The Talmud in Ta’anit envisions the “future dance of the righteous.” In Alan Brill’s book “Thinking God,” about Rabbi Zadok of Lublin, he quotes Rabbi Zadok’s beautiful comment on this passage:
“The future dance of the righteous is because dancing occurs in a circle in which all are equal. … When everything is complete, then one will not need effort to love in one’s heart the creation, because then loving creation will be as natural as loving parts of one’s own body.”
A dance expanding the body beyond itself, so that we are swept up in something larger, is the ideal — to gradually expand the circle of our love so that it embraces all of God’s creation. One day we will cherish everything as we cherish our very selves.
Such universality is not possible for a human being to realize now, in this partial and fragmented world. But Rabbi Zadok reminds us to hold out the image of the dance in which the upright heart will also be an all-encompassing heart. He reminds us that at the core of our tradition there is a deep, wild, wondrous vision of the possibilities of love.
Rabbi David Wolpe is spiritual leader of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles. Follow his teachings at www.facebook.com/RabbiWolpe.