This week in congregations all over the world we read the portion of the Torah which commands us to construct a Ner Tamid, an Eternal Light which is to burn in front of the Tabernacle and remind us of the eternal presence of God. This powerful ritual light continues to hang over the arc which houses the Torah scrolls in every synagogue around the world. It is a powerful symbol for every Jew, and it reminds us that we, as a community, keep God’s presence alive in our lives as we engage Torah.
Our sacred community is, in part, energized and illuminated by our desires to bring our collective talents and passions together. When it takes place within the walls of our congregation, it can serve to connect us in a very special way to our faith. This idea is poetically articulated by the Ba’al Shem Tov (founder of Jewish mysticism) who stated the following in regards to the sacred nature of marriage.
From every human being there rises a light that reaches straight from heaven – and when two people who are destined to be together come together – a single brighter light shines forth from their united being.
As we continue to bring our collective talents together, whether it be for worship, Mitzvah Day, religious school or even to brew beer – may this idea of a single brighter flame resonate within each of us. For this is the eternal flame that transcends time and space.