SPARKS OF TORAH
VOLUME 64 NUMBER 6
FEBRUARY 15, 2013
ADAR 5, 5773
Candle-lighting Time: 5:18 PM
This week’s Sparks of Torah is sponsored by Cheryl Leban in memory of Rose Reader, ob”m, who passed away this week at the age of 97. May her soul be bound in the bonds of eternal life.
- Men’s Israel trip this April, Women’s trip this October. Find out more about these amazing opportunities, call (303) 316-6412.
- Ladies, Save the Date for Susie Fishbein, May 29th
CHANGING OF THE GUARD
The ignominious episode of the Golden Calf indelibly stained our record for all time. Not only did we show disregard for Hashem, but additionally we compromised our faithful relationship with Hashem. Sforno explains that before that calamity occurred, whenever and wherever we desired to commune with Hashem, we had the opportunity. All that changed once we so brazenly denied Hashem and opted to utilize other channels with which to advance our agenda. Therefore, Hashem commanded us to build a structure to allow Him to be present amongst us. Although the Mishkan was stunning and magnificent, it actually represented a decline in our relationship with Hashem from which we never fully recovered.
Although there is a discussion amongst the commentators describing from where in the Mishkan Hashem ‘spoke’ to Moshe, the Torah seems to indicate that His voice emanated from the Ark, from between the ‘figurines’, referred to as cherubim, which adorned the cover of the Ark. They resembled angelic celestial beings and provided feedback as to how healthy our relationship with Hashem was. If they faced each other in loving embrace, everything was good, but if not, it indicated that we needed to improve our relationship.
Sforno understands that there is an additional message contained in the Torah’s portrayal of Hashem’s instrument of communication with us. The Talmud often refers to its Talmudic giants as Moshe. Although this may not have been their name, it was a tremendous seal of approval to associate them with Moshe. When the Torah mentions that Hashem would contact Moshe by way of the Ark, the indication is clear. The Torah, which was housed in the Ark, was necessary for this phenomenon. Not only was the Torah our original link with Hashem, but when we suffered the loss of intimacy with Him, the Torah provided us with the ongoing ability to connect with Him.
Lest we consider the Mishkan to be simply a stop-gap measure, Sforno adds that within the initial command to construct the Mishkan the Torah adds, ‘and so shall you do’ which teaches two additional lessons. Firstly, during the periods of the later Batei Mikdash, the days of King Solomon and Ezra, we were to manufacture vessels to be used in the Mishkan and Mikdash as necessary. Furthermore, we are to realize in all generations that even when we no longer merit the presence of either the Mishkan or Beis Hamikdash, the Torah giants of each and every generation will be the access points of Hashem’s presence in the nation.
Although Torah is our link with Hashem, it is not the mere presence of the Torah which advances our relationship. Rather, when Torah study permeates our ranks and the aroma of Torah sweetens our lives, then Hashem will reside with us. Accordingly, those who strengthen the bonds of Torah learning enable us to be near to Hashem. This is the ultimate lesson that we can glean from the construction of the Mishkan.
A Question for the Rabbis
After building a Sukkah for the first time a man asked if he should mark the boards so as to always assemble the Sukkah in the same way, or could he move them around and change the position of the boards each year. The Aruch Hashulchan (OC 630:29) maintains that it is appropriate to mark the boards of the Sukkah in order to ensure that each board is in the same place each year. He cites the verse in the Torah portion this week which states, “You should set up the Tabernacle in the proper manner” (Exodus 26:30), alluding to the idea that there was a specific position designated for each board which was remembered by marking each board with a letter (Shabbat 103a).
Joke of the Week
“Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is OK.” Danny – age 7
BYTE FOR SHABBOS
We are now in the midst of the month of Adar. The Talmud states that when this month begins, we increase our simchah at the approach of Purim. On Purim the Jewish People were saved from the threat of annihilation which resulted from our lack of belief in G-d. Our simchah must always be tempered by constant efforts to improve our moral conduct and service to G-d.