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Question: What is the difference between a person who spends his or her days merely existing, and a person who is fully engaged in living?
People who fall into the mentality of ‘existing’ go about their lives in ‘black and white’. They eat, work, exercise, marry, have sex, raise children, go on vacation, and buy new things. They may even laugh every now and then. They can be heard emphatically reporting on the last thing they bought, and where they went on vacation. However, if you look deep into their eyes, you may find a dullness that has replaced the sparkle. And for good reason; the eyes are the windows of the soul. You know when you are in ‘existing’ mode when you stop asking the important questions, stop searching for the deeper meaning of life. It’s just too hard, too much work. You don’t listen to your intuitive voice for guidance. The 5 senses dictate your every decision. You know you are in ‘existing’ mode when you settle – for anything.
Who wants to just exist when we can truly live? Imagine living in this world but not being controlled by the illusion of limitation – beginning with your mind. We would be ecstatically happy, share incessantly, and feel truly alive because we would be constantly aware of, acting from and in tune with the immeasurable, unlimited abundance of everything that this world has to offer.
That sounds great, doesn’t it? But, what does that have to do with the Torah portion of Pekudei?
Pekudei is the last chapter of the Book of Shemot (Book of Names) – more commonly known as the Book of Exodus. In this chapter, we learn the value of the tools that have been given to us; the 72 Names of God and the the 42-Letter Name of God (the Ana B’koach, a unique prayer and formula built of 42 letters written in seven sentences of six words each).
When we experience chaos in our lives, when we forget what we are doing on this planet, it is because we have forgotten or neglected to make use of the tools available to us. That’s when we lose our way and feel cut off from the Light Force energy of the Creator – the energy that makes us feel truly ALIVE.
In the portion of Pekudei, we receive a detailed description of each item and its use in the Tabernacle. In other words, we are being introduced to a very specific spiritual technology. When Moses prepared the Tabernacle (portable Temple), everything was anointed so that its molecular structure could be converted from a mere physical existence to a spiritual level. This conversion takes place in our own lives as well. A dollar is merely a piece of paper, but when given to someone in need, that dollar becomes the manifestation of a spiritual action. Even sexual relations can and should be transformed from an action of the body into an action of the soul.
The first words of the Pekudei portion in Hebrew are “Eile pekudei”, which means, “These are the accounts.” It is referring to the ‘clerks’ of the Tabernacle. In his commentary, Rav Berg asks, “What makes a ‘good clerk’? A good clerk doesn’t try to figure things out; a good clerk follows the instructions of his or her employer. The employer doesn’t want clerks to make decisions on their own without consulting him or her. Clerks have to be channels, nothing more.”
The Light frequently directs us to act in a certain way, and yet we all too often don’t heed His direction. We all have a part of the Light within us, and yet we don’t act as if we do. Every time we treat someone unkindly, or give in to the perception of lack and fear or uncertainty or pride or selfishness, we are not reflecting the Light Force of the Creator inside of us or inside the people we encounter. This is an indication that we don’t always value what the Light (that subtle voice of intuition that lives inside each of us) tells us. It is important to remember that the Light exists in every one of us and that negativity has an effect not only on us, but on the entire world.
When the Tabernacle was finally completed, Moses put everything in its proper place. Without order, there is no completion. We, too, need to put our priorities in order and in their proper place. We may have all the pieces of the puzzle, but if we don’t put them in their proper place, we can’t see the complete picture.
Once everything was in its place and the vessel (the Tabernacle itself) was prepared, the Light of the Creator entered the Tabernacle. This was the first time there had ever been a physical location for the Light of the Creator to enter and dwell.
The building of the Tabernacle for the Creator symbolizes how each of us can build and prepare our own personal vessel – our life – so that it can be filled with the Light.
The greatest blessing a person can receive is to be divinely guided in every moment. By doing so, we accomplish the greatest of achievements that will last with us forever – overcoming the illusion of the 5 senses.
Now, that’s living!