Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Birth is G‑d saying, “You matter.” Rabbi Simon Jacobson

Think about this: At puberty, approximately 300,000 oocytes remain in a woman’s ovaries. Of these, only about 400 ripen into eggs and are released over the woman's reproductive life, usually one each menstrual cycle. Conception can only occur during or near ovulation, an outer stretch of 5-6 days a month. Out of millions of microscopic sperm entering the woman, just one in ten finds its way into the cervix, one or two thousand make it into the fallopian tube, and only a few hundred make it to the egg. Only one sperm breaks through the outer membrane surrounding the egg. The egg still has to travel down the fallopian tubes and implant into the lining of the uterus. It’s hard to know exactly, but the estimates are that 25-40% of pregnancies end in miscarriage. Of the 60-75% that make it, the fetus still has to get to 27 weeks gestation to have a 90% chance of survival after birth.

So, if you’re alive today, count yourself as a survivor! You won the conception lottery, made it to a full-term pregnancy, survived birth and the dangerous neonatal period, to grow into a toddler, child, teen, and adult.

Mazal tov! There has never been anyone quite like you before and never will.



Every person should have two pockets. In the right pocket should be the statement: "For my sake the world was created." (Mishnah, Sanhedrin 4:5) In the left pocket should be the words: "I am but dust and ashes," (Genesis 18:27)
Rabbi Simcha Bunim of Pershishcha


  • Does Rabbi Simcha Bunim provide an answer to the existential irrelevence we feel, looking at that pale blue dot?
  • Are there times when humility is not appropriate? If so, when would these be?
  • How would you define a healthy ego?

Click here for an article by course author, Rabbi Simon Jacobson


Why is it so important for us to know that the world has a Creator?
How does this knowledge impact on our feelings of purpose or meaning --whether consciously or subsonsciously?

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