Thought Of The Week
The Palace of Displacement
As we move out of the extraordinary journey of the counting the Omer and then opening ourselves up to the truths we need to know on Shavu'ot, I usually take one or two teachings from this period and focus on them a bit. From our study of Rabbi Nachman's teaching on Shavu'ot night, I introduced a Kabbalistic idea, "Heichal HaTemurot", "the palace of displacement". A core part of Nachman's teaching is awakening into moments when we feel something awry in our lives; that something in our lives is out of place.
During our study of Rabbi Nachman's teachings Shavu'ot night, we saw that this kind of displacement is an ongoing theme in the Bible. Abraham had to leave his homeland, and Yishma'el, Abraham's first born, is displaced by Isaac. Jacob and Esau are born in the wrong order. Joseph should be the elder brother, and certainly Judah should outrank Reuben. Moses is raised in the house of Pharaoh.
The people want to replace God with the Molten Calf and then go back to Egypt instead of into Canaan. The cousin of Moses, Korach, feels himself to be dispossessed, which leads to a great rebellion. In many of these narratives, the experience that one has been displaced, and must strive to find one's proper place, is authenticated by God. At other times, we know that the sense of displacement is defiance.
Rabbi Nachman taught that displacement is a core requisite for growth (at least for some spiritual types). For my teachings this Shabbat, I would like to go further into Rabbi Nachman's teachings on displacement and exile, the Palace of Displacement, and the remedies that Rabbi Nachman teaches us.
Rabbi Mordecai Finley