Monday, July 09, 2007

So Where are You?

All anyone has to do is scroll down through several of my recent posts to find that I'm going through a big Elie Wiesel phase. One of the wonderful things about his writing is not so much the powerful message he conveys or the stories he tells, but the beauty with which he writes and the way he makes me think. Today's post is an excerpt from And the Sea is Never Full, one that really made me think and ask myself the question, "Where am I?" After reading it, I hope you'll consider the same question.

A Chronicle has it that the celebrated Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Lyady was locked up in a St. Petersburg prison after being denounced by a foe of the Hasidic movement as an agitator against the Czar.

One day the warden came to see him in his solitary cell, and this is what he said:

"I am told that you are a rabbi, a Master. So explain to me a passage I fail to understand in the Bible. It says in the Book of Genesis that, after having bitten into the forbidden fruit, Adam fled, so that the Lord had to ask him: 'Ayekha, where are you?' Is it possible, even conceivable, that the Creator of the world did not know where Adam was hiding?

Whereupon the rabbi smiled and answered: "The Lord, blessed-be-His-name, knew; it was Adam who didn't know."

And Rabbi Shneur Zalman went on: "Do you believe the Bible to be a sacred book?"


"And that it speaks to all mankind, of all times, therefore also to ours?"

"Yes, I believe that."

"In that case, I shall explain to you the real meaning of the question God asked of Adam. Ayekha signifies: Where do you stand in this world? What is your place in history? What have you done with your life, Adam? These are fundamental questions that every human being must confront sooner or later.

"For every one of us, the book of life goes back to Adam. It is he who embodies the mystery of the beginning. But it is to each of us that God speaks when He says Ayekha."


Kansas Bob said...

I love the way that he turned the conversation around on the warden. Isn't it interesting how the answer we need isn't always the answer we want.

rdl said...

I don't have clue, well maybe a little.

Helen said...

Well that's certainly a thought for the day!

very thought provoking.......

Thanks for sharing!