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Parashat Tesaveh – The Spiritual Life


The Torah portions that we are presently reading describes in great detail the building of the sanctuary and the beautiful and ornate holy vessels that make up the Tabernacle.

When we step back and take a broader look at the ultimate purpose of the sanctuary, we find that it was in order to bring about a personal relationship with the Divine presence within each individual, as the Torah states, “In order that I will dwell within them.”

Relationships can be described and defined in various ways. A person may relate to an object, which is a one way relationship since the object cannot reciprocate or a person may form a relationship to people and other beings which should be a two-way reciprocal relationship. Another difference between relating to objects or human beings is that things and objects are there to be used, whereas people and other beings should be appreciated and loved.

Unfortunately, the reverse may occur where people fall in love with things but they use G-d and other people. People who behave this way perceive God and others as if they are objects. Love of oneself is an inevitable fact, love of your Creator and others can occur only when they are permitted to become part of oneself because then one loves them as one does one’s own eyes and limbs.

If my relationship with G-d is limited to going to the synagogue and praying for my needs, then I am merely using Him to get what I want and He becomes an external object. However, when I make His will and moral code the basis of my morality, then His will and values reside within me and He becomes part of my being.

This is undoubtedly what the Zohar means with the mystical statement, “Israel, the Torah, and G-d are one unit,” because the Torah, which is the Divine will, is inseparable from G-d, and when one incorporates Torah values with one’s own code of conduct and values, one unites with G-d.