Allen C. Katz

Khol: The Voice of All, A Personal Teshuvah

For Dr. Betsy Dolgin Katz – my teacher, my personal rabbanit, my Mom

Gratitude to Rabbi David Seidenberg, author of Kabbalah and Ecology: God’s Image in the More-Than-Human World

the cosmic microwave background radiation

13.7 billion years old

remnant of creation


it is awe-inspiring

listening to it on youtube

experiencing firsthand the creation event

its sound

emitted by the titanic cosmological explosion in the beginning

carried in the medium between there and then to here and now

stretched by expanding spacetime

filtered by countless particles of cosmic dust

reduced in amplitude over eons and light years

transduced in frequency and wavelength

into a quiet, soft voice

scientists across the globe

attend to this message

seeking knowledge and understanding

to aid us in our lives today


ageless, ancient scripture

its opening words

a remnant of Creation

as the most widely selling book worldwide


it is awe-inspiring

reading its verses

experiencing firsthand the creation event

the verses

start in the beginning of all things

deemed written by the hand of God

transmitted over time generation to generation

carried over history from the then and there to the here and now

elaborated upon by expanded understanding

filtered through history

transduced in word and letter via utterance

into a quiet, soft Voice

readers across the globe

attend to its messages

seeking hope, knowledge and understanding

to aid us in our lives today

in the spirit of this week’s celebration of Rosh Hashana

the Jewish New Year

when the birth of the world is celebrated

the quiet, soft Voice in Torah

can be heard

at the completion of the world’s creation:

And God saw all (khol) that had been made, and found it very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

The heaven and the earth were completed (vayekhulu), and all (khol) their hosts.

On the seventh day God completed (vayekhal) the work that had been undertaken: [God] ceased on the seventh day from doing all (mikhol) of the work.

And God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy―having ceased on it from all (mikhol) the work of creation that God had done.”

six times the Voice cries out in various forms a word that means “all” and “complete”

six times does the Voice call out―once for each day of creation; once for each “and God saw that it was good” in emphasis of a completeness, a completeness that God calls “very good”

six times does the word tear through and draw us close.


the Voice

expanding outward and forward in time and text

past the circling swords at the east side of the garden

from Creation in Torah

to resound within the prayer of the Shma

Love Hashem with all (khol) your heart, and with all (khol) your soul, and with all (khol) your strength.”

three “khols” of Shma


twice daily

once in the evening and once in the morning

six times do the khols of Creation echo in the present


of the Unity of all

propagating from Creation into the now

from forgetfulness into mindfulness

then in our utterance of the prayer

we truly become

one with


knowledge of Oneness

all Creation

btzelem Elohim

the image of God


to serve and keep

the quiet, small Voice

וְאָ֣הַבְתָּ֔ אֵ֖ת יְהֹוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֶ֑יךָ

Love Hashem


With all your heart


in the cry of your heart

as part of the khol, part of the One


with all your soul

the soul given to you in compassion by the Creator

love, serve

with the voice of the Creator

resonating within your soul

out though your lips

as part of the khol, part of the One


with all your strength

love, serve, keep

do all that you can for the entirety of Creation

as part of the khol, part of the One

Let these words commanded of us by Hashem be on our hearts to impassion our commitment to that which is most good. Teach them to our children, engage with Creation in this moment and in all moments, and support our ecotheological system always; when you sit in your home, deciding whether to check your email, watch TV or browse the Internet; when you walk on your way, whether the path is along city streets, or whether it is a forest path; with a friend, or in solitude; when you lie down, and when you rise up. Let words of Torah guide your actions, let them be present within your soul, and let them be written as reminders around you guiding your every relationship with people, the Creator, and the more than human world.

About the Author
Raised in the north suburban Chicagoland area. Received a Jewish Day School education. Hold an MD from University of Illinois. Ongoing work on Jewish adult educational projects.