Spiritual Audacity

Putting “Things” in Their Place

Candelabrum in New Synagogue Szeged Hungary
At Sew Jewish, we’re focused on showing you how to make things, lots of Jewish things. But we also like to think we have a healthy perspective on it all. Here’s Abraham Joshua Heschel on the importance of putting things in their place:

Things may be instruments, never objects of worship. Matzo, the shofar, the lulav are not things to be looked at, to be saluted, to be paid homage to, but things to be used. Being instruments they have symbolic meaning, but they are not primarily regarded as symbols in themselves….

There is no inherent sanctity in Jewish ritual objects. The candelabrum in the synagogue does not represent another candelabrum either in Jerusalem or in heaven. It is no more than you see…The purpose [of a ritual object] is achieved not in direct contemplation but in combining it with a ritual act; the religious objects have a religious function but no religious substance.

More spiritual audacity from Heschel here.

(Photo: Inside the New Synagogue, Szeged, Hungary, Emmanuel Dyan 2010, via Wikimedia Commons.)