February 22, 2024 / 13 Adar I, 5784 • Parshat Tetzaveh
Issue 809
Dedicated in loving memory of Mrs. Miriam Friedman

It is there [in the Tabernacle] that I will convene with the Israelites; it will thus be sanctified with My glory.

Exodus 29:43

Without discounting the value and importance of personal, private prayer, the Torah places great emphasis as well on communal prayer. The Sages teach us that “the Holy One, blessed be He, never spurns the prayers offered communally.”

Thus, the Tabernacle served as the venue for both directions of communication between G-d and the Jewish people: G-d conveyed His messages to the people there (through Moses), and the people gathered there to offer up their prayers to G-d.

This dual function has continued in the synagogue: We gather there both for communal prayer and for communal study of the Torah (which is how we can hear G-d’s messages to us nowadays). Indeed, both in English and Hebrew, the words “synagogue” and beit keneset mean “house of assembly.”

Continuing this theme at home, as well, it is appropriate to designate a fixed place for both prayer and Torah study, in order to help us keep in mind that communication with G-d is a two-way street: He speaks to us through the Torah just as surely as we pour out our hearts to Him in prayer

--Daily Wisdom Volume 3