Vertluch: Parshas Terumah

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In this weeks parsha, the Torah relays how the Ribono Shel Olam instructed Moshe on how to build the many vessels that were to be used in the Mishkan. When the Torah describes the Menorah, the pasuk says ‘And you shall make a Menorah of pure gold. The Menorah shall be made of hammered work; its base and its stem, its goblets, its knobs, and its flowers shall [all] be one piece with it (25; 31).’

Rashi says that the Menorah was made ‘by itself. Since Moshe had difficulty figuring out how to form the Menorah, Hashem said to him, “Throw the block [of gold] into the fire, and it will be made by itself.’

Why did Moshe have such difficulty making the Menorah over all the other vessels? What was so unique and special about this that Hashem had to tell him to throw it into the fire so that it will emerge on its own?

Chofetz Chaim says that it is well known that the vessels of the Mishkan and Bais Hamikdash represented very lofty and spiritual elements compared to a human being. For example, the Aron represented the ultimate in wisdom-which a person can only reach through prophecy. The Shulchan, which displayed the lechem hapanim, symbolized the mundane and materialistic part of klal Yisroel. The Menorah, which had the ner ma’aravi-that was never distinguished-symbolized that klal Yisroel is eternal and that we will exist forever.

Furthermore, writes the Zohar, Hashem commanded the Malachim to replicate the Menorah for the heavens and at the time the Kohen lights the Menorah in the Mishkan, or the Bais Hamikdash, this corresponding Menorah was to be lit as well in shomayim. That means that at the time Moshe was assembling and putting together the different vessels he had to have in mind what each item represented on a spiritual level. However, when it came for Moshe to construct the Menorah, he looked into the future of klal Yisroel and he saw the many different eras that bnei Yisroel would be challenged with and he saw some extremely trying times. He saw moments when bnei Yisroel would be murdered, persecuted, and exiled. Seeing this, he had a very difficult time building the actual Menorah. He thought ‘how can I have in mind the representation of eternity? How will bnei Yisroel be able to overcome all the Inquisitions and the Holocaust? How will they be able to overcome all these difficulties?’ This was the worry Moshe had while building the Menorah.

Hashem responded to Moshe by telling him to take the piece of gold and throw it into the fire so he will see what will emerge. The Ribono Shel Olam had a greater perspective than that of us human beings. Hashem understood that bnei Yisroel would thrive and emerge beautifully from these situations. From the fire they will rise up to the challenge and when the dust settles, they will be there-better, stronger and more determined than ever. Usually, when something gets thrown into a fire it gets destroyed. How can this represent that bnei Yisroel is eternal? Hashem showed him by telling him to take the gold and throw it in the fire and watch what will come forward. Klal Yisroel is brazen and they will never give up. The actual difficulty Moshe had was in the kavanah of what the Menorah represented.

Nitziv says that by Matan Torah it says ‘The sound of the shofar grew increasingly stronger (it intensified with its length); Moses would speak and God would answer him with a voice (19;19).’

Usually when you start off and blow an instrument, the sound begins to fade as its sound lengthens. However, over here the opposite occurred. Says Nitziv the sound of the shofar emerged from within the smoke of Matan Torah. The smoke symbolized the darkness of all the tzoras. We can’t see clearly and we don’t have an understanding of what is happening, but from within the smoke the sound of the shofar got stronger and stronger and stronger. Pshat is that the darker the galus is, the stronger the Torah is that will emerge from the galus. That’s why the sound came specifically from within the smoke.

This idea is not only relevant to klal Yisroel as a whole but to every individual in their personal life as well. Whatever a person struggles with, whatever nisayon a person is constantly fighting, says Rav Tzadok, is the area that he’s destined to excel in-contrary to popular belief. Most times people say I’ll be good in all other areas-but Rav Tzadok explains that the opposite is true. The area that you have a hard time with is the area that you are supposed to be excellent in. If a person has difficulty in watching what he sees, by working on himself he can accomplish so much by maintaining a level of kedusha.

Thieves don’t rob and don’t attempt to steal from poor people because there’s nothing for them to gain. They go after the rich folks because they have what to gain from. The same is true by the yetzer hara. If he’s bothering you in a specific area it’s obvious that you have something he feels threatened by. It’s through that nisayon that a person’s greatness can sprout and blossom from.

May we all be zoche.