Va-Yakhel & Pekudei
For the week of March 9, 2002 / 25 Adar 5762
Torah: Shemot / Exodus 35:1 - 40:38
also Shemot / Exodus 12:1-20
Haftarah: 1 Melachim / 1 Kings 7:51 - 8:21
Replaced by Ezekiel 45:16 46:18

Worship Changes You

When the people of the land come before the LORD at the appointed feasts, whoever enters by the north gate to worship is to go out the south gate; and whoever enters by the south gate is to go out the north gate. No one is to return through the gate by which he entered, but each is to go out the opposite gate (Ezekiel 46:9).

In this week's Haftarah Ezekiel foretells of a renewed temple. One of the peculiar regulations of this temple has to do with the flow of the crowd during festival time. People entering by the north gate had to exit by the opposite gate, the south gate. Those entering by the south gate would have to exit by the north one.

I imagine it is possible that the reason for this rule could simply be one of crowd control, since it seems this was only necessary at festival time, when there would be very many people coming to the temple.

But while the reason may only be a practical one, it makes me think of something that happens or should happen as a result of worshipping God. True worship of God changes us.

The Torah tells us that our original close relationship with God was ruined because our first parents chose to believe a lie. Ever since then we stumble about in life unclear as to what truth really is. Looking for fulfillment in all sorts of things, we are never satisfied.

When we worship God we acknowledge who he really is and align ourselves with the truth. Worship turns us away from ourselves and enables us to face God, so that he can in turn nourish us, heal us, and lead us. Every time we face God we are transformed a little more into his likeness.

So just as the people were not to exit by the same gate they entered, when we worship God, we should determine not to return to our old ways of thinking and living. We must be ready to keep moving forward in life as we are transformed by God.

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