Which Way Are They Pointing?
My friend and I were sitting and having a deep conversation. During the long silences, I could hear the ticking of the clock behind me. The volume of the ticking rose and fell every few seconds. I did not need to look behind me to understand that the volume increased as the second hand past the 3 and pointed down, and decreased as it passed the 6 and began to rise. The sound increased with gravity.
We began to discuss the interaction between gravity and sound when I glanced at the calendar above my companion’s seat: Van Gogh’s The Mulberry Tree. The branches and leaves are pointing up. The sound may have increased with the fall of the second hand, but the visual image was more powerful for its reach.
A Succah is an interesting combination of ups and downs: We look up at the S’chach and the stars that shine through its open spaces. The Mitzvah is to sit in the Succah. We are down low but our eyes are lifted up.
It’s similar to prayer, where we are instructed to lower our eyes but to lift our hearts. We bow in prayer according to specific instructions, but we then lift our bodies based on precise rules. (See Bowing)
We often speak of God as the One, Who “humbles the haughty to the ground, and lifts the lowly on high.”
Service of God demands both the high and the low, the up and the down. We look up and aspire even while we look down in humility. We look up to the heavens, but we focus on living in the here and now. We point our Lulavim up and celebrate and we point them down and do the same. We actually move beyond directions and space and connect with the Creator, Boundless and Infinite.
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