After taking many beautiful hikes in the Chamonix-Mont-Blanc area with my kids this summer, we decided to spend a rainy day in Geneva. One of my daughters who is taking an A-level in Physics suggested we visit the CERN, (European Organization for Nuclear Research), one of the world's largest and most respected centres for scientific research.
The CERN is perhaps best known for discovering the “G-d particle”, otherwise known as the “Higgs boson”. This particle is “an invisible energy field present throughout the universe that imbues other particles with mass”.
On the way out of the museum we saw this message embossed on the exit wall:
Where do we come from?
What are we?
Where are we going?
The sequence going backwards is clear. If we want to know “where we are going” we first must know “what we are”. And if we want to know “what we are” we must first know “where we come from”.
Another way of putting this is that if we want to understand the vast amount of the stars and galaxies that make up our universe, we must first understand the smallest subatomic particles.
I mention the above in connection to our entering the final month of the Jewish calendar year. Traditionally, it is a serious time associated with reflection and introspection. It is also a time when we prepare ourselves for the Jewish New Year and the High Holidays.
The first Lubavitcher Rebbe shares a profound insight into this period of time, uncovering a fresh perspective of our relationship with G-d. He explains that whereas G-d as king normally resides in His palace, during this month He is strolling in the “field” in “casual garb”, relaxed with a “smile on His face”. He is doing so to make himself as accessible as possible to all His children.
Where is this field and how do we discover this kind and gracious G-d? The answer the Rebbe provides is; we can find Him deep inside of us. In each and everyone of us there is an invisible “spark of light” which like the “Higgs boson” is actually present throughout our “micro universe”.
This spark has infinite energy and is in pristine condition. Like the glow of the baby’s smile it is simple and pure. There is no anger or hate, neither envy nor greed. It is not judgmental or conditional. It is the “G-d particle”. It is the point where man and G-d connect.
Our challenge during this month is to rid ourselves of all the negative energy we have accumulated in our lives through various our destructive character traits. This in turn creates blockages in our spiritual, mental and emotional “arteries”, causing the obstruction of our “spark of light”.
Our job is to allow for that pure and innocent energy captured in that radiant “smile of G-d”, as he greets his children during this upcoming month of Elul, to shine uninhibitedly throughout our own universe.