"Moshiach is ready to come now-our part is to increase in acts of goodness and kindness" -The Rebbe

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Purpose of Creation: Hashem Dwelling Down Here

The Purpose of Creation:
Hashem Dwelling Down Here

Rabbi Y. Oliver

What is the purpose of creation, and what is the purpose of our individual lives? Why are we here?

According to Chassidus, the answer to this question lies in our Sages’ statement: “Hashem desired to have a dwelling place in the lower worlds.”[1] Chassidus explains that the phrase “the lower worlds” refers primarily to our physical world, which is the lowest of all the worlds. This is the place where He yearns for His Shechinah, the divine presence, to be revealed.

To be specific, within our world, Hashem wishes to have his primary dwelling place in the Beis Hamikdash, as He instructed, “Make for me a Mishkan, and I will dwell amongst them.”[3] On the basic level, this verse means that the Mishkan and the Beis Hamikdash (the latter being a progression from the former) were places appropriate for the indwelling of the Shechinah, and these domains of concentrated holiness then served as beacons of divine light for the rest of the world.

But if so, why does it refer to the Mishkan in the plural, saying that Hashem will dwell “amongst them”? Shouldn’t the verse have used the singular “within it”—the Mishkan?

Here the verse alludes to the fact that in addition to Hashem’s desire to dwell within the Mishkan and Beis Hamikdash, He desires to dwell “among them”—to establish a Mishkan within the heart of every single Jew.

More specifically, there are two elements, or stages, in the Jew’s mission to make a personal Mishkan for Hashem. Hashem desires that the Jew reveal the Shechinah, the divine presence:

1. within his inner self—in his mind and heart, and in his thought, speech, and action;

2. in the world around him, beginning from his home, and spreading out to his community, and the world around him, according to each Jew’s opportunities and talents.

These two tasks were achieved in the most complete way through the Mishkan, and later on, the Beis Hamikdash.

Now that we are in exile, and we no longer have the Beis Hamikdash, we have been charged with the mission of revealing G–dliness within ourselves and the world around us. In this merit, Hashem will return the Beis Hamikdash to us, “measure for measure” with the coming of Moshiach now!

[1] Midrash Tanchuma, Naso, sec. 16.
[2] Tanya ch. 36.
[3] Shemos 25:8.
[4] Sotah 8b.

Based on Sefer HaMa’amarim Kuntreisim, Vol. 2, p. 828 ff. s.v. Basi L’gani.

This post was dedicated by Rivkah Katz and family, in honor of the graduation of their daughter, Dilkah Beilah bas Rivka Leah. This post was also dedicated by Menachem Kovacs in honor of the Yahrzeit of his father, Eliezer ben Shalom ע"ה, on 17 Sivan.

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