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Vayakel/Pikudei- A Real Story in the Making

by Rabbi Chaim Dovid Green

"And Moshe saw all the work and they did it just as G-d had commanded them to do, and He blessed them." (Shemos 39:43)

Here's some good news. If you happen to find reading about the construction of the Tabernacle 3300 years ago a little boring and irrelevant, it's perfectly normal. Nevertheless, on a deeper level, it is neither boring or irrelevant. It is actually exciting and gripping.

In a parenting class we were given a useful piece of advice. If ever children are acting up during meal time, rather than attending immediately to the trouble maker(s), turn attention to the ones acting civilly. "Look how nice Sara is sitting!" "See how Eli is eating so carefully!" etc. Rather than rewarding the rebels, ignore them. Encourage good quiet behavior. Give proper attention to those who are doing what they are supposed to be doing.

When the A-lmighty created the world, the Torah tells us He created the heavens first, and then the earth. Which is larger? The spiritual universe is vastly greater than the miniature world of physicality that we occupy, and yet the attention of the Torah turns to the earth.

After land and water were separated, which is the larger of the two? We recognize today that 2/3 of the earth's surface is covered by water. To which realm does the A-lmighty turn His attention? To the land.

Of all creatures created, which was created singularly? Mankind is that lonely and vulnerable creature who is now the focus of divine attention.

Amongst all the nations and people to explode upon the stage of history, which one was the last and least of them all? The Jew!

A vulnerable and lonely seventy souls descended to Egypt, and are the focal point of the heavenly eye. The least of the tribes numerically was Levi who was to have a special role in the function of the Tabernacle, and later the Temple. The family of Cohen, even smaller, was to have the central role.

Of all the place and vessels described in the construction of the Tabernacle, the "Holy of Holies" was the smallest, and although few were actually permitted to enter its holy domain, it becomes the center piece of Jewish communal living.

The Chofetz Chaim once remarked that on a map of the world you'll find the names of big cities like New York, Paris, Tokyo, etc. shown in large print on the map. In heaven G-d has His map of the world and there is Jerusalem, Vilna, Radin, etc. These are the places where The A-lmighty has His people who are quietly learning, and praying, and carrying out His will ever so discretely.

When you want to know what's new, or what's happening, you can receive your answer from two kinds of news sources. One source depicts decay, corruption, and violence which contributes to a negative and pessimistic outlook. Only the sensational news succeeds in impressing, and more deviance is encouraged as the volume of folly is increased.

Is that what is really happening? Who says?! There's another news source that tells us what is important in G-d's eyes. It's not big; not loud. The Torah quietly tells us in clear language what is important, and what G-d is gazing at with divine love _now_, even as we think!

Here we have a group of people working in cooperation, setting aside egos, personal opinions, and political agendas while using their talents and resources to create a place for G-d in their world according to divine specifications. When that job is being done, that's what makes news in heaven; this individual or group with this mission of noble intent.

During the time when the Torah events actually occurred there were no doubt presidential scandals, wars, and social upheaval, but that's not new, and it's not news. What's new and what's really news is not the child shouting at the dining room table and disrupting. It's natural and second nature to rant and rave setting the whole table into a state of chaos.

What would be new and news worthy is the wisdom of a parent who fixes his or her gaze of love on the good one with only a few spots on his shirt; the one who is cooperative and quietly contributing to the harmony of the family orchestra.

There is a great temptation to join in the sensationalism of the day, but if one can really quiet himself down and make himself small enough, there is a real story in the making.

"And Moshe saw all the work and they did it just as G-d had commanded them to do, and He blessed them." (Shemos 39:43)

Good Shabbos!

We would like to thank Rabbi Label Lam of Foundations for Jewish Learning for contributing this week's Dvar Torah. For information about Foundations, please feel free to call the Foundations office @ 1-800-700-9577, 914-352-0111 or fax: 914-352-0305


Text Copyright © 1998 Rabbi Dovid Green and Project Genesis, Inc.



 

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