Little World-Big Person

 “the human is small world-the world is a big human”

I immediately liked these pictures posted today on Facebook by David Seidenberg and Menachem Feuer, respectively. It took me some time to put the two together. I think the juxtaposition works.

I like the micro-macro cosmic concept of world-creature-world matrix as well as the succinct clarity expressed in this little dictum and in the sculpture.

Allow me to overinterpret –I like especially the sense of chiasm, which reminds me of Merleau-Ponty, combined with scale, which is both symmetrical and asymmetrical. I might be wrong, but I think it (the thought, not the exact source) echoes into Leibniz. Might there perhaps be a little technology embedded into the insight?

David translates, identifies, comments in a more theological mode, and wishes us Shabbat shalom:

The human is a small world; the world is a great human” — sign outside the Ari synagogue in Tsfat.

This is the key to Jewish ecotheology: Not only is the universe created in God’s image it is the greatest image of God we can know.

The sign says this teaching comes from the Ari (16th c.), but I have found it in Yosef Ashkenazi (13th c.).

“Go beloved, let us go out to the field” — go this shabbat, with this meditation in mind: that you are seeing God’s image. Blessings and love!

Less pacific, fish are also zoharic:

When the sea heaves her waves, all ships toss up and down, rage, and mighty wind overcomes her fiercely. Fish of the sea scatter everywhere –these to the east and those to the west, these to north and those to the south. When the see a mark on any inhabitants of the world, they seize them and swallow them within sloping caverns of the earth.” (Zohar 2:48b –Matt translation)

About zjb

Zachary Braiterman is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His specialization is modern Jewish thought and philosophical aesthetics.
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