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Sukkat Shalom B'nei Noach



Torah Reflections: Conversations on the Weekly Parshah


Integrating Torah into one’s life through reflection and conversation can be an incredibly fun and engaging experience. It’s a journey of discovery, where ancient wisdom and timeless teachings come to life in our daily experiences. Through reflection, we have the opportunity to dive deep into the rich tapestry of Torah, extracting profound insights and lessons that resonate with our modern lives. The joy lies in the ‘aha’ moments, those instances when a Torah verse or story suddenly connects with our personal challenges, aspirations, and values. And when we engage in conversations about Torah with others, it becomes an interactive exploration, where diverse perspectives and interpretations enhance our understanding. These dialogues often spark excitement and intellectual curiosity, making the learning process both enjoyable and fulfilling. Torah becomes a vibrant and dynamic part of our lives, offering not just guidance but also a source of endless fascination, connection, and growth.

NOTE: Don’t feel obligated to go through every source or answer all the questions—unless you want to. Even one source, or one question will give you plenty of material for discussion and meditation. Enjoy this!

Some thoughts from the parsha

And let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them. (Exodus 25:8)

Although the above translation is made for better readability, the literal translation is, “And let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell within them”, showing G-d’s closeness. The question is: How can an Infinite Being be in a finite place? The answer lies in understanding that G-d, being infinite, is everywhere, not limited by size.

The Midrash says G-d wanted to be among people, but conditions like accepting Torah had to be met. This means not only the laws that govern humanity’s obligation to G-d, but also their obligation to each other. The sanctuary then becomes a special place for connection, celebration, and closeness to G-d. The term “sanctuary” means a holy place and a refuge, symbolizing a point of contact with the Divine.

The text emphasizes building a sanctuary as a positive commandment, creating a structure to invite G-d in. It parallels this to creating room for G-d in communities, making gatherings more meaningful. The verse encourages making space for G-d in our lives, realizing there’s room for everyone in G-d’s presence.

Question for personal reflection and discussion

  1. How does the phrase “within them” change your understanding of G-d’s closeness in a sanctuary?
  2. What do you think about the idea that G-d is everywhere, not limited by size?
  3. Can you recall a time when a ritual or sacred space made you feel close to G-d?
  4. Think about a moment when you felt connected to G-d. How did it impact your view of G-d’s presence everywhere?
  5. Consider making space for the Infinite in your daily life. How might this affect your relationships and community interactions?

Shabbat Shalom!

By Rabbi Tani Burton

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