What was last in action was the first in thought.

"Commenting on the second verse from L'khah Dodi, the Baal Shem Tov (Siddur Baal Shem Tov, 326, bottom) offers a comment on how something can be first in thought and last in action, or what philosophers might call the telos of creation.

"To illustrate his point during a lesson he was teaching, the Baal Shem reached for a pitcher of beer on the table beside him. Holding it up before the class, he reminded them that while the pitcher was only earthenware, it had been shaped by an artisan. Although the clay, the raw material, preceded the pitcher, its present shape was of human intention. Rotating it before his students, he explained how we are able to discern some of the vitality, the creative life force, of the person who made it. We can thus gain an insight into the consciousness of its creator. We can literally feel the mind of the maker in the object. This is echoed in the kabbalistic maxim ko' al hapo'al banifal, 'The power of the Creator resides in the creation.' Then, in an act of great vision, the Baal Shem focused his attention on the simple pitcher of beer itself. 'I can see, for instance,' he said, 'that the artisan who made this had brown hair and a kindly smile; I can see that he had no legs.' His students were astonished. 'His consciousness, his vitality continues to reside within his creation.'

" 'What would happen,' asked a student, 'if you were to extract the consciousness of the artist from this vessel?'

" 'I believe that it would fall apart,' replied the teacher.

"The lesson concluded, one student remained alone in the room. Curious, he walked up to the table and picked up the pitcher. And, as he did, it disintegrated in his hands! The pitcher had been made, not to hold liquid, but just for the teacher's demonstration, and now it was no longer needed — its artisan's plan fulfilled, its purpose completed.”