Thursday, May 20, 2010
Psalm for Friday: Psalm 93, Verse 5
Your witnessing is truly affirmed; holiness befits your house, God, for all times.
The conclusion of this brief, but joyous, psalm reminds us of the nature of holiness and godliness in our world. It is God that witnesses the beauty, glory and complexity of existence.
We can affirm this completely because it is through us that God witnesses the nature of existence. We are the eyes of God. We, One with the Divine, have the eyes to see the world in all its splendor because we are living and acting in eat day after day. If we pay attention, we can see the splendor around us, even beneath the mire that sometimes appears to be the reality.
What we witness when we look at the world with our souls, the godliness within us, is the holiness that exists within everything. This holiness fills the world, which is God's house. When we see the world in this way we also connect with the holiness within ourselves.
The great 18th century hassidic rebbe, Nachman of Bratslav, made it a habit to go out into nature every day to pray. Part of the prayer he is believed to have composed includes the line "may all the foliage of the fields, the grasses, trees and plants, awaken at my coming, I pray; and may they send their life into my words of prayer..." The essence of this prayer is that the godliness/holiness within the "non-human" must connect with the godliness/holiness within us so in order to create prayer. It is this connetion that enables us to see the underlying holiness and to praise its existence. The prayer continues with the acknowledgment that "I know that everything is one, because I know that everything is You!" That is the ultimate Truth of which this psalm speaks.
Holiness is indeed most befitting "God's house", the 'created' world where/how we experience God. One of the most common names for God used by the rabbis of the Talmud was המקום, the Place. As it is written, 'it is not that the world is the place of God, but that God is the place of the world.' Divinity contains the entire universe within it. We all dwell within Divinity, just as we all are a part of Divinity. This connection between plant, tree, animal, human, and all of nature is the manifestation of the concept of God as the world's place.
The Oneness of the universe and the holiness that is within everything, if we look hard enough, is the only constant in our lives. Uncertainty and temporariness may be the only constants when it comes to the daily lives which we live. But the reason we can live with all the uncertainty, is because of the one true constant. The holiness of the Divine, the divine-human-animal-nature connection of the world, exists for all days, beyond any time frame that we can imagine.
This we can all witness and affirm, if we simply pay attention.
Posted by Rabbi Steven Nathan at 11:37 PM
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