Friday, January 31, 2014

Terumah 5632 Second Ma'amar

Today and tomorrow are Rosh Chodesh Adar I.  The root of the name of the new month, Adar, means, “dwell.”  The Chiddushei HaRim relates the word, “Adar”, to a Midrash which explains a pasuk in the beginning of this week’s parasha, “ועשו לי מקדש ושכנתי בתוכם/Make for me a sanctuary so that I will dwell in your midst.” (Shmos 25:8) The Midrash[1] explains that God wanted to give us the Torah but did not want to leave it, as it were.  So He asked us to build for Him a sanctuary so that He could dwell – אדור בתוכו – in it and thus be close to the Torah and to us, so to speak.

This is quite an enigmatic Midrash!  God is infinite and everywhere at once.  God certainly has no need for a dwelling place.  What is this Midrash teaching us?  The Chiddushei HaRim explains that the concept of God dwelling among us makes sense only from our perspective and our relationship to God.  God dwelling among us is revelation to us.
But God will only reveal Himself to us to the extent that we realize that everything comes from Him.  This requires humility from us.  When we humble ourselves to internalize the idea that everything is from God, God can dwell among us and we merit revelation.  Chazal[2] allude to this idea.  They teach us that of an arrogant person God says, “He and I cannot dwell – לדור – together in the world.”  Arrogance can only happen when there is a lack of belief that everything is from God.  Arrogance is the opposite of this belief.  Arrogance implies an autonomous existence outside of God.  Obviously, there can be no revelation in the presence of arrogance.  

The Sfas Emes teaches that this idea is alluded to in the name of this month.  אדר/Adar is an acronym for א – the One, דל – inadequate, רש – poor.  When we realize our own inadequacy vis a vis God, when we understand that everything we have, see around us and do come from God, we can connect to Him and experience Him in our lives.

Chazal[3] allude to this concept when they say that God is the “place” of the world.  He contains the world, not the other way around.  Chazal[4] also teach us that there is nothing that has no place.  To the extent that we understand that everything that exists only exists because it is from God, the Godliness is revealed.  In the words of Chazal, God is the place of the world.

It really cannot be any other way.  The world is simply a screen that hides God.  It is not autonomous and can only exist because of the Godliness within.  As the prophet Yeshayah teaches us, “אשכון את דכא/I will dwell with the downtrodden.” (Yeshayah 57:15)  The world exists only because God dwells with it.

[1] Shmos R. 33:1
[2] Sotah 5a
[3] Breishis R. 68:9
[4] Avos 4:3

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

the moon at creation had been arrogant, & as such was shrunk
from the sun;
but when now, 7 times every 19 years, it admits its inadequacy &
poverty, its need to catch up to
the sun, the moon reveals doubly
that the Maker of all the world
would dwell with us!