The luz bone
From David Grossman’s book on literature and politics, Writing in the Dark:
What was the thing that could preserve the human spark within me, in a reality entirely aimed at extinguishing it? One can answer this question only about one’s self in private. But perhaps I can suggest a possible path to the answer.
In the Jewish tradition, there is a legend… every person has a small bone in his body called the luz, located at the tip of the spine, which enfolds the essence of a person’s soul… Even if the entire human body is shattered, crushed, or burned, the luz bone does not perish. It stores a person’s uniqueness, the core of his selfhood… Those of you who would like to find your own response to this question may, when you go home, choose to gather your thoughts and consider: What is the thing within me that is the true root of my soul? What is the quality, the essence, the final spark that will remain in me even when all other things are extinguished?
This, to me, is a matter of truth. What is the truth of who you are? Beneath everything – and despite all that you present to the world, even to those you love – how do you describe your truest self, your true North? I’ve been struggling with Grossman’s words, struggling to come up with something real. A passion for justice resonates. Also love. Curiosity. Longing. Fear. None and all of these, and something else I can’t yet name.
And your luz bone? Your truest self that will remain? I invite you to ask yourself this question. If you feel comfortable sharing your answer, please do.
Newly added P.S. Rabbi Sarah Niebuhr Rubin says this: From my days as a paleo-osteologist, I have to say I don’t think I ever discovered a luz bone. On the other hand, the bottom of the spinal column is called the sacrum – straight from sacred. By that, we sit on our soul!