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A Website Creation Narrative, 2022

Updated: May 20, 2022

By Rabbi Dina Shargel

I wonder how to stake out a site of my own on the worldwide web, the better to showcase some rabbinic services I’d like to offer. Did God do research before creating the world? I certainly had to, or I would never have gotten my website started. So much chaos and conflict, both inside my head and out there in cyberspace. It took time and patience and perseverance, but eventually I began to see light, as God did on Day 1 of the biblical Creation[1]. I choose a web-builder and get to work, perusing various web designs and making notes with pen and paper. To me, it was good.

Over the next couple of days, I start drafting my content. I began to make distinctions and settled on some preferences, thinking of the waters of the heavens separating from the primeval ocean waters on Day 2 of God’s Creation[2], and the waters below making way for dry land on Day 3[3]. So far, so good.

On Days 4 and 5 of the original Creation, I am inclined to think, the fun (Fun?) began. I wondered how God felt when the earth first blossomed with vegetation[4], and the sky began to sparkle with the glow of the luminaries[5]. What was it like to see the sky, sea and earth begin to teem with creatures of many kinds[6]? I began to fill my site with photos, text, templates and colors. Starting to look good...

On Day 6 of Creation, the human personality came into the world. Each being was and continues to be both unique and also a reflection of the Creator’s image[7]. So too (with your indulgence) does a website “builder” begin to see certain aspects of the self as the site is developed.

As the original human being was tasked with assigning names to all creatures[8], so was I required to choose a domain name. In the original Creation, even God consulted with the heavenly host before making human beings[9] and allowing them to “go live.” It’s no shame, then, that this lowly creature sought help from friends, many friends. Then I worked and worked and worked until it started looking... very good indeed[10].

Yet just as quickly, I changed my mind and began to tinker... and tinker and tinker until I passed the point of realizing that the endeavor was consuming... This is not good.

By Day 7, all of God’s work was completed[11]. I am very grateful for Shabbat. It allows me to extricate myself from my pen and paper, and from my website “creation.” I have no need of a website at all on Shabbat. And how wonderful it has been to immerse in creative activity – and then to recognize when too much work turns into drudgery. Now I am ready to enjoy “unplugging,” one of the new observances of Shabbat born circa the 21st century. It helps one bask in the holy blessedness that is in the domain of Shabbat[12]. On a Shabbat afternoon walk, away from the worldwide web in cyberspace, I see an actual spider’s web in actual space, heartbreakingly intricate and beautiful. Only God can make a tree... or a spider... or a lovely Shabbat afternoon.

[1] Genesis 1.3 [2] Verse 6 [3] Verse 7 [4] Verse 12 [5] Verses 16-17 [6] Verses 20-21 [7] Verse 27 [8] Gen 2.19-20 [9] Gen 1.26: “Let us make humankind in our image, after our likeness,” (Translation: The Contemporary Torah), with Rashi’s commentary. [10] Cf. Gen 1.31 [11] Gen 2.1 -2 [12] Gen 2.3

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