In the Babylonian Talmud, our sages make the following observation concerning human intimacy and physical space:
“When love is strong, a couple can make their bed on [the width of] a sword-blade, however, when love is no longer present, a bed of sixty cubits does not provide sufficient room” (Sanhedrin 7a). This is equally true as it relates to our relationship with God, and it is reflected in the Torah portion we read this week.
In parasha Terumah, the Israelites are instructed to build a sanctuary so “God may dwell among them” (Exhodus 25:8), and as we read the blue prints for the construction of this holy tabernacle for God, we would expect to find a grand space. On the contrary, the tabernacle is an extremely small structure to be carried through the wilderness.
Like a couple who can find enough space to share together on a bed which is the width of a sword-blade, God’s presence in our lives does not need grand sanctuaries to reside. For each of us today, the human heart is a modern day tabernacle. With love, we invite God in, and there God may abide forever.