Due to technical difficulties, I was unable to write a Shabbos message last week. I am glad to be back!
Yesterday was an amazing day, full of Rav Gav’s unique inspiration and personality. Thank you to all who attended the luncheon and who joined us at the event last night. It was great to see so many women from so many different Israel trips in the audience, and their families and friends!
Last night Rav Gav spoke about prayer, and the reasons why it does not always work. He shared the 3 parts needed to make prayer effective, and I am sure all of you who were there still remember them! Repetition (even 515 times), Hashem is the only solution (plan A, B, and C), and sincerity. I am going to piggyback on this idea and share something that connects to it from this week’s Torah portion, Parshas Teruma.
Parshas Teruma teaches us the details of the building of the Mishkan. The Mishkan was a smaller, portable version of the Temple that would one day be built in Jerusalem, and was built in the desert as the Jews made their way to Israel from Egypt. It was kind of like a prototype of the larger, permanent structure that would one day be our holiest place in the world. When we stood at the Kotel together in Israel we were praying at one of the outer retaining walls of the Temple mount, on which the Temple itself used to stand.
Why do Jews need a Temple? Why did we need a traveling portable Mishkan? Why do we need synagogues today? The answer is simple. It is good for us, actually, really important for us, to set aside a place in our lives that is devoted just to Hashem. The Jewish nation, even while traveling through the desert, needed (and still needs!) a place that is purely about connecting to the Almighty. Having a physical structure that, upon entering it, would transport a person to an entirely different plane of spiritual connection, is extremely important to us as Jews. That ability to focus only on our relationship with Hashem in a place designated for Him is a very special thing.
That is part of why we build synagogues today. Due to the absence of the Temple, we have no national location in which we can all congregate and connect to the Divine. And due to the scattering of the Jews all over the world, we need “satellite” Temples in which we can easily set aside a place for devotion and service. (Which is why a synagogue should only be a place of spirituality and inspiration, and certainly not politics or sports, but that’s for another discussion…)
I want to take this idea one step further. As the Jewish people, we needed a place set aside for really connecting to Hashem. As a community, we need a sanctuary in which we can focus on spirituality and inspiration. Why stop there? As individuals, don’t we need to find a place within our very own hearts that is set aside for Him? Doesn’t each one of us need a little home within our own hearts in which spirituality can reside?
One way to bring sanctity within ourselves is through prayer. By setting aside time to pray, we set aside a place in our hearts for the Almighty. By devoting ourselves to speaking with Hashem daily, we make room in ourselves to house Him. Through prayer, we can transport ourselves to a different plane of spirituality and connection.
Using Rav Gav’s tips to make your prayers more effective is a great way to go about doing this. Remind yourself that prayer means saying it over and over again, without giving up. Focus on Hashem being the only answer to your prayers. And be sincere when you do so. If we can all do this together, may the merit of this bring the rebuilding of the third Temple in Jerusalem, the heart of the Jewish people.
Have a wonderful Shabbos,
PS Join us for the upcoming events and programs! Have fun and be inspired!
Tuesday, February 20 – MASQUERADE – Things are NOT always as they seem! Special Pre-Purim class (for women only) to be held at the Creve Ceour JCC right before Partners In Torah at 7 pm
Friday, February 23 – Shabbos Dinner @ UCity Shul with the Greenwalds and the Davids. Email Claire at firstname.lastname@example.org to make your reservation. See what the fun is all about!
Monday, February 26 – Salon Circle Tehillim class at 7 pm @ the home of Mimi Pultman 204 Appaloosa Drive