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Fortieth Day of the Omer

According to one ancient rabbinic homiletic commentary the world did not spring forth all at once from God’s omnipresent will, but twenty six attempts preceded the creation, all of which were doomed to failure. The world as we have it now came out of the chaotic midst of this earlier wreckage. Nor within this tradition is there any guarantee of permanence. This might sound like the stuff of primitive science fiction, but the psychological significance of this whole tradition of the fragility and impermanence of the world is crucial. For here humanity is an experiment. There is always the risk of failure and the return to chaos and nothingness.. within the stream of mythic thinking, when God created the world God exclaimed “If only this time it will stay stable”. And this desire from God, this anxious hope, accompanies subsequent human history, as it accompanies our own individual lives.

Rabbi Howard Cooper, London


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