Ma Tovu

Ma Tovu in Hebrew
Ma tovu ohalecha Ya’acov
mish’knotecha Yisrael

How good it is to enter to the tents of Jacob (Abraham, Isaac, Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah)
and to dwell there in the sacred holy Presence of Hashem/Shechinah/Havaya/Adonai

(November, 2020)
As I chanted these words I experienced them in an entirely new way. I saw them offering a pathway of spiritual connection and growth moving from the mere tents of the ancestors to holy dwelling places deeply connected to God.

I feel these words are conveying to us how good it is that we get to enter into the tents of Jacob and to add the possibility of entering the tents of each of the ancestors. By entering their tents we ask to receive the blessings of each one.
For each ancestor has a “ma tovu” a legacy of qualities of goodness to offer us- some kind of gift. For example, Abraham was endowed with faith and trust; the midrash tells of Sarah’s devotion to lighting candles to fill her tent each Shabbas with divine light; Rebecca is known for her kindness….Isaac is associated with love; Jacob is imbued with spiritual strength as a spiritual warrior; Rachel is known for her spiritual devotion and Leah for her abundance.

We enter into the tent of each of them, and then having received their gifts, we move into the sacred dwelling place of Hashem/Shechinah/ Havaya. For the sacred dwelling places are characterized by Yisrael, one who struggles. But the struggle has a particular quality. This struggle is marked by a sacred and holy consistent relationship with God. We move from simply living in a tent to dwelling in sacred connection to God.This represents a shift in consciousness and an ever deepening connection to the One.

Feel free to substitute the Hebrew names for Ya’acov and to change the names in the English for the ancestors and to use different names for God.

By receiving the blessings we are transformed from merely entering into a tent to dwelling in a sacred and holy place.

This shift is also symbolized by the change in name from Jacob to Israel. Jacob lives in a tent, but it is Yisrael, the one who struggles but whose struggle is always within the sacred dwelling of relationship with God.


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