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Thoughts from the Rabbi

Thoughts from the Rabbi

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On the Death of a Pet

Rabbis are asked a large variety of questions. We field questions as diverse as the proper way to observe Shabbos, to the Kosher status of food, to how best to educate children, to where to purchase a Mezuzah, and on and on. Over the years I have been asked on several occasions if there is a proper way to mourn a beloved family pet that has died. I remember the first time I was asked this question I was taken aback. In response I hemmed and hawed and asked for some time to check on the correct answer.

We, in Judaism, do not have specific prayers or mourning practices for pets. Why not? Those who have family pets can attest to the fact that a beloved dog or cat can seem like part of the family. The unbridled love and loyalty displayed by a tail-wagging dog or the comfort offered by a snuggling-purring cat can be downright therapeutic. In fact, animal therapy is a growing area of treatment of numerous human maladies. Pets have demonstrated incredible levels of what-can-only-be-described as heroism. So why don’t we pray over a dead pet? Why is a mourning death ritual not described in our sources? Is there something affirmative that can be done?

Before answering it behooves us to try to better understand how Judaism views an animal. As we know from the story of Genesis animals are creations of G-d. In fact, animals were created before humankind. We are commanded in very strong terms not to be cruel to animals. One of the seven Noahide laws, which are considered universal in that they are commanded to all humanity, states that the children of Noah (all of humanity) may not eat the limb from a living animal, which many explain includes being cruel to animals. The Code of Jewish Law, based upon the Talmud even directs us to learn certain character traits from animals; for instance hard work, cleanliness, and discretion, all as modeled by different species.

We can go even further. In Lurianic Kabbalah we find the notion that everything that exists does so by virtue of a divine spark – a G-dly energy as it were - found within it. We typically call this divine spark a soul. If not for a particular vivifying energy, that being, whatever it may be (inanimate, plant, animal, or human) would simply not exist. It is somewhat analogous to electricity within a lightbulb. If the electrical current is cut off the light goes out instantaneously. If the divine spark is removed, existence - also known as life - ceases.

From this explanation we see that our beloved pets indeed have souls. However, it is of critical importance to understand that the soul is radically different than that of a human. It is of extreme importance that we do not fall into the trap of viewing an animal’s life or death as tragic as significant as a human’s life and death. We see today the consequences of this lack of understanding, whereas many people have stated that when given the choice between rescuing a beloved pet or stranger from drowning, they would choose the pet. That is a moral failure of epic proportions.

At the same time, however, denying or even ignoring the death of a loving pet is unpalatable to the millions of people who have had their quality of life enhanced by a pet.

In the best tradition of the Baal Shem Tov, who enjoined us to learn from everything that happens and employ it in our service of G-d, we can indeed find ways to appropriately react to the death of a pet. May I suggest that the ‘mourner’ can take a careful inventory of what the pet did that helped make life better, and then make an honest attempt to try and make life better for another human being in a similar way. If one’s pet dog always greeted the owner with a wagging tail (eg. unbridled joy) try and emulate that when meeting with friends etc.

The best part about pets is that they were receptacles of love by their human owners, teaching their owners how to bestow love – even on lower beings. And that is a grand lesson that can always come in handy!

Love the Stranger

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We are in the midst of the story of the Exodus of our people, the Jewish people, from Egyptian servitude. This part of our collective history is rich in lessons that apply to our lives today. Many people mistakenly believe that the Torah is filled with ancient wisdom that applied to ancient times. They are actually half right. The Torah is our source of ancient wisdom, and indeed it applied in ancient times, but it also applies now. In fact, one can argue (as I often times do) that it applies now more than in the ‘olden days’, for people today can sometimes seem less and less in touch with our spiritual selves and less aware of our relationship with the Almighty.

In this Book we see how our people were enslaved by a cruel and oppressive nation. After having invited the Children of Israel, due to the immense blessings they brought with them and in gratitude for Joseph having saved the very nation, to settle in the land of Goshen, Pharaoh turns his erstwhile honored guests into despised and tortured slaves. Ultimately we know that this story had a happy ending, as the Jews were redeemed through a series of miracles, and the transformed nation merited to receive G-d’s wisdom, the Torah, on Mount Sinai.

Because of the horrific treatment the Jews received at the hands of their Egyptian hosts we find that in later times, when Jews would take possession of their Promised Land and establish a country of their own, Israel, they were commanded to love the foreigner in their midst. In fact, numerous times the Torah reiterates this important commandment. Why was it necessary to repeat this commandment? It was necessary to repeat because people have a propensity to mistreat those who are weak, defenseless, and different, and we Jews, due to our own experiences, must know better.

This approach is a hallmark of Judaism itself. We treat guests of our people, and newcomers to our people (converts) with special kindness and warmth. There is, however, a very important caveat to this commandment that cannot be emphasized enough. When we welcome strangers into our midst it is NOT unconditional acceptance, no matter what may be heard in the halls of academia or on the six o’clock news. I have found some of the world’s biggest hypocrites frequent those ‘hallowed halls’, who are so discriminatory about who they let in and whose opinions they share.

Indeed, the Torah’s approach is supremely logical and safe. It requires the strangers who wish to be amongst us, either as Jews or as righteous gentiles, to agree to respect our laws, customs, and traditions. In other words, nowhere does the Torah tell us to welcome in a stranger who is hostile to us! In fact, nowhere does the Torah tell us to welcome in someone who is entirely ignorant of our ways (hoping for the best that when he/she learns about them he will be positively disposed towards us). Our security is the first consideration of the Torah. Our first obligation is to secure our own land and people – we NEVER risk our security for those from hostile backgrounds. When those who are hostile cease being hostile and want to join us, then we must love them with our full hearts – just as we must love our fellow Jews.

In these turbulent times moral clarity as defined by the Torah, is the order of the day. As Jews, it is our sacred obligation to be a ‘light unto the nations.’ That means that we must model Jewish ideals in our everyday lives and proactively expose the world to them as well. We do so with a pleasant and loving voice, for the ways of Torah are pleasantness and love. And where we see injustice, we must speak out clearly and strongly, always demanding justice!

The World is Trembling

The World is Trembling

Tragedies are mounting in a fast and furious manner all around the world. The forces of terror, both foreign and domestic, are letting loose, as we shake our heads and wonder, “When will the craziness finally end?!” We feel helpless for we keenly feel our own limitations as we say to ourselves, “If only I could speak to this one or that one, perhaps I could show him that life (meaning everyone’s life) is sacred and has meaning.”

Alas, we can’t.

Despite the frustration we must push on. Despite the pain we must push on. Despite the anger we must push on. Despite the fear we must push on.

The Jewish people are described as Tzivot Hashem, the Army of G-d. It is not by accident that we are called an army. Armies are for the purpose of defense and for the purpose of projecting power. And so perhaps during these tumultuous times we must examine the role we are to play, analyzing our purpose in this war. And yes, this is a war. It is no less than darkness versus light and good versus evil.

In our long, bitter exile the Jewish people have often been subjected to the whims of our neighbors. Many times they have been indifferent or even kind, but often times not so much. Our people have been victimized and brutalized, tortured, raped, and murdered, why? Because we are Jews, a small and weak minority – easily identified and therefore easily targeted.

The rise of modern Western civilization, which seemed so hopeful at first, has shown that it too can produce monsters. Even in modern day Europe and on today’s university campuses here in the US we see the reemergence of open anti-Semitism (dressed up in the guise of anti Israelism). Make no mistake about it, when Israel is singled out and vilified it is due to anti-Semitism.

But these days we see the insidious fingers of terror spreading out to a greater variety of targets. The terrorists target Jews of course, but they also target gays, African Americans, and police officers. One sees Sunni Muslim Islamists targeting Shi’a Muslim Islamists, while some Buddhists target Muslims and Muslims targeting Buddhists. Does it ever end!? Will it ever end!?

Remember, we are an army! That primarily means in the spiritual sense, of course. Our good deeds, particularly in the realm of loving each other as we love ourselves, do have an affect! The One, True Power will watch over us and protect us, but we must be careful not to chase Him away. These days, and quite miraculously, we have one of the finest armies in the world in the form of the IDF, the Israel Defense Forces. For the first time in two thousand years the Jewish people have a powerful and effective standing army ready to defend us, physically, from the anti-Semites surrounding us. Just seventy years ago such thing was only a dream. Today it is reality.

Further, more and more of the world sees moral leadership coming from Israel. Sending humanitarian supplies around the world on a moment’s notice has not gone unnoticed by the people of the world. But Israel’s leadership continues to grow in the realm of anti-terror tactics. Israel is currently exporting its expertise in security and the world is taking notice. The people of Israel have tried to tell the world for years that Israel’s war against terror is the world’s war against terror. That if terror strikes Israel with immunity (and with silence from the civilized world) it will eventually branch out and strike in those countries as well. Every week we see these prophecies coming true, may G-d have mercy! They justifiably cry for the innocent victims in Orlando, Paris, Brussels, Nice, Istanbul, and numerous other places, but are strangely silent when Tel Aviv or Efrat or Kiryat Arba are struck. Why?! We already know.

As time goes on and the attacks increase in frequency and we are subjected to more and more speeches from leadership that does not seem to understand the source of the threat and certainly does not seem to understand that we are indeed at war and must vanquish this threat (with force), we will find ourselves increasingly responsible to protect ourselves. Times are different and we have the right to learn how to defend ourselves. At this time I believe it is correct to say that we are obligated to learn how to protect ourselves.

We are an army! Let us train.

tzivos Hashem logo.jpgSo we will protect ourselves and project our power through Torah and Mitzvot. But we will also support Israel and its extraordinary IDF. And, those of us with the willpower, will allow ourselves to be trained and prepare ourselves for all possible threats. G-d willing, our outstanding police will continue to keep us safe, but it can never hurt to be security-conscious ourselves.

May G-d Almighty have mercy on this dark world and help the forces of goodness vanquish, once and for all, the evil in this world. May G-dliness be finally fully revealed through the immediate arrival of our righteous Moshiach!

Membership Matters

Membership Time

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6-23-16

Dear Friend & Supporter,

We have had an exciting year here at your Jewish Center. So many programs – so many services, so many classes, so many parties, etc., but, and this is a big but, we have so much more to do! This is going to be a very big year. We are poised to offer more Jewish opportunities than ever before to you, our shul family.

Now, on to the business at hand. Everything that we do/provide to the community costs us money. We know that you already know this, but we have a mortgage that costs money, the electricity costs, the phone costs, the Internet access costs, the books cost, the food costs, and the gas in my car costs money. Due to these costs (and many more like them) we need friends to partner with us so that we can accomplish all that needs to be accomplished. Not to put too fine a point on it, but we need YOU. YOUR support is our lifeblood.

Of course we want more than just your money (“More than just my money?!,” you exclaim.). Yes, more than just your money.

First of all we don’t want all of your money – just a small percentage actually. Secondly, we want your participation! That means you coming to all (or at least some) of the wonderful things mentioned above is also extremely important and demonstrates your support.

With all of the above in mind PLEASE take a moment and fill out the Membership Form and Calendar Ad Form found on our website,www.chabadatlacosta.com,  ASAP. Those simple documents help us know where we stand and where we should be going to help better serve you and your family’s needs.

All joking aside, please make the commitment to become an official member this year.

G-d bless you and your family with all manner of good, particularly good health, happiness, and success in all of your positive endeavors!

Sincerely,

Rabbi Yeruchem Eilfort

Three Pillars


This week is a particularly difficult, as this week the long arm of terror again struck our shores. A Jihadi brought his hateful ideology to a dance club in Orlando, Florida, ruthlessly murdering 49 innocents and wounding more than 50 others. That is the cause of this tragedy, the rest is just a sad side show. We must not allow ourselves to become distracted by all of the competing agendas vying for our attention.

In Judaism we know that human life is considered sacred and takes precedence over the Mitzvot in the Torah. We are commanded to die rather than murder innocents (as well as commit adultery or worship idols).

I do not want to focus on the hateful ideology that led to this senseless murder. I do not want to focus on whether guns are to blame or the person pulling the trigger.

I want to focus on the appropriate reaction to this terrible event.

Wherever and whenever a tragedy would strike (especially ‘man-made’ tragedies) our Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, may his memory be a blessing, would emphasize the response and it makes perfect sense. After all, we all know that it is wiser to light a light rather than merely curse the darkness.

So how do we light a light after this horrific event?

The answer is of course by doubling and redoubling our efforts to bring the light and love of Torah into the world! In a way it is counter-intuitive. Most people are very hurt and very angry by these events, and rightfully so. Responding with love is therefore a challenge, but it is a challenge that must be met. G-d didn’t create us to live a comfortable, easy existence. No indeed. He created us to transform a lowly, crass physical world, a world where darkness often seems to dominate, into a world of G-dliness.

This is and is meant to be a struggle.

Torah and Mitzvot are an expression of G-d’s love for His choicest creation; humankind. Thinking Torah, speaking Torah, and especially living Torah is the way that He has asked us to dispel the darkness. In this model there is no room for fear, complacency, or compromise. Like any front-line soldier we have our marching orders – now is the time to march forward proudly waving our banner!

Do we want to end the suffering brought about by these horrific events and evil ideology? This is not a battle that we can outsource to others for if we do we are part of the problem. As Jews we are commanded to be part of the solution.

On a practical level we must endeavor to add in three areas of our lives; our Torah learning, our acts of kindness (Mitzvah observance), and in the service of the heart, our prayers to the Almighty.

What side are you on?

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Asking for Your Help

MitzvahMinutes.jpgAsking for Your Help

Dear Friends,

I’m writing to ask for your help.

Over the course of this past Passover we engaged many, many people in the beautiful traditions and commandments associated with this special holiday. Numerous people enjoyed our Sedarim – in fact, we had to add a second Community Seder due to the demand, and hundreds upon hundreds of hand-baked Shmurah Matzos were distributed all over the County so people could fulfill the commandment in the best way possible.

These types of activities are why we are here, and why our services are so important. We both guard and grow the light of Judaism, and we spread it throughout the entire area.

But we can only do so with your generous support!

Although many responded generously to our Passover Appeal many did not yet done so and as a result we are running a serious deficit. Can you step up now and help us cover our shortfall? Please visit our website and make an online donation today – so we can close the books on this Passover Season in the clear. Simply log ontowww.chabadatlacosta.com/donate and participate in this great Mitzvah, or mail in a check today. Thank you and G-d bless!

Sincerely,

Rabbi Yeruchem Eilfort

Freedom!

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As we enter the latter part of the Passover Holiday there are some wonderful celebrations to be had! The Seventh Day of Passover (in Hebrew called Shevee’ee Shel Pesach) is an important day in Jewish History as it commemorates the final redemption of the Jewish people from their Egyptian oppressors.

The Jewish people were cornered with the Sea of Reeds directly ahead of them and the Egyptian army bearing down upon them. There seemed to be nowhere to go. When Nachshon ben Aminadav waded into the water he had faith that G-d would keep His word and redeem His people. The water went up to his chin and then, voila’, the sea parted and a path was found through to the other side. The Egyptians wouldn’t (perhaps ‘couldn’t’ is a better word) stop from chasing the Jews. This refusal to read the situation correctly – despite so much history and so many lessons – ultimately cost Pharaoh his vaunted army.

Imagine the joy of the Children of Israel as they successfully navigated the passage through the midst of the Sea! As they emerged on the far bank they broke into song led by their beloved leaders Moses and Miriam, who led the women. They extolled the Almighty who had saved them yet again and who finally completely broke the dysfunctional hold of the Egyptians over the Israelites.  

The word Shevee’ee, meaning seventh, is related to the word Sove’ah, which means satiated, meaning that on this day we are fully satiated with the concept of Passover.

And what is the concept of Pesach? The main concept of Passover is freedom! It is on this holiday that we are freed from both our internal and external oppressors. Those powers that seem irresistible that are always telling us what cannot be done are vanquished, allowing us to realize our full potential. The faith of a man led to the actions of a people, which led to the miraculous intervention of the Almighty.

The miracles of the Seventh of Passover usher us directly to a new Era, the Era of Redemption, the Era of Moshiach. When Moshiach (finally) arrives it will mean the ultimate in experiencing freedom, as the G-dliness will envelope us and inspire us to free ourselves from our own limitations. No longer will we be oppressed. Likewise the external limitations will be completely negated. Our hope is that our external enemies will change their ways and become our allies so that they may too partake of the blessings of the Messianic times. The crucial consideration is timing, for one must choose to believe – just as Nachshon chose to jump in the water – to become a full beneficiary of Moshiach.

Let us all endeavor to use the inspiration of this sacred holiday to make the right choices and may those choices be rewarded now with the immediate arrival of the righteous Moshiach!

"Where Do We Go From Here?"

A Thought from the Rabbi

After the joyousness of Purim, a holiday when we reach the highest heights, what is the next step? How can we possibly do better than unlimited joy?

During the month of Adar, and in this year’s case the months (plural) of Adar, we are commanded to increase our joy. In Judaism we know that we are commanded to “Go from the strength to strength,” to continually grow in spiritual matters. The enemy we overcame on Purim, the evil Haman who came from the nation of Amalek, represents spiritual indifference and coldness to matters of G-dliness. And so we engage in an ongoing battle against that which Haman represents. The greatest weapon in our arsenal in our war with Amalek is happiness. When we are happy we will serve G-d with a positive energy and we certainly will not fall victim to the indifference and coldness embodied by Amalek.

In light of the above our question becomes stronger; where do we go from here?

The Code of Jewish Law indirectly answers when it tells us that it is incumbent upon us to begin preparing for Passover (Pesach) 30 days before the holiday. Interestingly 30 days before Passover is the day after Purim. Coincidence? We don’t think so! The calendar is telling us the answer to our question. The way up from unlimited joy is redemption, as represented by the Holiday of Our Freedom.

It is also instructive that a large part of preparing for Pesach is learning the myriad laws that apply to the holiday. This tells us another valuable lesson; that if we want to remain in the joyous state engendered by Purim, Torah study is a big part of the key. In fact, not only does the Torah study keep us happy, it also keeps us free. The Rabbis tell us clearly that there is no freedom except through Torah.

Some of us may erroneously believe that the Mitzvot are somehow limiting, G-d forbid. The truth is, however, nothing can be further from the truth! But even the freedom that we enjoy through Torah study is nothing compared to the ultimate freedom we will achieve through the speedy arrival of our righteous Moshiach!

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What do we learn from Purim?

MegilahA Thought from the Rabbi

In the words of an old saying, “What goes up - must come down.” When you awaken on the day after Purim this could be a problem, for who wants to come down from the spiritual high experienced on Purim? Not me! I want to stay in the clouds – seeing every glass as half full and feeling love and appreciation for everyone I encounter.

Purim teaches us the lesson that everything is possible. In the blink of an eye the Almighty can transform the direst of circumstances into utter redemption and joy! Notice the operative word, “teaches,” not “taught.” The lesson of Purim cannot be relegated to the past (tense). On the contrary, it is meant to be recounted in the present tense. It must stay with us at all times.

In the Code of Jewish Law there is an interesting excerpt that states if one read the Megillah backwards he has not fulfilled his obligation. Now who would do such a ridiculous thing? The meaning of this law is actually he who views the lessons of Purim as being in the past has not fulfilled his/her obligation in reading (and learning from) the Megillah.

What this law is telling us is that we need not step down from the highs of Purim. In fact we are meant to use the joyousness we experienced on Purim as a stepping stone or even a spring board to greater things! We build on the joy of yesterday to make today better and tomorrow better still. In the words of Psalms (in matters of holiness) we are meant to go ‘from strength to strength.’ When it comes to our divine service we must endeavor to continually grow.

Of course this can be a huge challenge! That is where the other commandments associated with Purim come in handy. The love and community-building engendered by our copious charity giving and Shalach Manos (food gift giving) helps create the support system that assists us in our mission to achieve perpetual forward motion and growth. The Creator helps us in this regard as well. When we make the honest effort G-d will help us along the path to happiness and success.

To better illustrate this point here is a salient quote from the Rebbe’s HaYom Yom(Thought for the Day) of 16 Adar II: “Divine Service for the business person includes arousing within himself the faith and perfect trust in the One Who feeds and sustains all flesh, that He will provide him with an ample livelihood. He must be  truly happy and cheerful, as though all his livelihood were already in hand.” (Emphasis Added).

We are truly blessed! We get to transition from the frenetic happiness of Purim to (perhaps) a more peaceful joy on Shabbos! Still not feeling it? Go to shul, pray with a group, study some Torah (and listen closely to the Rabbi’s sermon), enjoy some Kiddush goodies, and you will see what I mean!  

Parshas Zachor

A Thought from the Rabbi

This Shabbat is called Shabbat Zachor because of the special Torah reading that will be added after the weekly portion (VaYikra – And He Called). On the Shabbat before Purim we read the story of Amalek, the nefarious nation that attacked the Jewish people after their miraculous exodus from Egypt. The reason we read this portion on the Shabbat before Purim is because the arch villain of the Purim story, Haman, was a descendent of that accursed nation.

We learn that Amalek represents the precise opposite of the Jewish nation. The Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, of blessed memory, explains why this is so. As Jews, we are commanded to approach our divine service with warmth, energy, and joy. Amalek, the eternal enemy of our people, had a very different approach to G-dliness. To understand and have context we must study the history.

The Jewish people had finally, after more than 200 years of dwelling in Egypt – ultimately becoming intensely oppressed slaves – were redeemed from servitude through a series of miracles. The Creator basically turned the laws of nature on their head so as to clearly demonstrate His Presence even in the environs of the lowly Egypt. G-d showed how He not only created the world, but He continues to be involved in the world, on a moment-by-moment basis. If G-d decrees that water should turn into blood or that hailstones should contain fire, they will.

The series of wonders led directly to the emancipation of the Children of Israel as well as the destruction of the idol worshipping religious system of the heretofore prevailing customs of the Egyptians. Not only were the oppressors judged so were their gods. The whole world witnessed or heard about this systematic destruction of Egyptian evil and came to understand that indeed the Jewish people were the ‘chosen people’ who were given a special mission to accomplish in the created universe. The world shook in terror at the awesome power demonstrated in behalf of the Jews.

And along came Amalek… The Amalakites were not fools (at least not in the way that foolishness is typically understood). They knew that the power of the Almighty was truly overpowering. However, they wanted to demonstrate the human frailty of the Jewish people – meaning they wanted to show that despite the chosen-ess of the Jews they were still (only) human and were therefore vulnerable to attack.  Imagine that; they sacrificed themselves in order to show the ‘weakness’ of G-d’s chosen nation – and by association of G-d Himself!

Where does this Chutzpah come from? How can anyone be so brazen?! The Rebbe explains it comes from a deep and inner coldness. Amalek was unimpressed with G-dliness. Complacency and indifference are our enemies. Perhaps that is the most ‘chilling’ aspect of Amalek; we have an inner Amalek. And that, my friends, is our big challenge in life – to utterly vanquish that inner Amalek. How is that done? That is done by embracing Torah and Mitzvah with vim and vigor, with love and with energy! We infuse our service with passion and joy. And this divinely-mandated mission is helped along by the joyousness of Purim, when we were again saved by the Almighty from our enemies who sought to destroy us and instead were destroyed themselves.

May the joyousness of Purim influence our daily lives and prepare us for the ultimate redemption with Moshiach now!ice cubes.jpg

Parshat Pikudei

A Thought from the Rabbi

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This week’s portion is titled ‘Pikudei’, meaning ‘amounts of’ or ‘accountings’. It begins by detailing the donations brought in by the Children of Israel and used for the construction of the Mishkan – the Tabernacle. The fact that there is a strong emphasis on the actual completion of the Mishkan is telling, in that we see the importance of bringing things to fruition, or as the Talmud says, “Maaseh huh ha’ikar (action is the main thing).  

Once the actual building is successfully completed the Torah recounts how the Divine Presence rested upon the Tabernacle fulfilling its purpose of being a dwelling place for the Almighty in this world. That is not to say that G-dliness was not present before that time, however, it was not ‘at home’ before the completion of the Mishkan. The notion of being at home indicates that a ‘comfort zone’ had been achieved so that the Presence of G-d rested in the physical space filled by the Mishkan and existed in it in revealed harmony.

The revealed, harmonious coexistence of the Creator and His creation in the Mishkan is meant to demonstrate that it can be done, and that the good offices of humankind can be the key ingredient to make it happen. After all, most people may think that there is a contradiction between G-d’s spirituality and the physicality of the created universe. Indeed, when we allow the physical world to dominate our thoughts and actions there can be a human-made contradiction between the physical and spiritual. On the other hand, when humans – the choicest of creation – train ourselves to make G-dliness our primary focus, realizing that this physical world is a tool to be used in the service of G-d, we have the unique ability to infuse the physical with revealed G-dliness. And this, when all is said and done, is our ultimate purpose and the purpose of all creation – from the most sublime to the most mundane.

Being that we are in the month of Adar which has Purim in it, the most joyous of holidays, we should seek out the theme of happiness in the reading. This week it is particularly easy to find, for how can one not be joyous when we read G-d’s testimony that the Jews had properly fulfilled His command to build Him a home, and they built it exactly per His very specific instructions?! This labor of love was rewarded with His revelation and our people joyfully shared in His move-in celebration.

As it happened then so should it happen now. May we be blessed to do our parts in constructing an appropriate home for G-d here, in this physical world, and may Moshiach come speedily in our day to reveal that G-d has indeed inhabited His home!

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