The virtual Kehilla of Orthodox Jewry of Greater Montreal

Bereshet Purim Katan Washington's Birthday

 A "Yankee " Liftoff in the week of Purim Kattan ,

Shalach Manos on Washington's Birthday

So what you say ? Why am I, an Orthodox Jew , devoted to the holy talmud,so excited?And what is this thing about Purim Kattan and Washington ?

Maybe I am little 'off', but I have always  'lived with the parsha.'This last week we read of the absolute nadir of our people, the sin of the golden calf and the breaking of the luchos.Our meforshim explain that Moshe received a 'thankyou' from haShem, because the breaking of the luchos and the subsequent prayers and teshuva for the new, renewed kesher with Kudhse B'rich Hu, brought down to this world, new luchos, which contained in it through toil, love and devotion , a much deeper and everlasting connection with the torah.The same happened hundreds of years later; the second Temple,(after 70 years of exile, with the miracle of Purim) though it lacked the 5 miracles which were daily found in the first Temple, had greater honour , and actually all the ever growing body of torah she b'al peh, the oral law, as represented in the miracle of Chanuka started in the second Temple.

There is a mesora, going back to the Gaon from Vilna, that the last journey for the Jewish people in 'golus  Edom'-- Esau' before we return Home, would be in America.And that , somehow, that last nation would be better than previous ones(though not completely).

There is a legend (and I don't believe , I've yet seen any clear proof of its veracity), that Washington was ready to give up , just before an important battle, but then 'happened', on a yiddish soldier lighting his Chanuka light, and that was what gave him the courage to go forward to eventually win the always sounded to me ind of preposterous, a 'frum yiddle' in the middle of nowhere?

Lo and behold, last week, the good people responsible fro the Inyan magazine gave us a well documented article by Rabbi Menachem Levine about the Jew who saved the American Revolution -Haym Salomon, who basically single handidly financed the War effort (and died penniless as they never paid him or his heirs back).Salomon was a proud and observant Jew ,invovled in the active Orthodox congregation , Mikve Israel in Philadelphia, now known as the synagogue of the American Revolution.

So you thought it was the religious Quakers made America a religious and moral country? No.It was the quiet Yidden busy doing good, building a stable civilization , acting as always ,in every generation of golus as the Yosefs, Abarbanels, Rothchilds, and so on (and being paid so often with hate and ayin ra).

 I don't know about the Chanuka light story, but what is documented is that in 1781 the Continental Army had trapped Cornwallis and was ready to deliver the final blow, but the war chest was completely empty.

Washington told his superintendent for finance , Robert Morris ,'Send for Haym Salomon.'

and so the Revolution was saved.

I don't know if the other members of Bereshet are observant , but at least ,one,Arile Gomez, is.What makes this really exciting is that it is in the most true 'Yankee Spirit ' of free enterprise, mixed with a little  'chutzpa and Yiddish ingenuity. What we as Yidden have taught the world in all of history, is that "Freedom' must go with 'Responsibilty'.And yes, they asked shaalos, guidance from gedolim.

if I remember the possuk , 'V'yhi Dovid maskil bchol drochov'- David was successful (ie.'used his head') in all his ways.

I saw last week (I didn't realize that it coincided with the launch) divrey torah by haGoan Zev Hoberman , ztz'l ,who  discusses the deep words of the Gaon from Vilna and the Maharal how the miracle of Purim comes from so high , that there is no mention of haShem .Haman cast lots for his success; in the end, that turned around and the mazal of Yidden went up.

Have we not been hearing the serious rumblings of war by the new ambitious Hamans of our times, Iran , Russia?

I heard from the gaon and tzaddik Rav Shmuel Unsdorfer, that milchemes Gog umagog already was.

I want and do to believe that this launch , the world's first privately funded mission, non profit   deal of (& is not just empty pride but will benefit society) is a lift of the Jewish star -- 'bli ayin hara.









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Parshas Tetzaveh is usually read in the week of Zayin Adar- the seventh day in the month of Adar which we know is the Yartzeit of Moshe Rabeinu. It is also the day of his birth. Moshe was born in the year 2368 from creation. According to the Gra’ for every year in history there is a corresponding posuk in the Torah and if we look at the events of that year we would invariably find a defining verse of those events. Now if we were to count the verses in the Torah from the beginning the 2,368th verse in the Torah falls out in this week’s Parsha as well. The verse is found in Chapter 29 verse 37 which speaks about the holiness of the Altar. “Anyone who touches the Altar shall become Holy.” This is the core of who Moshe Rabeinu.was. The lawgiver, the transmitter of the Torah, of Kiddusha. Like a flame that transmits light but is itself not diminished.

(27:20) "V'atoh Tetzaveh-You shall command" The Kli Yakar asks why these words were necessary? It should just have written "Tzav es Benei Yisroel" as it does in Parshas Emore. (Vayikra 24:2) what is the significance of the word V'atoh? Additionally the posuk goes on to explain that the oil would be needed to light the "Neir Tamid" using the singular, Neir even though the Menorah contained seven Neirous.? He explains that although the Shechina was in the Holy of Holies it was not visible to all, being behind the Paroches. In order to promote the idea that the Shechina was constantly amongst them there was a constant miracle needed in the Mishkon. This was the Neir Tamid which was a singular miracle. Only the western Neir remained burning continually.

   The Ramban writes that the word "V'atoh" comes to choose Moshe in particular to carry this out and not be done through a messenger. Why then was Hashem more particular about this commandment than all of the others?

   The Abarbanel explains that the word "Tetzaveh" is in the future tense. That Moshe will in the future command Benei Yisroel. However according to this explanation the whole verse is superfluous. What is Hashem conveying to him in saying that he is destined to command regarding the Menorah flames?

It seems that all of this can be resolved by what the Ramban writes in his explanation of this verse, that the phrase "to keep the flame burning continuously" refers to the Western flame that burns eternally. However, the rest of the flames did not burn continuously, but rather only from evening until morning. With this insight all the questions above will be resolved.        

   We can say that this whole Parsha does not intend to command about the flames of the menorah, the principal place for that command is in parshas Emore. Here the principal command is about the western flame, to reveal to Moshe that even though the partition concealed the Aron there would be, in the holy place,, a continuous miracle that publicized that Hashem resided there. Moshe was like that western flame, for from it many flames are lit and the flame itself is not diminished. Similarly, the flow of the divine spirit emanated from Moshe to all the prophets who came after him, for Moshe's countenance was like that of the sun and from him the divine light emanated to all. Similarly, Moshe’s light emanated to the western flame, who's light, miraculously, was continuous, since he was the intermediary between the divine light and every type of light that existed miraculously. This became apparent from the very moment that he was born. The whole house became filled with light, indicating that he would become the first recipient of the heavenly light, and through his agency, this light would emanate to each place where something existed miraculously.

   For this reason the verse says "V'atoh-and you" that is, from you, from your essence and the abundance of light that is within you. The oil will be brought "to you" meaning, you will affect the transformation of it into miracle oil, to keep the flame burning continuously, referring to the western flame that burned continuously. This is the reason why this miracle was necessary because it was in the tent of meeting outside the partition that conceals the Ark of Testimony. The partition separated between the holy of holy's, the place that bears witness that the Divine Presence dwells within Israel, and the Tent of Meeting. Therefore the next verse says "Aharon shall set it up from evening until morning."

   Why was the oil brought to Moshe if it was Aaron who was to light the flame? Specifically for Moshe to transform that oil. The mission of both Moshe and Aharon was to unite Hashem with Israel. The Sefas Emes writes that Moshe went up to heaven and brought the light down in a spiritual sense and Aharon raised the physical upwards. As the Torah describes. "Aharon shall light the lights from evening to morning." From evening meaning form the darkness of this world to the light. Whereas by Moshe it says that "he judged the people from morning till night." From morning meaning from daybreak when the light begins to shine and dispel the darkness.

   This could also perhaps explaining how it was possible for Moshe to serve as the Kohen Gadol without being anointed and without wearing the High Priest vestments. For Aharon it was the clothes that made the man. But for Moshe it was the man who made the clothes Moshe did not need any special clothing to become the high priest. He was already on the highest level man could achieve. He was the source of the Kiddush that would be instilled forever in this world.

Finally after twenty generations of distancing Hashem’s presence from this world, there would be a place for the Shechina to reside once again amongst his creations. A new beginning was about to dawn of the Kesher between man and his creator. The words “Vatoh Tetzaveh” equal 913 as does the word “Bereishis”

   (28:1) “Metoch Benei Yisroel-From the midst of the Children of Israel.” This week’s parsha deals with the next phase of the Tabernacle/Mishkon. After completing the details of the structure we now move on to the human aspect of the Mishkon. Hashem tells Moishe to bring near to himself, his brother Aharon from amongst the children of Israel. What is meant by including the words “from amongst the children of Israel?” Where else would he be brought from? The Kli Yakar writes that Aharon was amongst the children of Israel that were involved in the sin of the Golden Calf. Hashem was prepared to take his life were it not for the fact that Moshe was his brother. This is the meaning behind the words “bring near to yourself.” Moshe’s prayers for his brother not only saved him but helped establish him and his descendants as eternal carriers of atonement for the entire nation.

   This idea has its roots in Aharon’s ancestry. The Shem M’shmuel writes that when Avraham was cast into the fiery furnace by Nimrod, his brother Haron was watching on the side lines. He committed himself to following suit if Avraham was to survive. When Avraham emerged unscathed Haron allowed himself to be cast into the fire as well. His willingness to give up his life was admirable but was not as purely motivated as was Avraham. However although he did not survive his life sacrifice did not go in vain. Aharon was a reincarnation of Haron thus the similarity in the names.(Aharon/Haron) Aharon was to correct this by being placed in a similar life threatening situation.

   When Moshe was delayed in returning from Mt.Sinai with the Luchos the people gathered around Aharon wanting him to replace Moshe with an idol. After their experience at Sinai, where they heard the voice of G-d directly and their souls departed, they feared facing any encounter with Hashem without Moshe as an intermediary. One of the images they experienced on the chariot of Hashem was the image of a calf. Aharon's nephew Chur attempted to approach the crowd, but he was killed. When Aharon was confronted by the people he feared that they would stone him as they did his nephew Chur. His concern was that killing the Kohen Gadol would be a sin from which they would not be able to recover. Instead he chose to attempt delaying the making of the golden calf until the next day when Moshe would surely return. Had Aharon confronted the people he would have been able to restrain them. Hashem would have protected him. By risking his life to honor Hashem he would have corrected the shortcoming of his ancestor Haran.

   In the end he failed and that failure became the basis for all of his descendants to carry the atonement of the nation for all time. The words “Mitoch Benei Yisroel- From the midst of the Children of Israel” equal 1069 in gematria the same as the words “L’chapare al Kol Benei Yisroel-To atone for all the Children of Israel.”

   This week we usually read parshas Zachar. To remember how Amalek attacked Benei Yisroel when they left Mitzraim. There is a mitzvah to blot out their memory. Hashem made an oath “Ki yad al kes koh-His hand is upon the throne”so to speak Hashem's hand is on the throne making an oath. The words kes koh are each missing a letter, implying that the Shem and the throne are not complete as long as Amalek still exist. What does that mean?

   We learn that there are 39 melochos that may not be performed on Shabbos, these are the melochos that were done in the building of the Mishkon. What is the connection? The purpose of the Mishkon is to provide a place for the revelation of the Shechina. It is a microcosm of the perfect world. In our Siddur there is a description of how Hashem created the world. Thirty nine words are used to describe it. These are the same actions used for the making of the Mishkon. When you use something in the physical world in the way it was intended to be used, the way Hashem wants it to be used, it’s as if you are transforming it into something spiritual.

   This is why there is a connection between the 39 melochos and the Mishkon. Because the Mishkon was to be a model of a perfect world, the use of the melochos for kiddusha is tied with Shabbos, which is a taste of the future perfect world.

   The first example of this is related in the incident of the snake. When the Torah describes the first part of creation it uses only one of Hashem's names Elokim afterward when Adom and Chava were created the two names Hashem Elokim appear. Adam and Chava understood that the world consists of both spiritual and physical and that the physical is not just for their use but is to be uplifted, to be used for the spiritual. The name Elokim equals hatevah in gematria. When we speak about the relationship of Hashem to this world we are dealing with tevah and how that tevah is to be used. The snake told Chava “Elokim said not to eat from the tree.” And she answered him the same way using the name “Elokim” leaving out Hashem. Afterward it goes back to using both Hashem Elokim. That means when the snake spoke to her he was trying to say there is no spiritual, there is only tevah. This message has been carried over for centuries and is heard to this very day. The secular world today views anyone who believes in anything supernatural as a dreamer at best. There is no spiritual, there is only tevah, Nature.  

   Many years later the story of Purim arose where an attempt was made to destroy Benei Yisroel. Haman, a descendant of Amalek, possessed the same aspect of tumah as the snake. The definition of Yisroel is Yoshar Kael, straight to Hashem. It is the placing of spiritual into everything physical. The goal is always Kiddusha. That’s why Amalek attacked Yisroel before they received the Torah to prevent them from having the very thing that they would use to put Kiddusha into this world. Haman is rooted in the Torah by the snake, that very place where the purpose of the world is defined. The mitzvah to wipe out Amalek is essential to the completion of the two words kes koh. Because until that is done Hashem's name and his throne is incomplete.

   This could be a reason why the name of Hashem is not found in the Megillah. When dealing with tevah (Elokim) we must perceive that it’s Hashem who runs everything. The Jews had seen miracles done for them in the past. But this was the first time that the Jews had tevah do miracles for them. It was so obvious that Hashem had a hand in what was happening that many gentiles wanted to convert. They saw there was no such thing as a lottery, no such thing as chance. Everything that fell into place wasn't just by accident. There was no reason to mentioned Hashem's name because the entire event was a revelation of Hashem.

   In last week’s parsha Terumah, all of the utensils that were to be used in the Mishkon are listed except one, the Mizbayach Hakitores which is in this week’s parsha. One reason given is that each of the utensils of the Mishkon represented a kapora for a particular sin. The Mizbayach Hakatores represents the sin of loshon hora. Just as loshon hora creates a separation between men. The tikun for that avera also had to be separate. The Ramban offers a much deeper explanation. In parshas Terumah the various parts of the Mishkon are listed the walls the curtains the sockets. Then in this parsha all of the clothing for Aaron and his sons are mentioned. Then the anointing of Aaron and his sons and then all the korbonos are listed. Finally at the very end it says to make the Mizbayach Hakatores after everything is already in place for the Shechina to descend. Why?

Having a place for the Shechina to dwell amongst man can be very dangerous. Not only do we have the divine presence in our midst we also have divine judgment. Being in such close proximity to the Shechina places man under extreme scrutiny. There needed to be a buffer between man and Hashem. Thats why the Mizbayach Hakatores was listed last because it was that buffer for the extreme justice of Hashem's presence. We see this later in the Midbar when Hashem was angry at Klal Yisroel and he sent a plague to punish them. Aaron was told to run through the camp with the incense to stop the plague. This was a secret given by the Malochim as a present to Moshe when he was leaving Har Sinai. The secret was that incense has the ability to stop a plague, to ward off death. That’s why the Mizbayach Hakatores was the last thing listed of the Mishkon. In that final stage, when all of the various ingredients are about to be switched on, a buffer was needed to be set into place.

   There are three things that were made for the Kohen Gadol which needed engraving. The Ephod, Choshen and the Tzitz. The term used by all three is Petuchey Chosem, the engraving of a seal. The Villna Goan says that there is an allusion here to a Gemarra that speaks of the three keys that Hashem holds control over. Chaya (birth) Motar (rain) and Techiyas Hamaisim (resurrection of the dead). Each of these three are directly controlled by Hashem and not given over to an agent- sheliach. The initial letters of each of these are Ches Tuf Mem. Which spell the word Chosem (seal). All three of these are Kodesh L'Hashem. The word Petuchei comes from the word Mafteach which means key.

   (28:21) “V’Hoavonim Tihiyenah al Shemos Benei Yisroel- The stones shall be on the names of Benei Yisroel...Pituchei Chosem.” The question is if the engraving was done like a seal then it had to be engraved backwards so that when it is stamped it can be read. How could the names be engraved that way? They would be illegible. Also why does the posuk say the stones should be on the names? It should have said the names should be on the stones! Rav Dessler answers these questions by saying that the stones were engraved on the bottom. That's why they had to be done backwards so that when you looked through the stones you could see the names correctly. Now the posuk reads well. The stones were on the names. The question is why was it this way?

We know that the Torah begins with the letter Beis and ends with the letter Lamed, which spells Lev (heart). This represents that every Jewish heart encompasses all the letters of the Torah. But as long as there is Amalek, doubt, Yetzer Hora, the heart becomes a heart of stone. As it say's in the Navi “Vehasirosy es Lev Ho'even.” In the future Hashem will remove the heart of stone from man. The Choshen represents that as long as there is a connection to Hashem the light from the letters will be able to shine through the stones.

   On Purim we know that King Achashverous made a party at which he brought out the Bigdey Kehuneh. As if to show that there is no longer a connection to Hashem. The seventy years of the prophecy that the Temple would be rebuilt, was over and there would be no salvation. He showed the Choshen saying there is no light. There are no letters to light. The king sent out a decree to kill all the Jews and we know that the decree of the king cannot be overturned. In the Magillah whenever it says “the King” without mentioning the king's name it means the ultimate King, Hashem. So there was also this decree in heaven. But Hashem said as long as there is that tiny spark of a Jew in his Neshama he can be saved. That's what the Gemarra in Magilah means when it say's “Layihudim Hayisa Orah.-By the Jews there was light.” The Gemarra explains that Ohr means Torah. Then why didn't it say “Layihudim Hayisa Torah?” The Pshat is that they saw the Ohr of the letters shining through, they saw the spark of the Neshama that remains in every Jew. That's why it could be said that there was a Techiyas Hamaisim here on Purim.

   We find that although Hashem saved Klal Yisroel on Purim, there is no mention of Hashem’s name in the Megillah! All of Hashem’s manipulations were done B'nistar (hidden). Moshe's name is also not mentioned in this week’s parsha yet it is there B'nister. There are letters that are Giluy (open) and letters that are Nister (hidden). The Nister letters of Moshe's name equal 101 the same as the amount of posukim in this week’s parsha.

What does this number represent? The Zohar says that a tzaddiik that has passed on is found in all worlds to a greater degree than when he was alive. Why? There are two answers. First while the tzaddik is alive his life force was clothed in a physical body, so only a glimmer could be perceived. However after he has died this limitation ends and it is possible to experience his essence. Secondly the demise of a tzaddik involves the elevation of his spirit and soul to its root and source. This elevation is reflected in all worlds, including this physical one. Therefore at the time of Moshe Rabeinu’s passing he ascended to a level far loftier than can be encompassed by a name.

Chazal tell us that “Haboh Litaheir M’sayiin Oso-If a person attempts to do good they help him.” Who exactly is meant when they say they? It means that Hashem sends Tzaddikim who have mastered that particular character trait. Moshe Rabeinu is said to be assisting us in every generation. How do we merit receiving such assistance? The Gemmarah says that one who relearns something 100 times does not compare to the one who learns something 101 times. If a person goes beyond the norm, if he stretches himself more than what is expected of him, if he goes beyond the 100 times to the 101st, then he merits divine assistance. Then he merits the hidden part of Moshe Rabeinu to assist him.

(29:1) “V’Zeh Hadovor Asher Taseh Lohem L’Kadesh Osom-This is the matter that you shall do for them.” The verse uses the word “Dovor”which means word, something not found by the other offerings. This alludes to a time when the sacrifices would no longer be brought, when the temple no longer will stand, prayer would be used in place of the offerings. (R.Behaya)

(29:45) “V’shochanti B’toch Benei Yisroel-And I shall dwell amidst the Children of Israel.” The verse should have read “V’shochanti B’tochem-I will dwell amongst them.” What is the purpose of writing “Amidst the Children of Israel?” Hashem’s holy name consists of four letters that were only pronounced once a year on Yom Kippur in the Holy of Holies. It is common practice for Hashem’s name to be shortened to the letters “Yud” two times. The last letter of Benei and the first letter of Yisroel comprise Hashem’s name via two “Yuds”. Between the words Benei and Yisroel we find Hashem’s name.

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Parshas Terumah begins a series of Parshiyot that deal exclusively with the building of the Mishkon. For the next five weeks up until the end of Sefer Shemos every detail and every item connected with the Tabernacle is recorded. This great length and attention to detail may seem very odd when we consider the Tabernacle was only a temporary structure.

   The answer seems to be quite profound. If we look at the history of Israel to this point we find a long series of complaints. They complained right from the start as soon as Moshe began to intervene which made their situation worse. They complained at the crossing of the Red Sea, and again when there was a lack of water. Within weeks of the revelation at Sinai they made a golden calf. If all of these miracles were unable to bring these people to a mature response what could? Then Hashem said let them build something together. This simple command transformed a nation. During the entire time of the construction of the Tabernacle there were no complaints. The people contributed gold, silver and bronze. Some gave their time and skills. They gave so much that Moshe had to order them to stop. It thus comes out that it is not what G-d does for us that transforms us. It is what we do for G-d. The building of the Mishkon was the first project Israel undertook together. It gave them a chance to give back to Hashem a little of what He had given them. This concluded the birth of our nation and is perhaps the reason it concludes the book of Shemos.

   This week’s parsha begins the instructions for building the Mishkon. The Shelah Hakodesh writes that originally when Hashem created the world His principal residence was in this world. Because of that He provided unification between heaven and earth. This allowed for an unimpeded communication and transfer to our world of sources of blessing from the inexhaustible pools of the upper regions. This is alluded to in the verse (Bereishis 2:1) Vayechulu Hashomayim V’ha’aretz V’chol Tzivo’om- Hashem concluded the creation and all of their array.” This means that each part of the lower universe was also a part of the higher universe and thus contributed to the other’s existence. The conduits supplying sources from one region to the other worked perfectly without hindrance.

   All of that changed when Adom sinned with the Eitz Hadas Tov V’ra. The balance between the two worlds became disrupted. This resulted in the conduits between heaven and earth being broken; the sources of supply to earth were interrupted and Hashem’s presence withdrew creating a separation between the upper and lower regions. For ten generations this withdrawal continued with the presence of Hashem moving further back from the terrestrial region until the advent of Avraham Avinu who began the process of mending the tear in the universe. Once again, the Presence of Hashem was drawn towards earth step by step. The book of Shemos is called the book of redemption. But that redemption was not complete with the mere freeing of Israel. Only with the restoration of the Divine presence on this world could the process be deemed a success. The building of the Mishkon continued the process of reuniting these two worlds and preparing a place for Hashem’s presence to once again reside on this world.

   The parsha begins with the command “Vayikchu Li Teruma Me’ase Kol Ish Asher Yidvenu Leibo-Take for me Terumah from every man whose heart will motivate him.” Hashem wants to dwell in each and every heart. Therefore only money received with the purest of intentions could be collected. This would begin the process of mending the separation between heaven and earth caused by the sin of the Eitz Hadas Tov V’ra. The Gamatria of the words Kol Ish Asher Yidvenu Leibo (972) is equal to M’eitz Hadas Tov V’ra.

   (25:2) "Vayikchu Li Terumah Me’ase Kol Ish Asher Yidvenu Leibo-Take for me Terumah from every man whose heart will motivate him.” The verse should say "give" not take Terumah? What it means is that when you give, it's as if you are the one receiving because the giving is going towards such an important cause, building a structure to house the presence of G-d!

   The Kli Chemdah writes that since there wasn't enough gold for all of the various vessels Hashem made it that what they gave went according to what was in their hearts. It became more, based on their desires. Therefore the term "Take for Me" refers to the strong desires to do the will of Hashem.

   (25:5) "Oros Tachoshim" The Tachashis was an animal that only lived during that period then became extinct. Why did this animal become extinct? The multicolored skin of this single horned animal was so beautiful that Hashem had it removed from this world so that it would not ever be used for secular purposes.

   (25:8) "V'asu Li Mikdosh V'Shochanti B'sochom-Build for me a Sanctuary and I will dwell in you." The Ohr Hachaim asks why the Torah refers to the Sanctuary as "Mikdosh " in one place and as "Mishkon " in another? He answers that the command to build a place for the Shechina is not limited to one period of time but it's really incumbent upon us all, at all times. However once the Beis Hamikdosh was built it became forbidden to create alternate sites to serve Hashem. Speaking about the Tabernacle that was built in the Midbar, the Torah uses the term "Mishkon" to infer that this was a temporary situation.

(25:8) "V'asu Li Mikdosh V'Shochanti B'sochom-Build for me a Sanctuary and I will dwell in you." The Torah goes to great length detailing the construction of the Mishkon. Why do we need all of these details? The Mishkon was never destroyed! We will not be building it again? It is not even the same construction as the Beis Hamikdosh? What are we to learn from all of this?

The answer lies in another phrase of the Torah. One mentioned no less than twelve times! "B'mokom Asher Yivchar Elokechah L'shakein Shemo Shom-The place I shall choose to rest my name." The actual place where Hashem says He will rest His presence is never mentioned. Shiloh or Jerusalem, places where the Divine presence eventually did rest, are never mentioned. Perhaps the idea is as follows. Hashem wanted to dwell in each and every individual heart of man. This is why no specific place is mentioned. Twelve times an offer was made for each tribe to rise to the challenge of being worthy to house the Divine Presence. When none were found, plan B was to build the Mishkon. The Mishkon was a microcosm of a perfect universe. Every item represented another opportunity to reach perfection. All of the detailed materials used, are mentioned to enable Klal Yisroel to correct particular character flaws.

Gold, the purest metal, symbolized purity of the heart. Physical pleasures should be with proper intention. As one comes closer to Hashem there is a progression from copper to silver to gold.

Linen represents the plant world. Plants vegetate all day. They eat and produce.

Wool represents the animal world,

Sheep the more developed mammal, dyed with the blood of a worm, a lower form of life. This represents the animal world from the highest to the lowest.

Animals have brains, but they mostly think about food and reproduction. That’s why their heads are on the same level as their bodies because that’s what they think about.

The human being stands erect, with the mind above the body.

The Outer courtyard prepares us to come closer to Hashem. We symbolically slaughter the animal in ourselves, we sprinkle blood (our life force) on the altar, dedicating our lives to serving Hashem.

The Ramp is in the upward direction, symbolizing raising ourselves to Hashem.

The inner sanctuary:

The Table symbolizes the physical development of the nation.

Wood symbolizes constant growth.

Bread represents the basic necessities of life.

Incense are the luxuries of life, all dedicated to Hashem.

The Menorah symbolizes the spiritual development of the nation. Made of solid gold with completely pure intentions. The Menorah is in the form of a tree with branches and flowers depicting our spiritual growth.

The Torah included all of these details because by learning about the Mishkon we can understand what it takes to bring Hashem into our midst.

   When the posuk says "V'Shochanti B'sochom" it means literally in You! This is perhaps why the numerical value of the words " "V'asu Li Mikdosh V'Shochanti B'sochom" are equal to the phrase "B'mokom Asher Yivchar Elokechah L'shakein Shemo Shom" (2120-Nireh Li)

   (25:11) "V'tzipisah Oso Zahav Tohar M'Bayis Umichutz-You shall cover it with pure gold within and without." The Ark was constructed of three boxes. Gold was used as the outer and inner box, while wood was at the core in between. Pure gold would not have been strong enough to withstand the tremendous weight of the cover with the two Cheruvim upon it. It was therefore necessary to have wood at its center for support. On a deeper level the Kli Yakar writes that the wood alludes to the phrase referring to Torah as a Tree of Life to those who hold on to it. "Eitz Chaim He L'Machazikim Bo" It does not say L'lomedcha-to teach Torah but rather L'Machazikim to strengthen, support Torah learning. Coating it with gold within and without refers to the revealed and hidden parts of the Torah. The coating alludes to the fact that not everyone can comprehend the depths of the Torah however this teaches that every person can still have a share in Torah either through learning or supporting Torah.

   (25:24) "V'tzipisah Oso Zahav-And it should be covered in gold." The table should covered in gold. The word "Zahav" is an acronym for the three blessings of Bircas Hamozon. Zayin for Zon, Hey for H'aretz and Beis for Boneh. (Rabeinu Bachya)

   After listing the thirteen materials to be collected for this purpose the first thing the Torah commands is to build the Aron, the cabinet which contained the tablets of the Ten Commandments. On top of the Aron two gold Cherubim were placed. The pair was made of one block of gold. They had an angelic appearance with their spread wings touching, and they faced one another. It was from the space between the two Cherubim that G-d communicated with the Jewish people. They had wings pointed upward; they faced each other and had faces like children. The reasons are as follows. The wings represent the laws pertaining to man and his creator. They faced each other to represent the laws between man and their faces were like children to show that the chinuch of the children is above everything.

   It is somewhat strange that Judaism should prescribe a pair of Cherubim, rendered in human form, in the holiest of places. After all, what is the difference between the Cherubim and the golden calf? Why should one represent Divine communication, and the other desecration?

Rashi teaches us that the reason that the Cherubim were not idols was that G-d commanded us to construct them. This teaches us that the reason that the Cherubim were allowed was that G-d commanded us to construct them. Conversely, the reason that the golden calf was considered idolatry was that G-d did not command us to construct it. The word mitzvah means "command"; the phrase avodah zarah means "strange worship," that which was not commanded. What was the significance of the Cherubim? The first mention of Cherubim in the Torah is in the verse describing the eviction of man from the Garden of Eden: (Bereishis 3:24) “Man was evicted and Cherubim were placed East of the Garden of Eden, and a revolving burning sword was placed in order to guard the path to the Tree of Life.”

   As a result of man's sin, the Cherubim enter the world, in order to protect the Tree of Life. We have noted the identification between the Tree of Life and the Torah. It is therefore interesting to note that in the Mishkan the Cherubim protect the Ark which contains the Torah, and in Eden the Cherubim protected the path leading to the Tree of Life/Torah. Before the sin of Adom and Chava, the Cherubim were unnecessary; they appear only as a result of the sin. Perhaps we may draw the following conclusion - the Cherubim represent none other than Adom and Chava themselves, young and innocent and naked in the Garden of Eden. Only as a result of their sin did they become aware of, and embarrassed by, their nakedness. The new, "sophisticated" perspective of Adom and Chava, born of partaking of the forbidden fruit, gave them a different, perhaps distorted view of the world. After the sin, they knew that they were naked; they needed to clothe themselves, to hide from G-d.

It is fascinating that the Hebrew word for clothing is beged, which shares the same root as the word "rebellion." The clothing which man wears is a reminder of the rebellion and the resultant distancing from G-d. At the top of the ark, in place of this couple, pathetically attempting to hide from G-d, now stood a male and a female, representing Adom and Chava before the sin in a state of total innocence before G-d. Specifically from this place would the word of G-d emerge and reverberate.

   The two Cherubim were made of one piece of gold, just as Adom and Chava were initially joined together as one. The Cherubim therefore symbolize the ultimate return to one's self. Throughout the generations the Kohen Gadol would enter into the Holy of Holies, on Yom Kippur, the day on which the Jews were finally forgiven for the sin of the golden calf. Yom Kippur, more than any other day, symbolizes rebirth, regained innocence, as the Kohen Gadol saw before him this perpetual message of innocence - a hope for the future through the image of the past.

   The Midrash writes that the donations given to the building of the Mishkon relates to the posuk “Torah Tzivah Lanu Moshe Morasha Kehilas Yakov.” What does this have to do with the giving towards the Mishkon? The word Morasha (inheritance) can be read as Morasah, as a marriage to the Torah meaning that the Torah is married to Klal Yisroel. But what does this really mean? When a person is engaged he is always at the parent’s house. After the wedding they receive visits from the parents. This is a moshel to the giving of the Torah. Before the giving of the Torah we had to come to Hashem. After the Torah was given the Torah is here for us. Moshe would have to go up to the mountain to receive the Torah. It was Moshe's Avodah that brought Hashem close.

Before the Torah there were people who knew Hashem. A person could work on himself to see insights into the creation. Avraham knew Hashem by studying the world. He understood that there must be a Baal of the universe, a master. This world did not come about by itself. He had to delve into the physical world to realize the spiritual. This was the only way for a person to have any kind of recognition of Hashem. But it was only on the level that the person could attain. Now that we have the Torah, Hashem is always with us. We don't need to dwell on our own in thought. Through learning a person can develop an understanding of the world. There is a moshel of a king who was marrying off a daughter. He wanted to stay close to her so he said build a room for me where you live so that I can visit you there. This is the Moshel for the Mishkon. That we make a place for Hashem to be among us since the Torah is in our midst.

     The incident with the Eigel actually took place before the commands to build the Mishkon. Why then are these parshiyos of Terumeh and Tetzaveh placed before Ki Sisa? The Oznayim L’Torah says that this is to inform us of Hashem’s way of supplying the cure before inflicting the plague. But why is this parsha right after Mishpatim? Benei Yisroel heard the halochos of returning loans and wanted to go back to Egypt to return the gold and silver they had borrowed. Hashem said they should donate to the Mishkon instead. Had there been any question as to their right to keep these possessions Hashem would not have allowed their use for the construction of his place of dwelling.

   There were three crowns of gold that were in the Mishkon. The Aron - the Ark, the Mizbeach -the Altar and the Shulchon- the Table. The Aron represents the crown of Torah, the Mizbeach represents the crown of Kehunah - the Priesthood and the Shulchon represents Avodah-the Temple service. Each one is mentioned differently in the Torah. When the Aron is described all of the measurements are in fractions. When the Mizbeach is mentioned the measurements are all whole. By the Shulchon there is a combination of both whole and fractioned measurements. The Kli Yakar explains the reason for this. The Aron has fractions because since it represents the Torah and man must never feel as though he has completed his learning. The Mizbeach has measurements that are whole because by offering sacrifices the Mizbeach serves to make man whole through the pardoning his sins. The Shulchan was a combination of whole and fractions because it was the source of brachas-blessings in the world. A person should always feel happy with his lot in life (whole) and on the other hand (as a fraction) always strive to be more complete.

   The posuk says they should use the skins of the Tachash. Rashi explains that this animal only lived for a short time. The gemarrah in Shabbos asks about this animal. It says that any animal that is to be used for Hashem has to be able to be one that can be eaten. They ask then why this Tachash is not listed with the animals that are permitted to be eaten? They answer that it is not listed because it’s sole purpose was for Mishkon, having fulfilled that purpose it was destined to become extinct.

   The Lechem Haponim was on the Shulchan. The Ramban says that when Hashem created the world, he created something from nothing. That was the only time. After that all miracles were done by using existing matter and transforming it or expounding upon it, rather than creating something from nothing. When Hashem places Bracha into the world he uses existing matter to bring out the brachas. Man did not have to work. All of his needs were attended to. But after the chet not only was he cursed but the earth was cursed as well. In committing the chet man took what was Hashem’s bracha and perverted it. He took the physical blessing of the material and misused it. This is why the earth was included in the curse.

   Through the Mitzvos we are commanded Hashem allows us to be partners in restoring the world to what it once was. In fulfilling His will we reveal Godliness once again to the physical world. The word Mitzvah contains the letters Mem Tzaddik Vav Hey. If we take the first two letters and transpose them through Atbash (A form of Gematria that replaces the first letters of the Aleph Beis with the last letters. Aleph=Tuf, Beis=Shin) we have the letters Yud Hey. Combined with the last two letters, Vav Hey, reveal Hashem's name

   Hashem created the physical world for Yisroel and they were to use the Torah to instill spirituality into the material. They were to fix up the chet of the world. The Mishkon was to be a place of pure Kiddusha. A model of how a perfect world should be. The Lechem Haponim was the source of all parnosa in the world. Hashem used it as the root through which his brachas could materialize.

   (25:31) “V’Asisa Menoras Zahav Tohar-You shall make a Menorah of pure gold.” When Moshe was told to make the Menorah, Rashi says he didn’t understand how it should be done. Hashem told him to put the gold in the fire and it would make itself. Later on Rashi says when Moshe couldn’t make it Hashem showed him a vision of the Menorah in fire. It would seem to be a contradiction. The answer is that they are both right. First Hashem showed him the vision. Moshe had to begin the process. When he still couldn’t make it Hashem made it form by itself. The Menorah represents the light of knowledge. This lesson applies to any person who attempts to learn Torah, first he must make the initial effort to learn, then Hashem gives him the needed help to acquire the knowledge.

   The obvious question asked by the Sefas Emes is that if the Menorah was impossible to make, why did Hashem tell Moshe to make it, and why did He show Moshe a diagram of it in fire? The answer holds one of the keys to the universe. A key of which the secular world is totally unaware. It is the secret of Ratzone-Will or desire. By Hashem showing Moshe the Menorah He ignited within him the desire to accomplish even the impossible. Only after he had acquired that Ratzone was he able to attempt the impossible. The secular world is opposed to us reaching our true potential. They wish to limit our desire to become something more, or to ask the question: “What can I do to advance myself in the eyes of my creator.” As a result we live in fear of expressing our desires for something better.

   By turning on that Ratzone a person is able to connect with a reality beyond our limited selves. To a reality of connection with Hashem where anything becomes possible. Thus the expression “Aiyn Dover Omed Lifnei HaRotzone-Nothing stands in the way of desire.” This is the lesson Hashem was teaching Moshe Rabeinu. Ratzone is the secret to our success.

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Elah Hamishpatim

(21:1) “V'Ayleh Ha'Mishpatim Asher Tasim Lifnaychem- These are the laws that you should set before them. Rashi explains that our Parsha begins with the word “and” in order to connect these laws to the Aseres Hadibros (The Ten Commandments). This teaches that all of the commandments were from Sinai. Even the seemingly mundane laws have the raw power and energy to transform and elevate the person, to bring him close to Hashem.

    According to  R.Tzodok all material possessions are infused with a part of a person’s Neshama. Every item we acquire is perfectly matched like a Shidduch to the person’s soul.    If one were to purchase an apple, that particular apple was perfectly matched to that person’s soul. This can explain what we say twice daily in the Shemah. “V’Ohavtah es Hashem Elokecha B’chol Levavecha, B’chol Nafshecha U’Vechol M’odecha- We shall love Hashem with all of our heart, with all our soul and with all of our resources.” The possuk seems to be in ascending order. With all our heart, with our entire life and with all our possessions? It seems odd that our possessions are listed last, as if they are the pinnacle of serving Hashem?

   However according to Rav Tzodok it is. If we act correctly we can elevate the things that belong to us.  If we love Hashem with all of our hearts, if we are prepared to give our soul to Hashem, then we will elevate our resources. The reverse is also true. If a person sins it affects his resources, he is often sent a message through his possession. First Hashem may cause him to lose something he owns. If he does not get the message to change, another messages is sent. He may have a fire in his home, G-d forbid. Each message comes closer to that person until it threatens his very life.

    The first law dealt with is that of an Eved Ivri a Jewish manservant, who either hired himself out due to poverty, or stole something and was unable to pay it back. The posuk is discussing what happens when his six years of service ends and he is ready to go free. The Torah is telling us that it makes a difference if he was single at the time he was purchased by his owner. If he was married then his wife will go out with him. This would seem to be a law that does not apply to all men at all times. But on a deeper level the opposite is true. It applies to all Jewish men throughout history.

  The Zohar writes that this posuk refers to Gilgulim, reincarnation. This phenomenon of reincarnation supports the principal of universal justice in a mystical sense for it means that certain events of a previous generation can be offset or corrected by events in a future generation. When a person has not accomplished in this life all that was needed to be accomplished, that neshamah often is returned to this world to complete or correct what it had failed to do in it's previous life. Therefore when we see a person in a particular situation such as a slave or even a rich person, we never can know if it is this way because of something that was in a past life. This is the meaning of “Ve'Ayleh Ha'Mishpatim- These are the judgements- Asher Tasim Lifnaychem- That were placed before you. Meaning that Hashem has judged these things before you were even born.

    This might not seem to be much of a comfort for a person. Because even though the difficulties he faces are not brought about by his misdeeds, he still is the one who must bear the brunt of it. This is perhaps why we say to someone going through difficulties “it should be a Kapora for you.” In order for us to bring about the final redemption all of the souls must go through whatever corrections are needed. Hashem never tests a person beyond his or her abilities. Therefore if a person is tested it is because Hashem knows he is capable of passing that test and by doing so he is fixing one more link in the chain leading to Moshiach. This could be why the words Ayleh Ha'Mishpatim equal Moshiach ben Dovid Avdecha.

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Sinai - shesum Yarda Sinah b'olam- Int'l Remembrance Day

Parshas Kabbalas Torah

The International Remembrance Day

The Internastional remembrance day falls this year just after reading the parsha of kabablas torah, has so much significance to ourselves as the Chahzal say "shum yarda sineh l'olam (there hate came dowjn into the world.')

Apparently it was the day of the liberation from the camps. Hitler, y's ,is quoted in Mein Kamf as saying 2 reasons to hate the Jews.we are the conscience of the world, and we practice bris mila.

This years' commemoration is for us ominous as the news is a year of mounting denial and anti semitism.

The world marked International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Sunday amid a revival of hate-inspired violence and signs that younger generations know less and less about the genocide of Jews, Roma and others during World War II.

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Remembrance Day worldwide 

aush 696x490


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