Thursday: The Elevation of Sensuality
Adar I 30, 5776 · March 10, 2016
Fifth Reading: Exodus 40:1–16
G-d then gave Moses specific instructions how to erect the Tabernacle. Included in these instructions was where to place the Laver – the urn from which the priests washed their hands and feet in preparation for officiating in their roles.
The Elevation of Sensuality
(וְנָתַתָּ אֶת הַכִּיֹּר בֵּין אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד וּבֵין הַמִּזְבֵּחַ וגו': (שמות מ:ז
[G-d told Moses,]
“You must place the Laver between the Tent of Meeting and the Altar.”
The Laver was made out of the mirrors that the Jewish women donated for the construction of the Tabernacle. The women had used these vanity mirrors to make sure that the Jewish people would continue to exist: When the men returned home, beaten and exhausted after toiling all day in slave labor in Egypt, their wives had them look at the two of them together in their mirrors, arousing their husbands’ marital passion.Spiritually, the Laver signifies the necessity to cleanse ourselves from even the slightest tinge of materialism before entering our inner Tabernacle.
It therefore seems illogical that the Laver was made out of mirrors that were used to arouse sensuality. Indeed, for this very reason, Moses originally wanted to reject this donation.The sensual drive is undoubtedly the most powerful form of lust. Yet the fact that the Laver was made from the Jewish women’s mirrors teaches us that physical intimacy can not only be a holy act, but – when used to reach greater spiritual heights – it can even assist us in purifying ourselves of our worldly, materialistic, and physical orientation.