by Rabbi Nussbaum
VOLUME 94 NUMBER 7
February 28, 2020
Adar 3, 5780
Candlelighting Time 5:33 PM
Certainly all the vessels that were used in the Mishkan were exquisitely designed and beautifully crafted. However, there was a unique factor of the Candelabra, the Menorah which was extraordinary to its structure. Although it was highly detailed, it was also made from one piece of gold that was hammered out to its very elaborate form. This particular design that the Menorah had that it was from once piece was also replicated in the angels that were on top of the Aron that was placed in the inner sanctum of the Mishkan and later the Beis Hamikdash. Nonetheless, we only find that Moshe had difficulty concerning the process of making the Menorah but not the angels. Since Moshe was unable to form the Menorah himself, Hashem instructed him to toss the huge mass of metal in to a fire, and it became the Menorah. However, why wasn’t Moshe confused as well when they had to make the angels on top of the Aron from one piece?
S’fas Emes further questions that since Moshe had difficulty in shaping the Menorah, therefore Hashem visually showed him a picture of the Menorah. However, Moshe still did not actually craft the Menorah rather he threw the gold in to the fire and it was made miraculously by itself. So why was it necessary to display it to Moshe since anyhow he wasn’t making it himself?
He answers with a very important fundamental principle. The Chofetz Chaim was wont to say that we live in what is termed by the Kabbalists as the World of Action. Therefore, he would say that our job is to do, but not necessarily do our actions have to lead to a result. When we finish a certain tractate from Shas, we recite that we toil and they toil. We toil and receive a reward and they toil and are not recompensed. We struggle to understand what the Sages are teaching us when we study their words and even if we perhaps don’t have total clarity, nonetheless we are rewarded for attempting to study the Gemara. However, regarding other projects that we are involved with, if we don’t complete them, then we do not receive payment. It is our ongoing desire to serve Hashem and fulfill His mitzvos that guide us in our lives. Therefore S’fas Emes explains regarding the Menorah, Moshe struggled with the configuration of the Menorah and was unable to figure it out. He utilized all his energy and intellect and still was mystified. His strong-willed desire to successfully accomplish this task is what truly gave it its impetus and raison d’e-tre for completion.
Truth be told, it is the Torah which is the solitary asset that we have that brings us close to Hashem. We plead every day that Hashem should return us to His Torah and brings us near to serve Him. Therefore, it is our biggest challenge. The more that we study Torah our ability to elevate ourselves and reach that plateau of success in relating to Hashem increases. However, Torah is multifaceted, intense and complex. To plumb the depths of the Talmud is to expand our intellectual capabilities to their fullest. And the extent of topics encompassed by the Talmud is mind-boggling. This is indicative of the nature of the Menorah. The detail of intricacy which the Menorah displayed clearly demonstrated the complexity and elaborate structure upon which the Talmud is based. The human mind struggles to reach clarity and full comprehension of any give area discussed within the thousands of pages of the Talmud. Could the mind of the great Moshe really grasp it all? The answer was only with tremendous will and assistance from Hashem! Whereas the angels upon the Aron represented our relationship with Hashem, our oneness with Him, that was accomplished through performance of mitzvos, a much easier goal in comparison to that of the study of the Torah.
A BYTE FOR SHABBOS
The language employed by the Torah commanding us to build the Aron is that we must construct it. Everyone must have a portion in the Torah in order that all can come close to Hashem. CHOFETZ cHAIM