In this week's Parsha, the Mishkan is termed "Mishkan Ha'aidut" the Mishkan of testimony. What on earth was the Mishkan a testimony to? That Hashem forgave us for the Eigel HaZahav and will return His Shechina - Presence to us. Hence, the Mishkan is a lesson for all generations that no matter how far we drive Hashem away, with T'shuvah we can pick ourselves up and drive over to Him. This is amazing - Hashem is a most compassionate Father Who waits for His children to return home after running away.

So now the vessels of the Mishkan is built, Moshe Rabbeinu records all the materials donated. Why would he do that? Would someone suspect the greatest person in the world of stealing? Even so, a leader has to make sure that no one should have a reason to suspect him. Interesting incident: I was talking to a Talmid Chacham and during the conversation, he opened his thermos to drink. Before he drank, he explained to me that he already made a Bracha, he then proceeded to drink. Certainly he didn't think that I suspected him of not making a Bracha, but still he clarified it. Moshe Rabbeinu saw all the work done for the Mishkan, and he blessed the people.
This teaches me a great

When people make an effort, they need to feel appreciated. Even though it was a great honor to donate materials, time and effort for the service of Hashem, a person still wants to feel appreciated and successful. Moshe Rabbeinu was sensitive to this. Really, the people aught to have blessed Moshe Rabbeinu as their leader, for giving them the great honor and opportunity to serve Hashem.
When people ask us participate in a Mitzvah (Tzeddaka, Chessed...) we should be thankful to them for giving us that opportunity. When we give Tzeddaka, we owe the person who asked from us the money thanks for that great opportunity. They are doing us a favor more than we are to them.
The Mishkan was completed and ready to go, on the 25th day in the month of Kisleiv. I'm sure this date rings a bell (Chanukah, remember?). Hashem told Moshe Rabbeinu to wait until the month of Nissan to actually set it up. The reason for this was that it was during Nissan when Yitzchok Avinu was born. Despite the fact that Kisleiv lost out on having the Mishkan set up, Hashem gave Kisleiv another Sanctuary that would be set up during that month, namely the Bait HaMikdash.

Moshe Rabbeinu set up the Mishkan on Rosh Chodesh Nissan of the second year since we left Mitzraim. He did all by himself. You might be wondering why he did this himself and didn't appoint someone else. You see, a Tzaddik views this type of work as a great privilege. Even though it might seem 'beneath his dignity' to do this type of work, in his eyes, it was a great honor.

In the city of Belz, the new Shul was being built. Amongst those who were involved in its' construction was the rebbe himself, Rav Shalom of Belz. Just like the other workers, the rebbe was passing bricks and mixing cement. His brother objected to the the rebbe's actions. A community leader is not permitted to do that type of work. Rav Shalom explained to his brother the reason for his working. "When I was in Yeshiva, I learned with two close friends. It was revealed to us that we would be rewarded by seeing Eliyahu HaNavi if we learn 1,000 nights in a row without sleep. We longed to experience such a great spiritual encounter so we took it upon ourselves to remain awake for the next thousand nights, learning Torah. We did this for hundreds of nights when one friend couldn't bear the difficult task. My friend and I continued our learning until the eight hundredth night when he gave in. I continued on my own, determined to complete the thousand nights and finally that night arrived. It was terribly stormy and the windows blew open, the glass shattered and the candle blew out. It was terrifying experience. I took it upon myself to weather the storm, and not forfeit the past 999 nights. I opened the Aron Kodesh and cried out to Hashem for His help. I cried and begged until Hashem accepted my plea, and the storm calmed. It was quiet outside when I suddenly heard footsteps. Who could possibly be walking outside in the middle of the night after such a storm? I looked up and saw Eliyahu HaNavi! We began to learn Torah together all night.

The last Halacha he taught me was regarding the Bait Kenneset. Now that our city is fortunate to build its new Shul, can I let others do the work while I sit still? Hashem commands Moshe to anoint Aharon's sons just as he anointed Aharon. Moshe did it. Of course he did?! Why would we think otherwise?

For Moshe Rabbeinu to anoint his older brother was no problem. He was happy to bestow honor upon his older brother. But for him to bestow honor upon his nephews, could have been emotionally difficult. After all, how would you feel if your nephews are chosen to be leaders and your own sons not? A regular person would feel a bit bad that his own kids don't get that honor. The Torah teaches us that Moshe Rabbeinu anointed his nephews with the same joy as he did his brother.

Now Hashem returned to us and we enjoyed being close with Him as we did at Har Sinai. We anticipate the time when we will feel His closeness once again with the arrival of Moshiach.


© 1998 by R' Matis Friedman, H.A.F.T.R.
R' Matis Friedman's email address is shprophets@aol.com

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