1151 Mah Tovu: A Song of Awe

1151 SP

MAH TOVU: “How great are your tents, Jacob, your dwelling places, Israel.” 

This well-known line is part of the morning prayers. It is recorded in the Torah as the words spoken by Bilam, who was hired to put a curse on the Israelites, but offered this blessing instead. It is a deep teaching on many levels, one of which develops around the distinction many layers of life—the perspective of Jacob, who lives with tents (representing physical life), and Israel (the spiritual level of Jacob, who lives with presence of the Divine Feminine, the Shekhina (represented by the words “dwelling places.”)

On another level is the idea of the perspective of curses and blessings, that the event can be viewed as a curse or a blessing dependent upon one’s wisdom and view of things. In the end, repetition of this phrase can transport us to an entirely new relationship between our normative reality and the view we get when we see things through our own spiritual essence.