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Heaven's Ocean

Heaven's Ocean

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I am compelled to describe that which I just witnessed, though it be far beyond the power of words to carry you to that place.

We ascended from the gloaming of pre-dawn through the silky curtains of darkness suspended over the waters, swiftly emerging to the higher world, a layer of clarity sandwiched beneath yet a higher cover of heaven's bed sheets. Eventually we would penetrate those as well, but for the time being: beneath us, an ocean of fluorescent cotton waves; above, an ice-crystal ceiling that closely mirrored the floor below.

This was an ocean with which I am already familiar, although it never ceases to strike me with wonder. It is not like that of the earth, closer to chaos, but in semi-frozen animation; a tempest of enormous cliffs suspended at battle, foam and mist hanging in mid-crash over the rolling soft waves. This morning, however, the Divine Artist provided an unexpected enhancement. At a distance, piercing through the vaporous carpet below as islands of the sky, rose several snow-capped peaks, the edge of this misty ocean cast in a slow motion spray against their slopes, running as so many quiet inlets, rivers and streams through their valleys. As we veered ever closer, more such peaks rolled over the horizon, soon dotting the cloudscape with their majesty in the dim morning light.

Our flight had begun in eerie semi-darkness, the eastern rays slowly revealing yet more and more of this mystery as if not to overwhelm us too suddenly, to prime our suspense for the climax yet to come. It was then that a small orange ball arose, peeking between the bed sheets of heaven, gradually glowing in greater intensity, reaching outward with its rays, casting a golden glimmer upon the hundreds of glistening heavenly islands.

Before my weary, glazed eyes lay thousands of square miles of this otherly, island-dotted, golden ocean, created, I supposed, for the view of the angels above, yet now served along with bagels and scrambled eggs to a planeload of oblivious human travelers hurtling in their metal ship over the Georgia Strait.

"No," I thought, "the angels have no tickets to this drama. Without knowing what is below, how could they appreciate the mystery of that which is above? Without ever attempting to create beauty with the mud and sticks of earthly fare, how could they be humbled by the unfathomable masterpiece of heaven and earth? For this, you must descend to earth, find its beauty, and then rise up again to discover that which lies beyond. Perhaps all of life, simply because the Master Artist desires an audience to appreciate His awesome works."

"Baruch atta...," my lips uttered the Talmudic blessing, "Blessed are You, Is-Was-and-Will-Be, our G‑d, Author of the Universe, Who at every moment performs the act of creation from its very beginning."

And then, from the heart of a puny creature forced to confess that he did not make this world of endless beauty and majesty, yet permitted to gaze upon it in awe and humbled joy, "How great are Your works, oh G‑d, all of them You did with wisdom...

Rabbi Tzvi Freeman, a senior editor at Chabad.org, also heads our Ask The Rabbi team. He is the author of Bringing Heaven Down to Earth. To subscribe to regular updates of Rabbi Freeman's writing, visit Freeman Files subscription. FaceBook @RabbiTzviFreeman Periscope @Tzvi_Freeman .
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ruth housman marshfield hills, MA March 3, 2013

Shir poetry, for song! The power and the glory. Given the magnitude of all this, such beauty, why then, are we destroying our oceans, plumbing for oil, why do we pollute them, choking our fish, why do we allow global warming to continue, hastening the melting of vast mountains of ice, why, why why? And I think the mandate on Chabad, should be, to urge for more environmental consciousness. The poetry of living comes from the choices we make, and the prays and praise we deliver. The iterations of such beauty are endless, deep as the ocean, and wider than, the skies. Reply

Betsy Hunter, New York January 30, 2008

HEAVEN'S OCEAN Wow! Praise Hashem. Your words danced in and around my heart, bringing me to tears of joy. Oh that men would praise the Lord!
God has truly given you a tremendous gifting and to whom much is given, much is required. Reply

Anonymous Toronto, Ontario January 29, 2008

Dear R. Freedman Thank you for this poetic understanding of what you saw as a sunrise.

I guess you can see them a little better over the coastlines of Vancouver.

Hope about gifting yourself with a nice camera, too and sharing this spectacular sight? Reply

Michal Passau, Germany January 29, 2008

Heavens Ocean I understand you so well, Rabbi Zvi, and the way you write it down makes your readers nearly feel the same what you felt. Really, the world G-d created is so beautiful, that it brings tears to my eyes, to see it.
I am a member of Webshots, and I get the most beautiful pictures, which I load down to have them on my screen. But although I know they are just pictures, sometimes I am so overwhelmed by the beauty G-d has created, that I too start to pray and tears run down my face. (Nearly all pictures I love most, are from Canada.)
I thank G-d with you, that He gave you that experience and you shared it with us. Reply

Anonymous Greenville, SC January 28, 2008

Revealing Yet More and More of the Mystery Just lovely! What a beautiful word picture, and then beautiful humility and thankfulness to the Divine Artist to go along with it. This trip must have been a great experience--thanks for sharing.

It's good to notice the beauty and wonder rather than the less beautiful and wonderful. Reply

Elizabeth via chabadofbakersfield.com January 27, 2008

All of Creation Sings in Praise All of G-d's creation praises Him in their own ways, even the breeze, and the tree branches. In addition, the birds chirp and sing the morning music which is offered to the Creator.

It is man who is arrogant questions the existence of G-d. The man that G-d gave mouth to utter good words, but has polluted to his own foolish ends.

G-d did not regret in creating the elements, but rather man. He said, "Cursed is the man that He created." LOL

Thank you for the article and a reminder to watch what we say idly. Reply

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