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Weekly Chizuk

Vayakhel - Pikudei

Kedusha is the Prerequisite

Lev Shalom, Shalom Schwadron, v. II, p. 354

Six days shall you do work and the seventh shall be to you holy. (Shemos 35:2)

Rashi: Six days: He [Moshe] prefaced [the discussion of the details of] the work of the Mishkan with the warning to keep the Shabbos, denoting that it [i.e., the work of the Mishkan] does not supersede the Shabbos. -[from Mechilta]

This is the simple pshat. Perhaps we can learn out from this possuk a hint at something else. It states in the Midrash Tanchuma:

"I love you." - Hakadosh Baruch Hu said, See how much I endear you. From the earth until the first Heaven is a 500 year journey. From the first Heaven to the second, a 500 year journey, etc. And the Holy Throne is above all of these Heavens. See how much I hold you dear. I left all this and I said, "Make curtains of goat hair" and I I will come and dwell among you.

It doesn't stop here. "Make for Me a Mikdash, a Holy Place (Shemos 25:8). It should have read, "and I will dwell within it." Instead it states, "and I will dwell within them" - within each and every one of us. Hakadosh Baruch, so to speak, condensed and concentrated His Shechina to such an extent that it was able to dwell in a flesh and blood heart. How? By devotion of one's heart. If a person prepares himself with proper holy thought towards Hashem Yisborach, then his heart becomes a Mishkan to Hashem!

On Shabbos there is a mitzvah of Oneg Shabbos. This mitzvah requires that one have holy thoughts in the honor of Shabbos. This is explicit in the possuk, "And on the seventh day it shall be to you Holy," you yourself must be holy on the seventh day. However Chazal darshan the word "to you" as meaning "all your needs." Shabbos shall be "to you," it's yours. How do we put the two drashos together? It means that your oneg Shabbos should be "holy!"

This is a very appropriate introduction to the parsha of the building of the Mishkan. It teaches us how to bring Hakadosh Baruch Hu to dwell within each and every one of us - by sanctifying ourselves and becoming "Holy to Hashem."

Heart or Brain?

And every wise hearted among you shall come, and make all that the Lord has commanded. (Shemos 35:10)

The possuk accents "wise in the heart", and not "wise in the brain."

Chazal tells us (Vayikra Rabba 24:6) "where ever you find a fence against lewdness, there you find kedusha." In whom do you find lewdness? The Rambam answers: Lewd thoughts overpower one whose heart is empty of thoughts of wisdom." (Issurei Bi'ah, 22:21) So we see the rule that whoever is wiser in the heart is more guarded against lewdness.

The building of the Mishkan required all the builders to be wise of the heart. This was so, because they had to create an edifice in which the shechinah would rest.

We find the opposite also. Chazal tell us (Yoma 39a) "A transgression deadens the heart of a person." Meaning: If a person transgresses a sin, his heart becomes thick. This is the opposite of if he would have been careful of sins, then he would become "wise hearted."

With this we can correct a mistake people have made in the explanation of the above Rambam. "Lewdness is found in one whose heart is empty of wisdom." There are those who correlate this to secular wisdom also. Isn't it true that at that moment when one's mind is occupied with the sciences of astronomy, it is not interested in lust? However, that's only because a person cannot think two thoughts at the same time. Nonetheless, as soon as he stops being occupied with his science, understandably his heart will be dragged into all sorts of immodest mischief. This has taken place with numerous philosophers. When they found Aristotle in a compromising situation, he answered, "Now I am not Aristotle!" This is because he only had wisdom of the brain, not of the heart.

The wisdom of Torah, however, pushes out all treif thoughts and sanctifies the person to be free only and specifically for Hashem and His Torah. Therefore he is able to bring down the Shechinah to his accomplishments.

Rabbenu Yona writes (Shaare Teshuva, 3:3) (Mishle 1:2) "'To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding;' This means that talents of accomplishment and forsaking of aveiros is called wisdom, as it says (Devorim 4: 'for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, who, when they shall hear all these statutes, shall say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.'" Rabbenu Yona accents talents that bring to actual accomplishments, not a talented brain. That's considered wisdom in the eyes of the nations. That's the difference between Torah and other wisdoms.

* * *

The Dubno Magid once spoke in a town and a few maskilim (members of the enlightenment movement) attended. After the talk one of the cynics, who was totally unaffected by the warm and inspiring message, approached the famed Magid. "The sages tell us," began the skeptic, "'that words from the heart, penetrate the heart.' Rabbi," he snickered, "I assume that you spoke from your heart. Your words, however, have had no impact on me whatsoever! How can that be? Why didn't your words penetrate my heart?"

Rabbi Kranz smiled. In his usual fashion, he began with a parable. "A simpleton once went by the workplace of a blacksmith, who was holding a large bellows. After a few squeezes, the flames of the smith's fire danced with a rage. The man, who always found it difficult to start a fire in his own fireplace, marveled at the contraption. He immediately went and purchased the amazing invention. Entering his home, he smugly announced, "I just discovered how to make a raging fire with the simple squeeze of a lever!"

He set a few logs in the cold fireplace and began to push the two ends of the bellows together. Nothing happened. The logs lay cold and lifeless. Embarrassed, the man returned to the blacksmith and explained his predicament. "I want a refund!" he shouted. This blower doesn't work!"

"You yokel," laughed the experienced blacksmith. "You were blowing on cold logs! You must start a small fire on your own! If you don't start with a spark, a fire will never erupt!"

The Magid turned toward the maskil and sadly shook his head sadly. "If there is no spark, the largest bellows will not make a fire."

Wishing everyone a Gut Shabbos

Rabbi Eliezer Parkoff
4 Panim Meirot, Jerusalem 94423 Israel
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