Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Sacred Foolishness

On the verse (Ex.25:8), "And they should make for me a temple and I will dwell in them," our sages taught, "Since it did not say 'in it' [as expected], but rather said 'in them', God means to dwell in each and every Jew".

How do we build God's temple in the soul? We can learn how from how the original sanctuary built for God in the desert.

The walls of the sanctuary were made of Shittim-cedar wood; "And you should make the beams from Shittim-cedar trees, upright." The word "Shittim" derives from the Hebrew word "foolishness" (שטות), suggesting the sanctuary can be built with "foolishness".

The Rebbe (Likutei Sichot 1:166) explains "foolishness": It means deviating from the logical path. In Chassidus we learn of two such deviations: A deviation beneath what's sensible, and a deviation above what's sensible.

When a person transgresses, he deviates beneath the sensible way, as our sages tell us, "He who sins does so only because a foolhardy spirit possessed him".

On the other hand, the deviation beyond sensibleness also exists - a "sacred foolishness" (שטות דקדושה). This positive deviation beyond reasonableness expresses itself with an absolute devotion to God, beyond any standard boundary.

When we want to build for God a temple in our soul, so we can shake free of failures to serve Him, thereby meriting that God dwell within us, we need be positively foolish, by consecrating ourselves to God's will, whether it makes sense or not. This is how we build the walls of the tabernacle in our hearts.

Were we to adopt such a positive outlook and spurn all that the evil inclination entices us with, then God too will go measure for measure and break the boundaries of exile to launch the Era of Redemption immediately.

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