Rashi comments, “All the potentials of heaven and earth were created on Day One, but Hashem commanded each to actualize on a designated day. The heavens had been created on the first day, but they were still in a state of flux. On the second day, when Hashem said, ‘Let there be a rakia, firmament,’ the heavens solidified, thereby creating a separation between the waters above (clouds) and the waters below.” We wonder why there had to be a process whereby the heavens required a day to congeal. Also, Hashem created light on the first day, but He did not put the luminaries into place until the fourth day. As mentioned earlier, all of Creation occurred on the first day, but the individual creations were not put into place until their designated time. Why? It is not as if Hashem could not have the finished creation ready the “first” time. Why wait?
Horav Yosef Nechemia Kornitzer, zl, says that this process was a Heavenly design established in order to convey an important lesson. Hashem deliberately discontinued aspects of Creation, “returning” to them at a later time, to teach that greatness and successful achievement do not just happen instantly. The pasuk in Iyov 8:7 states, V’hayah reishischa mitzaar, v’acharischa yisgeh me’od; “Although your beginning is small, your end will prosper.” Just as a human being develops over time, as he is nurtured and educated, develops physically and emotionally, until he is able to take his place in society. Great achievements take time. One must introspect, take a step back and observe: Is he going in the right direction? Is the organization/institution/program that he is developing evolving in the manner that he had planned? Are his dreams achieving reality, or have they become nightmares? When we accept the fact that creation requires time and patience, one will not be upset when things do not go exactly as planned: the timing is off; there is a snag, an obstacle, a challenge that has surfaced which must be overcome.
This is the idea behind Bereishis, “In the beginning.” A beginning implies a time line, a starting point that continues on until it achieves fruition. The process has a beginning, a half-way point, and a finish line. All the heavens and earth began with something (which is beyond our grasp) and later evolved into its final configuration. Nothing received its full significance and capacity instantaneously. From the very outset, the Torah wants us to know and internalize the idea that growth and development (especially in Torah, which is a gift from Hashem) take time, patience and perseverance.