Vayikra ~ Aish Kodesh, March 14, 2013
Aish Kodesh March 14, 2013, Vayikra
This is a time of cleansing. At the foundation of civilization Abraham says ‘We detect discontent because the boss says I’ll kill you and sleep with your wife.’ Abraham is threatened with annihilation by Nimrod, Pharaoh, and Avimelech; it’s a troubled beginning. We are working on the triangle Kallah. It’s like leaving home. G*d says, ‘Go to yourself and make your home in time, not in space.’ Abraham had several thousand students and he had to give them water, but he said the desert is better than civilization.
Han Shan, Cold Mountain Poems, expresses these feelings of Abraham.
The thing that is wrong is chametz.
The mushel is the metaphor.
The Nimshal is the meaning of the metaphor.
The flour is masculine, it squirts all over the place, and the water is feminine. There is a mechitza between them.
We were mixing cups of wine at a wedding. We are interested in cherubs; one is a boy and one is a girl. Take the same gold and make something constructive out of it. It was so destructive at the Golden Calf. The two seminal events are Gan Eden and Mt. Sinai; the hope of mankind to lift themselves up. The Golden Calf at Mt. Sinai was parallel to the serpent at the Garden of Eden. We’re talking about hope/order and destruction/chaos. That frames all of our choices. Since G*d created the world for choices, we keep those at the top of our consciousness. We’re always on a scale at the midpoint and the next thing we do is going to make all the difference. This is our frame of the importance of choices, leading to life or death. The Golden Calf or the Tree of Knowledge or the thriving of life. One of the most disturbing events in the United States is the plummeting of the birthrate. Chumatz is the addition to convenience. Abraham found that civilization was based on technology to what’s easy and convenient and when that happens people stop giving birth. You create something you can’t control, they have problems, they’re expensive. When you talk to your college kids, they say I don’t want to have any part of it.
We have to choose life and what’s going to produce life and that’s based on doing things the hard way, with small steps, with patience. That’s all part of the chumatz. Abraham saw it when he moved out into the desert. Because he moved out of Egypt into the desert, all of the Jewish people moved out of Egypt into the desert because time is circular.
On midnight on the seventh night of Pesach we watch the Red Sea part, on April 1, Monday. We sing the Song of the Sea at Cherry Creek. All the bodies of water parted at that time. I can enter a time warp and re-experience the event that happened at the parting of the Red Sea. It’s the use of bina and it’s what we learn when we observe Shabbos. Shabbos is the key to this circular time. The kallah goes around the groom 7 times and creates a feeling of circularity that’s necessary to open the man up to intimacy. Men are naturally afraid of intimacy. All men. It’s also what we do on Shabbos when we say Come My Bride, bo’ee Kallah. On Friday night we let time circle us. There is only one Shabbos. All Shabboses derive their power from this first Shabbos. I can look out on the world like Adam and Eve. They saw no pollution, no effect of humans. It must have been an amazing sight. Every Shabbos I have to assess what’s the net effect my presence in the world has had’negative? Positive?
We say that Shabbos creates a return to the womb space. Freud got it from us. When I go into the mikva I am returning to the waters of earth. Conversion is amazing, going into birth waters and emerging with a new neshumas and a new yetzer hara. You don’t have a yetzer hara until you’re commanded to do things. It’s called receiving the yoke of Torah. You’re commanded to do them with grave consequences if you don’t.
A person who converts has an obligation to receive’has to agree by choice to observe these 613 mitzvahs. The first year is very difficult. The new neshumas is a new measure of life force. Life is a constant choice. From day one our life is leaking out of us and we have to build it up by choosing life and simcha and joy. Shabbos we have an extra measure of thoughtfulness. We get two souls potentially. None of this is guaranteed. We have a spiritual essence of each one.
Every step in Torah is R&R: risk and responsibility.
Student: You get more resistance and more force to deal with it.
Rabbi: You get closer and the stakes go up. Fears grow. The key word in our relationship with G*d is abandonment. There’s a tremendous fear of abandonment in human relationships.
Student: My relationship with G*d got wobbly reading about massacres.
Rabbi: Some of us have been leaving home constantly. As my children get more independent our relationship matures. Good parenting is very tough, a skill and an art. We want the proper balance of love and boundaries. In this Torah tory, the Golden Calf, just like good parents often do, Moshe and HaShem become too powerful. When you start out your life your parents are too powerful. They determine what is going to happen. This is what happens in the desert and getting out of Egypt. Moses’ face is shining and HaShem is creating these incredible events, raining frogs, earth turns dark, the Egyptian army is destroyed, and Moshe is teaching for two solid years and his moment of glory’go up the mountain, ascend to heaven, bring the Torah down, and there’s an orgy going on. He says what did I do wrong? We created a magical system rather than a growth system. We did not prepare these people for maturity; we infantilized them. The Torah uses the word rape. Mt. Sinai was a rape because the people were overwhelmed by the light of HaShem so Moshe puts a mask on to hide the rays of light shooting from his face. He also loses his family, his children, his wife; it’s not easy, it’s very painful. He spends the whole rest of the Torah figuring out how am I going to minimize my light so they can learn.
The conversion we just did took 18 years of study. It’s a lot of small steps to get prepared. We went to the mikva my teacher built, R. Twerski. I was on his bait din. The Jewish court has three judges. Rabbi Twerski took his clothes off, jumped in the water, and said ‘I am converted.’ Everybody was so shocked. We’re questioning this person as if he’s being interviewed to join the Club. He was so special and so holy, and for him to convert! He said ‘I have to decide every day to be a Jew.’
Where do you see chumatz?
Person: This year I’m getting rid of the physical chumatz. I’m changing my relationship with my body.
Rabbi: We go with a feather and candle because it’s a very gentle process.
Person: I choose now not to believe that if I’m doing something physical it’s disgusting, which my father told me.
Student: The self-judgment is a lot of chumatz. When I feel like others are judging me I can’t be authentic.
Rabbi: chumatz means soured by bacterial. Pickles are chumatz.
Person: I give my power away and I’m learning to own that a little more.
Student: Lying about what other people will think of me, especially when I’m speaking in public.
Rabbi: I went into Starbucks and everybody was sitting there and not talking. They were wearing headphones. No collaboration. It’s what’s happening to our civilization and what we have to beware of. I’m committed to good conversations. I want to resist this tendency. Samsung introduced a new smart phone. You can feel this rush of everybody: let’s get the latest smart phone. I’m trying to resist that. We went snowshoeing and spent time at Cold Mountain and reminding that extraneous stuff doesn’t benefit people. Resist these trends and maintain my own integrity.
Person: While I was cleaning the chumatz I thought I had to do hod, but today I was drawing firm boundaries and I’m confused. For every pickle there’s a different pickle.
Rabbi: There’s no formula about balance. We’re all a work in progress and we’re trying to be more mature. I’m going to look at the choice I have, I have new choices all the time, I’m evolving or devolving. There’s never any boredom with choices. I have to rely on the process of Torah, to make the best judgment I can make at any time. I can be wrong, but the people in the cafÃ©, that’s my reaction.
The worst thing is lying to oneself.
Student: My chumatz this year is comfort.
Rabbi: On Purim we fill our houses up with chumatz and wine. Only when you get drunk (sometimes) lower the locks on the doors of your unconscious. Everybody does different things with that drinking mitzvah. People who have problems with it don’t do it. Everything in Torah is based on seeing that everything is a poison and a cure. There’s NOTHING that isn’t on this continuum. We raise the wine at the wedding and say this wine that do so many things when people get drunk, we’re going to sanctify sex with this. My spiritual journey started at a Dartmouth football weekend when they were burning 36 layers of railroad ties, everybody was drunk and it was mamish the Golden Calf, I’m in the center of civilization. A 53 year old man said to me ‘My wife and I still have to get drunk to have relations after all these years.’ That was a catalyst, one of the real things that got me going on deciding to become a rabbi and study Torah, so I’m grateful to him.
We’re thinking about magic and asking how do I know when I’m doing religion and when I’m doing magic? People look for omens and signs and magical thinking we develop when we’re children. That’s a broad thing that’s going on the mishkan. Moshe is setting up the mishkan and pulling it down 7 times straight and no one else can even lift one of the boards, so it looks like magic. You have to move from the mishkan to Shabbos. Shabbos is the negative space of the mishkan. We’re trying to focus on the negative space. Jews are saying is there a G*d of compassion here or is there nothing? Is the only real thing the emptiness of the Sinai Desert? Moshe is going to teach them in a different way than he taught before. Instead of answering the questions he’s going to say I don’t know, be buried in an unidentified grave, not go into the promised land. He’s going to recuse himself. THIS IS AN AMAZING TEACHING****
We have to write the first word of this parsha in a special way. The word is Vayikra. We could spend another ten years just on this word. It has an asterisk over it, on page 544 (Stone). Each word is like a deep pool, like the word kallah, bride, annihilation, yearning. This word has a small aleph. This is not okay. We make all the letters the same size. We like anomalies. To know why it’s small you have to turn the page back.
Line 33 page 541 (Stone): he erected the courtyard’¦placed the curtain’¦completed the work.
Rabbi: That’s the magic line. He singlehandedly picked it up and completed the work. The word for completion is kallah: and he finished his work. Finishing your work is a critical thing because then there’s nothing left to judge. If you’re really done, you can’t be disappointed. There’s doing work and there’s finishing work. If you can’t finish your preparation work, you can’t do Shabbos because to do Shabbos you can’t be disappointed. The same word G*d did when He finished the world. If you’re praying alone you have to go out on the street and look for another Jew to say this line with: Vayahulu. This is what you say under the chupa. The kallah is completing the man and annihilating his walls. This is why we call her a kallah. If she’s a virgin, she’s annihilating that wall in her, her sacred space in her, in her womb. Shabbos nurses all other parts of reality and is this womb space. Every Shabbos we return to this womb space that nourishes us: protection, nourishment-
Reading: The cloud covered the tent of meeting’¦Moses could not enter.
Rabbi: Moshe has completed this amazing piece of work, amazing craftsmanship. Moshe is the contractor. He worked on it, it was magical. Every craftsman thought he was doing his best work, but when they saw it finished they said One hand designed all this.
And the first thing that happens is he’s excluded.
It didn’t work one way so you’re building this tabernacle, supervising each detail, and then G*d says ‘You’re out.’
Student: HaShem is saying these people are going to move forward, and this is what he wants.
Rabbi: What is mature reaction to rejection?
Rabbi: Borching is intense kvetching.
Student: Eskimos have 9 words for snow. Jews have 9 words for complain.
Person: The rejection would cause me to complain. I would step back and say what mistakes did I make?
Rabbi: A Type A is a can-do type of person. Let’s go find the mountain lion. Moshe is Type A. He is not a backseat driver. He wants the leadership. HaShem says your brother is going to run the show after you completed the project. He has within him this antagonism. He’s the reincarnation of Abel. Abel had a judgment and that judgment stayed inside of Moses. Aaron likes nice clothes and head garments.
Student: Reading: Moses could not enter the tent of meeting’¦when the cloud was raised up the children of Israel would embark on their journeys’¦.cloud by day and fire by night.
Rabbi: That finishes Shemote, the Book of Names, of essences. I want you to feel the different in the temperature. The root of the word chumatz is heat. When we make matzo we have to heat up the oven very hot. Chumatz is associated with ego, hot air and we’re trying to purify our mouths from hot air, authenticity in speaking honest words from the heart that are not inflated. In English this book of the bible is called Leviticus. It’s a cold word. It’s about the Levites. The next book in the wilderness is Numbers. Leviticus means the Book of the Levites, the instructions for the priests.
The core of Vayikra is car, cold, but it also means a random happening. Haman threw the dice because he believed the world was full of random happenings. Aristotle said G*d created the world and then he evacuated and what’s left is a lot of random happenings, and it’s a very cold universe. The Torah says every system is moving towards coldness, separation, isolation. Our main choice, back to our cherubs, is can we create in this cold universe synergies of connection. These are symbol of synergy we can create by connecting to each other. The natural force of the universe is entropy. Vayikra has the small aleph. The core of the word means random cold happening. We say in front of Your cold who can stand? It’s the cold of the universe. We have one perfectly balanced planet with water on it, it’s like womb that makes a baby. Birth permeates the whole universe and this wet planet of ours. The big bang is similar to the birth of a baby. We’re in awe of that process. Every week we have Shabbos and say I have to create the world this week, like the first week. So we add an aleph to the word cold and it becomes CALLED. I hear a calling, for myself, everbody has a totally tailored calling for your life and your purpose. This is unique to each person that nobody else can do. The aleph is small because Moshe is sitting outside the project and he has two voices. One voice says:
Student: I trust HaShem and one voice says-
Rabbi: Being a good parent. I have to do teshuva for what?
Person: Making the people too dependent on him.
Rabbi: I blew the job. I had it for two years and all it produced was a big orgy. If he does what he did before, what will he do?
Student: Tighten the reigns.
Rabbi: His whole thing was every day for two years there was a line five miles long in front of his tent. Aleph is the letter of paradox, reaching to heaven and earth. I can’t tell my kids, ‘YOU be mature’ and they are the least mature people in the house and the kids are taking care of the parents. You lose your childhood. It’s not their job. It’s always a huge choice to grow up, whether you’re old or young. We don’t want to make this easy. It’s always a hard choice.
Moshe is called the most humble of all people and it’s because of this aleph. Things aren’t simple. There are demands on all sides. You can blow it by being too tough or by being ____. Having too many walls and not having any boundaries. Moshe can say look what these people did, they are so disappointing. He says I feel like a mother with a suckling child with these big babies.
Moshe says I don’t have to grow from where they are’I have to grow from where I am. G*d makes a totally unequal universe. There is no equality. Each person is unique and has a letter in the Torah, and that little letter is Moses. We’re turning that cold word into a warm word.
Student: reading: He called to Moses and HaShem spoke to him from the Tent of Meeting saying speak to the children of Israel.
Rabbi: In his moment of exile, which we would compare to Purim, compared to our exile, finally after 1,000 years of effort to convert to be Jewish and integrate the Torah and receive it. Exile is the same word as reveal. When you leave home you start to grow up, you can make your own reality and don’t have to take the reality your parents make for you. He hears G*d calling to him. He hears the call of HaShem is more powerful when he steps back than when he steps forward. This is turning his moment of weakness into a moment of triumph, moving up, teshuva, and this creates tremendous simcha and pride in himself. You know that’s what you want to do, because it’s the wise thing to do to become a better parent and teacher. I love how the aleph warms the world. Each person has to feel HaShem calling, saying come! I’m rooting for you, to take the responsibilities of this kind of growth.
I decided a wilderness course based on these 42 camps, and at each camp there’s a failure. They went to the Craves of Appetite where everybody craved meat. They all stuffed the meat of these birds until it came out their noses. Everybody did something a little different with their craving. This is a freedom challenge course. Every camp tested them in a different way.
Person: Why is the aleph small?
Rabbi: HaShem talks to you when you can be humble. To do teshuva you have to have humble confidence. Not being a doormat or chopped liver. He totally longs to be in the center of activity, in the Holy of Holies. We always yearned to be back in Jerusalem, and now we’re back. Hearing the two voices is to synthesize that. If he gave up voice A, Moshe would not be Moshe.
Student: It reminds me of Miriam going out of the camp.
Rabbi: People say help me get out of my box, so every Shabbos we’re leaving the mishkan by not doing the 39 types of work that went into building the mishkan. Then we stop and annihilate our goals. Moshe has to stop, Vayikra, in order to hear G*d’s call. If our egos are making too much noise, we’ll never hear it. Finding your soul mate. Jacob never realizes that Leah is his soul mate until he dies. That’s why he was buried with Leah and not Ruchel. Some people pass their soul mates right by. You have to be the small aleph to hear this call. But it’s CONFIDENT humility. Humility and humiliation are not the same thing.
The spies said we are grasshoppers in our own eyes. That’s the next really bad event that happens. Although they needed that extra 38 years.
The walls around Jericho are male fear walls, and another reason we have to go around the groom is to remember this. Most men don’t want to be short, small or lah di dah in basketball, hunting or any other thing.
Reading: There’s a tremendous differentiation between true joy of holiness and the joy of emptiness.
I have an ongoing conversation with Xtian clergymen in the gym; they are very interested in the Bible. They always bring me quotes and things to decipher. The Aish Kodesh says there’s true joy of Kedusha. We say let’s lift ourselves up with this, lifting sexuality to a place we are proud of, this is the joy of this spiral, it cannot be compared to the joy of empty things. That’s why we juxtapose the party of Achashveros and the party of the Golden Calf. We celebrate with a meal to have true joy in it.
Reading: The empty part is only the joy of imagination and the joy that comes out of these great parties, it’s only imaginary, it seems to the person that they’re enjoying themselves just like somebody had a dream that he ate the best chocolate cake possible and then wakes up and realizes no chocolate cake. After this fake joy of these parties, there’s intense sadness of emptiness, Ohmig*d what have I done? Like after a good dream and the dream ends and you wake up and you realize it was all in your imagination, and you realize you have nothing, there is no joy, no simcha. You’re sad. You were dreaming of something you really wanted. But true simcha you can feel the life force growing inside of you, increasing in intensity as if you were turning up the radio. And the simcha and the life force go up and you feel more alive literally.
Rabbi: And the body has some interesting chemicals. When you authentically connect, certain chemicals are released in your body. When you have one of these imaginary- Fantasies are the biggest business in the whole world. There’s no real person, there’s no real conversation, just pictures, then literally you don’t get those chemicals that give you that sense of satisfaction.
Reading: The taste when you experience something really satisfying, the taste is left over, there’s a carryover, a follow up, it stays with you, versus this sense of emptiness. Therefore somebody who takes simcha in doing a mitzvah that when you feel simcha when doing a mitzvah, it spreads. It lasts and it spreads. It’s infectious. Sadness is also infectious. Since it’s been aroused in you, it spreads around as if it were an elixir. And that’s where we get this space of collaboration, the space between us becomes enlivened with this energy.
Rabbi: That’s what we do when we study Torah.
SACRED FIRE PAGE 307
At the Golden Calf the crowns were removed and it was a type of exile. We experienced a loss but the loss was a gain. What was the gain? We got caught in a bad party; what was gained?
You get the crown back when you do teshuva. You turn your mistake into an asset. When we study Torah we get back the crowns of Torah. The angels are always with us.
-Let us understand’¦
Rabbi: Every Friday night we are weaving crowns with our words. One Xtian said today we have lost the concept of a celebratory meal. The cracker is very limited. It came from this idea but it turned into a different focus. In Xtianity they don’t have this idea of a holy meal. Every Friday night we say we are weaving these crowns and putting them on each person’s head. Every Friday night I see Moshe sitting at the table taking his mask off. The mask symbolizes there was too much light. Moshe
You become a queen by accepting the Shabbos bride and you get a crown back and you can reclaim it back any time through this type of simcha.
Student: The crown is like the second soul?
Rabbi: The metaphor is about light and crowns.
Student: The crowns are with Moshe or shamayim waiting to be claimed? What is the difference?
Rabbi: Moses is a teacher whenever you invite him to the table. He brings the crowns to the table.
Student: It sounds like we need an intermediary like the Xtians do.
Rabbi: Paul argued with Peter and James, they said we had to keep the mitzvahs so they’re called the Judaizers. There’s a skill called unwinding the metaphor. This is not a literal story. You have to switch sides of your brain. This is a right-brain skill. We are right-brain stunted. There are no real crowns, Moses is not sitting at the table. I see Moshe at the table, he’s always helping me, like the Aish Kodesh, and they are both bringing crowns that we weave with words and I feel the inner nobility and the crown on my head. Proving is on the left brain. I don’t want to convince you. You don’t have to feel the same way; you’re starting from a different place.
Student: As women we have an easier time of it.
Rabbi: there’s a time to put on the mask. If I’m too strong I can disempower you and not listen to you.
-Moses heard the voice’¦.
Rabbi: Moshe heard the voice of G*d teaching the oral Torah. That’s a premise of faith. One of the things this minister was stunned by was a picture of the speaker of House kissing his partner. This was on the front page of the Denver Post. I said do you want me to tell you what the oral Torah says? Xtians just can’t read the Talmud. And when it is read, it’s totally misinterpreted. I told him what I told you last week. This is so different from what you read in the Torah. It becomes a travesty and total darkness without the oral Torah. Everybody has got to get that. The Talmud comes and there’s a tremendous softening effect. The literal text of the Bible has been used to hurt and punish people in totally inappropriate ways.
Student: G*d set it up that way.
Rabbi: For choice. People who haven’t heard of the oral Torah are called as if they are taken from their family, but they can still start from where they are at and mature themselves.
-Moshe heard the voice of G*d’¦.
Rabbi: This is a very sad sentence. Moses has realized he has lost his children. This is a crown of Moshe’s greatness because in the midrash he says I’m aware that I’ve lost my children. A lot of people lose their children and they never acknowledge it. Is he giving up because he’s sad? If you said you lost your children, they don’t listen to me any more, that would be very sad. What is Moshe doing with this sadness? How do you know he’s not giving up?
Person: It doesn’t feel that way.
Rabbi: Great right brain skill! What would you tell yourself?
Student: I made a mistake. You focus on the Jewish people. I help them become teachers themselves, people who can continue to carry what I taught them.
Rabbi: You got it! Everybody is unequal and comparison can sabotage. Every kid is a special needs kid. Every single person has a disability. G*d puts talents and a central defect into every person and a lot of time they overlap.
-Therefore he begged that at least R. Eliezer be one of his descendants’¦.
Rabbi: Even this sewer in the Warsaw Ghetto. He has to fight to feel this way. This is not simple or easy with rats and excrement in the sewer pipe.
What is the power of imagination that this man can feel these crowns of light coming on him in this bad situation? [Reb Zusha and Reb Elimelech chamber pot story.] My sister has Altzheimers and when we sang on Friday night she totally got into it. Music hits people. I have a friend who stutters but when he sings he doesn’t stutter.
-We learn from this that the underlying meaning of the Law’¦.
Rabbi: Beautiful. We’ll all hear the story at a different level and we’ll think about the crowns and invite Moshe. Say come and sit with us. Invite the Shechina. These are perceptions, not fixed realities.
Student: Askinu Seudasa is to get us into the other part of the brain.
Person: For me we have our individual crowns, which I would call our soul truth. You and the Aish Kodesh are teaching us to appreciate our own uniqueness, our own gifts and at our own level. I think that’s a very important thing.
Rabbi: where do you feel most intensely the crown that Moshe squirreled away just for you?
Person: you and the Aish Kodesh ask a similar question: what does Moses do with his disappointment. Your question was that he wasn’t able to step into the mishkan. The Aish Kodesh’s question was how did he handle the disappointment of his children.
Rabbi: His family was killed. He shares that with Moshe.
Person: That honors the Aish Kodesh at a very high level. Moses is begging HaShem that Rav Eliezer be one of his descendents.
Rabbi: That sounds totally absurd. How does he see into the future? He sees Rabbi Eliezer 1,000 years ahead of time, how can G*d jerk around with whose descendent this man is?
Person: He says what was really important to Moses’s heart? It was at the level of we will do and we will listen, perhaps the most nonsensical mitzvah of them all. The interwoven nature of it is quite beautiful. I liked Vayahulu teaching because when we do your tasks we set our goals up to have the glory of Shabbat. We’re preparing for Shabbat and good enough becomes good enough.
Rabbi: His empathy for Moshe and our empathy for the Aish Kodesh and Moshe is our empathy for ourselves. We connect to them through our struggles.
Person: That’s why you can’t say Vayahulu alone.
Rabbi: He never gives up. He’s always looking to turn it into an asset.
Student: I am so happy to be a Jew. One of my students was describing how she felt and I had goose bumps listening to her and it gave me a new understanding of conversion. There are no coincidences in life with the crowns. Last week I found a letter my grandfather wrote to me for when I got married. He died in 1965. It was all about me wearing a crown. It was the same as what we have been talking about. Crowns on Shabbos, Pesach and weddings. My grandfather was assimilated in Hungary and he decided after surviving a concentration camp his family would be brought up as Xtians in case of another holocaust, so for him to be talking about crowns at my wedding-
Person: I like the idea of inviting Moses to the table. It helps me connect with the struggles that he went through. The questions you had about how do non-Jews experience- sitting here in my forties and finding out that there’s all this other stuff that’s written down. An oral Torah is really mind-blowing when you’ve grown up in a tradition where there’s just one book. I feel like a child learning all this new stuff.
Rabbi: Being on the outside and yearning to be in is very powerful.
Person: How exciting that there are questions!
Student: My mom for the first time read what we do in class. A lot of the words were very foreign. It’s like you were magically tapped on the head and I wasn’t. But I knew that I was a Jew down deep. This is my heritage and the most important part of who I am. It gets created and sparked by being in a room like this.
Rabbi: I can always say Moshe can you sit down with me and give me a crown?
Person: My confusion: G*d speaks gently to me and to you, like one Shabbos I saw a double reflection in the window like the second soul on Shabbos. Then there’s these terrible things going on in history
Rabbi: I’ll invite the Aish Kodesh, Moshe and HaShem. Each one provides something different at the table. Each one is unique and what is being offered. HaShem didn’t keep the crowns in His back pocket for me’Moshe did, and part of the reason is that he was sad about losing his children.
Student: I don’t agree that there is no letdown after something that’s real. You can’t stay on top of the mountain. And sometimes there’s disappointment when things are finished. The Shabbos preparations might be more meaningful than Shabbos. Doing something can be better than having it done.
Rabbi: There’s the ability of storing good things. The Aish Kodesh is talking about a very sensitive point. Not everybody can have that afterglow. It’s an art and a skill, to store spiritual energy.
Student: You said the craftsmen all did their best work and when the mishkan was finished they said a Master Hand must have guided the work. Then you said that we each have our work that only we can do. What is the purpose of our work? What will the finished product be?
Rabbi: Part of my best work is creating the interfaces with others or mosaic pieces. HaShem made a blueprint for the mishkan.
Student: A lady at the Art Museum once received a patchwork quilt and couldn’t make sense out of it. She slung it over a chair and went across the room to answer the phone. While she was on the phone she glanced at the quilt and it suddenly all snapped into place, a house, a mountain, a waterfall. We are each one of those patches and what is the quilt going to look like?
Rabbi: We’ll leave that open ended and invite Moshe.
Rabbi Henoch Dov Hoffman teaches in Denver, Colorado. You can contact him through his web page, www.RabbiHenochDov.com or via email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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