The Synagogue of Unity

(As mentioned, the literal meaning of the Beit Haknesset is the House of Ingathering. Not only is it a place of ingathering, but it is a house of ingathering specifically. The concept of a "house" in Kabbalah indicates the bringing together of parts-in-potential for the purpose of actualizing those parts into a greater whole. For example, a person's home may contain a table, refrigerator, oven, and couch. Imagine the walls of that home were taken away. This person still has the table, refrigerator, oven, and couch, but they are now scattered and individual. Put back the walls of the house and those possessions become something greater than just possessions with walls around them—they become a "home." The concept of a house, therefore, is the ability to unify and actualize parts-in-potential into an all-encompassing functioning unit.

Thus, the Jewish community center is not called "The Ingathering." Nor is it called the "Place of Ingathering." Rather, we refer to it as the House of Ingathering, implying that each individual being gathered in is part of a greater collective whole. When the individuals of the community enter, they form something larger than the sum total of their individual selves; they form the collective Jewish people, each contributing their personal "mini-face" of God to be incorporated as a unique aspect of the greater face of God that the Jewish people personify.)

The Circle Dance of Jewish Unity
When this Jewish unity becomes properly manifest, each individual can experience God from the portal perspectives of other individuals of the Jewish people, as well as the collective Jewish nation itself.

This is what the circle dance, commonplace at Jewish events, is all about. In the circle dance, everyone is equidistant from the center with a unique viewpoint of the center. The Talmud states that in the World to Come the righteous will do a circle dance around God, implying that each person will have a unique angle of God-perception. And just as in a circle dance everyone moves gradually from spot to spot, the collective unity (expressed by the circle) of the Jewish people will allow for the participants to share their unique God-angles with each other.

The role of the Jewish community center is to facilitate this experience to whatever extent possible. Due to this abundant task, Jewish law dictates that the Jewish community center is to be exalted. Since the Jewish community center is a holy place by its dedication and use, in addition to being a location that people sense on their own to be a place of God, how appropriate would it be to treat it as anything other than an awe-inspiring edifice? For the purpose of inspiring those who enter it to contemplate higher aspirations, their soul side, and national unity, every effort should be made to glorify the Jewish community center.

7/27/2011 4:00:00 AM