Parshas Breishis - Exactly!

By Reb Eliezer Bulka

Posted on 10/05/18

This coming Sunday, 28 Tishrei, is the yahrtzeit of my dear friend, Daniel Scarowsky, z"l.

This week's shtikle is dedicated leiluy nishmaso, Daniel Moshe Eliyahu ben Yitzchak.

On the second day of creation, HaShem declares that there should be a firmament amidst the waters that shall divide between the waters. The next pasuk (7) describes that HaShem did so and ends with "vayhi chein," and it was so. Four other pesukim dealing with the creation end with the very same words. However, this one is decidedly different. The other four are pesukim dealing with a declaration of HaShem. The pasuk tells nothing of HaShem actually performing the said tasks. The words "vayhi chein" are therefore needed to inform that it was done. However, here the pasuk details the actual task as it was performed. Why then is it necessary to reiterate that it was so?

Or HaChayim answers simply that these words refer back to the previous pasuk. After detailing the performing of the steps of creation declared in the previous pasuk, it is evident that it was so.

However, Ramban and the GR"A suggest that this phrase is teaching us something extra. With regards to the firmament and the splitting of the waters, the seemingly superfluous "vayhi chein" is not teaching us that it was then but rather that so it was and so it will always be. This step of creation had a certain eternal permanence to it as indicated by these words.

Perhaps we can build upon the answer of the Or HaChayim which, at first, seemed overly simplistic. While this instance of "vayhi chein" is different, it is also the first of the five. Perhaps here it is acting as a paradigm. It is quite clear that everything HaShem declared to be done in pasuk 6 was in fact performed in pasuk 7 - no more, no less. This then becomes the definition of "vayhi chein." From here we understand that with every other step of creation, any time we see the words "vayhi chein," it carries with it the same precision and exactness as it did on day two. (Pasuk 11 and Rashi's commentary seem to contradict this approach. However, I did see an explanation from R' Ovadia miBartenura which would reconcile the two.)