"These are the chronicles of heaven and earth, having been created on the day that G‑d [Havayah] made earth and heaven." (Gen. 2:4)

These are the chronicles…: i.e. the account of Creation until this point.

…on the day that G‑d made earth and heaven": implying that G‑d created everything in one day (and only activated each element of Creation sequentially during the ensuing six days).

…earth and heaven: When the Torah describes how G‑d created the world, it mentions heaven first, for, in fact, heaven (i.e. spirituality) was created before earth (i.e. physicality). When it discusses how He "made" them - i.e. put the finishing touches on them, however, the earth is mentioned first, because the final purpose of Creation is expressed more in the physical realm than the spiritual realm.

[Note: put the finishing touches…This is how Rashi defines the verb "to make" in his comment. (Genesis 1:25)] Havayah…signifies G‑d's revelation and complimentary attribute of mercy…

Also, earth is mentioned first because we are now about to focus on the history of mankind. In this context, earth is of greater importance than heaven, since the purpose of Creation is to transform it into a home for G‑d. Above, in the account of Creation, heaven was mentioned first because it preceded earth and evinces a higher level of divine consciousness.

…G‑d [Havayah]…: The divine name Elokim signifies G‑d's concealment and attribute of strict judgment. Here we are introduced to another name of G‑d, Havayah, which signifies G‑d's revelation and complimentary attribute of mercy. Throughout the entire creation process only Elokim was used, for only through a concealment of G‑d's overpowering oneness could creatures who consider themselves separate from G‑d be brought into being. The mission of Man, however, is to bring light in to the darkness; to reveal G‑d within the corporeal world. Man has the singular capacity to reach beyond the world and all of its limitations and to connect with G‑d on an infinitely deeper plane. Once we begin the discussion of humanity, therefore, the name Havayah is used, to articulate the potential and destiny mankind. The full fusion of the divine attributes of justice and mercy was possible only so long as Man remained in the Garden of Eden…

Still, in contradistinction to the rest of the Bible, where these names are used separately, in this section (from here until the end of chapter 3, except in the dialogue between Eve and the snake) - that is, as long as the narrative takes place in the Garden of Eden - G‑d is referred to exclusively by the double name Havayah Elokim. This clearly indicates that the full fusion of the divine attributes of justice and mercy was possible only so long as Man remained in the Garden of Eden. After the expulsion, G‑d is predominantly known by the name Havayah, for the condition of exile requires that He principally manifest His attribute of mercy.

[Note: the double name… This combination occurs here 20 times, and only once again in the entire Five Books of Moses. (Ex. 9:30) Throughout the rest of the books of the Bible it occurs only another 16 times.]

The theme of this section of the Torah is that mankind is the purpose of Creation. Man's creation was mentioned earlier, as a detail of the account of the first seven days. However, mankind's pivotal role in the drama of life earns him extra attention and emphasis. Therefore, the Torah now returns to examine his creation in greater detail.

© 2001 CHABAD OF CALIFORNIA / www.lachumash.org
[Based on Sichot Kodesh 5739, vol.1, pp. 699, 707; Sefer HaMa'amarim Melukat, vol. 1, pp. 346-7; Hitva'aduyot 5748, vol. 3, p. 163; Hitva'aduyot 5743, vol. 1, p. 479.]