The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious, it is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe is as good as dead…Albert Einstein
When was the last time you paused to/in wonder how something works? There is this thirst to pierce the darkness and to connect our souls to other parts of the universe:…the sunrise, a hiccup, a leaf…. I know for sure that this thirst to understand is the key to effective teaching and learning. For a teacher to spark this wonder in a student is a deep form of communication. So the young and beautiful Rebecca/ Rivka, (whose name may translate to snare) is tested for her compassion at the well. Abe’s servant is searching for a wife for Isaac, a shiddach. He asks for a drink from the water she’s carried from the well. It’s easy to have compassion for a thirsty man, or just as easy to be self absorbed, and walk on by. Rivka gives him water to drink. It’s hard to have compassion for the camels he travels with: camels can be nasty, not easy to love. But Rivka gives of herself, and life giving water, as much as they are thirsty for. Here’s a thought: in our tradition, as a people of the book, maybe that thirst is symbolic of a search for knowledge, and Rivka is willing to go to the well and dig deeply into questions and knowledge. Maybe to ask more, to respond to that thirst for knowledge. Soon in this story Rivka makes the executive decision to leave the familiar and to join Abraham’s family in his quest for spiritual One-ness and ethics. What informs her decision, why leave the familiar? I’m no sure, but there must be some hunger or thirst within her, maybe to know more of the world. Rivka then becomes the connection between the generations, a prophetess, who asks God why: lamah zeh anochi? why do I exist, and is given insight into her unborn sons’ futures. Yes Rivka is compassionate, but compassion takes enough imagination to span the distance between souls, as well as the love to respond to the thirst you find within another. So compassion and the passion to know about the world are linked, and both give meaning to our lives…
I imagine Rivka, the compassionate one, wondering at sunrises of new vistas during her journey to Canaan. Perhaps she’s dazzled by encountering her fate, when she falls off her camel (falls in love at first site?) seeing Isaac at sunset. I do know this is a beautiful tale of compassion, journey and love. I love this song about awareness of the wonders in life leading to gratitude: Tov’ L’hodot by Todd Herzog. Track 11 at http://toddherzog.com/ click the play button. Tov l’hodot means “it’s good to give thanks. An excerpt:
…In the mist of all the chaos and the strife, I must learn to count the blessings in my life…
..Sunset on the mountain, a distant melody, the freedom that I have to choose my way.
A newfound revelation, a different way to see, now Your kindness warms me in the morning light, and I am shielded from the darkness of the night
Tov L’hodot, I won’t take this things for granted, Tov L’hodot, now I see the world anew.
Tov L’hodot, friends and family bring laughter to my soul, but my life would have no meaning without You.
The world around me opens up and lets me in, like a mystery I finally understand. So I raise up my voice and sing out to the sky when I realize how fortunate I am….
May our search be for insights to the wonders of our world!