From the beginning of time humans have always been in search of heaven. From the building of the Tower of Babel to the spacecraft of our modern day, from theologians, mystics and philosophers to religious practices and cultural rituals, every race, creed and community seeks to touch the beyond.
William Blake said it so well: To see a world in a grain of sand, And a heaven in a wild flower, Hold infinity in the palm of your hand, And eternity in an hour.
But how? How can you hold infinity in the palm of your hand? And how can you keep it there?
As we bless and enter the month of Elul, we increase in charity which has the power to open up the channels of blessings, and abolish any decree. But how can money – a physical object, indeed, the most materialistic of objects – affect the order of spiritual realms? How can a coin extended to a beggar effect the destiny of our lives and of existence itself?! How can it assure us a blessed new year?
A dramatic verse in this week’s Torah portion, eloquently elucidated by the great Baal Shem Tov – coupled with a tinge of humorous anecdotes – teaches us how infinity and beyond is captured in the simple act of stretching out a helping hand to a person in need.