95% of couples get together due to a simple musical chairs game. You’re out there playing, dancing around and suddenly, the music stops, and this is it. You could have been fishing in Alaska, hiking in Nepal, diving near Bali, but you happen to be taking a class on Late Renaissance Philosophy in some college. The clock was ticking, the music stops and there he was.
Ok, the truth is, I have no idea if that’s how it is and what the percentage is. For one, if I try to look up anything about dating, I get advertisements, articles promoting “free relationships” and info about archaeology and carbon 14 “dating”.
So I made it up – in order to make a point.
This week’s Torah portion opens with Moses assembling all the people to build the Mishkan, the mobile Tabernacle. After lengthy instructions, it’s now time to actually start working. Everybody comes, tools in hand, materials ready for donation, talents willing to work. The excitement is contagious and the energy is high. Moses will reveal the instructions he received while being alone with G-d; maybe even bring a model of what to do, like G-d showed him a few things back on Mt. Sinai. Ready? Set? We begin! Then Moses tells everybody to keep Shabbat…
How can it be? I am about to build G-d’s house! Surely, that’s more important than anything!! But not so. No Temple will survive the turmoils of history, but Shabbat will. Shabbat takes precedence and yet, they are closely related.
As has been said elsewhere, the Mishkan, and later the Temple, is in the dimension of space, what Shabbat is in time: a place to enter and connect. If Genesis was the story of a family, the Book of Exodus, which we’re now ending, is about building a nation. What is needed in order to build such an entity, and by extension, a couple, a family, or an organization? We say we need a common past; we need a common future; we need a language and culture, but our history shows that all of those might be lost to us every so often. What we need to create and sustain a relationship are tools in the present – things to do together, places to be in, and times to meet.
This Shabbat is also one of special four Shabbatot in the spring around Purim and Pesach. I bring someone else’s voice for 3 minutes of wisdom: