Archive for February, 2010

Behind the Mask Hides G-d…

February 24, 2010

It’s hard to blog about the clothes of the High Priest (this week’s Torah portion).  But a word about Purim.  One of the most important things that happened on Purim is the Jews finally fulfilled the Torah. A thousand years after they got it on Mt. Sinai.

What?!!  For a thousand years they didn’t fulfill the Torah, after receiving it on Sinai?  No, they did what they were told, but they didn’t really accept it inside, until Purim.  When they realized they’d been saved from some behind the scenes maneuvering in the Persian high court, they finally internalized Who is behind the Torah.  The real fulfillment occurs with true acceptance of the Torah – and that’s what happened on Purim.  It has to come from inside.

That’s like the tabernacle and the Temple.  Some say G-d’s presence came down to earth when the Torah was given and some say when the tabernacle was built (soon after the Torah was given).  Either way, it came down.  If with the Torah then it came down as spiritual illumination that flowed over the world.  The problem with illumination is that when it goes away, everything goes back to being dark.  After the Torah was given, the world reverted to its former non-spiritual status.

If with the tabernacle, then spirituality came as a quiet, behind the scenes operator that transformed the world from within.  The tabernacle remained, and with it, the power of G-dliness to transform the world. Like on Purim, when the Jews not only accepted the Torah, but fulfilled it…this is a good start, to fill in the gaps, go to our website at

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Does G-d have an “edifice complex?”

February 17, 2010

We’re told this week  (Terumah) to build a dwelling place for G-d. Why?  ‘Cause He wants to dwell in our lower (physical) world. But that’s an oxymoron, because He is among us, everywhere and at all times, whether in our physical environment or spiritual souls.  So, what’s up with that commandment?

If we call Him infinite, we limit Him to the terms of reference defined by our finite world and its opposite.  And if it is not enough for Him to be infinite but He also wants us to recognize Him, then we are still applying a limited reason to G-d’s desire to be among us. He doesn’t need a reason – He simply wants.

So, what can we say?

We can say that He wants to dwell where there is no reason to dwell – among the lowest of the low, where everything militates against G-d and spirituality. The power of the highest is expressed in the lowest.  Only the Highest has the ability to drop down and iluminate the lowest, nothing else can deal with it. He is not defined by spiritual nor by physical, but in the place where the two of them meet – and that was in the holy Temple.

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Please send us your thoughts, comments, questions, etc – that’s what we’re here for!  R’ David Sterne