“And you shall make boards for the Tabernacle of acacia wood…”—Exodus 26:15.
This week’s portion gives the guidelines for the construction of the Tabernacle, the portable sanctuary that the Children of Israel carried with them throughout their forty-year sojourn in the desert.
The walls of the Tabernacle were to be made from gold encased planks of wood taken from the acacia tree. In Biblical Hebrew, the term for this type of wood is “wood of shitim.” The word “shitim” is related to the word “shtut” which means stupidity or madness. This double meaning infers that the builders of the Tabernacle were to take- warped thinking – and make an abode for God from it. The antithesis of, and rectification for irrational thinking is not rational thinking, but faith.
Faith is a type of thinking which serves as a sanctuary for the Presence of the Power of The Universe. Reason is the middle path; Irrationality is a deviation from it.
As every navigator knows, once a captain has drifted off course, he will never reach his final destination merely by traveling in the proper direction from now on. The person who has strayed can get back on track only by veering in the opposite direction of past deviations. In other words, a person whose pattern of thinking has definitely diverged from common sense, cannot correct the error by merely trying to think “normally” from now on. Though even someone who has always been “normal” can strongly benefit from a leap of faith, those whose rational minds have become twisted must make a radical shift toward the other extreme—toward the irrationality of faith.
Faith is not rational. If it were, it could not rightly be called faith, but reason. Reason is the tool for grasping that, which is knowable, while faith connects us to that which is unknowable—the wonder and mystery of existence.
Spiritual renewal restores us to sanity, Terumah; so there are two types of irrational thinking – one that falls short of rational thought, and one that transcends it. Irrational faith – not reason – is the opposite of and, more pointedly, the antidote for absurd and illogical thinking. The seeker’s obsession with self-destruction is less than rational, to put it mildly. Treating it with conventional psychological means is often futile and the prospects for success are grim.
A quality design for living is only accomplished by a psychic change, which is irrational, and requires faith.
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you my Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer