Friday, September 7, 2018

Earth Etude for Elul 28 -- Not One

by Rabbi David Greenstein

There is not one blade of grass on earth without its angel descending from above, prodding it urgently: “Grow, grow!”* And, in return, the grass keeps growing.

There is not one lion on earth without its angel descending from above, prodding it urgently, “Roar, roar!” And, in return, the lion keeps roaring.

There is not one stream on earth without its angel descending from above, prodding it urgently, “Flow, flow!” And, in return, the stream keeps flowing.

There is not one bee on earth without its angel descending from above, prodding it urgently, “Sting, sting!” And, in return, the bee keeps stinging.

There is not one human being on earth without their angel descending from above, prodding them urgently: “Let the grass grow, the lion roar, the stream flow, the bee sting.” And, in return, the human being pauses to consider whether to heed their angel or betray it.



But, should they betray their angel, there is not one human being on earth who will be able to hide. They will look around and see a world that is naked, where -

There is not one blade of grass on earth;
There is not one lion;
There is not one stream;
There is not one bee;
And there is not one angel descending from above.

Except for the angel who will prod each person with a fiery sword, saying urgently, “Until you return to the earth, for you are from the earth, and to the earth you must return.”**


* See Genesis Rabbah 10:6
** See Genesis 3:19

David Greenstein serves as rabbi of Congregation Shomrei Emunah in Montclair, NJ. He is the author of Roads to Utopia: The Walking Stories of the Zohar (Stanford University Press, 2014). He is the Daniel Jeremy Silver Fellow at the Center for Jewish Studies at Harvard for the academic year 2018 - 2019.



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