With first light tuesday morning Rumi and I were downstairs. She was ready for anything, my eyes were barely open. She said, “Baba I need your help.” “With what?” She said, “I need you to help me decorate the uni-er.” “The what?” “The uni-erse” “The what?” “Babe I need your help to decorate the universe.” OMG. Mind blown. Rumi, all the rest of your life, I should wake up with the intention to help you decorate the universe. Isn’t that our job around here. New job title, rabbi / decorator of the universe.
It also happened that the portion this week details the construction of the Tabernacle, the wilderness church. The commentary from the Zohar, is one of my favorite teachings -- the holy blessed one commanded us to build the tabernacle in the same manner as the construction of heaven and earth, to be in the likeness of the upper dwelling place, that the two might join together, this and this, like a soul and a body join, and all are one. (Zohar Teruma)
What does it mean to create something in the likeness of the construction of heaven and earth? At Hebrew School with the kiddos this week we built forts and mini-tabernacles of pvc piping and bright colored felt and tape, lots of tape, they must have used lots of tape when fashioning the universe.
I think I can ride the tape metaphor -- the secret is in the tape. How is it that a body and a soul can be joined? How is it that two beloveds can be one? How is it that heaven can descend and touch earth -- when the tape is placed just right?
We celebrated the life of Joyce Dutka yesterday, and Rabbi Naftali blessed her three boys, Steve, Barry, and David, with the verse -- Build me a tabernacle, that I may dwell within you. We read it as had never been before: Joyce, a prolific artist, sculptor, painter, wonderer, her most beautiful creations, her three children. She built them, and now she dwells within them.
The world is the work of an artist -- mad, brilliant, wise, inhabited by demons and angels. The artist chose two materials for her creation -- clay and spirit. And so long as they are in balance, the earth can be the abode of angels just the heavens. Breathe spirit into all your earthly dwelling places. Inspiration, creativity, delicacy and devotion, the wonder and mystery of the child that still lives within you, the love of a mother that is omnipresent and unceasing. Let them rest at the heart of all of your creations. And I will dwell within you.
Rabbi Zach Fredman