Skip to content

May I Have A WORD With You?! – DUST

DUST – עָפָר – Afar
Your descendants will be as the dust of the earth … (Genesis 28:14)

Talk about a backhanded compliment. The promise God makes to Jacob is that his descendants will be like, uh, DUST – עָפָר – Afar. I don’t know about you, but my first reaction is … thanks, but no thanks.

DUST – עָפָר – Afar is one of those substances that gets everywhere. No nook or cranny is safe from its arrival. DUST – עָפָר – Afar is one those entities that even after one removes it, it returns and returns and returns. It is beyond time and space. Who thinks of DUST – עָפָר – Afar more than something that needs to be removed or even eliminated.

It seems that we have had too many reminders in the past few weeks and months about people out there who think exactly that way about us descendants of Jacob. We are (at best) annoying DUST – עָפָר – Afar. Yes, thanks, but no thanks.

And yet, here we are. Still, kinda DUST – עָפָר – Afar. DUST-like … living, dwelling and contributing everywhere across the globe. DUST-like … still hanging around after millennia, still clutching to our highest values.

DUST – עָפָר – Afar is the stuff of the earth … that fosters growth which can nourish and sustain communities, that forms bricks and mortar which helps to build civilizations, that contains – even in the smallest amounts – precious ores and minerals that are sources of wealth and beauty.

There have always been and I suppose will always be those who consider DUST – עָפָר – Afar something to despise and deny. AND, there has always been and continues to be a DUST – עָפָר – Afar that brings within its reach and stamina nourishment, sustainment and wealth to the world. This DUST – עָפָר – Afar shows up in our values of a just, compassionate and peaceful world.
And so, as we continue to annoy some, we must also continue to ally with others who yearn for the realization of those same values. And, together, work towards the ways that those values will become like DUST – עָפָר – Afar … permeating the nooks and crannies of our world and everywhere in between, rooting within our communities and their institutions in perpetuity.

Other News

May I Have A WORD With You? - TEN

TEN – עֲשָׂרָה – AsarI will not destroy, for the sake of the ten. (Genesis 18:32) In one of the greatest negotiations in recorded history , God agrees to ‘save’ Sodom and Gemorrah if Abraham can find TEN righteous people. Well, we know how that story ended … and have…

May I Have A WORD With You?! - ARK

ARK – תֵּבָה – TayvahMake yourself an ARK of gopher wood. (Genesis 6:14) You may know that I built an ARK! We use it in the large sanctuary at Temple Micah. However, it is nothing like Noah’s! Even though the English word we use for our Torah-holding ARK and Noah’s…

May I Have a WORD With You?! - RETURN

RETURN – תּשׁוּבָה – Teshuvah If you find yourself at this time of year connecting in any way with the Jewish community you might come across the word, תּשׁוּבָה – Teshuvah. We spend the first ten days of our New Year – and technically the last month of the previous…