Whenever the Jews traveled, they dismantled the Mishkan (the Tabernacle) for the trip and reassembled it at their new encampment. No matter where the Mishkan was reassembled, it retained all the sanctity of the original Mishkan that Moshe initially assembled. From this we learn that when we travel we can take our holiness with us and reestablish it wherever we go.–Likutey Halachos, Reb Nosson
In this week’s Torah portion, Bamidbar, we learn of the journey of the children of Israel through the midbar (the desert-wilderness). (This journey is possibly the root of the generally non-Jewish expression, “the wandering Jew.”)
Wandering connotes seeking but not quite finding, approaching but always turning. But a wandering Jew, one who carries her holiness with her, is never lost. Hashem is always with her.
The Mishkan, dismantled and reassembled throughout the travels in the midbar, reminded each of the Jews, “I am here to reconstruct the Mishkan, therefore Hashem is here with me.”
But even today without the Mishkan, we know that Hashem is here with each of us, all the time.
Judaism isn’t really an ism the way other isms are isms. A Jew can’t decide to be a Jew on Shabbos, and something else during the week. You can’t check your Jewishness at the door when you go to work, or put it on hold while on vacation. You can’t leave it in the car while shopping at the mall, even if you crack the windows.
If you don’t consciously take Jewish holiness with you, you’re still Jewish. You do take your Jewish soul with you, the one that’s imprinted with the good deeds you’ve done in the past.
That goodness inside you, the place where you shine most brightly, contains all the tools and materials you need to build your personal holy Mishkan—wherever you may go.
P.S. We’re starting a new Breslov class in Brooklyn next Tuesday at 8:30. For more information, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.