Guest Posting From Chabakuk Elisha - The Umbilical Cord
Two weeks ago my wife gave birth to a baby boy. After we brought the baby home from the hospital, he has gotten a great bit of attention from his two year-old sister and other siblings who have bombarded my wife and I with hundreds of questions.
Last night I came home from work and was greeted at the door by my very excited children, jumping up and down, and talking all at once. My wife informed me that the excitement was a result of the baby's belly button! The remaining piece of the umbilical cord had finally come off, and this was certainly a big event for all the children.
My younger children repeatedly asked me to explain why a baby needed an umbilical cord, and why it was no longer important. Indeed, the question why it was only temporarily important is interesting, since it also provides a great lesson in life: We live with certain realities that are very important, but are later told that other things will ultimately carry the most significance after this life. Although we may try to prioritize the spiritual over the physical, it is often quite a challenge - since our daily lives often dictate the opposite.
Looking to the development of a human being makes this idea easier to understand. While a baby's arms and legs develop in the womb, the baby has no real need for those limbs in the womb. The umbilical cord, however, is the most essential body part since it brings nutrients to help the baby develop. Perhaps, if the baby was able, it would try to get rid of those cumbersome arms and legs and ensure that the umbilical cord was safe and functioning. The reasoning behind ridding itself of these appendages would be incredibly short-sighted since the doctor will only cut and discard the umbilical cord when the baby is born. Removing the arms and legs in the womb would deprive the baby the ability to function normally in its post-womb environment.
Similarly, in our current reality, the "world" tells us that the physical is of primary importance and the Divine is a superfluous and superimposed element that is of secondary importance. It tells us that we must devote our efforts to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." The truth, however, is otherwise; just as a baby's limbs are essential for his future, so too is the spiritual element of our life on this earth essential for our continued development in the future word.
Now that my son's umbilical cord has fallen off, he has left behind the last vestiges of his former world and G-d has given him the tools he needs to accomplish his tasks in this world. Now, with G-d's help he must take advantage of those tools, and cultivate the tools he will need for the future world.