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Rainbows and Prisms

Rainbows are amazing things.  A scattering of light, a blast of joy and color. What’s great about rainbows is they reveal what was always there – because white light contains all those wavelengths, hidden, waiting to come out. All you need’s a prism – something that touches the light at a good angle, with the power to uncover the beauty within. The same phenomenon can work with our soul’s light, and those inspirations in our life can touch us as a prism does. We all have that beauty as potential, after all we are b’tzelem Elohim -in God’s image. The trick is to open up enough to be changed. Maybe by music, or love, an event, a natural wonder…to be touched, to be liberated. And the rainbow’s impact is so much more powerful if it’s been dark for awhile. The other trick is to look for rainbows hidden in what’s around us.

In Parashat Noach, the world is drowning in darkness: the thoughts of people’s hearts are evil all the long day. A world of slaughter. It is out of this darkness that Noach sees rainbows, perhaps first in the eyes of his wife Na-amah, or his sons. In Greek myth Iris is the goddess of rainbows, also a messenger goddess. Iris: we name the uniquely colorful part of our eye for her – there are rainbows in our eyes, because that spark, b’tzelem Elohim is there. Iris is a messenger: malach, in Hebrew which is also Angel. So maybe it’s the messengers of our lives that can be our prism.
The rainbow becomes the sign of the Promise, the covenant, eternal hope in the sparkle of the sky, the sparkle in our eyes. Look for the Rainbow – it’s there, just hidden.

Debbie Friedman z”l wrote the Rainbow Covenant song, a melody I still use when I see a rainbow.

What’s in a rainbow that makes it so magical, linking the present with promises of old?

Eyes seeking color, hearts stretching far beyond the heavens,

Dreams not forgotten, memories of unfold

Where there’s a rainbow, we thank the Holy One, thinking of promises made long ago.

So when we thank you and think of your miracles, we know that the rainbow’s a promise we make too.

Baruch Atah Adonai Elohenu, melech ha-olam, zocher ha-brit, v’neeman b’vrito, v’kayam b’ma-amaro

(Adonai our God, Source of our blessings, Ruler of the Universe, you remember and are faithful to the B’rit, and the eternal promise to creation.)

I know I have to uphold my part of this sacred covenant, to do what I can, that life endures, by caring, loving, protecting,  My soul’s rainbow binds me powerfully to this promise. ..and God, please bless the prisms! and one more thing:

If Noah hadn’t saved all those animals on the teva, Kermit could never have sung that classic song: Why are there so many songs about rainbows and what’s on the other side? Rainbows are visions but only illusions, and rainbows have nothing to hide…. what’s so amazing that keeps us stargazing, and what do we think we might see? Someday we’ll find it, the rainbow connection, the lovers, the dreamers and me. All of us under its spell, we know that it’s probably magic!


Comments on: "Rainbows and Prisms" (4)

  1. I like it – the hidden rainbow – the message likely in all religion to transform ordinary events to see the hidden meanings within; of course the prism is key – sometimes the prism is hidden too – then the trick is to be open to being able to be transformed by experience, to be open to all kinds of experience as that prism. It occurs to me that horrible events can be like this – I’m thinking of how moved I have been thinking about what happened to that young girl in Pakistan who was shot for promoting education for girls. Other days it might be seeing a duckling cross the road, or just the light shining through the trees. The transformation we need is the openness to being able to experience all things as potential prisms that can open up God’s world to us. Thank you.

  2. […] Here are some of my past insights to Noach: Flooded and Rainbows and Prisms […]

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