Magazine article Tikkun


Magazine article Tikkun


Article excerpt


Arthur J. Magida

Arthur J. Magida is the author of Prophet of Rage, and the forthcoming Land of the Poison Wind. He is a columnist for and is writing The Rabbi and The Hitman.

Summer and spring are when we love to be outdoors, but winter might be when we need to be outdoors. It's then that we can really revel in the splendor that is above us all day long when the sun blots it out. It's also there all night long as we're swaddled in flannel pj's and tucked away under the warmest of goose down.

On a good winter night, even when there's the slightest glare from city lights, every star is as bright as a headlight. This is one of the undeniable advantages of winter: absolutely clear skies, no haze, scant pollution, minimal smog. The edge of every cloud is limned by silver moon rays, and even the vast blackness between stars and moon and clouds doesn't seem as coal-black as it does the rest of the year. If you look up now at night, what you see aren't necessarily heavenly bodies, but maybe heaven itself, with its endlessness and peacefulness that silence even the most loquacious of us for at least a few gracious moments. In the cold of the night, there's a warming of the soul, a softening of the heart, a clinging both to the earth below us and to the skies above us as we sense that maybe there really are no demarcations between them--and us--after all.

Praise God, sun and moon,

instructs Psalm 148,

Praise God all you shining stars!

Praise God, you highest heavens,

and you waters above the heavens.

And so we praise, even if it's just silently and without words and without resorting to Psalms, which certainly has the correct celebratory theme. We praise just by looking, just by appreciating, just by acknowledging that there is more above us than we usually have reason to believe there might be, that we can see splendor and majesty just by turning our eyes upward a few degrees more than we usually do, that there is a whole other universe in the universe.

It's all really quite simple--and all really quite awesome. If there was, indeed, a plan for the universe and for the sentient beings in it, it probably was the subtle one that all we have to do to know our place and our reason for being is to raise our eyes, to look around us, to know that we--and everything that exists--is far more than we might be led to believe. …

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