Contributed by Rabbi Geoffrey W. Dennis

Rabbinic teachings include much more information about the origins of the universe than are found in the brief Biblical account. According to Genesis Rabbah, the personified Torah is God's "architect" in the design of creation. The waters of the abyss that preceded the creation are now trapped beneath the earth, held at bay by the Even ha-Shetiyah, the "Foundation Stone." God removed this stone for the great flood of Noah's time.

The design of the Tabernacle and the Temple that followed it are microcosms of creation. The human body also embodies the entire universe in microcosmic form. Mystical works such as the Sefer Yetzirah, the Midrash Konen, and particularly the teachings of Isaac Luria detail the intimate structure of creation, the metaphysics of the divine speech that created the world and the powers of creation that human being can access.

Article copyright © 2004 Geoffrey Dennis.