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It says in the first blessing before the morning Shema that Hashem

renews, in His goodness, every day, the work of Creation, as it says: "To the One Who creates great luminaries, for eternal is His kindness." (Tehillim 136:7)

The proof seems to be that "Who creates" (לְעֹשֵׂה) is in the present tense, thus implying that Hashem continually recreates the world.

The problem is that many other verses in this chapter are also written in the present tense. Do we need to assume that every day Hashem "strikes Egypt through their firstborns" (v 10), splits the Sea of Reeds (v 13), and leads His people through the desert (v 16)? Presumably, for these verses the author used poetic license to use a non-standard tense. Why not assume the same for the verse about creating the world?

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  • See Beis Halevi (I think it's the third piece in the sefer) who discusses this concept, and how it relates to Shabbos
    – chortkov2
    Commented Oct 3, 2021 at 12:23

3 Answers 3

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As commented previously on this site a simple, plain understanding of the Bracha is not that Hashem continuously recreates the world. Consider the Talmud Chaggigah 12b:

נכנס שחרית ויוצא ערבית ומחדש בכל יום מעשה בראשית

Morning comes and evening leaves and He renews the acts of creation every day.

Rashi comments:

נכנס שחרית לתוך תיקו והאור נראה ויוצא ערבית מתיקו ומתפשט למטה מן האור והרי העולם חשוך וזהו חידושו למעשה בראשית בכל יום

Morning comes in to its sheath and the light is seen And evening goes out from its sheath and spreads lower than the light and the world is dark - this is the renewal to the acts of creation every day.

Although the Talmud doesn't use the word תמיד - continuously, see the Rambam Hilchos Yesodei HaTorah 1:3:

שהגלגל סובב תמיד

The Orbit turns continuously

So it is a reference to the daily cycle of day and night. So the verse is a reference that G-d made them (which is exactly how Rashi interprets it in Tehillim there).

See the אבודרהם on this, who explains it in a similar vein (the light of creation shining down every day anew, and constantly being the continuous day-night cycle), and that explanation also has Kabbalistic significance.

Of course the understanding that this refers to G-d's continuous creation is a well established understanding (e.g. Nefesh Hachaim, Keser Shem Tov and others), but it is a deeper meaning of the prayers, not the plain meaning.

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There are several ראשונים that seem to indicate that G-d doesn't necessarily recreate the world at every moment, but He desires it to exist at every moment.

The רמב״ן על התורה בראשית א:ד discusses the creation of the world. 1

והעניין, להורות כי עמידתם בחפצו, ואם החפץ יתפרד רגע מהם – יהיו לאין

Their [G-d's Creations] existence is His will. If G-d wanted to separate from them [G-d's Creations] for even a moment, they would no longer exist.

Similarly there is a famous כוזרי ג:יא that explains:2

וְהַבּוֹרֵא יִתְבָּרֵךְ בּוֹרֵא הָאֵבָרִים וְנוֹתֵן לָהֶם כֹּחוֹת וּמַמְשִׁיךְ לָהֶם עִם הָרְגָעִים, וְאִלּוּ הָיוּ מַעֲלִים עַל לֵב הִסְתַּלְּקוּת הַשְׁגָּחָתוֹ וְהַנְהָגָתוֹ רֶגַע אֶחָד הָיָה נִפְסָד הָעוֹלָם כֻּלּו

The Creator, creates limbs and endows them continually with their faculties. If His solicitude and guidance were removed only for one instant, then the whole world would be lost.

(The בעל התניא שער ייחוד והאמונה א and the נפש החיים ג:יא both discuss this idea in the context of the Ten Utterances of Creation.)

The existence of creation is tied to G-d's active will.

It's possible to understand that Hashem renews, in his goodness, every day, his desire for creation to exist.

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Nefesh Hachaim 3:1:

Commenting on the verse, "Behold there is a place with Me" (Shemot 33:21), the Midrash says "The place [of the world] is my dependant, but I am not dependant on the place". The pshat of this statement is that just as the place supports something, so too Hashem the Place supports and sustains the worlds and all creations. If, chas veshalom, He would remove His attention from creation for an instant, all the worlds would cease to exist as it says "You are keeping them all alive" (Nechemiah 9:6). This is the cornerstone of Jewish faith.

So, the idea is a general idea and the sources are probably "asmachta", the scripture isn't brought to prove it - we already know it is true, it is the cornerstone of our faith - but the pasukim are brought to support it. In this case, the "proof" is not your pasuk but Nechemia.

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