This week’s parsha, Vayechi, features Yaakov’s final blessings to his twelve sons and, through them, to the future Jewish people. This is preceded, however, with Yaakov’s intention to reveal to his sons all the future in its entirety. Rashi explains that when Yaakov began to speak, the Shechina, the Divine Presence, withdrew from him, taking with it this knowledge. Instead he gave them his blessings.
As much as those who maintain a religious allegiance to science and progress might protest, we’ll never know more than a tiny fraction of even the material world. Those of us who maintain a belief in and are granted at least an awareness of transcendental spiritual realms, realize that the slice of “total” reality that humanity will ever grasp is, indeed, infinitesimal.
On the one hand, this built-in uncertainty is terrifying and all the blessings in the world barely allow us enough courage to go on. On the other hand, living in a non-deterministic universe is what provides us with the blessing of bechira, choice, which enables us to become fully human.
These thoughts are dedicated to the memory of Rabbi Daniel Goldberger, zt”l, a mentor and friend, who, many years ago, showed me the value of the sincere humility which both requires and generates uncertainty.