Matter & Spirit – The Blog

11 בSeptember 2014

The Entrance – Ki Tavo



Now Is the Time

I own neither a vineyard nor an orchard. All that remains of the Beit Hamikdash is one lone wall, and there are no Kohanim there to greet me or accept my bikkurim offering.
But I have a sweet little boy who took a basket of figs that we bought in the supermarket to nursery, and a darling daughter who wove a tiara of barley stalks for her flaxen hair.
I fulfill a more urban mitzvah of bikkurim, one that overflows directly from my job and the wellsprings of my heart. I have another way of sharing the fruits of my labor.
“V’haya ki tavo el ha’aretz asher Hashem notein lecha…v’lakachta mi’reishit kol pri ha’adama asher tavi me’artzecha…”
“And it shall be when you come to the land that Hashem is giving you… And you shall take from the first of all fruit of the ground that you shall bring from your land… And you shall place it in a basket and go to the place that Hashem chooses…to place His Name there” (Devarim 26:1-2).
The weekly portion opens with the message that upon arriving in the Land, one must immediately forge connections. Connections through giving, connections through recalling the tremendous bounty that Hashem has granted us. The myriad gifts that a Jew enjoys do not derive from the strength of his hand, but from a loftier place in the heavens, which is why one must never gloat upon them but rather share them generously with others.
Social media networking offers us a brand new stage and opportunity to train our hearts and characters to give, to share without fearing that we will lose something of ourselves, to become a contributing member in a wide circle of benevolence, creativity and renewal.
And this is why I am launching this blog here and now.



Searching for Partners

Throughout my work, I am flooded constantly by this sentiment. Every time I complete a project, after spilling endless blood, sweat, tears, and above all prayers; once everything is perfectly in place, I pause for a moment, take a deep breath and reflect. I reflect upon the boundless aid that I received from the greatest Partner of all.
I was supported throughout every step of the way, through every idea and notion that sprang into my mind. As King David so eloquently expressed in Tehillim, “Im Hashem lo yivneh bayit…If Hashem would not build a house, its builders would labor in vain.”
I benefited from the help and collaboration of my sincere, devoted partners who laid bricks and plastered, chiseled and hammered, tiled and painted, without whom the house would never stand.
Above all, I enjoyed the true partnership of my dear clients whose dreams I endeavor to realize and whose visions I venture to transform into reality as we forge through the process, step by step.
Some clients reside in my immediate neighborhood in Jerusalem, while others live farther away. Still others live abroad, and for them, my designs constitute realizing a lifelong dream of partnering with our Holy Land. These clients entrust me to design and furnish their apartments from A to Z, to infuse material and spiritual beauty into their homes so when the hour of Ki Tavo finally arrives, when they step foot into their new home in Israel, it is as perfect as they always dreamed…



About this Blog
Through this forum, I will open a fascinating window into the weekly Torah portion, and simultaneously, a door that will invite you to enter into the worlds of the many wonderful professionals with whom I work hand-in-hand on a daily basis: Carpenters, floorers, painters, lighting experts, storeowners and distributors, to name just a few. I will acquaint you with a rainbow of special individuals whom I have been fortunate to meet and know—professionals, nonprofessionals and an incredible variety of colorful characters who enthuse and inspire.



I’ll post attractive pictures, intriguing thoughts and useful tips, along with creative solutions to many questions that you’ve doubtless stumbled upon. And, of course, a wealth of surprises!
It’ll be Design. It’ll be Interior and Internal. It’ll be Beauty. It’ll be Substance. And most important, it’ll be Spiritual! And it will Matter. It’ll Matter to you and to me, linking us and allowing us to share with one another.
Stop! Entrance Ahead!
One verse in this portion speaks specifically to me, and is particularly apropos at this time: “Baruch ata b’voecha, u’baruch ata b’tzeitecha—Blessed are you in your coming, and blessed are you in your going.”
As an interior designer, I naturally and immediately associate this verse with the main entrance and exit of a house—the front door, threshold and foyer.
Some houses lack foyers. As soon as the door opens, the viewer is exposed to the interior of the house in all its glory: The living room, the quality of light in the house, the view beyond the window. In other houses, the foyer is significant, a prelude of what is to come. It obliges the visitor to pause before traversing into the deeper interior, breeding a moment of question, of curiosity and intrigue as to what one is destined to see and encounter…



The front door also tells a story, alluding to the unique character of the people living inside the house, their tastes and perceptions. Often, it reveals what is soon to come…



Is the door antique or modern? Wide and formidable or narrow and modest? Are the doors opaque electric, or are they translucent, revolving, flooding the interior with natural light? Does the doorbell buzz, tinkle or peal as bells? Is the sign on the door heavy and gilded, does it hang slightly crooked, the masterpiece of a proud kindergartener, or is it a family collaboration, a creative art project fashioned on a long summer day?



What Do I Like Best?
I perceive the front door as creating barriers between open spaces, determining what will remain outside the home and what I will invite to penetrate. It reveals the person I am outside, and what occurs when I open the door to my house to enter my inner sanctuary. How great is the gap between the two? Which ‘me’ do I love and appreciate most?
The contrast applies, as well. When the door closes behind me, what do I carry outside to the world? What did I absorb at home that I can now share with others?
I once heard of a special prayer whispered in a stairwell before the future unfolds. Before knocking on the door to your house, to your doctor or boss, before opening the door to your classroom, stop for just one moment. Take the opportunity to pause, reflect and entreat that only goodness shall emerge from your passage across the threshold.



Standing in the stairwell outside your doorway and penning this introductory blog, I too whisper this heartfelt prayer of new, beautiful beginnings.


6-50_50cm-copythe photo provited by Shiviti

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