Is it just me, or do you also hear the Happy Days theme song in your head when we read the story of creation? In both cases, we go through the days of the week and call them “happy” or “good.” In fact, you could substitute the words “it was good” in place of “happy days,” and you’d have a nice little Bereshit theme song:
Sunday, Monday, it was good.
Tuesday, Wednesday, it was good.
Thursday, Friday, it was good.
Saturday, what a day, I think I’ll take a nap.
At the end of each day of creation, God takes a moment to step back and take note of all that has been accomplished in anticipation of the next productive step. It makes me wonder if God would still have had the satisfaction of “good” if there hadn’t been this daily check-in. Perhaps the “good” isn’t a direct response to the creation at all, but actually God taking a moment to simply stop at the end of the day. We focus on Shabbat as God’s rest after creation, but the division between the days seems to indicate there was also a “rest” after each day.
This is the lesson of creation. Setting aside a moment at the end of the day to look at what we have accomplished and what is good – in our professional and personal lives – means that we are actively checking in with ourselves and those around us. Furthermore, setting aside an entire day (and believe me, as someone who “works” on Shabbat, I know how hard this is to do) means having the ability to reconnect with one another and refresh for the next week.
The happiness conveyed in the theme song is a helpful reminder to stop and take these moments of appreciation. Every week when Duncan and I look at our calendars and plan our schedules, it reinforces how frenetic and fast-paced our lives seem to be. In order to get any family time or down time, we have to schedule it in. This section of text in parshat Bereshit details the creation of the world day by day, but also asks us to reflect on our own “happy days.” As we enter another year and another cycle of Torah, let us work to make every day a day that brings happiness, connection, and our own creation.