Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Parshat Terumah, (Exodus 26:15-26:30)-1/29/2014

I wish they were done with this silly Tabernacle. What is so funny is that my son created such a creation as a set for his animation that will be in the Whitney Biennal in March. It is an indoor tennis court, built to rigid specifications. Unknowingly he made it with similar proportions to the Tabernacle Tent. He spend about two years on the set, and fretted endlessly with detail after detail. The floor was made of little 2" squares of slate, each of which was split in half (by hand).

My wife does Japanese tea ceremony, and also makes implements for the ceremony. When she does a public ceremony with her teacher, they prepare for weeks, making sure every detail is right.

So what is this "detail" all about. How did we all inherit this drive for perfection? My obsession with doing every day a picture and a Torah blog post has the same ridiculous focus. Why? I don't get paid from this. I'm not looking for a job. I could just watch TV. Why do we come to life when we are told to make something beautiful? Does it matter? One of my challenges at the zen center is to stop before I open the door and to leave the crud of the day outside. Or is it really crud? Of course not. But there certainly is something to leave outside, so that as I go in, the air settles and peace is found. Then another set of instructions occur. Close the door quietly. Bow to the ino. Take your shoes off. Place them quietly in the rack. And on and on. It is all the stuff I grew up thinking I hated ... and now I love it.

There are numbers throughout the parshah: two planks, one ring, eight planks with silver sockets, sixteen sockets, ... What is that about? Attention to detail? Attention to glorifying G_d? There is one 15 foot cube sized room built that priests may only enter once a year on the day of atonement. Cool?

Why do we built with care? That question plagues my mind.

Here's the lattice work that my Grandpa painted in the 60s!

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