Off the Pulpit

Plus Ultra

All discovery creates new senses of possibility. The motto on the crest of Ferdinand and Isabella had been ne plus ultra — no more beyond. After Columbus discovered America, the ne was removed. Now the crest read: beyond this, more.  

When we discover a sense of God in our lives, a new dimension is opened up for us. Before there was a limit on reality, now it soars beyond anything we had imagined. Where there were walls, there is an intimation of sky. 

For Judaism the sacred is a realm that both permeates the everyday and extends far beyond it. Lighting a match is a simple act, but using that match to light a Shabbat candle gives it an everlasting dimension. Doing an act of kindness for another is a beautiful thing; recognizing it as a mitzvah adds an invisible vertical line stretching to eternity.

Ultimately faith is not something to be demonstrated like a scientific fact. Faith is experienced the way we feel love. Beginning in yearning, it is powerful in its discovery and infinite in its implications.