Sparks Of Eternity

The medieval poet Moses Ibn Ezra used the following simile: We are like passengers on a ship, believing we are stationary when in fact we are headed toward a destination. Similarly, we do not realize that, as we believe our lives to be in a steady state, we move inexorably toward death.

Judaism is neither fixated on death nor in denial about it. We return from a funeral to food; the “meal of transition” affirms that however sad, mourners are alive, and the needs of the living must be addressed. Remembering the dead is a sacred obligation. Those who remember should themselves be celebrants of life.

Death is the frame within which the picture must be painted. It determines the limits but not the image. Being mindful of the limits makes possible the artistry of each stroke, the choice of color and the vision toward which one is working. We are artists and passengers, carrying within us sparks of eternity.

About the Author
Named the most influential Rabbi in America by Newsweek Magazine and one of the 50 most influential Jews in the world by the Jerusalem Post, David Wolpe is the Rabbi of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles, California.
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