The upcoming solar eclipse

We are all excited about the coming solar eclipse. Is it just a natural phenomenon or something deeper? As Jews, we have also had a connection to astronomy, mainly due to the necessity of knowing the Jewish calendar. Even rabbis of the Talmud talked of this study and that performance of astronomical calculations was a mitzvah: “Anyone who knows how to calculate astronomical times and constellations and does not do so, the verse says about him: They do not take notice of the work of G-d, and they do not see His handiwork.” (Isaiah 5:12) Albert Einstein is quoted as saying: “There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle.” Einstein is telling us that we have a choice in how we perceive our life — is nothing extraordinary and everything has a concrete explanation or is there something miraculous in everything we experience?

 So what should we do to prepare for this phenomenon? Google all the science you are interested in, get ready to watch and then experience the wonder and miracle, being especially thankful we are in Dallas, which is the best place to watch. And then — remember the miracles around us! Here is a poem I keep with me to remind me to be present and aware of all the big and small miracles every day.

We whispered, “G-d, speak to us.”
And a meadowlark sang.
But, we did not hear.

So we yelled “G-d, speak to us!”
And, the thunder rolled across the sky.
But, we did not listen.

We look around and said,
“G-d, let us see you.”
And a star shined brightly.

But, we did not notice.
And we shouted,
“G-d, show us a miracle!”

And a life was born.
But, we did not know.

So, we cried out in despair,
“Touch us, G-d, and let us know you are here.”
Whereupon, G-d reached down and touched us.
But, we brushed the butterfly away and walked on…

—Unknown

Laura Seymour is Jewish experiential learning director and camp director emeritus at the Aaron Family JCC.The upcoming solar eclipse

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