The New Shul

Weekly Message

This Shabbat, we will complete the book of Vayikra (Leviticus), which ends with the laws of arakhin, of appraising gifts that have been sanctified to the service of God. One of those laws begins “If a person sanctifies his house to be sacred to the Lord. . .”  (Lev. 27:14)

By repunctuating the Hebrew, Rabbi Menahem Mendel of Kotzk reinterpreted the verse to mean  “If a person sanctifies his house, he is sacred to the Lord.”   In other words, we are holy to the extent that our homes, the structures around us, are holy.  We discover the image of God within us by placing ourselves in sacred surroundings.

There can be many such “homes,” external structures that nourish the spark of holiness inside us:  the family that we build around ourselves, the circle of friends that we choose, the spiritual community in which we worship and learn.  All of those structures are “homes,” whose holiness enables us to find the holiness within ourselves.   May our shul always be one such home for all of us.