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MARCH 7-8, 2003 4 ADAR II 5763

Pop Quiz: Which of the Kohen Gadol's garments was made of pure gold?


"And the glory of Hashem filled the Mishkan" (Shemot 40:35)

The Ramban, in his commentary to the Book of Exodus, writes that this book has the story of the first Jewish exile, which took place in Egypt. When the Jews first went down to Egypt, they were on a spiritual level compared to their forefathers. After the redemption from Egypt, the episode remains open, and doesn't end until they are restored to the level of their forefathers. This finally occurs with the completion of the Mishkan, the Temple in the desert, when the Divine Presence fills the physical building that the Israelites built.

In our times, we do not have a Mishkan or a Bet Hamikdash to be able to see the Divine Presence. There are other ways. Rabbi Zilberstein tells a story about the Gateshead Yeshivah in England. When the new building project was about to begin, a great opposition to the building arose from the local neighbors. A huge rally was called upon to oppose the building. Who was the first called upon to sign his name against the project? The local priest. Everyone was confident that with one swipe of his pen, he would give them the power they needed. However, he shocked them all and refused to sign! Not only did he not sign, but he asked to address the rally. In his anger he began, "How dare you oppose this project! I wish that our youth would reach the level of the feet of these yeshivah students. I never saw any boy raise his hand to his friend, something which we see a lot with our own youth. Never did I hear them raise their voices, something which we got used to with our kids. Are there any young people as golden as these?" Not only did he not sign with the opposition, but at that moment he invited the yeshivah's committee to his home to make a donation to the building project!

Hashem's glory must have been pretty apparent on these yeshivah students to cause such admiration. May this exile end with Hashem's glory filling the world as His nation returns to the level of their forefathers, Amen. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Reuven Semah

The Torah counts all the donations that were given and makes an exact reckoning. Given the fact that there is no extra word in the Torah and every letter is accounted for, what was the purpose of repeating the donations and adding up all the sums?

Rabbi Moshe Feinstein z"l writes that this is a lesson for us in life. Just as in the banking industry there is such a thing as reconciling a bank statement, so too a person must make a reconciliation of his hours, days, weeks, etc. Hashem gives us a lifetime of opportunities and He will want a reckoning at the end of the "fiscal period." By Moshe counting all the gold and silver, he is teaching us that we also must count our days and our minutes. We have to remember that there will be a reckoning just as there is in every bank account. Let's hope we have no "overdraft" or "bounced checks"! Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Shmuel Choueka


"All the work of the Mishkan of the Ohel Mo'ed was completed" (Shemot 39:32)

The Midrash states that originally no one was capable of erecting the Mishkan. Besal'el, the prime artisan who so beautifully fashioned the Mishkan, was at a loss. Even Moshe, who was the leader of Am Yisrael and the Mishkan's initiator, was not capable of raising it up. The Midrash states that this was due to Moshe's disability as a result of a depression brought on by his exclusion from the work of the Mishkan. We may well be amazed by Moshe's attitude. Was he envious of B'nei Yisrael? Was he not the one who had pleaded with Hashem on their behalf? The only reason that B'nei Yisrael were given the opportunity to build the Mishkan was that Moshe had interceded with Hashem to forgive them for their part in the sin of the golden calf. Rather than being depressed, Moshe should have been overjoyed at this moment! We may suggest that Moshe's despondency originated from another source. Upon observing everyone's participation in all facets of the Mishkan's creation, each Jew in his own individual way, Moshe became concerned that they were about to raise it up without first consulting him. Perhaps they mistakenly thought that the ones who were the actual builders of the structure were the sole contributors to its existence. They did not realize that without Moshe's guidance and inspiration the Divine Presence would not reside in this structure. Structures which are erected to serve as mere testimonies to their builders, their physical prowess and philanthropic magnanimity, may be beautiful architectural edifices. They do not, however, serve the Divine purpose. Specifically for this reason, only Moshe was given the ability by Hashem to erect the Mishkan. This idea should serve as the paradigm for all future community projects, buildings and monuments; our guidance and inspiration must always originate from the Torah and the "Moshe Rabenus" of each generation. (Peninim on the Torah)


Question: Why is Bameh Madlikin not read on a Shabbat which falls during Hanukah?

Answer: This chapter is not read on Shabbat of Hanukah since it mentions oils and wicks that are prohibited on Shabbat. In contrast, these oils and wicks are permitted on Hanukah. So as not to slight Hanukah, we do not read Bameh Madlikin on a Shabbat which falls on that holiday. (Excerpted from Siddur Abir Yaacob, published by Sephardic Press)


This week's Haftarah: Melachim I 7:40-50.

This week's perashah again discusses the clothing of the Kohanim and the construction of the Mishkan. The haftarah also describes the construction of the First Bet Hamikdash by King Solomon. From the descriptions given in this chapter, we see that the vessels in the Bet Hamikdash were even more luxurious than the vessels that were made for the Mishkan.


"These are the reckonings of the Tabernacle, the Tabernacle of Testimony." (Shemot 38:21)

Many Torah commentators question why this pasuk repeats itself by saying the word "mishkan - Tabernacle" twice. Rashi explains that the word mishkan is similar to the word mashkon, which means "collateral." By repeating this word, the pasuk alludes to the two Temples that Hashem took from the Jewish people due to their sins.

A student once asked R' Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld, "Why hasn't Hashem returned the Bet Hamikdash to us after all these years?" Rabbi Sonnenfeld responded that most Jews are content with their current lives in exile. They lead very comfortable lives, and they don't feel the urgent need for Hashem to redeem us and bring the Mashiah. If we would understand the great benefit that the Mashiah and the Third Bet Hamikdash would bring, we would realize that our present lifestyle is meaningless in comparison. When we show Hashem that we truly want to be redeemed, He will not turn us down.

Question: One of the first questions a person is asked after he passes away is whether he yearned for the redemption. What would be your response to that question today? Are you doing your part to bring the redemption closer?

Answer to pop quiz: The Tzitz (headplate).

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