What does it mean to make space for holiness?
Chapter 25 is concerned with the interior decorating of the Mishkan, with the stated purpose not that it be a home for God, but that it be a vehicle for God to make His home in us. On Sinai, we experienced God’s overwhelming voice coming from the Heavens. The Ramban suggests that the goal of the Mishkan is to transform that once-in-history experience into the constant presence of God in our own world. In a somewhat later turn of phrase, to “make heaven a place on earth.” How do we accomplish that?
The furniture shows us the way. One unexpected element common to all the vessels described in this chapter is that they all have faces. The candles of the Menorah shine light towards “its face”, the table holds the “bread of faces”, and the holiest place on earth, the point of encounter, from which God’s voice emanates, is in that space between the faces of the keruvim.
The Talmud brings the message home. Only when people know how to encounter one another, when peace resides amongst the Jewish people, do the keruvim face one another, and can we hear God’s voice.
When you think about it, the same elements that fill the Mikdash fill even the simplest home. A lamp, a table, a closet. In my own home, we have another element which has become all too central to our daily living- the screen. Actually, the Mishkan has one too. The masach blocks the entrance to the holy. Our screens do the same, presenting a constant distraction from the opportunity to authentically encounter one another. This week of Pesach, for many, offers an oasis of family time. The temptation of the screen will be strong. But if we can manage to turn off facebook and face one another, maybe we’ll succeed in making a place worthy and appropriate for the presence of the Divine.
This is my own little insight about the 929 chapter of the day, in 300 words or so. Chapter 25 was last Thursday. I hope it’s relevant to your week. I’d love to hear your comments and start a conversation
What’s 929? A near-impossible challenge of consistency. A song of Jewish unity. A beautiful project worth checking out. Learn more at 929.org.il