Monday, September 07, 2009

839. Ceiling

The ceiling of the sanctuary of my synagogue was rebuilt many years after the rest of the building in a different—but completely complementary—architectural style. The ark and walls are bedecked with intricate designs of ribbons and rimonim in rich jewel tones; the ceiling, however, is a sculpted maze of brass tubes suspended magically below a deep blue firmament, like the infrastructure of a crystal snowflake as interpreted by Sol Lewitt. It's wonderful to contemplate during prayer and try to imagine what lies beyond those darkest of crevices. This Friday night, staring upward as I sang, I happened to notice the bright lights that dot every few angled quadrants, illuminating their neighboring cities of tubes but still allowing most of the space beyond and above to remain shrouded in mystery.

The ceiling, this week, seemed like a great metaphor for life in general, or at least my life. There's an overall, beautiful pattern—this much is obvious. But sometimes it seems so vast an enterprise that most of the design is too far away to be seen. Then, suddenly, in moments of quiet, prayer, joy, or sadness, or even at the most mundane of times, a little of the secret is lit, making you want to look even harder to understand what lies beyond the darker parts.


On an unrelated note, thank you to this Swedish site for linking to my post from a few years ago about Tashlikh. I'm glad that the first day of Rosh Hashanah falls out on Shabbat this year, which means that Tashlikh won't happen until the second—and I won't be tempted to hang out at the river and make the grave error, once again, of talking too much.

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