The other day as I was walking from my office to my car, I saw a cigarette box on the ground and, feeling a bit like a kid who wished to play “kick the can,” I planted my right foot and gave that box a good whack with the inside of my left foot. The box flew a disappointingly short distance, which meant I didn’t get to yell (under my breath, of course!): “Goooooooooaaallll!!”
Instead, much to my own dismay, I said: “Gam ba-zeh!” which is Hebrew for “Also in this!” . . . a phrase that reminded me that the box on the ground — another human’s discarded trash — is also formed from G-d.
Now, I know that all people don’t conceptualize G-d in a way that fits comfortably with the notion that the cigarette box was “of G-d.” But I think we can all agree that the paperboard was once a living plant and, given adequate time and proper conditions for decomposition, the paperboard will once again be organic material capable of supporting the growth of new plant life. Thus, the cigarette box is part of “the infinite web of eternally circling life,” which is a pretty good approximation of the only way that my brain can conceptualize G-d.
Regardless the different ways we may conceptualize G-d, perhaps we could all agree to try to remember, as we see other human beings, that each of them is “of G-d” . . . a unique image (Genesis 1:27 & 9:6) who can teach us a unique lesson about life, if we permit, so that we might have more compassion, patience, and respect for one another . . .
shavua tov, jen