Parshat Tetzaveh: Living in the place God wants in us

We have said in previous commentaries on this portion that Moses represents our highest knowledge of God, and Aaron the permanent awareness of our connection with Him. Moses always precedes Aaron, for our knowledge of the Creator anticipates our love and awe of Him. Moses establishes the way for our consciousness to bond with God’s love, hence He commands Moses to build and prepare the Tabernacle, to provide the garments for Aaron and his sons, and to elevate the required offerings during seven days prior to Aaron’s inauguration on the eighth day.

All these reveal Moses’ preeminence as the guiding and directing force that unites the Jewish identity with the God of the Jews.

“And you [Moses] shall make a plate of pure gold, and engrave upon it, like the engravings of a signet: ‘Holy to the Lord’s’.” (Exodus 28:36)

Moses is also charged with delineating Aaron’s duties along with the holiness inherent to them, for their purpose is to bond with the holiness of God. This invites our sages to define for us the meanings of what is holy, profane and impure, reflecting on the traits and trends of the levels of consciousness in regards to our approach to life and our surrounding reality.

In this verse and throughout the Torah we are instructed that God bonds with us only in the highest level of our knowledge of His ways and attributes, and in the permanent awareness of our connection with Him.

“In all your ways know Him, and He will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:6)

This bonding occurs when we consecrate the lower levels by removing negative traits and trends from our discernment, mind, thoughts, emotions, feelings and instincts; by elevating (through animal offerings) them as vessels for goodness to the service and will of our Creator.

“And there I will meet with the children of Israel, and [the Tent] shall be sanctified by My glory.” (Exodus 29:43)

All this occurs in the Tabernacle (and the Temple of Jerusalem) as the place where our connection and bonding with God becomes permanent. Moses as our guide and Aaron as the high priest are the highest principles by which we not only are commanded to live, but to be sanctified in order to consecrate to God all we are, have and do in the material world. Thus we create a place for Him to dwell among (in) us.

“And I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will be their God. And they shall know that I am the Lord their God, that brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, that I may dwell among them. I am the Lord their God.” (29:45-46)

We consecrate our lives by separating from what is impure and directing the profane towards the sacred. In practical terms, we associate sacredness to the potential goodness of everything around us which we embrace for the sake of revealing and generating more goodness. It is thus for goodness is what is sacred in us as an extension of God’s love. We say potential goodness for most in our surroundings can also be perceived or approached not as positive or good.

Hence we are commanded in the Torah to toil and do labor the six days of the week in order to rest on the seventh day, as the time and place where we delight in the sacredness of goodness. Also, in order to be, to have and do only goodness without any perils or dangers, we must eliminate anything opposed or not dwelling with its ways and attributes, that which is impure. Thus we realize that the purity and sacredness of goodness don’t share the same playground of the negative traits and trends of ego’s fantasies and illusions.

We have to be led by our constant increasing knowledge of God to enable us to bond permanently with His ways and attributes. These are all paths of goodness for the sake of goodness as our essence and true identity, and also as the only purpose of the life God wants us to live and delight in this world, as the place He wants to dwell among (in) us.

About the Author
Ariel Ben Avraham was born in Colombia (1958) from a family with Sephardic ancestry. He studied Cultural Anthropology in Bogota, and lived twenty years in Chicago working as a radio and television producer and writer. He emigrated to Israel in 2004, and for the last fourteen years has been studying the Chassidic mystic tradition, about which he writes and teaches. Based on his studies, he wrote his first book "God's Love" in 2009. He currently lives in Kochav Yaakov.
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