The Sun and the Moon
16.’ And G-d made the two great luminaries- וַיַּעַשׂ אֱלֹהִים אֶת שְׁנֵי הַמְּאֹרֹת הַגְּדֹלִים (1971=18 or 3091 +6 words=19=10=1 counting final Mems as 600): the large luminary to rule the day, and the small luminary to rule the night with the stars-אֶת הַמָּאוֹר הַגָּדֹל לְמֶמְשֶׁלֶת הַיּוֹם וְאֶת הַמָּאוֹר הַקָּטֹן לְמֶמְשֶׁלֶת הַלַּיְלָה וְאֵת הַכּוֹכָבִים (3849+12 words=3861=18).
The verse can also be divided so:
· And G-d made the two great luminaries- וַיַּעַשׂ אֱלֹהִים אֶת שְׁנֵי הַמְּאֹרֹת הַגְּדֹלִים (1971=18 or 3091 +6 words=19=10=1 counting final Mems as 600);
· The large luminary to rule the day- אֶת הַמָּאוֹר הַגָּדֹל לְמֶמְשֶׁלֶת הַיּוֹם(1596+5 words = 2601 =1+8 or 2156=14=8 or + 5 words=2161=10=1 counting final Mem as 600);
· And the small luminary to rule the night- וְאֶת הַמָּאוֹר הַקָּטֹן לְמֶמְשֶׁלֶת הַלַּיְלָה(2393=17=8 counting final Nun as 700);
· And the stars- וְאֵת הַכּוֹכָבִים (510+2 words=8 or 710=8 counting final Mem as 600).
Rashi comments here that they were originally created equal in size but the moon was reduced in size as it complained to Hashem saying that it was impossible for two kings to wear the same crown (Chullin 60.a):
Rabbi Shimon ben Pazi asked: It is written, “Elokim made the two large luminaries,” and yet the verse immediately continues and states, “The large luminary to rule the day, and the small luminary to rule the night, along with the stars.” [If both are large, why is one later called small?] Rather, the Moon said before the Holy One, “Master of the world, two kings cannot share one crown.” He replied to her, “[If that is that case, then:] Go and diminish yourself.” She said before him, “Just because I said something proper before You, should I diminish myself?” He said to her, “Go and rule by day and by night.” She said to Him, “What is the advantage in this? What is the value of a candle in the presence of the noonday sun?” He said to her, “Go [diminish yourself] so that Israel may count the days and years through you.” She said to Him, “The sun is also necessary for counting the times and the seasons, as it is written, ‘And they [both the sun and the moon] will be for signs and appointed times...’” “Go [diminish yourself], and [in the merit of this] certain specific righteous individuals will be called ‘Small’ in your name: Yaacov the Small, Shmuel the Small, David the Small.” Seeing that she was still upset, the Holy One finally said: “Bring an atonement for Me for having diminished the Moon.”
This is what Rabbi Shimon ben Lakish meant when he said: What distinguishes the Rosh Chodesh Se’ir [the little goat that is offered every New Moon] [from the goat offerings on all the holidays]? It is the only one in which the term le’chatat la’YKVK [“as a sin-offering for God”] is used [whereas the others are all written “se’ir le’chatat—a goat for a sin-offering”]. This teaches us that the Holy One said, “Let this goat atone for My having diminished the Moon!”
In Shavuot 9.a. the Talmud relates:
The Torah states: “U’se’ir izim echad le’chatat la’YKVK—[You shall also offer] one goat presented as a sin-offering for God” (Numbers 28:15).
Might this refer to some [human] sin that only God knows about? Will this goat come and atone for it? [No. This is not what the extra word “la’YKVK” comes to teach us.] Rather, Rabbi Shimon ben Lakish said:
What distinguishes the Rosh Chodesh Se’ir [the little goat that is offered every New Moon] [from the goat offerings on all the holidays], that the term le’chatat la’YKVK [as a sin offering for God] is used regarding it? Rather, the Holy One said: “Let this goat atone for My having diminished the moon.”
But [the Talmud asks] if this is the case, why isn’t it written “chatat al HaShem” (literally a sin offering on behalf of God), or “chatat HaShem” (literally a sin-offering of God)?! Why does it say, “le’chatat la’Shem”? Rather, it contains a double message [(1) Israel must sacrifice a sin-offering for HaShem, i.e., on His behalf (to appease the Moon); and (2) Israel must sacrifice a sin-offering to atone for its own sins, but HaShem established that this would be done on Rosh Chodesh].
Rashi adds that to compensate the moon Hashem gave it many hosts in the form of stars (Beraishit Rabbah 6.4).
My Rabbi and Teacher, Rabbi Avraham Sutton explains (The Well of Living Waters pp.174-6):
Again, the verse in question reads, “[You shall also offer] one goat presented as a sin-offering for God” (Numbers 28:15)….
Of course, even here, the sages could have merely read the words le’chatat la’Shem as “a sin-offering to God” and bypassed the entire problem. After all, the letter lamed at the beginning of a word means “to” as much or more than it means “for.” And anyway, in general, the responsibility for sin lies in man’s domain. Why should they, suddenly, out of nowhere, saddle God Himself with an “original” sin by reading the words as “a sin-offering for God”? Why would they do this, which would then require an explanation as to why Israel would have to present a sin-offering “for God,” i.e., on God’s behalf?
The answer: In order to help Hashem atone for His sin!
But what was God’s sin anyway?
In order to answer this, we have to move away from the children’s level of the story. The Moon never complained. There was never such a conversation between God and the Moon. It is all a children’s tale—but a children’s tale that conceals a profound truth about the way Hashem brought this lower physical world into existence.
On the children’s level (and we are all children), God’s sin was that He caused the light of the Moon to be diminished, ostensibly a punishment for having complained that it wanted its own crown [of light]. But was this really a punishment? Perhaps the diminution of the light of the Moon was God’s way of giving the Moon a way to attain its own light?
This is similar to the soul… the soul cannot attain or accomplish anything on its own, i.e., it cannot work for and attain its own perfection before it descends and incarnates into this lower world. In a sense, God had to make a lower dimension in which His light is hidden in order to give the soul a chance to acquire its own perfection. Descending into “this-world” is not a punishment for the soul. It is God’s greatest gift. For this is the only place where the soul can attain its own perfection—fashion its own crown! But what is involved in creating a lower dimension? It involves the necessity of creating something, some force whose very existence seems to contradict God’s existence. It involves the necessity of creating the possibility of evil!
Why did He create the possibility of evil? Why?!
By commanding Israel to bring a sin-offering on His behalf, Hashem is saying in effect, “In order to create the possibility of true free choice, I had to create the possibility of sin; in order to create the possibility of sin, I had to create the possibility of evil; in order to create the possibility of evil, I had to hide My light! In order to hide My light on the fourth day of creation, I had to make the Moon small!”
This was God’s sin: He created the possibility of sin!
In order to do so, He diminished His light in successive stages. Our Midrash emphasizes that He did this by diminishing the light of the Moon. Above, we learned that He diminished the light of the Sun as well. How? By limiting it, by encasing it within the orb of the Sun.
Rabbi Sutton also points out that from our standpoint on earth the Moon and the Sun are actually the same size despite being separated my millions of miles! This fact becomes evident at times of a full solar eclipse.
The Moon is 400 times nearer the earth than the Sun. The Sun is 400 times bigger than the Moon. Thus at the time of the Solar eclipse from the standpoint of the earth where people observe Hashem's wonders they are one and the same size.
From here we learn that the Earth is the center of the Universe as indeed our Sages teach us.
There are 216 letters in the Explicit Name of Hashem (72*3).
The joint volume of the Two Tablets of the Testimony is 216 Tefachim (6*6*6).
The large luminary-The Sun
הַשֶׁמֶשׁ - הַמָּאוֹר הַגָּדוֹל
The small luminary-The Moon
הַיָרֵחַ הַמָּאוֹר- הַקָּטֹן
Rule of Day
Rule of Night
890=17=8 or + 2 words=19=10=1
The joint gematria of the words:
· The Sun- הַשֶׁמֶשׁ=645
· The Moon- הַיָרֵחַ=223
· The Stars- הַכּוֹכָבִים=101 or 663