As part of their adult education course on the world’s religions at Florida Atlantic University, a reform rabbi and a priest invited me to represent Judaism in front of a large audience.
I was asked for my view on the Meaning of Life, in under 3 minutes!
My answer- abra cadabra!
This favorite phrase of magicians actually is Aramaic for ‘I create through my speech’. You see, when G-d created the world in the first place, he did it through his speech (as in the verse: ‘and G-d said ‘let there be Light’ and there was light’). Hence, the catch phrase ‘abra cadabra’ was adopted by the magicians in their attempts to the do the same.
The problem is that speech lasts for just a moment and then dissipates. G-d therefore needs to constantly ‘speak’ the world into being, at every single moment in time!
Creation therefore, is not just a historical marvel, but an ongoing phenomenon.
This, in my opinion, is the meaning of life:
To work on ourselves to recognize the presence of G-d constantly animating everything around us and sensing the equilibrium of the universe by recognizing the power source that power it. When we are able to live our lives in sync with the creative forces around us, it is then that we can achieve peace, stability and happiness in our lives.
In the Torah portion Bo, we are commanded to lay the Tefillin on our arms and in between our eyes. At that time we recite the Shema and read: ‘and you shall teach these words to your children and you shall speak them, when you sit at home and when you walk on the way, when you go to sleep and when you arise’.
Why do we need to speak these words? Why can’t we just think them?
Verbalizing these words of Torah actually arouses our consciousness of the G-d spoken words around us. So instead of thinking of lip service as a negative, the Shema reminds us that just saying the words is enough to jog our memory to recognize the beauty that surrounds us!