The Torah talks about places of sanctuary and building a sanctuary. We need them for our families, communities and for the safety of our hearts.

The Torah gives us all kinds of instructions as well as lists of materials. We are told where each tribe is to place itself around the sanctuary. And where each head of each tribe makes an offering. And we are told which tribe is to bring which particular offering.

We’re told when the lamp is to be lit and where to place the Tabernacle furnishings.

After all that detail, we are confronted with a verbal shift. G-d says build me a sanctuary that I may live in you. Not in the sanctuary for which we have received instructions. Not in the sanctuary for which we have made donations. Not in the sanctuary we have just constructed. But inside us!

It’s reflective of the Jewish approach to being alive in a physical world and yet having emotional and spiritual hearts and minds and souls.

We work to build houses and manufacture cars and set up towns. And all of that work is to make our hearts feel good and our beings feel safe.

This is acknowledged by the Torah.

As a community, the Torah knows you will need a physical place. In Little Rock we have our Agudath Achim building. We have a board and officers and committees and volunteers and kitchen workers and program people.  All of that is to keep our building working and our synagogue functioning.

When all is said and done, however, those items are in place in order to build a sanctuary in our hearts, to keep us connected with each other, and to help us look after each other’s souls.

Build a Sanctuary!
So that all the goodness can live in us. Amen!

Blessings and Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi Mark Biller