The Great Beyond

All discovery creates new senses of possibility. The motto on the crest of Ferdinand and Isabella had been ne plus ultra — no more beyond. After Columbus discovered America, the ne was removed. Now the crest read: beyond this, more.

When we discover a sense of God in our lives, a new dimension is opened up for us. Before, there was a limit on reality; now, it soars beyond anything we had imagined. Where there were walls, there is an intimation of sky.

For Judaism, the sacred is a realm that both permeates the everyday and extends far beyond it. Lighting a match is a simple act, but using that match to light a Shabbat candle gives it an everlasting dimension. Doing an act of kindness for another is a beautiful thing; recognizing it as a mitzvah adds an invisible vertical line stretching to eternity.

Ultimately, faith is not something to be demonstrated like a scientific fact. Faith is experienced the way we feel love. Beginning in yearning, it is powerful in its discovery and infinite in its implications.

Rabbi David Wolpe is spiritual leader of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles. Follow his teachings at

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.