The Sanctuary and the High Priest relate to each other not as complements but as parts of the same unity, as body and consciousness comprise human life. Our Sages compare the Sanctuary as the material aspect of life and the High Priest as the spiritual. Both as a unity because nothing is separated when we approach life as God’s emanation. It seems paradoxical that two apparently different qualities can be part of a unity, because in our fragmented consciousness we conceive everything separate in order to assimilate every part as elements of the same thing. The more we separate and divide something, the more we seem to understand it. This happens when we want to “know” something or somebody: we want every detail as pieces of an image that also we want according to our understanding or preconditioned idea.
We experience this when we watch a movie in which we suppose to know every character in order to anticipate or predict the outcome of the plot. There’s nothing unusual about this, because it is part of the way culture shapes our minds. We even have this same approach with the Creator but it doesn’t work as the way to relate to Him. In this sense this is a materialistic approach hard to change, though we must if we want to know God’s ways and attributes.
In this knowledge we are able to realize who we really are. We must know our Essence and true identity when we learn to know God’s Love as our Creator. The Torah tells us how because it defines our identity as Jews based on the our relationship with God.
We have said that Aaron or the High Priest represents the highest awareness of our connection with the Creator. We know that He is undefinable, and the only way to relate to Him is through His ways and attributes as indicated in His Torah. These attributes reflect His Love for His Creation in general and for Israel in particular, because we have a special relationship with Him as also stated in the Torah. We must relate to Him with all dimensions of our life, “with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might [all you are and have]”, and these are parts of a unity called life.
The heart encompasses our vital drives (ego, thoughts, emotions, feelings, passions and instincts), the soul comprises intellect and discernment about our Essence and identity which emanate from God’s Love, and our might is all we acquire, achieve and possess in life which include knowledge and skills that lead us to “being”, “doing” and “having”. In the harmonic unity of these dimensions we approach who we are in our relationship with God.
No matter how mundane or materialistic they may sound, the idea is to “elevate” them in His ways and through His attributes. The High Priest, as our true vital force, is the Jewish higher consciousness with which we achieve this, and the Sanctuary as the time and space in which all dimensions of consciousness are united. This is part of our Jewish identity because it comes to us as a direct positive Commandment: “And you shall command (tetzaveh) the children of Israel (…)” (Exodus 27:20), and the one who commands the children of Israel (all aspects, qualities and dimensions of consciousness) is Moses (the highest knowledge of the Creator).
Only through the knowledge of God’s Love we connect with Him. Let’s be mindful that in Hebrew the semantic root of “commandment” and “to command” also means “connection” and “to connect”. Thus we understand that by fulfilling God’s Commandments we connect with Him. The High Priest, as the highest awareness of our connection with the Creator, is the one who loves every aspect and dimension of consciousness enough to elevate them with his Love united to God’s Love permanently: “(…) so that they [the names of the Tribes of Israel] will be over Aaron’s heart when he comes before the Lord, and Aaron will carry the judgment of the children of Israel over his heart before the Lord at all times.” (28:30). We refer to the High Priest as the most sublime loving approach to life and our circumstances, and as the exact opposite of ego’s materialistic fantasies and illusions.
In this sense we realize that Love is the natural conductor of all aspects of consciousness, ego included. In this awareness our Love is the means to embrace God’s Love: “It shall be upon Aaron’s forehead, and Aaron shall bear the iniquity of the holy things that the children of Israel sanctify, for all their holy gifts. It shall be upon his forehead constantly to make them favorable before the Lord.” (28:36-38). In the mindful awareness of our own Love (Aaron’s forehead) we sanctify life and all that is related to it as holy gifts that God created for us.
When we constantly consecrate our material reality to His ways and attributes, He also embraces us with His Love and this how we make the world favorable before Him. In this way we realize what is our relation and connection with Him: “They will know that I, the Lord, am their God, who brought them out of the land of Egypt in order that I may dwell in their midst; I am the Lord, their God.” (29:46). In this way we know that Love is our common bond with Him.
We have to get acquainted with Love as our Essence and true identity, and we do it by awakening the High Priest in our consciousness as the ways and means to infuse Love into our life and immediate reality. Love as the teacher, the guide and the conductor in what we believe, think, feel, speak and act. This is our true Redemption from the bondage in the land of ego’s fantasies and illusions. If we don’t know how to regain awareness of Love as our Essence and identity, the Torah instructs us how because it defines for us who we truly are.
Let’s not be shallow and settle for less with materialistic fantasies and illusions from which we become the nothingness they are. Love is our Creator’s legacy and inheritance for us and all His Creation, because everything that is comes from His Love. We come from God’s Love, and we also are His Love for us to discover, celebrate, enjoy and share with each other. Let’s know the Creator through our Love as our common bond with Him.