It has been a little over four months since my first (and last) blog entry in this new virtual reality. I have been busy offline, cultivating faith in the ability of the words I manifest through speaking and writing to create a vessel through which God might enter. This morning dawn came early – it’s been doing that lately – and I could feel a renewed lightness wanting to be born, a growing desire to play, with words and with possibilities. This feeling meshes well with where we are in the Jewish calendar. It is now the month of Adar, a month of Jewish silliness. We get to dress up and boo and hiss at evil – in the incarnation of Haman, in the context of Purim – and imagine goodness winning the day, while having fun along the way.
This upcoming shabbat – on the leap day of February 29 – we will once again read:
“And let them make Me a sanctuary that I may dwell among them.”
V’asu li mikdash v’shachanti b’tocham (Ex 25: 8)
This is one of my all-time favorite lines of Torah! It gives me goose bumps. Literally.
Now, I don’t actually believe that God wrote the Torah. I don’t even believe that God dictated the Torah to Moses, who sat on the top of Mount Sinai scribbling it all down as fast as his hand could move. Remember, we didn’t even have thin enough parchment back then to write all five Books of Moses on one scroll – and still be able to lift it. The Ten Commandments were chiseled on stone. It’s hard enough to imagine Moses struggling down the mountain with those stone tablets, without balancing an unwieldy parchment scroll in his other hand.
And yet. Over the years I have come to know, without the shadow of a doubt, that in this unwieldy, beautiful, crazy-making text at the center of Jewish practice – the Torah – God is to be found. It’s all a question of how open we are to searching. God is also to be found in our homes, in our synagogues, in our backyards and on the road, anywhere and everywhere, even when there is no hint or mention of God (like in the Book of Esther).
Clearly, if there is a God, then surely that God is accessible to us in all places, in all times, in all texts. After all, we don’t spend most of our time on mountain tops admiring the view and communing with the Divine. At least I don’t. As my daughters point out, I spend a lot of my time doing laundry and dishes! Dare I compare the building of a sanctuary for God – a Mishkan – with the mundane tasks of sorting heaps of dirty clothes into lighter and darker piles, or emptying and filling a dish-washer. I dare! I do!
And you? What are you already doing in your life that you can re-imagine as building a sanctuary for God? How might such reimagining invite God ever deeper into your life and your consciousness, even in places mundane or dark, seemingly devoid of God, light or meaning?