“God is Subtle”
Albert Einstein reminds us “God is subtle.” It seems obvious to say “Oh God!” in a moment of high drama, like the awesome splitting of the Red Sea and our people’s escape to freedom which is celebrated on Shvi’i shel Pesach, the “Seventh Day of Pesach,” observed tonight on the Jewish Calendar. In the giddy happiness of dodging disaster we exclaim “Mi Chamocha,” which is a way of saying “Wow – Thank You God!”
Yet, our Passover traditions gently push us to go beyond the bombastic. We are called to find God also in the small moments. One of the most subtle blessings of nature is the miracle of dew. In the Land of Israel there is a yearly drought of six consecutive months. No rain falls in Israel from Pesach to Sukkot as the land slowly dries up. Yet there is a powerful and tiny miracle that quenches the thirst of every blade of grass and literally keeps nature alive in the arid season. This is the blessing of dew. Starting Pesach it is a tradition to acknowledge the gift of dew when we sing the Gevorot prayer about God’s might in the Amida.
Sensing the presence of God in something as small as dew is a metaphor for a Jewish philosophy of life. Spirituality and the Divine can be found in the quiet and small moments that may appear inconsequential at first. As many drops of dew can accumulate to become a small puddle, then a pond, then a lake, then a sea of water that ultimately slakes the thirst of humanity, so too small moments of hope can be gathered into large reservoirs of spiritual strength that can fuel us to spread kindness in the world.
As humans we all thirst for love and companionship. May the Passover blessing of dew inspire us to feel connected to all nature and to all humanity as the dew falls equally upon all creation. May that sense of connection propel us to deeds of loving kindness, not just in the bombastic moments of high drama like the splitting of a sea, but in the small quiet moments of everyday life.
The text of the ancient Jewish blessing for dew concludes with these words of prayer and hope;
“Livracha v’lo l’klala – may we know blessing and not disaster,”
“L’chaim v’lo l’razon – may we know life and not death,”“L’sova v’lo l’razon – may we know abundance and not famine.”
In this year of parched souls, social famine and isolation we pray for the blessing of life (chaim) for all.
These words will be a part of our prayers-in-song in our Friday-Night-Live service for Shvi’i shel pesach – the Seventh Day of Passover – tonight.
Rabbi David Wilfond