The Dance of Water & Earth-Baruch sh’Amar Succot Kavanot
The Abudirham teaches that there are Ten defined blessings in this prayer, each corresponding to one of the Ten Statements with which God created the world. Since Rosh Hashanah we have been engaged in a constant dance between earth and water. “A man is formed from dust, and his end is in dust.” This not only describes our physical end in the grave, it also speaks of the creation of the Primal human being, Adam, who was formed from the earth.
“A mist rose from the earth and watered the whole surface of the soil. And God, the Lord, formed the man of dust from the ground (Genesis 2:6–7).” The Primal Man was formed from a mixture of dust and water. So, on Rosh Hashanah, after speaking of our evening in the earth, we march to a body of water to perform Tashlich; the ceremony in which we toss our sins into the water.
Immediately after Adam’s sin God said, “Cursed is the ground because of you (Genesis 3:17).” The earth is considered to have contributed to Adam’s sin! Adam was formed from the earth, and the earth is described as having already rebelled against God! When God commanded the earth on the Third Day of Creation to produce trees whose bark would be as edible as its fruit, the earth, it was protecting itself from people believing who would destroy the trees by eating the bark, did not obey God’s instructions, and did not produce trees with edible bark. The earth contained the first seeds of sin, and those seeds found their ways into Adam, who was formed from the earth.
When we perform Tashlich at the water, we are saying to God, had He formed us from water, rather than earth, we would not have sinned!
Succot is the holiday on which we went to the Holy Altar in the Temple, the Altar of Earth, which housed in it Earth from the very place where Adam was formed, and poured fresh water onto it to not only reenact the formation of Adam from a mixture of earth and water, but to say, had we been created only from water, we would not have sinned. It is a reenactment of the formation of Adam.
On Succot we go back to the very beginning of creation. Hence, we refer to Succot as Yom HaRishon, the First Day, the first day of Man’s existence, our opportunity to repair any damage caused to creation.
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