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Spitting Image 4:1 — Face the East, Love the West

The sages of the Talmud teach us that the center of spirituality is in the east, but the Divine Presence resides in the West.  The essence of divinity cannot be perceived directly, but is reflected in the wonders of nature, the magnificence of the universe, and the acts of moral dignity that elevate Man from an animal to above the highest angels, illuminating the world with the glory of the Creator.

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It’s not always wise to look to the skies

geese-in-flight_custom-408d5c16d3bcce1c3e58b4a95e5d436b345f5e5c-s800-c85Just ask the bar-headed goose, famous for traversing the Himalayan Mountains on its annual migration from the Indian subcontinent to central Asia.  According to NPR, researchers have now determined that the migrant birds, although once believed to soar at heights near the peak of Everest,  keep much lower to the ground, rising over obstacles and then settling back into a tighter, more earth-bound trajectory.

It’s worth considering the lesson for those of us who aspire to lives of spiritual elevation.  Man is a creature of contradictions, a divinely inspired being whose ethereal soul is nevertheless trapped in a body of flesh and blood and sentenced to live his life amidst the material attractions of the physical world.  We long for the heavens but, like Icarus, we risk losing our bearings and plummeting into the abyss if we neglect the needs of our earthly selves.

And so, like the goose, we rise up, we drop down, we endure the peaks and valleys of personal challenge as we try to chart our course through the uncertain terrain that is life in this world.