Copy Right 2022

Rabbi Dr Zvi Aviner

IDOLATRY-9/ The Shechinah






Let’s pause and summarize what we’ve learned.

Let’s ask: Who or what is the Shechinah?


The term comes from the Hebrew “Li-shchon” which means “to dwell.”

For instance: Moses’ Tabernacle is called “Mi-shchan,”

a Place where Hashem (YHVH) Dwells.


As it says: “And they (Israel) shall build me a Tabernacle

 and I shall Dwell IN THEM” (Exodus 25: 8).


The simple meaning of the verse is, that YHVH would Dwell

IN THEIR CAMP. Yet the sages have said:

“In them – inside them, or inside their heart.”


Hence the Shechinah is that part – or aspect – of YYVH

that Dwells in the Tabernacle, and in our human hearts.


Hence the Tabernacle is a “temporary station”

from where She would Dwell  in Israel’s hearts.


From here comes the teaching that a person should aspire

to build a Temple for Hashem (YHVH) in his heart,

a room in which She would Dwell.  That idea, for instance,

underlies the daily service prayers we offer three times a day.


The Completion of CREATION

The sages saw Moses’ Tabernacle, the Mishchan, as the completion

of CREATION as told in Genesis Chapter One.  How?


At the end of the Six Days, the Torah presents the Sabbath,

where it says:


“And ELHM ended all His work that He had done

and ELHM blessed the Seventh Day and He sanctified it

for in it He abstained from all His Work

that He had done, TO MAK


The Sabbath section ends with an apparently

superfluous word: TO MAKE. Since ELHM had already ‘finished

’His work and has already blessed the sabbath,

why then does the verse add “to make?”


The Talmud explains – ELHM has left something for Man

to accomplish beyond Genesis Chapter One:

to make for Him a Tabernacle


Thus, building Moses’ Tabernacle would finish

the building of Six Days, or the Six Floors of CREATION.


The emphasis is on the action of ‘building,’ which is a process



There are many similarities in the selection of words and style,

between the two sections – the Sabbath in the Book of Genesis,

and the erection of Moses’ Tabernacle in the book of Exodus.


For instance

In Exodus it says that Moses finished all the works of the Tabernacle,

Similar to Genesis where it says that ELHM finished all the work that He had done,

and so forth.  (see   Nechamah Liebovitz commentary.)


Thus, at the end of Chapter One,

YHVH was still looking for a Place to Dwell, to REST.

Yes, ELHM created the world in six Days,

yet it is up to Adam to finish the story.


And it is up to Adam to offer Her a Place to REST,

either in the Holy Temple under the cherubs,

or in our hearts, our deeds and our Sabbath.


This is why the Laws of the Sabbath

And the building of the Tabernacle

Were given to Israel intertwined,

In the same section in Exodus.


The very prototypes of work used to build the Tabernacle, Mishkan,

are the same prototypes of work forbidden to do on the Sabbath.

Since the Sabbath, after all, is a Temple in Time

where the Shechinah Dwells and Rests,




We need to understand how extraordinary it is

that the Merciful YHVH and the Judgmental ELKM

Share the rule of the same Universe!


YHVH stands for the Absolute MERCY, with no judgment,

ELKM stands for the Absolute JUSTICE, with no mercy.


Thus, before making Adam,

ELHM created ruled over the Six Days, awesomely alone,

YHVH ruled over the Eternal, Sabbath Day to Come, awesomely alone,

with no intermingling and no dialogue between them.



These two Attributes are so mutually exclusive,

their values are so much apart, that there is no

common ground for a dialogue between them.

Thus, they don’t usually rule over the same Universe together


In order to form a common new Heavenly Court,

Each Attribute “had’ to make concession towards the other!




The Attributes Consenting to Each Other4: 




ELKM Accommodated Towards YHVH

During the Six Days, ELKM ruled ‘awesomely alone,’

exalting Himself, giving Commandments as He wished,

consulting no one, asking no one’s consent or advise.

He was, in short, a Dictator.


He said “let there be light,” and light was there.

He said “let there be grass,” and grass was there.

He said “Let the luminaries be seen regularly,” and they were.

No one objected His word, and no one dared to rebel


But before making Adam, preparing to consult YHVH,

ELKM stepped down from the high pedestal of Dictatorship

and He spoke IN PLURAL saying

“Let Us Make an Adam in Our Form and Our Image.”


Instead of issuing another command like “Let there be an Adam,”

He relinquished his Sole authority and became a KING WHO CONSULTS,

A “democratic” king who listens to other opinions

before making a decision.


This way He accommodated Himself towards

the Attribute of MERCY, YHVH, who is modest and shy,

who resents those who exalt themselves.


He also accommodated Himself towards Adam,

Making it easier for Adam to live under His rule.



YHVH Accommodating Towards ELKM

In Her Domain, the Eternal Sabbath, She RESTS comfortably,

creating nothing, judging no one; Her presence radiates only

holiness, Joy and Love.


To rule the same Universe, to join the Heavenly Court,

YHVH “has” to accommodate towards the JUDGE, ELKM.

Here, She assesses, pays rewards and retributions,

and participates in maintaining the world.


Hence, in our world, She seeks

a Place to REST Her Wing,

a heart that can feel Her values,

a time slot where She could REST as in Her Sabbath.



For that purpose, ELHM offered YHVH – so to speak,

to make together an Adam, with YHVH participation.

Adam would be able to comply with ELHM’s Laws

and also comprehend YHVH and host Her in his heart.



ELKM would plant in Adam a sense for MERCY as a natural reflex,

since that is no what He does.

But He would carve out a room in Adam’s heart

Capable of hosting YHVH.


This is why the verse says:


And ELHM created Adam in His Image,

In His Image did He create Adam.”


It would be up to Adam to accept YHVH and invite Her into his heart.

ELKM would guide Adam, though, by giving him a Torah.


Let’s note that by saying

“Let Us Make an Adam in Our Form and Our Image.”

ELKM had on His mind a From and Image of an ideal Adam

Ito which Adam would have to grow, to become.,

In order to be Very Good and qualify to enter the Sabbath!