Friday, March 3, 2017

Beacons Of Light

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The Haftora for parshas Teruma, is about the construction of the First Temple by Shlomo.

The connection to our parsha, is that in our parsha, Hashem commanded Moshe to construct the Mishkan with all its details. It also mentions the main idea of the Mishkan, "And they will make for me a holy place, and I will dwell within them." This idea is reiterated at the conclusion of the Haftora, "And I will dwell within the children of Israel..."

The theme of the parsha, which the Haftora highlights, is that Hashem wants to be with us. We make a dwelling place for Him in the physical, and from there His light shines to the whole world.

How do we do this now in exile? What lessons could we take from the Haftora, about the Third Temple in the era of Moshiach?

The Haftora begins with, "And Hashem gave Shlomo wisdom." This is part of the reason there was peace in his time, as people from all over the world were enamored by his wisdom. The Haftora ends with a reference to David, who was a great ruler, waging great battles, and expanding the borders, gaining the respect of the world. This points to King Moshiach, of whom the Rambam says, that he will be, "from the House of David and the seed of Shlomo." Meaning, that he will be the greatest sovereign and the greatest in wisdom. It will be Moshiach that will gain the respect of the world, achieve true world peace, and under him we will have the Third Temple.

The building of the Mishkan and the Temple is a requirement of every Jew, in every era, even when we don't have a physical place or the physical building. Each of us are able to make our surroundings, our home and our body into a dwelling place for Hashem.

The Haftora tells us that Shlomo set up a levy. Men were required to work for one month out of three acquiring wood from Lebanon and stone from quarries, which would be used for the construction of the Temple. A man named Adoniram was in charge of the levy. Why is it important for us to know his name?

The name Adoniram can be divided into two words, adoni, which means "my master," and ram, which means , "is exalted." Like a levy, it is our obligation to make a dwelling for Hashem. This is done by uncovering the sparks of G-dliness hidden in the physical through doing mitzvahs with them, thereby reuniting them with their source, Hashem. "Adoniram was in charge of the levy," indicating that the physical poses no obstacle to our work, elevating these sparks to their "Exalted" source, because in this world, Hashem is the "Master," The only possible obstacle is ourselves.

The Haftora now tells us the dimensions and the design of the Temple. It says, "He made for the house windows, wide on the outside and narrow on the inside." Normally homes were built with windows that were wider on the inside, maximizing the amount of light entering the home. However the Temple's windows were wider on the outside, so that the light goes out of the Temple, to the whole world.

This is also true for every Jewish person and every Jewish home. By making ourselves and our homes into a dwelling place for Hashem's presence, we become a beacon of His light to our families, the community, and ultimately, to the whole world. In this time of exile, we are Hashem's Temple.

The Haftora tells us, that "Neither hammer nor axe nor any iron tool was heard in the House while it was being built." As a matter of fact, neither the Mishkan, nor the First and Second Temples were permitted to have any iron in it, as part of its construct. Why? Because iron was the metal used to make weapons for war, and it would later be used to destroy both the First and Second Temples. However, in the Third Temple, iron will be part of its construct.

Why is the Third Temple different? Being that in the era of Moshiach, there will no longer be death and war, and being that the Third Temple will be built by Hashem, it won't be subject to destruction. The negative aspects of iron will cease to be a factor, and the positive and holy side of iron will indeed come to the fore, and therefore it will be part of the Temple.

The First and Second Temples were made of stone. While stone is strong iron is stronger. Iron is even use as a term of strength, as in iron clad, strong as iron, etc.

One of the Holy aspects of iron is, as our great sages tell us, that "Any Torah scholar that isn't hard as iron, is no Torah scholar." This refers to their strength and steadfast commitment to the essence of their soul, like iron.

Iron in Hebrew is barzel, which is an acronym for Bilha, Rachel, Zilpa and Leah, the mothers of the twelve tribes, Yaakov's wives. And in this acronym the maids that became wives, Bilha and Zilpa, are named before the main wives, Rachel and Leah.

What is the possible advantage that Bilha and Zilpa have over Rachel and Leah?

To understand this, we first need to recognize the point of greatness, our matriarchs had over our patriarchs, symbolized by what Hashem said to Avraham, "Whatever Sarah will tell you listen to her voice." Because the matriarchs possessed a greater level of prophecy. This is similar to what is said about the time of Moshiach, that the feminine will be greater, "The feminine will surround the masculine." And, "The woman of valor, the crown of her husband," meaning, she will be above her husband. Being that the patriarchs experienced a taste of the world to come, they experienced how the feminine was greater.

The matriarchs also grounded the patriarchs, who were at a lofty spiritual level. But Rachel and Leah were also at a lofty spiritual level, they could only ground Yaakov's holiness so far. But Bilha and Zilpa, being at a lower spiritual level, were able to ground Yaakov even further, effecting and developing the lowest levels of the physical world.

When Moshiach comes, even the lowest physical existence will be raised to its G-dly source. So that what was lowest, will become holy at the highest level.

Now we can understand how iron, which is lower than gold, silver and copper, and the metal used in war and destruction, will be part of the Third Temple. Because even the lowest physical existence will be raised to its G-dly source and the highest level of holiness.

Through our efforts to make our homes and ourselves into a Mishkan, Hashem's light will spread throughout the world and usher in the redemption. And we will merit to witness the Third Temple, built with iron, with the coming of Moshiach. May he come soon.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Rabbi, always inspirational and beautifully written