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    Twice as good on Tuesday – B’reshit

    TuesdayThe Creation story has a refrain: “And God saw ki tov – that it was good”.

    But the refrain is not constant. On Monday it does not come at all, on Tuesday it comes twice and on Friday, when man was created, it does not appear in relation to man but only as a summing up of the whole creation (Gen. 1:31).

    The doubling of “it was good” on Tuesday has led to the tradition that this day was specially favoured by God, and it has given rise to a custom of deeming Tuesday a good day for weddings – as it were, “the better the day, the better the deed”.

    A lovely idea, but looked at prosaically the first ki tov on Tuesday refers to the completion of work begun on Monday, and only the second one refers to Tuesday itself.

    What was made on Monday? The firmament dividing the upper waters (the heavens) from those below (a mostly liquid mixture of sea and land).

    This work, occupying one day, was presumably not sufficient in itself to warrant its own seal of approval, and its ki tov came the next day when the lower waters were gathered into seas and separated from the land (Gen. 1:10).

    Tuesday’s second task, which endowed the earth with the ability to be fertile and produce seeds and greenery, then earned its own ki tov (Gen. 1:12).

    Move to Friday and we have to ask where man’s ki tov is. Is man less valuable than the birds, bees and fishes created on Thursday and given a specific ki tov (Gen. 1:21)?

    The analogy of Monday provides an answer. Monday’s work was not complete in itself and required Tuesday for its continuation. Friday’s creation of man is also not complete without further effort.

    Man must work on himself (Edmond Fleg said, “For Israel, man is not yet created; men are creating him”); man’s “good” is in his own hands (Maimonides said – Hilchot T’shuvah 5:1-2 – that it is not the Creator who decides than a person shall be good or evil).

    In particular, man is not yet complete without woman (God says – Gen. 2:18 – “there is no ‘good’ when man is alone”, and the Talmud remarks – Yev. 62b – “an unmarried person lives without ‘good'”).

    Let us come back for a moment to the Tuesday problem. Granted that the first ki tov on Tuesday refers back to the completion of Monday’s work, is there any justification for the tradition of favouring this day for weddings?

    There is, if we find a hint in the text of the two elements in marriage, companionship and procreation.

    Companionship implies that, like land and sea, husband and wife are two separate individuals, but they learn to live with and enjoy each other, differences and all. Then comes procreation – expressing their deep togetherness in creating their own metaphorical plants and flowers, which bring joy to the world and guarantee its continuity.

    Each element has its own ki tov in the Torah, and taken together they doubly bless the day when a couple are married.

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