In our journey through life we have many different kinds of experience. Some are happy and boisterous; some are more somber; some are just dogged day-to-day getting through what has to be done; some are serene and moving; some are inspiring.

According to Jewish teaching, through all this, at every step of our lives, we have an important relationship with the Infinite, with G‑d the Creator and Inner Life of the Universe. Much of the time we may be completely unaware of this relationship. The joys or the worldly desperations of the moment hide it from us. At other times, there may be some kind of hint of recognition.

This week's Torah reading, the Parshah of Shemini (Leviticus chapters 9-11), provides an intense and ecstatic example of recognition of G‑d. The Jewish people, guided by Moses, had constructed the beautiful Sanctuary. It was a wonderful edifice manifesting many kinds of craftsmanship and artistry, expressed in gold, silver, copper, cedar wood and skillfully woven tapestries.

But the Sanctuary was intended to be more than that. The purpose of the Sanctuary was to be an abode for the Divine, a place where you could recognize G‑d.

Directed by Moses, there had been a seven day long ceremony of dedication of the Sanctuary, making it not just a work of craft and art but a Divine dwelling. Our Parshah starts on the eighth day (Shemini means "eighth"). Moses made a statement which, even in our sacred Torah, which focuses on the holy, is striking in its directness: "This is what G‑d has commanded you to do, so that the Glory of G‑d will be revealed to you" (Leviticus 9:6).

His instructions concerned bringing offerings at the altar. This took place. Then Aaron blessed the people with the Priestly Blessing. Then Moses and Aaron entered the Tent of the Sanctuary, and came out and both blessed the people. At that point, suddenly, G‑d's glory was revealed in a practical way: a stream of fire which emerged from the Tent of the Sanctuary and ignited the offering on the altar (ibid., 9:24).

At that moment the Jewish people recognized G‑d. They shouted and prostrated themselves before the Sanctuary. They did not think of trickery, or pyrotechnics, as some people might today, in our later, technological, secular and cynical age. For the Jewish people with Moses it was a moment of recognition of the Divine.

However, asks the Lubavitcher Rebbe, what about us, more than 3,300 years later? What about an epoch when we do not see this kind of revelation? When the world seems to conduct itself according to very sober and rational rules, without apparitions of Divine fire?

One possibility is that although we do not see the revelation, we act as if we did. Our physical eyes and mind, well trained for assessing bank-statements and mobile-phone agreements, do not perceive G‑d. But our souls do. Hence we should act accordingly, as if our conscious minds were also directly aware of the Divine, by dedicating ourselves to Torah teaching.

This can lead, suggests the Rebbe, to another possibility: when we do the right thing, guided by Jewish teaching, then sometimes, in some way, almost without our realizing it, we may actually experience moments of awareness and recognition. The Shabbat or festival table, the birth of a baby, a visit to the Western Wall of the Temple, a Jewish wedding — moments of recognition of the Divine. Gentle, almost imperceptible. But real.1