Welcoming God inside
TorahParshat Tetzaveh

Welcoming God inside

Exodus 27:20 – 30:10

These next several weeks we’ll be reading the Torah passages about the Tabernacle, the home the Jews constructed in the desert for God’s Divine presence to dwell in their midst. Nachmanides explains that the people had just experienced a once-in-history experience together with God when He appeared at Sinai before all the people. That wasn’t going to happen again, but no one wanted the feeling of mutual closeness to dissipate. So God told the people to fashion a home for His presence, as it were, so that relationship would continue.

We have no Tabernacle today. But we, too, need to be alert to feel God’s presence in our lives and recognize how He interacts with us.

Rabbi Baruch Rosenblum, a prominent lecturer in Israel, tells of an encounter he had with a taxi driver who related a story from when he was in the army. The man’s platoon had gone to sleep and, in the middle of the night, the guard on duty started screaming. Everyone ran over and they saw that a python had wrapped itself around his body and was about to strangle him. Suddenly, with his last breath, the guard shouted, “Shema Yisrael!’’ — the famous words from the prayer service — and instantly the snake slithered off of him.

“You should see that man today,” the driver said. “He became really observant and now he’s a big rabbi with a beard”.

“And what about you?” asked Rosenblum.

“Me? I’m fine. Why do you ask?”

“Well, weren’t you right there as well?”

“Me? It didn’t happen to me, it happened to him!”

Sometimes God comes calling, but we’re not prepared to respond. Unfortunately, we can’t always feel God’s closeness with us — but when He does come, let’s welcome Him into our lives! PJC

Rabbi Levi Langer is the dean of the Kollel Jewish Learning Center. This column is a service of the Vaad Harabonim of Greater Pittsburgh.

read more: