Dedicated to my very own always love…
Making a relationship last, nurturing a love that is for always. It’s a great struggle in real life, in this day and age perhaps more than ever, and the topic of countless love songs, movies, novels, and of chapter 29 of the book of Shemot.
Always, tamid, is a central element of the relationship with God we cultivate through the Mishkan. The Choshen and the Tzitz both need to always be on the Kohen, the bread needs to always be before him, and the light of the Menorah needs to always rise. This last one seems impossible, both on the literal, and on the metaphoric level. Can the flame of a relationship be constantly burning? Even at 1 am, after a two day holiday, when the entire house needs to be turned over after Pesach?
Chapter 29, which speaks of the tamid sacrifice, the communal responsibility for ‘always’, provides the Torah’s answer.
“The one lamb you will do in the morning, and the second lamb you will do in the evening.” (29:39)
This verse, according to a lesser well-known opinion in the Midrash, is an even greater principle than “Love your neighbor as yourself”. It encapsulates the halakhic project as a whole, to take the noble, absurd, impossible aspiration to bridge the infinite gap between person and God, and between person and person, and to translate it into concrete, practical actions. You can sing about loving always, but to really live it, you need to translate the impossibility of constancy into the difficult but realizable goal of consistency.
This is exactly what halakha does for the two primary expressions of our relationship with God, learning and praying. This is the great and beautiful challenge of the 929 project as well. A little bit, every single day. And it’s a formula for our personal relationships. A sacrifice of love, every morning, and every evening. Like those dishes at 1 in the morning.
This is my own little insight about the 929 chapter of the day, in 300 words or so. 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