shrinking the vast

This morning, during Shacharit, i pictured the vast universe in all its glory and complexity, i started to think about our place in it and wonder how i could seriously believe all the things i believe when the universe is the way it is?

Doesn't my whole conception and understanding just seem a little too tribal for someone living post-2000 and aware of the wide world beyond the atmosphere?

The simple answer is, well, no. Feel free to get in touch with me for the full-on in-depth process of understanding i went through to return to where i started,* but here i wanted to share a simple idea that was the first and most correct response.

Rav Steinsaltz once dealt with a basic question people often have: We look back on our youth and see a more intense more real devotion than we can muster today. Usually the question is, what happened to me and where did that passion go? His answer is mind-blowing: When things were small, all of our desires and feelings, everything about us fit into this little world which basically began and ended with the walls of our home, of our school. As we mature, our world gets bigger, our awareness gets bigger, what used to suffice for energy and passion in that small space is spread thin in the new and bigger world. (I've discussed this in the past here)

If we don't redouble our efforts and invest this larger world with our desires and intentions, then we seem empty. If we don't bring HaShem into this larger space with us, He will seem distant, beyond our reach.

So, when I was confronted with the vastness of space, the collossal universe, Rav Steinsaltz' words came back to me and I brought** HaShem into that space until the universe wasn't cold and empty but vibrant and buzzing, infused and overfull with the infinity that fails to describe HaShem.

* there is not a single scientific discovery or understanding that conflicts with the words of Chazal. There is always a realistic and enlightening, (viable would be an understatement) perspective from which the two may be reconciled. More than reconcilliation, this new perspective can offer insights both into science and Chazal.

** we don't bring HaShem anywhere, we recognize that He's already there; but to our perspective, since He wasn't there and now He is, it seems like we brought Him.


Related posts

Blog Widget by LinkWithin