The Journey, and Not the Destination
This oft-utilized but incisive axiom finds, perhaps, its origins in this week’s Torah portion, Terumah. We learn, in explicit, even excruciating detail, about the construction of the Mishkan—the portable tabernacle that accompanied the Israelites on their wilderness journey—the place in which God dwelled amongst the people. The most compelling verse comes towards the beginning, as God commands the Israelites through Moses, “Make for me a sanctuary that I may dwell in them.” The rabbis noted the disconnect: Shouldn’t God command a sanctuary so that the divine presence can dwell in it? And as usual, the rabbis gleaned a potent lesson from ambiguity: The process of constructing the mishkan is more critical than the product produced. The creativity and effort, as a reflection of the people’s devotion, are far more important to God than a singular material location. God can dwell anywhere. It is only when we invite God into our hearts and into our midst, through our actions and aspirations, that God will truly be present with us.
Rabbi Daniel Weiner