Why do synagogue sanctuaries have windows?
Windows, being transparent, are not only ways to look out of a synagogue and transcend physical space; they are also a way into the synagogue. Synagogues often seem architecturally distant and remote. Many are large, towering structures that do not visually appear to beckon us in. But a window is always a tease in a building. Think of a walk in a nice neighborhood in the evening. Lit windows offer us a glimpse into another life that stirs mystery and curiosity. Windows are a building's intimacy.
Since windows are both ways out and in, they offer us a metaphor for transcendence. In the synagogue, we should look out, imagining that through light and nature we better appreciate God's world. When we are outside, we can bring our sanctuary eyes with us and feel blessed by God for all that our eyes take in of our majestic universe.
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