The following story is one of Reb Gutman Locks’s, and was recently published in the Living Jewish weekly Torah sheet in Israel…
The boy had a tiny voice, "If G-d renews the world every day, then what about Shabbat when He stops creating?"
I love it. Here is a question that most adults never dreamed of asking and a seven-year-old really wanted to know, "Then, what about Shabbat?"
Do you understand his question? In one place we are told that G-d ceased creating at the end of the sixth day, and rested from creating on Shabbat, and in another place we are told that G-d renews the world everyday! How do we reconcile these two apparently contradictory statements? Does G-d renew His creation on Shabbat, or does He "rest"?
Before answering his question I told the boy how wonderful it is that he asks questions like this. "Always ask questions. It is the best way to learn. On everything that you do not understand, ask."
Then I explained, actually, G-d renews the world every second. He holds everything in its form all the time, because if He didn't, everything would disappear. It would just stop being. G-d is forming everything right now out of nothing!
Then, what about Shabbat when G-d rests from creating? What this really means is that from that first Shabbat on G-d rested from creating any new things, and from then on everything new that comes in the world comes from something else that was already here."
I explained that this means that during the first week everything was first created solely from G-d's "words." But now, things come from other things. For instance, a baby is made from the mother and father, and the table is made from the tree, and on and on, but during the first week everything was brought into being without there having been any preexisting matter for it to come from. It was from this type of creating that G-d rested, (ceased).
The boy seemed to understand. His father asked me to give the boy. I said, "When you grow up, may G-d make you even better than your Mommy and Daddy." The boy beamed at his father, and smiled at the idea.
I asked him his name. He said, "Ezra Yehudah". I told him that before a baby is born G-d whispers to the baby's mother and father what name the new baby should have, and that name shows what that child is coming into world to do. I told him to learn all about the great deeds of the first men to be called Ezra and Yehudah and those were the things that he should try to do in his life.
They walked away very happy. I was surprised that I had never heard that question before, and amazed that it came from such a young boy.