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    Look down from heaven – Ki Tavo

    “Where is God?” asks every small child. Most parents say, “Up there”, pointing to the sky.

    The abstract idea of a God who is a ubiquitous force without bodily form is too difficult for a child, as it is for many adults too.

    How then should we take the prayer in the sidra, Hashkifah mim’on kod’sh’cha min hashamayim, “Look down from Your holy habitation, from Heaven” (Deut. 26:15)?

    There is a discussion about the word ma’on (“habitation”) in the Talmud (Chagigah 12b). One view is, Ma’on nikra shamayim – “‘Habitation’ is called ‘Heaven'”.

    This statement might be taken as a metaphor; indicating that wherever God is, namely everywhere His presence is perceived, that can be understood as Heaven.

    The question was asked, “Where are the Talmudic sages?”

    The answer was given, “The sages are in Heaven!” Another view, however, was, “It is not that the sages are in Heaven, but Heaven is in the sages”. The piety and learning of the sages are evidence of the Presence of God.

    Where is God? It is not so much that God is in a place called Heaven, but Heaven is wherever the Presence of God is manifest and perceived.

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