Parshat Naso: The Blessing and Gift of Making Space

One part of Parshat Naso is a listing of the elaborate gifts that each tribal leader brings during the Mishkan’s dedication, and it begins right after Moses complete the Mishkan.

Rashi: On the day that Moses finished setting up the Mishkan. The vowels for finished read kallot, “finished”, but the letters simply spell kallat, “bride”. On the day when the Mishkan was set up, the Jews were like a bride entering under the wedding canopy.

According to this tradition, it was not at Mount Sinai where Israel and God were “wed” but months later, after the smoke, lightning and earthquakes were all done, and it was quiet, like that still small voice Elijah heard on the same mountain centuries later.

It is the completion of the Mishkan, the portable sacred space, that is the moment when God and Israel are “wed.” What can we learn from this? Kedushah, holiness is not limited to a single place that you have to go back to in order to experience it. Holiness is something that we create, something that you take with you, something that is not limited to a single place.

Holiness is that place where God and Israel come together, that place where we make heaven and earth touch. It is a Mishkan, which literally means a Dwelling Place, so wherever we create space for God to dwell in our lives, that is a kind of Mishkan that we can create anywhere and at anytime. Shabbat is a temporal Mishkan, a period of time that we create every week, with as much detail and skill and those who used their skill to make the Mishkan.

As we sing Lekha Dodi, and rise right before the final verse, to welcome in Kallat Shabbat, the Sabbath Bride, let’s also recognize and remember that we have the capacity to make space for God, to make space for holiness, in our lives as well.

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