Moshe KempinskiMoshe Kempinski, author of "The Teacher and the Preacher", is the editor of the Jerusalem Insights weekly email journal and co-owner of Shorashim, a Biblical shop and learning center in the Old City of Jerusalem.
In every soul there is a spark. In every created being there is a whisper of the breath Hashem breathed into His creation. It is that spark that moves us forward and upward. The Torah portion of Terumah gives us an insight into how spiritual process functions.
The Torah describes G-d as saying; “They shall make for Me a sanctuary, and I will dwell amidst them” (Exodus 25:8)
The Midrash Tanchuma, states that G-d desired a sanctuary as “a dwelling place in the lower realms.”
That is a great mystery for in reality He exists everywhere and at all times. As the angels declare "Holy, holy, holy is Hashem of Hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory." (Isaiah 6:3)
So how can we create a dwelling place for the Infinite Divine in our limited realm of reality? He is already and always has been there.
King Solomon asks the same question from a different direction after he finishes building the Temple;
“But will G-d indeed dwell on the earth? Behold the heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain You; much less this temple that I have erected.” (I Kings 8:27)
What then is the formula that can take the infinite and bring it into the finite?
The secret is the yearning soul.
To understand this we first must ask the question as to why Hashem asked that a house be built for Him, even though He clearly knew that it would be destroyed. In the same vein, why did Hashem plant Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden whilst fully knowing that they would fail and be expelled. Why did Hashem create Man and Woman as one, only to then separate them again?
The answer to all those questions is connected to “the power of yearning”. The greatest spiritual force in the Universe is yearning. The world and reality is built along a framework where perfection is displayed and then hidden, where paradise is revealed then lost. The Garden of Eden is revealed and then lost. Man and Woman are created as one and then they are separated. G-d reveals Himself in all His power and Glory during the Exodus in Egypt, and then goes into hiding. The First and Second temples are built and experienced, and then they are lost.
Spiritual existence is about the yearning to reveal that which was hidden and find that which was lost. It is that spiritual force of yearning that fixes the world and restores it to its purpose. G-d created a reality that would provide need and imperfection and therefore fire up the yearning to restore the world to perfection.
A deeper level is found in a powerful statement by the Rebbe of Kotzk;
“Where is G-d to be found?”, He asked. His answer was that “He is found in the place where He is given entry.”
His Presence may in fact be everywhere but it is only revealed in a place that “makes room for Him” in awareness.
Therefore since all things belong to G-d, we need to understand the following declaration;;
“Speak to the children of Israel, and have them take for Me an offering; from every person whose heart inspires him to generosity, you shall take My offering” (Exodus 25:2)
How can mere mortals bring an offering if in fact all things belong to G-d in the first place.Hashem is saying let them take from what is “Mine” to bring Me an offering” from every person whose heart inspires him to generosity, you shall take My offering”. The true offering is the generous heart not the gold and silver. When the people are inspired and yearn to bring Me an offering then it is that yearning that will be treasured, not the items that are offered. It is in that yearning that these mortals make room for Hashem to enter. This is how the verse “They shall make for Me a sanctuary and I will dwell amidst them” is fulfilled.
Learn to yearn and prepare to experience” I will dwell in the midst of them”
LeRefuat Yehudit bat Golda Yocheved