A Sanctuary in my Heart (Bilvavi Mishkan Evneh)

The Sefer “Bilvavi Mishkan Evneh (In My Heart I Build A Sanctuary)” is a highly acclaimed manual for the development of a personal and intimate relationship with Hashem. It was authored by Rav Itamar Shwartz, who recently toured the United States.

Dixie Yid has posted all the recorded shiurim of the tour. The shiurim are in easy to understand Hebrew.

If you prefer text to audio, an english translation of the text is published here.

Here is an excerpt:

What in truth is the purpose of man in his world? The words of the Mesillas Yesharim (Ch. 1) are known. He wrote, “In truth, the only true completeness is deveikus (attachment) to Hashem. That is what David HaMelech said (Tehillim 73:28): “And for me, closeness to Hashem is good….” In other words, if one wishes to know what makes a man complete, he should consider what David HaMelech understood to be good for himself. If it was good for him, it is good for every single one of us. He said, “And for me, closeness to Hashem is good.”

No one is interested in a broken table or a broken chair. No one wants to sleep on a broken bed. All the more so, no one deep down wants to be a broken person, but a complete person. (There is a concept of a broken heart, but that is not relevant here.) What is a complete Jew? One who doesn’t lack hands? Who doesn’t lack legs? No, that is only superficial perfection, bodily perfection. True completeness, which is in the soul and is inward, is the completeness derived from closeness to Hashem. As the Ramchal wrote (Ch. 1), “In truth, all true completeness (the completeness of every single person without exception) is deveikus to Hashem.” As he says there, “Anything else deemed good by people is vanity and deceptive emptiness.” This is all a Jew really has in life — closeness to Hashem and deveikus to Hashem. The whole essence of a Jew is to be close to Hashem and to cleave to Him. Not only in the World to Come is a man’s purpose to cleave to the Creator, but even in this world, man’s job and purpose is to cleave to the Creator. If there is a moment in which one does not cleave to the Creator, for that moment, he is an incomplete human. He lacks true completeness, which is deveikus to Hashem.

A sincere person, who hears these words and truly accepts them in his soul, must take these words of the Ramchal and write them on a sheet of paper and place it in his pocket. About every fifteen minutes (so the words will be before his eyes at all times), he should remove the paper from his pocket, and contemplate it well, and remind himself again and again: Why am I here? What is the purpose of my life? The answer is deveikus to Hashem. He will read the words again and again until they are alive before his eyes and he no longer needs to look at the paper. Rather, his soul will clearly recognize the purpose of life and he will constantly seek to apply the message.

3 comments on “A Sanctuary in my Heart (Bilvavi Mishkan Evneh)

  1. Absolutely brilliant!!!!!!! It all boils down to serving and clinging to Hashem!!!!! Can’t wait to dive into the shuirim and sefer. It is not only our duty to make our own personal santuary but also to “mend the chair” into completeness through fighting the wars of Hashem and cleaving to those in need. “The broken chair” might just be trying their best to be a complete Jew and without paying attention to it we are not “cleaving to Hashem” and not fulfilling our Torah obligations. However, all “mending” should really be done with the proper intent and by those who have studied the “Etz Chaim” extensively. Always remember that is where the “broken chair” stems from!!!!

  2. I will just add that the English is pretty straighforward and each ‘section’ within the book is perfect for a short read that will give one (or at least it gave me) much to think about. After just a few pages I started thinking about my own Avodah and ways to improve many of its’ aspects.

  3. Thank you so much for posting this link and the quotes and your thoughts. I never know who out there has been affected by the seforim and their tremendous ability to transform one’s life. Yasher koach in taking part in spreading people’s knowledge of these shiurim.

    -Dixie Yid

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