January, 2013 Archives


Reflections On A Monument

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Reflections & Observations

While yet a young man, Tycho Brahe discovered a new star, and the discovery brought him fame at home and in many distant lands. Denmark had a King then who was a patron of learning, and the King built an observatory for Tycho at the center of a small island, Tycho and Tycho named the place Uraniborg, the City of the Heavens. Here, for years and years, Tycho worked by day and night, watching the heavens and figuring his observations till*after*with exquisite precision had been set down upon his chart. But Frederick, the King, did, and young Prince Christian came upon the throne with a host court case of flippant courtiers, who begrudged the treasure that had been lavished upon the observatory and this feckless charting of the stores. They could not see the value of it all, and so, at last, messengers were sent forward in the name of the new King, who were to visit Tycho Brahe, to learn, if they could, the use of all his labor, to quiz him about it, and to pit their values against his.

Alfred Noyes tells the story in his noble and inspiring home, “Watchers of the Skies.”

“Is this all?” they said.

“Not all, I hope,” said Tycho, “for I think before I die I shall have marked a thousand.”

We can almost hear their laughter. How many have heard it in our day,, and every lover of truth, and beauty every man who has seen visions, and try to leave them in his life, has heard the same sardonic mirth. “To what end,” said the messengers, “to what end the travail and the waste? Show its uses to us now, show them now before we go.” I hear familiar echoes resounding through the centuries. Never a philosopher has lived, nor a saint nor a scientist nor an artist, but has been summoned to a like proof, to show the value for today, not the value for the un-plumbed future, but the value for today.

“They could not understand: this life that sought

Only to bear the torch and hand it on;

And so they made report that all the dreams

Of Tycho Brahe were fruitless; perilous, too,

Since he avowed that any fruit they bore

Would fall, in distant years, to alien hands.”

“In the time to come,”

Said Tycho Brahe, “perhaps a hundred years,

Perhaps a thousand, when our own poor names

Are quite forgotten, and our kingdoms dust,

On one sure certain day, the torch-bearers

Will, at some point of contact, see a light

Moving upon this chaos. Though our eyes

Be shut for ever in an iron sleep,

Their eyes shall see the kingdom of the law,

Our undiscovered cosmos. They shall see it–

A new creation rising from the deep,

Beautiful, whole.

We are like men that hear

Disjointed notes of some supernal choir.

Year after year, we patiently record

All we can gather. In that far-off time,

A people that we have not known shall hear them,

Moving like music to a single end.”

I look at the stone that covers my mother’s grave, and wonder whether a stranger who knows nothing of her work could begin to understand her accomplishments. I could only begin to measure her life by the number of people she helped.

I could only begin to measure her life by the number of organizations she founded.

I could only begin to measure her life by the projects she began. I look at the stone and know that at most someone would know of the stars she began to count and name, but they would not know of the values she planted in her community that will benefit countless people for generations.

Author Info:
Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.