Machon Daniel Torah Weekly
“To Stir the Mind and to Light up the Shabbos and the Holidays”
Parshas Terumah 2018/5778
The Revelation of Hashem’s Countenance in the Mishkan and its Effect on the Jewish People
“ועשו לי מקדש ושכנתי בתוכם” (שמות כה:ח)
“And make for me a holy edifice and I will dwell amongst them” (Shemos 25:8)
The question is asked, apparently it should have said “ושכנתי בתוכו” / “and I will dwell in it” – in the dwelling, and not “בתוכם” / “amongst them”!?
Our rabbis answer (in the Medrash) that the unusual wording teaches us that Hashem will rest His countenance in the heart of each and every Jewish person. Meaning, the purpose of the revelation of Hashem’s countenance in this world is not meant to remain locked up within the Mishkan but rather to have its spiritual light reach into the heart of each and every Jew. Thus it is written “ושכנתי בתוכם” / “and I will dwell amongst them”!
If you’ll ask, if Hakadosh Baruch Hu’s intention is that His countenance will reach the heart of each individual, why is this necessary to achieve this through the building of a Mishkan!? Why not focus His countenance directly toward them!?
We can suggest, with G-d’s help, that the Shechina can only settle on a place that is completely pure and holy and established explicitly to allow for its resting on earth. This is the purpose of the Mishkan, a building made for the sole purpose of having the Shechina rest upon it! For this reason it is required that the materials for the Mishkan be offered for the express purpose of building the Mishkan as a place for the dwelling of the Shechina on earth and the building of the Mishkan itself must be constructed explicitly for this purpose as well, as the posukim state “ויקחו לי תרומה” / “and you shall take for me offerings” and “ועשו לי מקדש” / “And you shall make for me a holy edifice”. Afterward, it is up to each individual to connect himself to the holiness of the Mishkan; to travel to there on the festivals and to support its upkeep. In this manner, the holiness which settles on the Mishkan will reach the hearts of each individual. In addition, it appears that the fact that the materials for the Mishkan were collected from each and every male Jew gave him and his family an automatic part in holiness which settled on the Mishkan.
In addition, we can suggest that Hakadosh Baruch Hu cannot rest His Shechina directly on individuals for just as the Shechina is One, so too the people of Israel have to be united as one for the Shechina to dwell amongst them. This is as it says by Har Sinai when the Shechina descended to rest upon the Jewish people and to impart to them Hashem’s Torah “ויחן שם ישראל” / “and the Jewish people (in the singular) encamped there”, and Rashi explains that they encamped at Mt. Sinai in preparation of the receiving of the Torah “as one person with one heart”.
For another reason as well the Shechina cannot dwell on the individual, for if he will sin, the Shechina will be forced to leave the person and return to Her place in the heavens. On the other hand, by resting His Presence on the Mishkan and through it resting His holiness on each and every Jew, even if the individual were to sin, the Shechina would remain on earth, and in addition It would allow for that very person to receive atonement after he returns to Hashem’s ways.
The Ways of the Torah and those who Study it
“וצפית אותו זהב טהור מבית ומחוץ תצפנו” (שמות כה:יא)
“And you shall cover it (the top edges of the middle holy ark) with pure gold on the inside and the outside you shall cover it” (Shemos 25:11)
Rashi explains that Betzalel made three arks for the tablets, two from gold and one from wood. He placed the wooden ark inside the lower golden one and then placed the (smaller) ark made of gold inside the wooden ark.
The question arises why the middle ark was made of wood if was lodged between the two arks made of gold and as well did not offer any advantage on its own? In addition, why would one make an ark out of a simple and common material such as wood alongside arks made of the precious metal of gold!?
In answer, we can suggest that the posuk is hinting to us that we are to look at the Torah from three different angles parallel to the three different arks of the Aron.
(1) The inner pure-gold ark – This hints to the spiritual source of the Torah which is pure and whole and as valuable as gold, the most precious of all metals. The Medrash brings in the name of Rebbi Shimon the son of Lakish that the world was not worthy to make use of gold and asks therefore why was gold created? He answers that is was created to use in the building of the Beis Hamikdash.
(2) The outer pure-gold ark – This ark is visible to the eye and it represents the Torah which is visible to the eye. Which Torah is visible to the eye? Torah scholars – who invest all their energies in Torah learning until they themselves embody the brilliance and the holiness of the Torah. Thus it is incumbent upon all to afford them the highest of honor as one values gold – the most precious of all metals!
(3) The middle wooden ark – This ark represents Torah learning itself. It is different than the other arks in two ways: 1) It is made of wood and 2) it is hidden from the eye. This gives us two insights into Torah learning: 1) Just as a tree grows upward without respite, so too one is required to continually strive to grow in Torah learning, 2) Just as this ark is hidden from the eye, so too a Torah scholar must be humble and modest and bury himself in his learning and not pursue pleasures of this world.
Beware! The Evil Inclination Accompanies a Person to the Holiest of Places
“ועשית עליו זר זהב סביב” (שמות כה:יא)
“and you shall place on it a raised border all around it” (Shemos 25:11)
What is the purpose of this “golden border”? Rashi explains that it represents the crown of Torah.
Additionally we can explain, with God’s help, that one should not read it as “זֵר” / “border” but as “זָר” / “foreign”, meaning the evil inclination, as is brought in the Holy Zohar (Parshas Mishpatim, saba dmishpatim pg. 95b) on the posuk “ובת כהן כי תהיה לאיש זָר” / “And the daughter of a cohen/priest who shall be with a person foreign to her” (Vayikra 22:12). Similarly, it is written “לא יהיה בך אל זָר ולא תשתחוה לאל נכר” / “There shall not be in you a foreign god and do not bow down to an unknown god” (Tehillim 81:10). Rashi explains (according to the Gemora in Shabbos 105b) “לא יהיה בך אל זר” / “There shall not be in you a foreign god”. Which “foreign god” resides in the heart of a person? The evil inclination!
According to the above, we can explain that the need to place a “זר” / “border” on the ark teaches us that there is no place that the evil inclination does not reach, until in his arrogance and chutzpah he reaches into the holiest of chambers.
From here we learn that one needs not only to be on guard against the temptations of the evil inclination to cause a person to sin, but even when a person is involved in a mitzvah, and even while he is dealing with the inner world of holiness, that he must be careful not to be influenced by the evil inclination who incites him to conduct himself without the proper intention or to perform the mitzvah for personal gain, etc. Rather, one should use the זֵר – the power of the Torah to overcome the זר – the yetzer hora, signified by the placement of the border slightly above the kapores on the ark. This is the reason for Yaakov’s battle with the angel/spiritual source of Eisav as it states “ויותר יעקב לבדו ויאבק איש עמו עד עלות השחר” / “And Yaakov remained alone and a person (angel/spiritual source of Eisav – Rashi) wrestled with him until the morning light” (Bereishis 32:25). Yaakov intended to defeat him until “ויותר… לבדו” / “And Yaakov remained alone” above the angel and in control of him in the same light as mentioned here where “זֵר” / “border/crown of Torah” pushes off “זָר” / “a foreign (god)”. Through this powerful test, Yaakov became the pillar of Torah which all the Jewish people rest upon until today!
Perhaps this was the intention of Shlomo Hamelech when he said“אל תהי צדיק הרבה” / “Don’t be too much of a righteous person” (Koheles 7:16). That is, don’t think when performing a mitzvah that you are doing a righteous act and therefore the evil inclination is standing far away from you. Rather be aware that the evil inclination is close at hand and it is sitting inside the very mitzvah that you are performing, attempting to make you falter either in its performance or intention.
Possibly, with this we can understand as well the words of Shlomo Hamelech who says “כי אדם אין צדיק בארץ אשר יעשה טוב ולא יחטא” / “For man, there is no righteous per person in the land who will do good and will not sin” (Ibid. 7:20). We need to ask, are there absolutely no righteous people who perform mitzvos in a pure and whole manner without sin!? This cannot be! Rather, we can explain as above that Shlomo is teaching us that the yetzer hora reaches into the recesses of the heart and actions of the most holy of people. He is not teaching us that it is impossible to perform a mitzvah in its whole form with pure intentions, rather that the yetzer hora will never rest from his efforts to cause even the holiest of men to sin, and this is the meaning of “לא יחטא” / “he won’t desist from attempting to cause us to sin”!
Against this, the posuk states “הנה לא ינום ולא יישן שומר ישראל” / “Behold, the Guardian of Israel never rests and never sleeps” (Tehillim 121:4). Did you think that Hashem has a need to rest that made this statement necessary!? Rather it is a rebuttal to the never-ending efforts and tricks of the yetzer hora to prevent a Jew from performing a mitzvah or of performing a mitzvah in its full and pure form.
Regarding the wicked intention of the evil inclination to harm Yisrael by disturbing him in the performance of mitzvos, the posuk states“לפתח חטאת רובץ” / “The evil inclination waits patiently for the opportunity to cause the person to sin” (Bereishis 4:7). With the words above “Behold, the Guardian of Israel never rests and never sleeps” Dovid Hamelech is intending to strengthen the heart of the individual Jew by reminding him that Hashem never ceases from watching over his people and keeping the yetzer hora at bay. In this, he teaches us that one who follows in the ways of Hakadosh Baruch Hu will not suffer any harm or loss at the hands of the yetzer hora for “לא ינום ולא יישן שומר ישראל”.
The above principle that the yetzer hora attempts to bury itself into the most holy of places is actually a Mishnah (Brachos 54a). The Mishnah states “ואהבת את ה’ אלקיך בכל לבבך” / “And you shall love the L–rd your G-d with all your heart” (Devorim 6:5). This comes to include all that is in one’s heart: meaning the good and the evil inclination. Meaning, the yetzer hora is found always alongside the good inclination in one’s heart and one cannot remove the evil inclination from his heart until the end of days when Hashem will remove it from the world as it states“בלע המות לנצח” / “Death (the yetzer hora – Baba Basra 16a) will be eradicated forever”.
It appears that for this reason Rivkah became impregnated with twins: Yaakov and Eisav, as it states “והנה תומם בבטנה” / “and behold there are twins in her womb” (Bereishis 25:24) as this was the final stage in the formation of the Jewish people and therefore the two opposing forces of good and evil stood face to face; Yaakov representing the good and Eisav representing evil. (The word תומ”ם, includes within it the letters of ת”ם representing Yaakov who is referred to as “תם” as the posuk states“ויעקב איש תם יושב אהלים” / “and Yaakov is a pure (and holy) sitting in the tents (of Torah learning)” and the letters מו”ם / imperfection, hints to Eisav who was full of imperfections and deviations. This is as it’s written regarding Yaakov and Eisav “ויתרוצצו הבנים בקרבה” / “And the boys ran within her” and Rashi explains that when Rivkah passed by the tents of Torah, Yaakov moved and turned to go out toward them, and when she passed by tents of idol worship, Eisav moved to leave the womb to enter them.
With this we can understand Rivkah’s question ““אם כן למה זה אנכי / “if so, why am I”, to mean that at first she thought that there was an integral lacking in the child in her womb. Then she was told that there is no problem with her child and no lacking in “אנכי“, meaning the essence of her child’s being, but that there is another child in the womb along with him who is the epitome of evil.
Adar 1 5776
A Hint to the Future Giving of the Second Tablets
“ונתת אל הארון את העדות אשר אתן אליך” (שמות כה:טז)
“And you will place in the ark the (tablets of) testimony that I will give to you” (Shemos 25:16)
Apparently it should have stated “אשר נתתי לך” / “that I gave to you” in the past tense as Moshe had already received the tablets at Sinai!? Why then is it written אשר אתן אליך”” in the future tense!?
We can suggest that with this wording the Torah is hinting to two things which will occur in the future, one good and one not good. The not good news is that the people are soon to sin the sin of the golden calf. But there is also good news, and that being that after Moshe davens before Hashem on behalf of the Jewish people, Hashem will agree to give a second set of tablets to them. Thus it is written “אשר אתן אליך” / “that I will give to you” in the future tense!
Adar 2 5776
Wishing all our readers a good Chodesh full of simcha and success and a good Shabbos!