The word “renaissance” comes from the French word for rebirth. It is usually used to refer to that period of time approximately 600 years ago when mankind freed itself from the restrictive policies of the church and began a new generation of ideas and innovation.
It is therefore used to describe any instance when something begins anew.
One of the more repugnant creatures of the world is the caterpillar (especially if they’ve started oozing out after you’ve stepped on it). Yet one of the most beautiful and mystifying creatures is the bright and brilliant butterfly. They are intimately connected by the word “renaissance” in the truest sense of the word.
Let’s see what happens inside that cocoon.
First our little friend, the caterpillar, eats as much as he can so that there’s plenty of “body” inside his furry skin. When he’s just about had enough to eat, he (or she) finds a quiet place where it won’t be disturbed. Some produce cocoons, others park themselves under a leaf. Then the magic begins.
The caterpillar begins to digest itself using the same juices it used to digest its food (sort of like your stomach digesting your intestines). When most of its body has been consumed in what you might call a larval near death experience, it begins to regenerate itself. It has shed its skin in preparation for the development of a leaner, thinner body and its colorful wings. It then pumps blood (yes, insect blood) into its wings and emerges from its slumber in the most dazzling-colored rebirth in nature.
Question is – why would God create a creature that has to die only to be reborn as something completely different?
Perhaps we can find the answer lies in the purpose of Creation.
We are here in this world to ingest good deeds (mitzvoth) into our bodies and souls, whether they are between man and our fellow man or between us and God. After we die our natural death, these deeds reconstitute our physical beings into the wings of our heavenly spirits and we experience the renaissance of the soul.
The more mitzvoth we’ve ingested, the more magnificent it’s wings.
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