May The Force Be With You

I finally took the time to see Star Wars. I was transported back in time, when my son was young and his life revolved around Star Wars toys – storm troopers, and space ships, and Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker, and the Force. I watched the movie both in the past, remembering my son’s joy, and yet enjoying the experience for myself in the present.

But imagine my surprise when the present took on a religious significance. I watched the various creatures looking so different, some gross to my sensibilities, and some humorous. But overarching all of my judgments was the awakening awe that the Holy One created a universe that’s far reaching and beyond my comprehension. And so, I turn to Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel for this week’s quotation:

It seems as though we have arrived at a point in history, closest to the instincts and remotest from ideals, where the self stands like a wall between God and humans. It is the period of a divine eclipse. We sail the seas, we count the stars, we split the atom, but never ask: Is there nothing but a dead universe and our reckless curiosity?

Primitive human’s humble ear was alert to the inwardness of the world, while the modern human is presumptuous enough to claim that we have the sole monopoly over soul and spirit, that we are the only thing alive in the universe. … But there is a dawn of wonder and surprise in our souls, when the things that surround us suddenly slip off the triteness with which we have endowed them, and their strangeness opens like a gap between them and our mind, a gap that no words can fill. … What is the incense of self-esteem to the one who tastes in all things the flavor of the utterly unknown, the fragrance of what is beyond our senses? There are neither skies nor oceans, neither birds nor trees — there are only signs of what can never be perceived. And all power and beauty are mere straws in the fire of a pure human’s vision. (“The Holy Dimension”, p. 329)

May you have a week of blessings and a Shabbat of peace,

Rabbi Debbie Israel