This is the conclusion of the first day of creation, the day which the Torah refers to as (Hebrew, yom echad). Our Sages explain that it is described in this manner -- which literally means "one day," rather than (Hebrew, yom rishon) which means "the first day" to allude to the concept that on this day, "the Holy One, Blessed be He, was alone in His world." On the subsequent days of creation, there were other creations which also existed.
Today is also a Tuesday, the third day of the week, the day associated with a twofold good, "good to the heavens" and "good to the creatures." This concept is connected with the intent of creation, to make a dwelling place for G-d ("good for the heavens") in the lower worlds ("good for the creatures").
This is also related to the weekly portion which begins "Give ear O' heavens... Listen O' earth." Our Sages explain that using such a form of address implies that one is "close to the heavens" and "far from the earth." This is relevant to the service of every Jew who is essentially, "close to the heavens and far from the earth." Since every Jew's soul is "truly a part of G-d from above," he is, in essence, "far from the earth," removed from material concerns.
A Jew's service is carried out on the earth, "to make the earth a dwelling place for G-d"; i.e., to make the earth like the heavens. Even so, since he is, in essence, "far from the earth," the fact that he is carrying out such a service will not change his essential level and he will remain removed from material concerns. Indeed, it is through this service that he will become "closer to the heavens," for the descent into material concerns is "a descent for the purpose of ascent" which will elevate him to an even higher rung. Accordingly, he will carry out his service within the world with happiness. This happiness will, in turn, "break through barriers," and destroy all distinctions between the heavens and earth.
Indeed, to paraphrase the prophet's expression, "Though the heavens and celestial peaks cannot contain You, this house (the Beis HaMikdash) will." Within this physical world will be established a dwelling place for G-d. Furthermore, as implied by the verse, "And they shall make Me a Sanctuary and I will dwell among them," G-d's presence will also dwell within each individual Jew in his individual home. One can surely understand the great joy each individual will feel when he knows that G-d's presence dwells in his individual home and room.
The above receives greater emphasis during the month of Elul, the month when "the king is in the field," and even more so, in the days of Selichos, and especially, on the third day of Selichos which is associated with the twofold aspect of good mentioned above.
May all this be fulfilled amidst happiness and may this happiness break through the barriers of exile, causing the last moment of exile to be the first moment of redemption when we will proceed to Eretz Yisrael, to Jerusalem, and to the Beis HaMikdash.
- (Back to text) Indeed, it is a great descent "from a high roof to a low pit."
- (Back to text) It is customary to begin the recitation of Selichos on a Saturday night, B'Motzoei Menuchah -- "At the departure of [the day of] rest."
This can be associated with the influence of Sunday, the first day, "the day G-d was alone within His world." The oneness which characterizes this day brings about atonement and forgiveness for any deficiencies in the service of the Jews. Indeed, it elevates them to a higher level as our Sages declared, "In the place of baalei teshuvah, even completely righteous men cannot stand."
- (Back to text) This is particularly true since the gathering will be concluded by the distribution of money to be given to tzedakah which "brings close the redemption.