Monday, October 5, 2009

Learning as mitzvah

To learn is to do God's work after him. Since us humans are made in his image, we have at our bestowal a vast resource if we would but take advantage of it. Most of us most of the time live our lives barely beyond crawling out of the mud. Not that there's anything wrong with mud. It's what we're made out of and God called it (us) good. We must never forget our origins and how deeply we're embedded to the land that gave us birth. Mud is where we've come from, but it's not all of who we are. And it certainly isn't where we are called to stay. We also are these creatures that have this breath of life breathed into us from above. Not just nephesh, all living creatures have that. We all breathe and have our being with them. But we, these human creatures, seem to have had a breath of heaven breathed into us, this breath called ruach. Somehow this living breath gives us eyes in a way that even other creatures, our brothers and sisters of the soil, don't have. We have a sense of divinity that may exist in other creatures, but isn't expressible by words, or maybe I mean concepts. We look out beyond ourselves and wonder about what and why, where and when, and ultimately Who. All of the other creatures, animate and inanimate, have this ingrained sense of the divine within their being. But we wonder about it. We struggle with it. We look around and see, and wonder at what we're not seeing. Thus we learn. We seek out what isn't yet seen. We struggle to learn what isn't yet known. And in doing so, we see more of what God has created. We read of God as he has shown himself to us, whether by words breathed out on scrolls, or in words found as we breathe in air given to us from our brothers and fellow creatures, the trees that surround and feed us every day. As creatures who stand between heaven and earth, filled with spirit and soil, we straddle two worlds as we struggle through this world. Our knowledge is our blessing and our curse. God help us to learn from every teacher you have given us. Help us to learn what the world, in all its entirety, is. Help us to see what is and be at peace with that reality. To learn is to grow in the knowledge of God and his world.

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