This is the third Shabbat of Elul, and I’m thinking about making (and filling) space.
“Tzimtzum” is the word some people use to explain how God made room for us.
The problem tzimtzum solves is the one where you have the concept of an infinite God – God who literally takes up every molecule of space there is – and yet wanted to create a world (a universe, in actuality) in which we had space to exist. Tzimtzum describes a withdrawing, a pulling inward, that God did in order to make room for us.
This provides a wonderful metaphor to understand relationships. Have you ever been out with someone who sucks all the oxygen out of the room? Who takes up every ounce of available space (mental, emotional, and sometimes physical)? It’s no fun. There’s no chance of a relationship.
God didn’t just want little workers. Little automatons. Little random bits of chemistry and star-stuff that bang against the bars of an invisible cage for amusement. God wanted someone with which to have a conversation. A mutual connection. A relationship. And for that it meant NOT filling every molecule of existence.
Here in Elul, we have an opportunity to consider how we fill the space around us. And to ask whether God’s example might be something we need to emulate more, or better – both in respect to God and also the people in our lives.