This weekend, Jews around the world will commemorate and re-experience the atrocities of Tisha BaAv with fasting, mourning and praying. Tisha BaAv literally means the ninth day of the Hebrew month of Av. Foremost on the list of tragedies that have befallen the Jewish people on this date is the destruction of both Temples, approximately 470 years apart from one another, by the Babylonians and Romans respectively.
However, instead of recalling the history, let us delve deeper into what the Temple was (and will be) all about.
The Temple is like a spiritual hotspot. Just as there are hotspots that receive satellite beams and activate your laptop's internet, so too, there are God spots—spots that access God-perception and activate the soul.
Imagine an advanced satellite whose beams exist equally in all places. But to access those beams you need a receiving device. Similarly, God is equally "present" in all places. The difference between a regular spot and a God spot is in our ability to dial in to God's presence.
This is what makes a place holy. It's not that God is more in that place than any other place—that would imply physical limits to God. Rather, the holy place is a location inherently more susceptible to God-consciousness and matters of the soul.
The Hebrew name for the Temple is the Beit Hamikdash -- translated literally as The Holy House, it is the God spot. But just as the Temple is holy, i.e. a place of God-perception and experience, Jewish mysticism teaches that each of us can make ourselves into a mini-Temple—a mini-God spot—by being like a temple. At that point, God "dwells" (i.e. is perceived and experienced) within each one of us just as God "dwells" within the Temple. And similar to the manner in which people would go to the Temple in Jerusalem for a God experience, they can get a piece of that just by meeting up with you for a cup of coffee.
Building Our Temple
For many of us, this idea sounds distant. How can I be a mini-Temple? Do you have any idea where I have been and what I have done?
No matter where you are, each of us has as our true essence a Godly soul that we can always reconnect to. So turning into a God spot may not be that far off after all.
Think of something you do that is goodly or Godly—even the smallest thing. Perhaps you are giving, a real "people person." Perhaps you have good organization skills. Perhaps you are disciplined or good at fixing things. Since your essence is a soul, a spark of the Infinite, it is impossible that this not be reflected somewhere in your life.
If you're having a tough time finding anything goodly or Godly, it just means you have to keep searching. It is impossible that a soul not show its true self.
It's true that we may have done things we are not all that proud of, but if we look inside we discover that this is not really who we are at our core.
Once you have found a single Godly aspect within yourself, note that this is the real you.
The negative stuff, no matter how strong it is, doesn't reflect the essence of who you are. It's a distraction and deviation from your true self. (Of course, the intent here is not to absolve anyone from responsibility for his or her negative actions. We are responsible for every choice we make. But realize those negative actions do not truly reflect the person's Godly essence.)
The moment you come to terms with this, you judge yourself differently—and favorably—and you let go. You can start to notice more good points about yourself. And gradually you align your consciousness with the perspective that the mistakes and mis-moves you have made are not the real you. This helps give you the confidence to change your course of action and live more in sync with your soul. And the more you do that, the more you become a God Spot, a person who reflects Godliness in the world. That's what it means to become a mini-temple.
Searching for Myself
With the loss of the Temple, the focal point of piercing clarity has faded. As the beacon of light dims, confusion and darkness increases. The world's source of inspiration and experience of self-awareness has become a memory. But there is still the spark of hope . . .
It is specifically during this deepest darkness—this spiritual midnight—that we search out a point of light in ourselves from which to build. After all, if I can find a point of goodness and Godliness even in the most difficult and darkest of circumstances, I can grab a hold of that, strengthen it, reinforce it, and build myself up from there.
And the same applies to the world.
When we are experiencing times of difficulties, hardships, and dangers, it is easy to fall into a sense of despair. It is easy to feel abandoned and alone. However, if I can hone in on one spark of clarity and Godliness, if I can find one aspect of my life or one time in my life in which I experienced a "spot" of God, I can draw strength from that to not only carry on, but to look deeper into other areas of my life and find a spot of God there too.
As we take on this way of living and gain this perspective, we build the world back up to the time when we all merit to see the return of the God spot, the Temple in Jerusalem.
May it be soon!
7/26/2012 4:00:00 AM