What Was Before the World?

Before the world there was G-d and His Name.

Beyond Time
Beyond Time

“Time” is also part of creation.  

So before creation there was no such thing as time that we could say “before”, or earlier, than creation.  

The word “before” in Hebrew – לפני (Lifnei) – comes from the more general root of פנים (P’nim) which means which means "inner" (deeper/ higher).  So even though “before” literally means "prior to" in the context of time, it also has a deeper, more general connotation of priority, as if to say loftier than something else.

And in the context of creation, “before the world” means above and beyond the world, on such a level that the world has no significance.   In other words, what you would find if you were to travel beyond time.

The shell gives a false impression

Sources

Before the world there was G-d and His Name - Midrash Pirkei D'Rabbi Elazar 3:1.

Before the world = above and beyond the world - Bar Mitzva Discourse (Issa B'Midrash Tillim) Pt.2.