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Does G-D Need A Home?

Friday, 16 February, 2018 - 3:32 pm

“Build Me a home so that I may dwell among them (i.e. the Jewish People).” This is a quote from the opening section of the Torah portion we will read this week.

Now the question is, was G‑d really homeless? Wasn't He already dwelling with the people? Why, it was just the other week that we read of the revelation at Sinai and the Ten Commandments where G‑d came down from heaven to earth. So why suddenly the need for a sanctuary for Him?

The answer is that there is a fundamental difference between Sinai and the Sanctuary. At Sinai a revelation was thrust upon us from above. G‑d initiated and activated that encounter. In this experience the Jewish people were somewhat passive. All the thunder and lightning, physically and spiritually, came at them from On High. 

The Sanctuary, however, had to be built by the people themselves. They had to take the initiative. From the fundraising campaign to collecting the raw materials, down to the nuts and bolts of construction - the sanctuary was a man made edifice.

At Sinai the heavens opened for the greatest sound-and-light show on earth leaving a nation mesmerized and awe-inspired. But they themselves were passive recipients of this unique, never-to-be-repeated gift from above.

To build a sanctuary, however, took a whole building campaign. Men and women, young and old, everybody rolled up their sleeves. It took weeks, months of hard labor, and meaningful contributions by every individual, planning and programming, designing and then actually building a holy house for G‑d. We made it happen. And thereby, it was the people who brought G‑d down to earth.

And this is a lesson we can take from this week’s portion. True revelation is rare. While there certainly are those special moments when we witness the unmistakable presence of G‑d in our lives, we cannot wait for lightning to strike. If we seek true inner peace and wish to truly fulfill our mission for existence we need to build our personal sanctuaries for G‑d in order to embrace Him and bring Him into our homes and families.

The Rebbe of Kotzk was once asked by his teacher, "Where is G‑d?" He answered, "Wherever you let Him in."

Let’s do a mitzvah today!

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