A Choice Day (and a day of choices)

17 Mar

It’s that pleasant stage of the year when Purim is behind us and Pesach is in front of us.  Some call it “living in the shadow of Purim.”  We’re not yet under the influence of Pesach, with all its pressures of cleaning and preparation, and a ray of Purim joy still shines.  So, what do we do?  Well, one thing to do is to take clues from the original Hebrews, the Jews who were wandering in the desert before entering Israel.  At this time of the year, after receiving the Torah, they were building.  They were constructing a beautiful traveling sanctuary composed of all of the most expensive and interesting materials that man has in his possession.  Special skins, rare stones, precious metals and unique wood filled the mishkan, or traveling “tabernacle” in the desert, where God communicated with Moses, who then conveyed God’s word to the Jews.  And it was the Jews themselves who contributed the materials.  So, what we can do now, after Purim, is build.  We may not have the physical building of either the mishkan or the Temple, but we do have our own souls, to work on and to “build.”  Etymologically, the word “build” (boneh) is related to the Hebrew word for meditation (hitbonenut).  By meditating on spiritual concepts, we can build a sort of spiritual sanctuary inside of ourselves, where we can dwell every day for a certain amount of time while we meditate.  While we dwell in our own personal building, we work within it, expanding its horizons and getting acquainted with all the nooks and crannies of our own spiritual edifice.  Perhaps that is our task during this period of the year.  And our hope is that by preparing our own “little sanctuary” within, we will hasten the building of the actual physical Temple as soon as possible.

By the way, the physical Temple was also called the Beit Habechira, or the “House of choice,” since it was there that God chose to make His presence revealed and experienced.  Although we no longer have the temple, we do have some choices to make in Israel today.  It is a day of bechirot, of making choices, at the ballot box.  We should pray for the wisdom to choose correctly.  For more on prayers, go to www.jerusalemconnection.org/weekly.  And if you want to delve into the topic of Jewish prayer and meditation, have a look at our suite of Jewish spiritual books at www.jewishspiritualbooks.com.  Finally, for a glimpse into everyday Chabad life in Jerusalem, try www.chabadjerusalem.org   Have a great day!

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