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God's Greatest Gift

May 9, 2009 | by Sara Yoheved Rigler

A meditation for Shavuot.

God loves the world so much that He gave us:

  • Butterflies
  • Waterfalls
  • Sunsets
  • Mountains (for viewing, climbing, photographing, rappelling, and contemplating)
  • Ladybugs
  • Horses (to carry us)
  • Donkeys (to carry our stuff)
  • Cool breezes
  • Sweat glands
  • Sunshine (and just enough of it to warm the planet without burning it up)
  • Photosynthesis
  • Soil microbes
  • Praying mantises (not only do they eat aphids, but they look amazing)
  • Tropical fish
  • More varieties of tropical fish
  • Even more varieties of tropical fish
  • Forests
  • Rainbows
  • Gravity
  • Grass
  • Poignancy
  • Laughter
  • The color blue (not to mention fuchsia and chartreuse)
  • Wildflowers (in all of their hundreds of thousands of varieties)
  • Our immune system (which works even when we don’t)
  • Strawberries
  • Beating hearts (the ultimate perpetual motion machine)
  • Hair (which some don’t appreciate until they lose it)
  • Salvia (imagine swallowing a cracker without it)
  • Moonlight
  • Moss
  • Herbs (which teach us that every weed can heal)
  • Snow (in all its various forms: flakes, drifts, men, and caps on mountains)
  • Physical pain (which alerts us when something is wrong)
  • Opposable thumbs
  • Two 127,000,000-pixel cameras positioned in the front of our heads (our eyes)
  • Eyelids
  • Oceans
  • Waves (for swimming, surfing, painting, and proving the ephemeralness of sand castles)
  • Buttercups
  • Petunias (which are bigger and more colorful than buttercups)
  • Irises and orchids (which are more intricately shaped)
  • Jasmine and wisteria (with their divine fragrance)
  • Roses (which need no commentary)
  • Taste buds
  • Mangoes
  • Salmon (and their example of swimming upstream)
  • Cotton
  • Giant sequoia trees
  • Silk (this product of lowly worms should humble us)
  • The Grand Canyon (should humble us even more)
  • Our liver (which performs over 500 functions and manufactures more than 1,000 different chemicals)
  • DNA
  • Chocolate (need I say more?)
  • Lizards (which eat mosquitoes)
  • Mosquitoes (I’m not sure why)
  • Asparagus
  • Songbirds
  • The hairs in our noses (an under-appreciated gift if ever there was one)
  • Parrots
  • Coffee beans
  • Giraffes (and the special valve in their necks which enable them to bend to drink water and then straighten up without blacking out from the pressure change)
  • Our circulatory system (which reaches every one of the three trillion cells in our body, and which knows exactly what to deliver to every one of them, putting the postal system to shame)
  • Dolphins
  • Cashmere (who would have thought to put something so exquisite on the underbelly of Mongolian goats?)
  • Peacocks
  • Our digestive system (which knows what to do with pizza)
  • The sound of crickets
  • The silence of cats
  • Our sense of smell (and thousands of different fragrances to titillate it, from peonies to roasted coffee, from freshly-mowed grass to freshly-baked bread)
  • Lightening
  • Cows (without which we would not have ice cream)
  • Rain
  • Feet (with their intricate shock absorbers)
  • Apples (in their perfect packaging)
  • Stars (for romance, navigating, astronomy, and a sense of how big is big)
  • Shooting stars
  • Seed pods (meditate for 60 seconds on this one)
  • Grass with little pellets we can grind and make into bread and cake (wheat)
  • Elephants
  • Rivers
  • Ears (which can distinguish the difference in tone between sincere and insincere)
  • Teeth (custom-made to suit every species on the planet)
  • Swans
  • Babies (including the smell and softness of newborns)
  • Skin
  • The human brain (which has more connections than the New York City telephone system)
  • Sleep (He didn’t make enough of it)
  • Illness (yes, even illness)
  • Our stomachs (with their 36,000,000 acid-producing glands which digest a steak but don’t touch the stomach’s own lining)
  • Smiles
  • Cell division
  • Several million other features of our own bodies which we will never notice or appreciate
  • Love

God loves the Jewish people so much that He gave us:

  • The Torah, with its myriad mitzvot, which are
    • A way to act out our gratitude for all of the above
    • A disclosure of what He really wants from us, so we’ll know
    • 613 ways to bond with Him on His terms
    • A fool-proof path to our own spiritual perfection
    • The blueprint of creation
    • A way to fix the world and ourselves
    • A Kabalistic system which we can use and benefit from without understanding how it works
    • The Jewish people’s marriage contract with God
    • A peephole into the Mind of God
    • A clear list of His expectations of us
    • An inexhaustible well of wisdom
    • An eternal testimony to His love for us

The Torah is a more precious gift than everything listed in Part One combined, because when we accept the gift of Torah, we receive the Giver Himself.

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