Bring It Back
"What about this gold bracelet?"
"Oh my dear husband. It is so precious to me. You bought it for our anniversary."
"I see. How about this necklace? Can we pawn it?"
"That is my favorite necklace. I can't bear to part with it."
"I understand. However, we will have to decide to part with something. Times are tough. Our fortunes have gone down. I bought all of this beautiful jewelry for you when we were wealthy. We had plenty of money too spare. Now we cannot make ends meet. We must pawn some of this jewelry to raise some money."
"I am afraid that I will never see these beautiful jewels again."
The wife begins to cry, her heart breaking.
"Don't worry, my dear wife. We can always redeem them from the pawnbroker. When our fortunes turn around, we will get everything back."
Rav Zalman Sorotzkin zt"l uses this parable to describe the spiritual fortunes of the Jewish people. We enjoyed times of immense spiritual wealth: Yitzias Mitzraim (the exodus from Egypt), and Kabalas HaTorah (the receiving of the Torah) on Har Sinai. Every Jew received two crowns on his head: one for naaseh (we will do) and one for nishma (we will listen). Although we lost those crowns when we committed the chet ha'egel (sin of the golden calf), we later found favor in Hashem's eyes and he granted us another great spiritual fortune - the Mishkan (Tabernacle). Alas, we also lost this when the two Bottei Mikdash (Holy Temples) were destroyed. However, these treasures are not gone forever. We only lost the physical Mikdash. Its spiritual counterpart rose up to heaven. It is waiting to return; descending in a splendor of fire. It all depends on us. We need to gather enough spiritual wealth to redeem it.
Kinderlach . . .
We are all yearning for that day when the Moshiach will come and the Third Beis HaMikdash will descend from heaven in a ball of fire. We hear many songs about Moshiach. Singing those songs will not necessarily hasten his arrival. Only spiritual riches can make him come. Mitzvos and maasim tovim (good deeds) are the currency that will redeem the Beis HaMikdash.
"They brought the Mishkan (Tabernacle) to Moshe" (Shemos 39:33). Why did they bring it to him? Rashi explains that the boards of the Mishkan were very heavy. No human being could lift them. Hashem told Moshe to work with his hands. It would appear that Moshe was assembling the Mishkan. However, Hashem was really doing the work.
Rav Zalman Sorotzkin zt"l asks a simple question. Why couldn't several people together lift the heavy beams? After all, that how they assembled the Mishkan during their travels in the desert. The answer lies in a deeper meaning of the Mishkan itself. It united Klal Yisrael. The structure itself showed this. The long central rod, running through holes in the middle of the boards, joined the planks from one end to the other. So too, the Mishkan joined all of the factions of the Jewish people. Aliya Li'regel the thrice annual pilgrimage to Yerushalaim brought all of Klal Yisrael together in the Mishkan. Moshe Rabbeinu, the man who brought Torah down from heaven to earth, was the only one who could assemble this Mishkan, the symbol of Jewish unity. Because the Jewish people only exist as a Torah nation. The only way to unite this Torah nation is through Torah. Only Moshe, the man of Torah could assemble this unifying structure.
Kinderlach . . .
The Mishkan represented Jewish unity. Only unity will bring it back. There is only one way to unite. Through Torah. Only the Torah teaches us to respect and follow our Gedolim (Torah leaders). Only the Torah perfects our middos (character traits) so that we can live together in harmony. The Torah is the only set of laws which is perfect. It is our key to life, unity, and Moshiach.
Who Thanks Whom?
"It is my pleasure to welcome you here today to the dedication of our new building. I would like to take this opportunity to personally express my gratitude to all of the donors whose generosity made this structure possible."
The Rav thanked every donor, gave them his blessings, and proceeded to give an accounting of all of the donations and expenses of the building. Rav Zalman Sorotzkin was present at the ceremony. He was later called upon to speak.
"I see the picture completely different. The donors should thank and bless the Rav. He invested so much time hard work in this building. He was the one who gave you all the opportunity to participate in this great mitzvah."
"Moshe saw the entire work . . . they had done it as Hashem had commanded . . . And Moshe blessed them" (Shemos 39:42). Rav Sorotzkin comments that Moshe blessed the people after the Mishkan was completed. In reality, they should have blessed him. After all, he provided them with this wonderful mitzvah - building the House of Hashem.
Kinderlach . . .
Who must thank whom? Should the poor person thank you when you give him the tsedaka (charity)? Or should you thank him for bringing a mitzvah right to your hand? Should the neighbor thank you for helping him lift his heavy packages? Or should you thank him for giving you the mitzvah. Hashem sends many shelichim (messengers) to bring you mitzvos. Thank each and every one of them.
Kinder Torah Copyright 2003 All rights reserved to the author Simcha Groffman
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