One of the most beautiful new spaces in UAlbany’s Campus Center west wing expansion is called “The Multipurpose Room”. My daughter was intrigued by that generic name and asked, “Aren’t all the open spaces in Campus Center considered multipurpose? The Assembly Hall is multipurpose, as is the Ballroom, or Room 375. So why is specifically this room named Multipurpose?”
Good question! And it made me notice something. The original buildings on UAlbany’s uptown campus all have themes and names, say Mohawk Tower on Indian Quad or Hamilton Hall on Colonial Quad, or Van Rensselaer on Dutch. But the newer spaces aren’t named the same way. Look at Empire Quad, it sounds like a Battleship game with buildings labeled C3 and E5 and G2.
But the Baal Shem Tov taught that there are lessons to be found in everything. Nothing is random, everything has something to teach us, even the generic naming of a room on campus called “Multipurpose” when many other rooms seem fit to have the very same title. So, what is the lesson?
The lesson may very well be “Multipurpose” itself. This beautiful space near the entry of the new well-trafficked campus center teaches us that everything in life has a purpose. We need to live purposeful lives! And not only is there purpose in everything, but the word multipurpose teaches us that each thing has numerous layers of purpose.
As alumnus Avi S. reminded me, a multipurpose designation also can have Halachic significance. He remembers the Shabbos House building floor plans where we had the main/great room designated as multipurpose. The reason for this is that a synagogue built for prayer purposes (i.e. a sanctuary) can’t be used for ordinary uses like dining or other activities. That’s why our synagogue area was by design designated as multipurpose so according to Halacha it could be used for all types of uses.