My Yom Huledet: Birthday Thoughts on Existence, Thanksgiving, and Destiny

dna_helixLast Friday I completed my 58th trip around the sun (plus nine months), and this, like other similar times, gives us pause to reflect.

It is amazing and strange to think that for most of all history we who area reading this did not exist: you just didn’t—there was no YOU. Then with the ‘miracle’ of conception—“boom!”—we began to exist, even though we were only a little cell, complete with all of our DNA genetic material and apparently as spirit beings as well, we began to grow. It is an awesome mystery about life and what we really are as human beings, and why we are here. It is good to think about such things that G-d as put into place. It helps us “magnify Him” (cf. Ps. 34:3): we cannot make Him bigger, but we can see Him bigger, more awesome, and more Wonderful.

In Psalm 139 David reflects on the omniscience and omni-presence of G-d: He knows everything about us—He knows us better than we know ourselves—and there is nowhere we can go where He is not already there. David then writes about G-d’s work in bringing David into existence:

For You formed my inward parts;
You wove me in my mother’s womb.

I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,

And my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from You,

When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;

Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
And in Your book were all written

The days that were ordained for me,
When as yet there was not one of them
(Ps. 139:13–16).

I won’t go into depth here, but I have always thought that it is interesting that David used the idea of “knitting” in how G-d made us (some versions translate it this way). The phrase “skillfully wrought” in verse 15 is one word, רֻ֝קַּ֗מְתִּי / “rukamti”: it means variegate, or to embroider skillfully. If you have ever seen a photo of the DNA helix (like the photo at the top), it looks like it is woven material. Interesting.

Anyway, from there David considers the thoughts that God thinks—God thinks thoughts—toward us:

17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
I awake, and I am still with you.

After praying G-d will give his enemies a good thrashing, David concludes with a prayer regarding his own thoughts, and for guidance…even into eternity.

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts!
24 And see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting!

So, having survived 58 years—when I first entered this world, and took my first breath, and then started complaining, loudly—I’m thinking about this stuff. I thank G-d that He gave me a mother who endured the sweltering heat of an blazing hot August with no air conditioning to carry me to term, and a father who played the roll to me and my sister better than anyone I’ve ever met.

May we all pray that G-d will search us and lead us in the way everlasting as He did for David, and may we each fulfill our destiny in the days that were ordained for [us]” (v. 16.)

Shalom from Jerusalem,


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