One of the definitions of the Sanctuary [Temple of Jerusalem], besides being a specific geographic location in the land of Israel, is a time and space in our consciousness where we are permanently united to the Creator.
The Prophet reminds us about this.
“Thus said the Lord God: ‘Because I put them afar off among nations, and because I scattered them through lands, I also am to them for a little Sanctuary, in lands where they have gone in’.” (Ezekiel 11:16)
There is a temple in the highest level of consciousness, and also a high priest who carries out this connection. This place in consciousness indicates what are we aiming for.
“For You, O Lord, are my refuge, the most high You made Your dwelling.” (Psalms 91:9)
King David refers to Zion/Jerusalem in many of his psalms to widen our awareness about the meaning of being close to God. What kind of place in our consciousness He desires the most for us and He to be together? We repeatedly say that love is our common bond with Him, and these verses reaffirm it.
“For the Lord has chosen Jerusalem, He has desired it for His home: ‘This is My dwelling place forever. Here I will live, for I have desired it’.” (132:13-14)
Tetzaveh points out the commandment as connection to the means called the Sanctuary, which is also the space and time shared with Zion/Jerusalem, as referred by the psalmist in his verses of praise. It’s the bond where the sanctuary and the high priest actually are one. Both even share the materials of their garments, which the children of Israel bring as offerings they take from their heart for the Creator.
Let’s appeal to David’s praises to reach a higher awareness of this connection.
“Glorify the Lord, O Jerusalem, praise your God, O Zion. For He has strengthened the bars of your gates, He has blessed your children within you. He makes peace within your walls, He gives you in plenty the best of wheat (…)” (147:12-14)
Thus we realize that we are an emanation of God’s love. In His love we truly live and experience the goodness He is and wants for us, as long as we choose to be close to Him. His love is our nourishment as the blessing He is, from Whom all blessings come forth.
“Her [Zion/Jerusalem] provision I greatly bless, her needy ones I satisfy with bread, and her priests I clothe with redemption, and her loving ones shall sing aloud.” (132:15-16)
God’s love is where we all want to dwell in.
“My God is my rock, I take refuge in Him; my shield, and the horn of my redemption; my high tower, and my refuge! My Redeemer, from violence You save me!” (2 Samuel 22:3)
Away from the unrest of ego’s fantasies and illusions, from which we want to escape.
“It will happen that whoever will call on the name of the Lord shall be redeemed. For in mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be those who escape, as the Lord has said; and among the remnant, those whom the Lord calls.” (Joel 2:32)
In this awareness we realize that love is our permanent bond with God’s love.
“The Lord your God is in the midst of you, a mighty One who will redeem. He will rejoice over you [Zion/Jerusalem] with joy. He will comfort you in His love. He will rejoice over you with singing.” (Zephaniah 3:17)
Again we reiterate that the high priest is the highest level of consciousness far away from the chains that keep us bound in the captivity of ego’s fantasies and illusions. The high priest has the power to gather and unite the remaining levels and dimensions of consciousness, represented by the different materials of his garments.
This highest level of consciousness is destined to integrate and harmonize opposite traits and qualities that are part of who we are. The goal is not to repress or silence the lower aspects of consciousness, but to direct them into God’s ways and attributes from which love’s ways and attributes proceed.
As we achieve this formidable task, we also achieve our connection with God. In the same way God’s love integrates and unites the diversity of His creation. He doesn’t expect less from us. With our choices and decisions we have shaped our lives and the world we live in. Hence it’s up to us to correct what we have disarranged. See in this blog our commentary on Tetzaveh: Living our Connection with God’s love” of February 6, 2014.
Our ability to harmonize every part that define our consciousness is also the means to meet our Creator. He is our God who commands us not to have the gods of others before His presence. This means we have to come to Him in His ways and attributes, and nothing different.
“For on My holy mountain, the high mountain of Israel, declares the reigning Lord, there in the land the entire house of Israel will serve Me, and there I will accept them. There I will require your offerings and your choice gifts, along with all your holy sacrifices.” (Ezekiel 20:40)
Our choice gifts are the best we can make of every part of us, lower and higher, in order to consecrate them for His will. The psalmist also refers to this task.
“Praise the Lord from the earth, you sea-monsters, and all [that lives in the] deeps. Fire and hail, snow and vapor, stormy wind, fulfilling His word. Mountains and all hills, fruitful trees and all cedars. Beasts and all cattle, creeping things and winged fowl. Kings of the earth and all peoples, princes and all judges of the earth. Both young men and maidens, old men and children. Let them praise the name of the Lord, for His name alone is exalted. His glory is above Earth and Heaven.” (Psalms 148:7-13)
As we have said, His glory is His love.
The physical absence of the Temple prompted our sages to institute our daily prayers in lieu of the daily offerings. Prayer is the way we bond with God for almost two thousand years. Our sages were aware that God’s presence is also with us as the little Sanctuary (see above Ezekiel 11:6) within each one of us, and prayers become the offerings we bring up to Him.
Through these prayers we bond with Him in our love for Him.
“It is good to sing praises to our God, for it is pleasant, and praise is comely. The Lord builds up Jerusalem, He gathers together the dispersed of Israel, He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” (Psalms 147:1-3)
Tetzaveh ends with the consecration of the incense, which our sages consider the culmination of our bond with God.
“and Aaron shall make incense (…) continual incense before the Lord for [all] your generations.” (Exodus 30:7-8)
In our daily prayers, time and again, we ask God to restore His presence in Zion.
“You are our God, You are our Master, You are our Redeemer. You will save us. You will arise and have compassion on Zion; it is the time to favor her, the appointed time has come.” (Psalms 102:13)
And our sages add to our prayer.
“You are the Lord our God, and God of our fathers, before Whom they burnt the offering of incense” because in our bond with Him we are redeemed.
We celebrate this week the presentation in Jerusalem of my book “God’s Love”, inspired in the Chassidic mystic approach to our connection and relationship with the Creator. The book launch will be this Thursday, February 18 at 7:30 PM. The event will take place at the house on Mordechai Caspi street #21 in Jerusalem (north Talpiyot area). All are welcome. For more details, contact me at email@example.com.