Even as we move through the cycle of readings in Torah, I am struck by how often these ancient words have relevance to our lives today. As Ben Bag-Bag advised, “Turn it and turn it again, for everything is in it. Reflect on it and grow old and grey with it. Don’t turn from it, for nothing is better than it.”
This week we are reading Parashat Terumah; we are building the Mishkan, the Sanctuary, that will be the house for the Aseret HaDibrot, the Tablets with the Utterances given at Sinai.
One can only imagine the beauty of the materials, and the beauty of the process of constructing all the separate pieces that comprised the whole. Crimsons and purple and turquoise threads, golden Cherubim and spices and staves; the splendour is detailed precisely.
Do we surround our teachings with such beauty? We are taught that even as we set our Chumashim, and Sefarim (sacred texts) on our shelves, we should do so very carefully. We should not set other books on top of books we consider sacred texts, thus guarding their sanctity even with placement on shelves.
And what about our own words emanating from our own mouths? Are we careful with our words, knowing each word we speak has the capacity to be a jewel? When we say hello, and inquire of each other’s health are we prepared to listen to a reply? Or has our conversation become pro forma, less beautiful and more mundane? Imagine each word leaving our mouth as a precious jewel – how might we choose to share our fortune?
As we read the details of the construction of the Mishkan I wonder: we too, in our bodies, are a Bayit for our souls. What does the Mishkan within us reflect in our outer selves?