How Beautiful Are Your Tents – Balak
Balak and Bilam are forever stamped as the notoriously evil pair whose plots and intrigue to conspire against the Jews went down in history. Yet when Bilam rose to curse the nation, he was so overcome by the beauty and splendor that he discerned as inherent traits in Am YIsrael that his awesome power to curse instantaneously transformed into the power of blessing.
Imagine Ahmadinejad standing at the podium with microphones and cameras flashing all around in a public address, and instead of condemnation and blame against the Jews, blessings spill forth from his lips!
“And Bilam lifted his eyes, and he saw Yisrael dwelling among its tribes; and the spirit came upon him… And he delivered his prophecy, ‘How beautiful are your tents, Yaakov, your dwelling places, Yisrael…As gardens upon the river…And its seed in many waters…And its kingdom shall be exalted…Those who bless you shall be blessed, and those who curse you shall be cursed…”
What did Bilam see in their houses (or tents, to be more precise!) that impacted him so deeply?
“He saw each and every Tribe dwelling individually and not involved [in each other]; he saw that their doorways were not facing one another, so one would not peek into the tent of his friend” (Rashi). Jewish houses boast a significant element of privacy, and this privacy is a great blessing.
There are private people, and there are people who enjoy exposure. Personally, I lean toward the former, at least in respect to planning and designing a house. I’m a big fan of foyers and private entranceways that offer an element of privacy before entering into the public areas. Bedrooms especially should be situated in the house and designed to guarantee maximal privacy.
It’s been about ten months since I started writing my blog on design that melds matter and spirit. The weekly posts required that I exit my private boundaries and enter a public arena. While this exposure contrasted sharply with my personality and character, I found myself pleasantly surprised as I genuinely enjoyed every moment of time that I invested into my blog. Whether it was scouring the weekly Parsha to choose a topic, drafting the text, editing, or selecting pictures and images, I found my work on the blog to be simultaneously inspiring and fascinating as I identified the stirring connection between matter and spirit.
On the other hand, my commitment to keep up with the weekly portion and the pressure of creating a weekly post proved to be a giant undertaking, requiring inordinate time and investment, which as we all know is the most valuable commodity
Now that I’ve proven myself as a designer and blog writer, and given that two weeks have passed without a blog (and, by the way, the sky didn’t come crashing down. All that happened was that I received several e-mails, phone calls and WhatsApps with “Hey, everything alright?”) So now, I’m drawing the curtain somewhat and returning to my private space where I can seek the proper balance between my inside and out. I’m choosing to continue creating personal designs for my clients on both a physical and spiritual level, while adding an occasional post to my blog to share with you, dear readers, my thoughts, inspirations and more of the significant spirit behind the matter.
Today, I open my door to you and offer you a peek into my own “Tent”—my office.
I love my office, a place that evokes pleasant feelings and inspiration inside me. I love my office for its cool, relaxing color scheme, and I love each of the assorted knickknacks that I’ve collected over the years from a wide variety of places. I love the combination of styles and materials, and I love my towering stacks of design books and magazines.
I love my office for the professional work tools that are always there… And above all, I love my office because of the clients who visit me frequently, filling me with joy and satisfaction once again.
So in the meanwhile, between posts, if you ever feel like popping in for a visit or to seek advice, or even just to get together to chat about spirit or a different “matter”—I’m waiting for you, right here in my tent!
photos by Meitav Imas