by Rabbi Ariel Wolpe
Midrash Tanhuma teaches that when the Holy One began to create the world, the Holy One did so as a child grows within the mother. Just as an embryo begins as a small cell and then expands in all directions, so too the world was created from a single point—from even shtiya, the foundation or “drinking” stone. This stone is the navel of the earth, nourishing us and connecting us to the Divine Mother.
According to Rabbi Eliezer, this occurred on the twenty-fifth of Elul. Rosh Hashannah is the birthday of humanity—Adam formed from dust—but Elul is when life first flowed from the even shtiya. During Elul we experience the earth for its beauty and power independent of humankind, remembering a time before we became its stewards. We imagine rivers flowing from the foundation rock throughout the earth, expanding and growing as a fetus, forming each unique species. A macrocosm of our own womb journeys.
A part of this sacred body, we connect to the Holy One through a cord flowing with life.
Rabbi Ariel Root Wolpe is a mother, musician, and founder and director of Ma’alot, an emergent spiritual community in Atlanta, GA. She just released Ruach Neshama, a spiritual album through Hadar’s Rising Song Institute.