There is a beautiful line of Torah in this week’s Parashat Terumah.
וְעָשׂוּ לִי מִקְדָּשׁ וְשָׁכַנְתִּי בְּתוֹכָם / "Let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell within them.”
Although such detailed thought is given to the physical sanctuary itself, the dolphin skin, fine dyes, and the acacia wood, it is to the people themselves that God promises shekhinah, dwelling within. Mishkan comes from the same root as shekhinah; dwelling, indwelling; presence. The mishkan represented not just a structure of copper, and wood but the idea and promise of closeness with God.
Ashrei, the first verse from psalm 84 that we remind ourselves "happy are they who dwell in Your house, they will praise You forever” echoes this verse of Torah. Rabbi Phyllis Berman taught via Rabbi Rachel Barenblat to understand this as an invitation for us to be joyous dwelling in our own bodies. This body, this heart, is God's house.
I was with someone as they approached death this week. Acceptance and perceiving that indwelling felt so important along with the notion of the closeness of God
Many of us glaze over somewhat at these detailed descriptions of mishkan-many parshiot are dedicated to it and only one parashah to the creation of the world, just three chapters to the moment at Sinai.
There is clearly something critical about these descriptions of making the mishkan beautiful. Something to bring to the vision for our synagogue; aesthetics make a difference, but even more to us personally and the way we look after ourselves, make time and lives mean as much as they can.
Wishing all our community Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Rebecca