A Holy Dwelling

The Torah readings Vayakhel and Pekudey are often chanted on the same Shabbat, and the Haftarah is usually the one which echoes many of the details and themes of completing the building of the Tabernacle and later, the Temple.

The theme of completion is honored on Shabbat, which is the rest period which God planned as the capstone of Creation: a time in which people and God could meet, as it were, in a timeless embrace. In the completion of the Tabernacle and the Temples, a place is being sanctified. People could offer their sacrifices and get a visual and instinctive feeling that their prayers were being heard, though their God was invisible.

The Hebrew root shkn means to dwell, and in addition to being the root of the word Mishkan, meaning Tabernacle, it is also the root of the word "Shekhinah", which refers to the Divine Presence, and is a female gendered word (as if the Divine could be reduced to just one aspect). Also known as the Sabbath Queen, she is greeted in Jewish homes and synagogues on Friday nights. Again, we are told to carve out a place and time for the Divine in our lives.

As King Solomon says in the Haftarah for P'kudey ( when it is not Shabbat ha Chodesh, the Sabbath and also the New Month),"I have surely built for YOU an exalted house, a foundation in which You may rest eternally." (Translation mine)

Note that the resting place is a zeved, a gift, to the people Israel. It is not supposed to be a burden, but a delight! When Shabbat is over, we do the Havdalah ceremony, setting a boundary between the holiness of Shabbat and the rest of the week.We can extend the boundaries of this sacred time with a melaveh malkah (accompanying the Queen Shabbat), a time of more singing and joy.When at last we part, we can carry Shabbat within us until we meet again, by making our interactions with others holy.

How will you make your daily life holy? If you'd like to chat, please leave me a message at www.renaissancewomankippot.org or on my FB page: Renaissance Woman Kippot



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