“This life’s journey is like crossing a very narrow bridge; the main thing is not to give in to fear.”
Rabbi Nachman of Breslov
The bridge in that well-known hasidic song is not a wooden stucture mounted on a trestle a few inches above the ground, a plank from which any fall would be gentle and uneventful. It is more like a catwalk suspended precariously high over a windy abyss, whose distant depths are occasionally visible but more often shrouded in gloom or fog,
Rabbi Nachman is not saying that the terror below is not real — he knows that it is, and that it is palpable — but rather that there is security in holding firmly onto the handrail of faith.
The abyss is radical doubt, despair in divine providence. The bridge is certainty, trust in divine goodness and truth; it is a pathway to the Infinite.
When abyss and bridge are no longer two, but one, there is no abyss, there is no bridge, and life’s journey is a broad highway to the One.
Give us the courage, H’, to look into the darkness, to find You in your absence. Show us there a radiance that is brighter than a thousand suns.
לֹא-תִירָא, מִפַּחַד לָיְלָה; מֵחֵץ, יָעוּף יוֹמָם
@2012 Jonathan Omer-Man