Thursday, February 18, 2010


This week's Torah reading, Parashat Teruma, contains G-d's command and promise, "Make for Me a Sanctuary and I will dwell among them".
The Sanctuary is a place where His presence is openly visible. No concealment.

Interestingly enough in the verse it is written that G-d says, ".....I will dwell among them." in the plural form. Meaning, I will dwell within each and every individual man or woman!
When G-d caused His presence to dwell in the midst of our people as a whole, He also invested Himself within the midst of every individual. Every person's heart became a sanctuary in microcosm.

The Sanctuary accompanied the Jewish people in their journey through the desert. Wherever they camped, G-d's presence accompanied them.
Similarly this applies with regards to every person as he goes through his journeys in life and to our people as a whole as they journey through time. G'd's presence accompanies us. As we proceed from one setting to another, His presence journeys with us.

The windows in the Temple were slanted outward. The Rabbis explain that was so that the Temple's light would radiate outwards, influencing the world outside.
The same is with the G-dly light that is present within each and everyone of us. The intent in making a person "a sanctuary in microcosm" is so that we should share and shine the light outwards and influence our environment.

ADAR - Auspicious month.

We are presently in the Jewish month of Adar, in which we celebrate Purim. It says in the Talmud - "When the month of Adar enters, we increase in joy."
There are many joyous dates on the Jewish calendar, why does Purim affect the entire month, causing it to be auspicious and joyous?

Haman pinpointed the moment when the Jews were at their lowest point – historically as well as calendar-wise – to implement his nefarious plan...

Historically - the Jews did not have The Holy Temple. And their spiritual status was affected.

And calendar-wise - this was the month when Moses died. The demise of Moses, the head of the Jewish Nation, was surely a metaphor he believed, for the demise of the entire nation.

But his plan did not succeed.

We all have ups and downs, as is also true with our nation, both spiritually and materially, but our very identity, the fact that we are G-d's chosen nation, is never affected.

Our perpetual relationship with G-d may even be more evident when we are exiled and downtrodden due to our sins, and G-d still interferes on our behalf, as is demonstrated by the Purim miracle.

This phenomenon shows the durability of our relationship; the ability of our essential identity to survive no matter our external state.

The month of Adar, the month which Haman understood to be the most inauspicious month for the Jews, is the happiest month of the year—the month when we bear in mind that "inauspicious" has absolutely no bearing on our relationship with G-d.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Hayom Yom: 2 Adar I

"...Avoda does not imply - as some think, altogether erroneously - that one must pulverize mountains and shatter boulders, turn the world upside down. The absolute truth is that any avoda, any act, whatever it may be, is perfectly satisfactory when performed with true kavana, intent: A b'racha pronounced with kavana; a word of davening as it should be, with a prepared heart and an awareness of "before Whom you stand"; a passage in Chumash said with an awareness that it is the word of G-d; a verse of Tehillim; a beneficent trait of character expressed in befriending another with affection and love."