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MARRIED TO HASHEMAdapted from Ha'aros v. II, by Moreinu v'Rabbeinu HaGaon HaTzaddik Rav Zeidel Epstein, zt"l, p. 132
"Speak to the people of Israel, that they take me an offering…. And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them." (25:2, 8)
Chazal interpret, "It doesn't say, 'in it.' Rather it says, 'in them,' meaning: in each and every one of them." (This is not a quote from any known Chazal. However it is quoted extensively by the commentaries and is treated as if it originated from Chazal. See Kli Yakar on Shemos 25:3, 26:15, and 39:43, Nefesh Hachaim Shaar I chap. 4, Meshech Chochmah 29:18, Sefas Emes parshas Terumah, úøî"â, et. al.)
Hakadosh Baruch Hu commanded the Jews to build the Mishkan, a place where the Divine Presence would dwell. Before this, the situation was entirely different. "In all places where I cause my name to be mentioned I will come to you, and I will bless you." (Shmos 20:21) Everyone was able to attain Divine Presence with no intermediary (See Siforno Vayikra 11:2). But now, after the Golden Calf, Hakadosh Baruch Hu the situation had changed. Hashem had withdrawn His Shechina and was now hidden. Instead, He commanded them to build the Mishkan. Even though that the actual mitzvah was the building of the Mishkan, the goal, however, was to bring back the Divine Presence: the Shechina which was revealed in the Mishkan should become infused in each and every one in Yisroel.
The Ramban defined the essence of the Mishkan: "The fundamental principle of the Mishkan was that the Divine glory which settled on Mt. Sinai should settle on the Mishkan, albeit in a more hidden manner, as it says, (24:16) 'And the glory of the Lord abode upon Mount Sinai.' The Divine Glory of Mt. Sinai would remain permanently with Klal Yisrael in the Mishkan." Thus we see that the purpose of the Mishkan was to continue the Mt. Sinai experience.
On Mt Sinai there was an enormous revelation of Shechinah. Klal Yisroel were changed and perfected; all physical defects were healed. Everyone heard. Everyone saw. There was no barrier. (We find a similar phenomenon by the Splitting of the Sea that even babies in the womb sang. This was a prelude to the revelation on Mt. Sinai.) The bond between Klal Yisroel and Hashem was so strong, so intense, so direct, that they actually saw the sounds. The normal limitations of nature were removed. They didn't need their eyes to see, nor their ears to hear. All the forces of nature joined together for one purpose, "the G-d of Israel."
Hakadosh Baruch Hu wanted to continue this state of Divine connection forever. This was the command of "make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them," in each and every one of them. Everyone should attain a clear awareness of the G-d of Israel from the Mishkan which was a continuation of Mt. Sinai, a bonding with no obstructions.
Speak to the people of Israel, that they take me an offering (Shmos 25:2).
Chazal (Shmos Raba 33:1) question the use of the word "take me." It should have said, give me. The posuk is hinting that we are taking Hakadosh Baruch Hu. "Is there such a thing that when you buy something, the seller is sold with it? Hakadosh Baruch Hu said to Klal Yisroel, ' I sold you My Torah. It is as if I was sold with it.'"
"This is compared to a king who had an only daughter. A prince came and married her. He wanted to return home and take his wife with him. The king (her father) said, "My daughter whom I have given to you is my only daughter. I can't separate myself from her, but I also cannot tell you not to take her for she is your wife. Rather do this favor for me: wherever you go, make me a small room so that I can live with you for I cannot leave my daughter." (Shemos Rabba 33:1)
This Midrash introduces us to a new concept. Not only should one be attached to Hakadosh Baruch Hu. Each one of us should feel that in some way I am an only child, the king's one and only son-in-law. One should visualize that Hakadosh Baruch Hu is saying that He cannot separate Himself from me. He is my father-in-law, the king. This is true of each individual.
Hakadosh Baruch Hu is asking of us to give Him a little room. This is a new view of devotion: to give Hakadosh Baruch Hu a place to stay by us. Chazal state (Pesachim 49), "'Moses commanded us a Torah, the inheritance (îåøùä morashah) of the congregation of Jacob.' Don't read morashah (an inheritance) but rather me'orasah (îàåøñä betrothed)." Hakadosh Baruch Hu betrothed us to the Torah, on condition that we consecrate to Him a place.
Rav Shimshon Dovid Pincus, zt"l (in Nefesh Shimshon, Sha'are Emunah, p. 127) once put it this way: A person just one time in his life learned a possuk in Chumash. He has now, so to speak, bought a connection to Hashem Yisborach. The reward for learning that one possuk is a connection to Hashem.
Someone who learned for just one minute has in that minute received a connection to the Ein Sof - infinity. And infinity is everything.
Rav Shimshon Dovid Pincus (Ohel Miriam, p. 13) once wrote a letter to a bochur:
To the dear bochur whom I don't know,
I read your letter, but I have not yet attained the greatness necessary to be able to give you advice and tell you what to do. However, I will write what appears to me proper after the description you wrote me.
It seems to me that you are trying very hard in your ascent in Torah and Yiras Shomayim. You are doing everything in your ability and have fulfilled your obligation of hishtadlus. Now you find that at this stage you need outside help. The reason for this is simple. It is because the issue is so exalted and awesome: to merit Torah and a deep internal desire. Everything in the picture you drew is simply above human abilities. Even though we have to put in some effort from our side, but there eventually comes that moment when one has to turn for outside help.
Therefore, I'll give you a name and an address where you should turn for help. He is called Hakadosh Baruch Hu.
He is very strong, and in fact created everything. Also, I happen to know a secret: he loves you in a very personal way. He is longing for the moment when you will turn to Him.
There is no problem in finding his address. He is everywhere. Even now as you read this letter you can turn to Him.
I am writing this because many people think that this is an issue of tefilla and performance of mitzvos and search of high planes. That's very true, but it's not the main point. The main thing is to realize that Hakadosh Baruch Hu is very real, and, so to speak, alive and well. It is possible to make a very personal connection with Him. One who does this will never be disappointed.
The simpler something is, and more practical, the better it works. So the main thing is to make a personal connection: simply speak to Him about your problem. To ask Him again, and again, and then again.
Any other advice you receive will merely be a waste of time. Go straight to the One who can really help you, grab on to Him and never leave Him until you get your heart's desire.
Shema Yisrael Torah Network