2009-08-07 / Columnists

Point of View

"The Rabbi's Personal Column" Rabbi Allan Blaine Temple Beth-El, Rockaway Park

An intriguing thought appeared in a renowned literary magazine. "Gold," it said, "is an indestructible metal. The same few ounces now in a ring or ornament may have been used and reused, melted, remelted and molded into different shapes throughout the ages. The jewelry in our possession may have, in another form, been in the possession of Cleopatra of Egypt, the Queen of Sheba, or even part of the gold bullion of a 15th Century Spanish galley, wending its way to the Orient."

The analogy is apparent. Gold, land and other tangibles now in our possession in a true sense are not ours. They have belonged to others before us, and have passed to us, and after us will pass to still others. The psalmist, with infinite wisdom, proclaimed, "The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof." He thereby expressed an age-old Jewish thought - we are mere sojourners on this earth, not permanent possessors. This also applies to the awesome technological ability given to man - the ability to create or to destroy.

It is during this season that we come to realize even more keenly the fleeting quality of our lives. The precious Book of Life is given us for a short time. Soon we shall be turning another of its leaves. We must ask ourselves: what have we done with the possessions in our trust?

These are perilous times in which to live. The nuclear cloud hovers over us more ominously than ever before. We know that a nuclear strike can render a city decimated for fifty years. Not only are rogue terrorists capable of purchasing nuclear weapons, but messianic crazed world leaders like Ahmadinejad, actively threaten Israel with the destruction of five million Jewish people. So much for the gift of technology which has made our lives both a blessing and a possible curse. A better use of God's gifts of power, wealth and awesome technology is what we should be praying for.

As we prepare for a New Year in our lives, I pray that God will grant us the golden gift of peace, a surcease of violence, and to each of us God's most precious gift of health that we may be privileged to use the brief hours and few possessions in our trust to bring light to the unlit corners of God's world.
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