It is nighttime and all are asleep. A cool breeze blows through my tangled hair, fresh in the desert air. It is so quiet and clear, like a simple black-and-white photograph. It seems like morning will never come, but I know it will. How can anyone sleep: doesn’t the excitement make them restless?
As I sit here, at the foot of the mountain, under the dark sky and the glittering stars, I look up to heaven, and wonder…
It is so beautiful: flowers the color of rainbows bloom and blossom; gardens interwoven with glass streams roll on forever. Angels sing praise in voices sweeter than a child’s smile, while they dance in circles of perfection. There are no bad moods in heaven, or sour dispositions. Orange and lemon trees shade the cobblestone pathways that lead over golden hills and through purple vineyards, ripe grapes dripping with sticky juices and pure essence. Wow, what I wouldn’t give for a chance to know heaven!
As I sit here, on earth, I look around, and marvel at the contrast…
It is anything but beautiful: people walk around, hurting friends and laughing at loved ones. Dark storm clouds carry loads of depression, raining down razor-sharp daggers. Bruised and battered they crawl from one fix to another, in the process breaking more than a heart. Tears drip and cries pierce, but earth likes it that way. There is no path – never mind a destination – and to speak of hope is to speak blasphemy. Oh, what wouldn’t I give for a chance to forget earth?
The sun has just stirred and begun rising. Night is leaving; day is approaching. Along with sun’s arousal, the bottom of the mountain becomes alive. The sleepers and the dreamers have crawled from their tents and are immersing and sanctifying themselves.
We stand at the foot of the mountain but at the head of our destiny. We stand as one man with one heart, together in unity. We don’t hold hands because our hands are the same; we don’t look at each other because our eyes are closed.
Thunder and lighting fill the sky. We can see the thunder and hear the lightning. The mountain gets lost in a heavy cloud, and the Shofar sounds so powerful. I can’t feel but I tremble. Smoke and flames, like a furnace, shoot from the mountain as it shudders.
The blowing Shofar gets louder and louder; its call rising with every blast, its message piercing the very soul of existence. We dare not get too close, lest we get consumed by the awesomeness, by the share power, unshielded, as it rushes forth. We cannot stand back; it would be like standing back from truth and reality. So we just stand – and it all pours over and around and into us.
A voice, so close yet so far away, speaks. My soul expires…
I can see Heaven as it descends. I can see Earth as it rises. Everything seems to move in slow motion. Heaven, so beautiful but predictable on its own, whispers across Earth; Earth, so much potential but so dark, slowly touches Heaven, as if to make sure it’s real. Heaven reaches down to Earth; Earth reaches up to Heaven. Heaven and Earth embrace.
Ever since that day, when, for the first time, Heaven met Earth, it has been happening over and over again. In a good deed, Heaven meets Earth; in a charitable act, Heaven meets Earth; at a Shabbat table, Heaven meets Earth. When we awake, Heaven meets Earth; when we sleep, Heaven meets Earth.
How do two opposites attract, how does the innocence of Heaven relate to the cruelty of Earth? Because on that day, and every moment since, we receive something that transcends Heaven and Earth, something G-d Himself wrote and wrote Himself – His Essence – into.
We receive the blueprint for Life. We receive the Torah.
Mendel Jacobson is a 23-year-old writer, poet and journalist working for The Algemeiner Journal. Mendel’s education has found him in New York, Budapest and Jerusalem and he has been blogging for close to 3 years at jakeyology.blogspot.com
The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.