) Mine are counsel and resourcefulness; I am understanding; courage is mine. (15) Through me kings reign And rulers decree just laws; (16) Through me princes rule, Great men and all the righteous judges. (17) Those who love me I love, And those who seek me will find me...

(22) “The LORD created me at the beginning of His course As the first of His works of old.

(23) In the distant past I was fashioned, At the beginning, at the origin of earth.

(24) There was still no deep when I was brought forth, No springs rich in water;

(25) Before [the foundation of] the mountains were sunk, Before the hills I was born.

(26) He had not yet made earth and fields, Or the world’s first clumps of clay.

(27) I was there when He set the heavens into place; When He fixed the horizon upon the deep; (28) When He made the heavens above firm, And the fountains of the deep gushed forth; (29) When He assigned the sea its limits, So that its waters never transgress His command; When He fixed the foundations of the earth,

(30) I was with Him as a confidant, A source of delight every day, Rejoicing before Him at all times, (31) Rejoicing in His inhabited world, Finding delight with humankind.

3 ג

(יב) הֶאָנֹכִ֣י הָרִ֗יתִי אֵ֚ת כָּל־הָעָ֣ם הַזֶּ֔ה אִם־אָנֹכִ֖י יְלִדְתִּ֑יהוּ כִּֽי־תֹאמַ֨ר אֵלַ֜י שָׂאֵ֣הוּ בְחֵיקֶ֗ךָ כַּאֲשֶׁ֨ר יִשָּׂ֤א הָאֹמֵן֙ אֶת־הַיֹּנֵ֔ק עַ֚ל הָֽאֲדָמָ֔ה אֲשֶׁ֥ר נִשְׁבַּ֖עְתָּ לַאֲבֹתָֽיו׃

(12) Did I conceive all this people, did I bear them, that You should say to me, ‘Carry them in your bosom as a nurse carries an infant,’ to the land that You have promised on oath to their fathers?
4 ד
(ה) הָאֹֽכְלִים֙ לְמַ֣עֲדַנִּ֔ים נָשַׁ֖מּוּ בַּחוּצ֑וֹת הָאֱמֻנִים֙ עֲלֵ֣י תוֹלָ֔ע חִבְּק֖וּ אַשְׁפַּתּֽוֹת׃ (ס)

(5) Those who feasted on dainties Lie famished in the streets; Those who were reared in purple are sprawled on refuse heaps.

5 ה
(ז) וַיְהִ֨י אֹמֵ֜ן אֶת־הֲדַסָּ֗ה הִ֤יא אֶסְתֵּר֙ בַּת־דֹּד֔וֹ כִּ֛י אֵ֥ין לָ֖הּ אָ֣ב וָאֵ֑ם וְהַנַּעֲרָ֤ה יְפַת־תֹּ֙אַר֙ וְטוֹבַ֣ת מַרְאֶ֔ה וּבְמ֤וֹת אָבִ֙יהָ֙ וְאִמָּ֔הּ לְקָחָ֧הּ מָרְדֳּכַ֛י ל֖וֹ לְבַֽת׃

(7) He was foster father to Hadassah—that is, Esther—his uncle’s daughter, for she had neither father nor mother. The maiden was shapely and beautiful; and when her father and mother died, Mordecai adopted her as his own daughter.

6 ו
(ח) הֲתֵֽיטְבִי֙ מִנֹּ֣א אָמ֔וֹן הַיֹּֽשְׁבָה֙ בַּיְאֹרִ֔ים מַ֖יִם סָבִ֣יב לָ֑הּ אֲשֶׁר־חֵ֣יל יָ֔ם מִיָּ֖ם חוֹמָתָֽהּ׃

(8) Were you any better than No-amon, Which sat by the Nile, Surrounded by water— Its rampart a river, Its wall consisting of sea?

7 ז

(ו) עֲשָׂרָה דְבָרִים נִבְרְאוּ בְּעֶרֶב שַׁבָּת בֵּין הַשְּׁמָשׁוֹת, וְאֵלּוּ הֵן, פִּי הָאָרֶץ, וּפִי הַבְּאֵר, וּפִי הָאָתוֹן, וְהַקֶּשֶׁת, וְהַמָּן, וְהַמַּטֶּה, וְהַשָּׁמִיר, וְהַכְּתָב, וְהַמִּכְתָּב, וְהַלּוּחוֹת.

וְיֵשׁ אוֹמְרִים, אַף הַמַּזִּיקִין, וּקְבוּרָתוֹ שֶׁל משֶׁה, וְאֵילוֹ שֶׁל אַבְרָהָם אָבִינוּ.

וְיֵשׁ אוֹמְרִים, אַף צְבָת בִּצְבָת עֲשׂוּיָה:

(6) Ten things were created on the eve of the first Sabbath at twilight, and these are they: [1] the mouth of the earth [that swallowed Korach], [2] the mouth of the well [that , [3] the mouth of Bilam's donkey, [4] the rainbow, [5] the manna, [6] the staff [of Moses], [7] the shamir, [8] the letters, [9] the writing, [10] and the tablets. And some say: also the demons, the grave of Moses, and the ram of Abraham, our father. And some say: and also tongs, made with tongs.