- Posted by Elaine Zecher
- On December 7, 2018
- 0 Comments
How might it be possible to have the Divine dwell with us and among us?
In the book of Exodus, God commanded the building of the Mishkan, the sanctuary that would travel with the Israelites as they made their way through the wilderness to the land of great promise. Let them make Me a sanctuary that I may dwell among them. (Exodus 25:8) We learn from this instruction that it is with the people not within the structure where the Eternal would reside.
This week, as we celebrate Shabbat and Chanukah, we turn to a special reading from the prophet, Zechariah, who lived at the time of the return from exile following the destruction of the first Temple by the Babylonians. Upon the Israelites’ return, construction would eventually begin anew. Zechariah proclaimed:
Shout for joy, Fair Zion! For lo, I come; and I will dwell in your midst—declares the Eternal. (2:14)
Once again the people who had survived devastation and deportation by the Babylonians could recreate their sanctuary with the promise of the Eternal dwelling among them. Zechariah brought them hope by exhorting patience.
The conditions to which the exiles returned were hardly ideal. Threatened by economic and political conditions, the project languished. Zechariah helped the people imagine a new sanctuary filled with the light of the Divine rather than be deterred by dark despair. It would take the perseverance of the people to rebuild.
Zechariah offered the now famous words: Not by might, not by power, but by My spirit. (4:6)
He believed then what we discover in our own days, that political and economic pressures have the ability to consume us, but we can find the sacred among us and with us.
Chanukah and Shabbat both remind us that might and power come from the strength of our spirit endowed by the Divine. We can face devastation and loss while we mine our own courage to discover the hope Zechariah offered in ancient days and in our own.
Shabbat Shalom and Hag Sameah!
Tonight join us for a musical Chanukah Shabbat with Dan Nichols.
At 5:00 p.m. all families are invited to Shabbat Mishpachah dinner.
Our family friendly Chanukah Shabbat open to the entire Greater Boston community begins at 6:00 p.m. If you cannot join us live stream HERE.
Tomorrow Torah Study begins at 9:00 a.m. with a short service followed by a lively discussion. Tomorrow afternoon at 4:00 p.m. there is a Spiritual Practice Lab Meditative Chanukah Gathering with Rabbi Zecher and Rabbi Jacobson.
There is a Communal Havdalah at 6:15 p.m., then at 6:30 p.m. there is a Coffeehouse with musical guest Dan Nichols.
Please find everything happening for Chanukah this Shabbat HERE.
I look forward to your thoughts and reflections, please connect with me directly HERE.
 Plaut Commentary, page 353