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Shema-Terumah-Elevating Sparks

When we see the element of corporeality in something or, heaven forbid, of evil, then we are to serve God with it by virtue of the love or fear or other such quality that it possesses. In this manner we elevated. For instance, we contrast a good love to the evil love, for it was only for the purpose of loving God that love was emanated by the Creator into this world. This is what the raising of the sparks means. So it is with regard to fear and other traits. If we see an evil fear anywhere, heaven forbid, we must elevate it to the realm of holiness. Other traits must be elevated in the same manner.


The dismantling of the Tabernacle means that the traits symbolized by the various parts of the Tabernacle are not connected to the performance of Commandments. When the Children of Israel in the desert chanced upon a place where there was an unworthy love, they stimulated this love to become the love of God, Who is the source of all love. So too for the attributes of fear and beauty.

Afterwards, when they had already elevated the traits of love and fear, they erected the Tabernacle. That is to say, they connected these attributes to the Commandments of the Creator. For when a man possesses love of God or fear of God, but refrains from performing the commandments that apply to these attributes, the love or fear cannot endure. But when he does perform the commandments that apply to a specific attribute, the attribute itself will continue to exist. Therefore they erected the Tabernacle after they elevated the sparks, connecting the attributes to the Commandments symbolized by the erection of the Tabernacle, in order to ensure their permanent existence in sanctity. However, only Moses was able to erect the Tabernacle, thus connecting the Tabernacle to the Torah.

If, heaven forbid, the love and fear are not directed toward the Creator, then it is as if they were not at rest. But when they are directed toward the Creator, they are considered at rest, because they are fulfilling the purpose for which they were emanated from the Creator. But there is another step: when the attributes are constantly connected to the Commandments, they can release Divine Sustenance from above.

The state of being constantly connected occurred only in the Temple in Jerusalem. There, the vessels were connected to each other and to the Commandments. But the level at which the attributes were at rest, when they fulfill their function in the worship of the Creator, this obtained in the Tabernacle also, as suggested by the fact that the Tabernacle had no roof. This indicates that there was rest but no permanent connection or relatedness. (Kedushat Levi, Pekudei)

We use the section of the Shema, with its emphasis on loving God, to connect everything we do, including our emotions, to God, so that all the attributes may find a permanent home as they did in the Tabernacle and Temple.

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