After a short while, it turns into a deluge that pours through the roof in volumes that buckets can't contain; and finally, as lights flicker and thunder roars, it brings down the house. Literally. The roof crashes, floors and walls tilt, and flood waters rise. On Berkeley Rep's Thrust Stage.
What if we give thanks for all the 'right' things we have such as family, friends, job, home and health, and then, in a blink of an eye, find that we no longer 'have' those things. What will we be thankful for?
Perhaps we vindicate Job by refusing to blame the poor for their poverty, by proclaiming the story of a mother who lost her child to a random act of gun violence, or by listening to the suffering of refugees in war-torn countries such as Syria.
The rabbis' point is that Israel could only feel God's presence when they were receiving gifts. This is a common malady; many people pray for something and if they do not receive it assume that there is no God.
I'm pretty religious and knew that "The Tree of Life" tackled what are sometimes ominously called "Big Questions" about religion. But I was unprepared for the power of the film, which is like living inside a prayer.
In their 2009 film "A Serious Man," the Coens, for the first time in their career as moviemakers, decide to go back to their Minnesota upbringing and tell a story that touches on the Jewish depredations of Job and Kafka.