Meditation on a Rock Wall

By Fran Margulies

The rocks in this strong Hawaiian wall were fit together in their natural shapes. I walk past the wall and think of God’s words at the end of Yitro 20:22. Use only natural “found” rocks in my altars, he orders! He warns against using “hewn” stones because “wielding your tool upon them” will profane them.

Why?

One possible answer is that iron tools are instruments of war, thus inappropriate for worship. But another thought occurs to me. These altars will be the immediate human response to God’s revelation at Sinai, a wildly emotional, explosive event! The God who spoke was “an impassioned God, Eyl kana!” (Yitro 20:5). That passionate God expects, even longs for, an equivalent response!

The most impulsive, passionate human response of a man standing in the desert would be to reach down and mound up the very earth beneath his feet!

Second best, and sturdier, would be to use stones. But they must be found stones, natural, uncut! Because only those would be “kana,” a fittingly passionate response.

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