In the Maariv Prayer, the blessing recited before the Shema states:  “Borei Yom valaiah, goleil ohr mipnei chosech v’chosech mipnei ohr“.  “You are the Creator of day and night, rolling light away from the darkness and darkness from light”.

Jews pray this powerful and moving prayer everyday during the Maariv/evening service.

The Biblical proof text for this prayer can be found in Isaiah 45: 6-7.  We read:  “So that those from the east and those from the west will know that there is none beside me–I am Adonai, there is no other.  I form light, I create darkness”.

I have been both perplexed and intrigued by this theological concept for most of my adult life.  What does this mean?  Is G-d both light AND darkness?  Does G-d create all of the light in our lives as well as those dark times?

I don’t think the verse in anyway is stating that G-d is an evil force in the universe.  In contrast, I think that out of the glare of the light, we may be able to see more clearly those things that are not visible in the brightness of the day.

There is much comfort in becoming aware of the ebb and flow of day and night.  In the eternal flow and rolling away from light to darkness and from darkness to light, we realize that night or darkness is not forever.  Darkness will always roll into light and light will always roll into darkness.

At dark times in my life when I have felt most vulnerable, I have also understood even more deeply the love and comfort that comes from the light of family, friends, and the community.  Moreover, I think of the beauty that can be found in darkness of the night.

So, yes, in this sense, I can understand that the LIGHT is in G-d and that G-d is also there in the darkness.

The essence or spirit of G-d is in everything.  There is NO PLACE that G-d is not.  Even in those areas of my life where I may have made poor decisions and some aspect of darkness has befallen me.  G-d is there.  G-d can work in both light and darkness.

I will probably continue to struggle with this concept for the rest of my life.  It is comforting for me to realize that G-d is ALL.  G-d is in the darkness, and I know the darkness will roll into light.  I will continue to strive to fully embrace ALL of it–both the areas I perceive to be “light” and those areas that I view as “dark”.

This prayer is a powerful reminder that there is no place that I can not connect to the G-d source in my life.  “You are the Creator of Day and Night”.

I would love to hear your thoughts and insights into the powerful prayer.

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1 Comment
  1. Cantor Risa 4 months ago

    I do believe that Gd is both light and darkness.

    I feel that after light, where and when so many of us feel Gd the most, are drawn to seek, feel and receive Gd in the darkness. It is a humbling experience. One of my favorite prayers is Hashkeveinu. This prayer helps me feel Gd’s Sukat Sh’lomecha which I desperately need right now. In the darkness I ask to Gd to let me feel Gd’s presence and Tabernacle of Peace. I take deep breaths and even in the darkness I can see and feel Gd’s light.

    Psalm 16:8 Sh’viti adoshem l’negdi tamid…I have set the Lrd always before me; because Gd is at me right hand, I shall not be moved.

    In light and in darkness I feel Gd’s presence and know that wherever and whenever, light and darkness, Gd is at my side.

    Psalm 84:5, Ashrei Yoshevei Vaytecha… Happy are those who dwell in Your house. In light and darkness we dwell in God’s house. I believe we have to seek joy and happiness in both. Remember Gd’s blessings in both. Darkness is a way to sometimes seek and remember.

    Thank you for your post. I nneded it.

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