By Rabbi Lori Shapiro
What if we already possess Proof of Intelligent Life in the Universe? If, on a moment to moment basis, we make Contact – like Carl Sagan type Contact. Regularly. Right here. Right now.
Torah teaches us that the Tabernacle, or Mishkan, was the dwelling place for making contact; it was where the unseen revealed itself in what has become to be known as the Divine Feminine, the Shechinah. This Mishkan was not in heaven; it was a portal to the heavens. And the agency of its creation was in its construction itself; its making by the hands of a community, without sophisticated technology; individuals who sought to create a dwelling place for the experience of an unseen holiness. Together.
Midrash Rabbah teaches a Biblical folklore of seven “righteous people” who brought the Shechinah “down from the celestial to the terrestrial regions,” and names the individuals – from Abraham to Moses – whose actions directed by their hearts revealed the unseen until the Shechinah found her final resting place in the holy space of the Mishkan. To the Biblical Creative, this dwelling place represented something larger than us; it was the place of Terrestrial Contact.
It is with this inspiration that all of us at Open Temple build a holy space in Venice today.
On May 17, we are asking that you “Bring the Offerings; or, a Piece, of Your Heart” back to our local Mishkan: Open Temple. We are offering a special Shabbat service to say “I tithe a piece of my heart to you, for you have filled it with Gratitude.” It’s a time to express “Thank You for your Service, Open Temple, month after month, year after year, without asking for anything in return.” And please know: we are only asking, as we have identified through positive psychology and our own personal love practice that it is in the Giving as well as in the Receiving that we Make Contact.
Contact is about Caring. Contact is about Love. Contact is about Treating another as we want to be Treated. Contact is about Expressing Gratitude. Contact is about Facing our Fears. Contact is about Living Life Courageously. Contact is about Vulnerability. Contact is about Crying when we see Beauty. Contact is about Experiencing Empathy. Contact is about Feeling Less Alone in this World. Contact is about Creating a Space to Receive Revelation. Contact is about Gaining a new sense that Opens our Hearts, our Lips, our Eyes, our Ears, our Touch to Another. Contact is the Presence of an Unforeseen Force in the Universe Revealed in a New Moment, Assuring Us that There Exists Something Larger than Ourselves in our Presence. Contact is about All of Us.
Please Create with Open Temple on May 17, and Give a Little Piece of Your Heart. And in turn, we will continue to Love, to Create, and to Reach Out and Offer it Right Back to You.
Let’s Make Contact.
With Love and Light,