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Take Heart Pluto, Less is More [Sep. 1st, 2006|02:57 pm]
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By Yisroel Rice

I am sure you have all heard by now: Pluto has been demoted. The International Astronomical Union has convened, debated and voted that Pluto is simply sub-planetary. "It's too small," they say. And even more, it follows a different orbit than the other, normal planets.

As a member of the Jewish people I say: Pluto, we feel your pain... Many have debated your planethood, as many have tried to decide our peoplehood. Do not be discouraged.

"Pluto, we feel your pain..." We too, have been set on a course that makes us "a unique and strange, spread out people." I guess our orbit has bumped into the orbits of too many other nations and rubbed them the wrong way. Pluto, we understand what it's like to be out there on the fringe.

We know that many people out there look at size; they think bigger is better (and look at the expanding orbit of our national girth!) As human beings, large things catch our attention and we get caught up in size over substance.

Our Torah, however, offers a different perspective. Well before the word "demography" existed Moses conveyed the following message to the Jewish People:

"The L-rd your G-d has chosen you to be to Him a special people, above all peoples that are upon the face of the earth... G-d did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because you were more in number than any people; for you are the fewest of all peoples" (Deuteronomy 7:6-7)

It is quite amazing how we human beings, so small and insignificant in this universe, are so enthralled by big things. G-d, on the other hand, is impressed by small things. "The fewest of all peoples" is not just meant in terms of size, but in terms of attitude. The Midrash relates that although G-d bestowed greatness upon Abraham, his attitude was that "I am but dust and ashes." G-d bestowed abundant blessing upon the patriarch Jacob, yet his reaction was "I am diminished (katonti) by all the kindnesses... You have shown Your servant."

Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi explains in Tanya, that one of the remarkable qualities of holiness is that the more one receives, the less deserving one feels. But why is this so? After all, if I am receiving so much, I must be great, or deserving, at the very least! The Rebbe explains that the more we receive, the more we realize that this is a gift from G-d, the source of blessing. Accordingly, the more we get the more we are inspired and grateful to Him, and our own ego is diminished. When one is receiving without this holy consciousness, the opposite is true.

Through our smallness, we are able to draw the greatest blessings down into ourselves and the entire universe.

So, my cosmic colleague, do not be deterred by the smallness of your size, the uniqueness of your path, or what others think about them--even if they are the IAU. It is not the size of the planet in the universe. It is the size of the universe in the planet.



By Yisroel Rice

Rabbi Yisrael Rice is the Executive Director of Chabad of Marin, Marin County, California and Chairman of the Editorial Board of the Jewish Learning Institute. Rabbi Rice is the creator of the "Infinite Within" seminar and author of "The Kabbalah of Now." Rabbi Rice lives in San Rafael, California with his wife, Gittel, and nine children.

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