November 27, 2019
“Above all that thou guardest keep thy heart; for out of it are the issues of life.”
– Proverbs 4:23, JPS 1917 Tanach
This morning, while reading the following verse: “the whole earth is full of His glory,” I got stuck on the last word. Where is His glory? Upon examining my conscience, I realized that my mood and thoughts had been brought down by the bleak opening pages of a book that I started reading the previous night: Not in G-d’s Name: Confronting Religious Violence, by Jonathan Sacks. Within those first pages of the book, the author paints a picture – a stark reality – of religious terrorism in the world. Unusually, although I read the verse about G-d’s glory being revealed in the earth every morning, on this particular morning, I could not accept its truth until I cleared my thoughts.
I happened to recall, as the fog in my mind was lifting, a book recommended by someone, about water crystals. After finding an interesting book on snowflakes, I finally found the book in mind, and downloaded a sample copy onto my Kindle: The Hidden Messages in Water. Unfortunately, this book also begins with a very bleak perspective on the world, and then purports to provide an answer to the dilemma of unhappiness.
The truth of the matter is that happiness in not contingent upon the external circumstances of our lives, let alone the various conflicts and dilemmas in the world around us: rather, G-d’s perfect beauty can be found within the pattern of a snowflake that contains more of His glory than can sometimes be found elsewhere. If similar patterns can be found in water molecules, than all the more credit to Him.
“For though the fig-tree shall not blossom, Neither shall fruit be in the vines; The labour of the olive shall fail, And the fields shall yield no food; The flock shall be cut off from the fold, And there shall be no herd in the stalls; Yet I will rejoice in the L-RD, I will exult in the G-d of my salvation. G-d, the L-rd, is my strength, And He maketh my feet like hinds’ feet, And He maketh me to walk upon my high places.”
– Habakkuk 3:17-19, JPS 1917 Tanach