February 4-5, 2011 1 Adar I 5771
"From every man whose heart motivates him." (Shemot 25:2)
The Ramban explains that the redemption from Egypt was not complete with the physical departure from the land of Israel's enslavement, nor was it complete with the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai. The spiritual heights that the people reached temporarily at Mount Sinai were made a permanent part of existence by means of the Mishkan. The Mishkan was intended to be the central rallying point of the nation. This function was carried forward by the Bet Hamikdash in Jerusalem. Throughout the long exile this concept is represented by the miniature sanctuaries - the synagogues and study halls. There is something special happening when one prays in the synagogue.
The Oznayim Latorah explains that when a man wishes his prayer to be accepted, in addition to fulfilling the regulations governing prayer, he should first give a coin to the poor. It says in Tehillim (17:15), "I will behold your countenance through your charity." One's prayers have an even greater chance of being accepted if he is physically located in a structure which has been constructed for this purpose through Jewish generosity, which is the shul or study hall. Giving a coin is an action done by the person, but by being in the shul his entire body enters into this place of generosity.
The Torah therefore says, "From every man whose heart will make him willing." The main attribute of the temple is the generosity of the Jew. Therefore, our Sages forbade us to pray in a ruin (Berachot 3), for it indicates a lack of inclination on the part of Jews to glorify Hashem's house by restoring His ruins. Our generosity that is reflected in our beautiful shuls and study halls makes them into places where our prayers are more readily accepted. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Reuven Semah
Our sages were able to derive beautiful and practical lessons from the Mishkan and the utensils therein. The Hatam Sofer quotes his Rabbi, R' Nosson Adler who said that the Aron (Ark) symbolizes Torah study in this world. The Luhot (Tablets) it contained represented Torah, the Cherubim symbolized its students and the poles (badim) which were used to carry the Aron symbolized its supporters.
Let us develop this analogy further. The two Cherubim faced each other, underscoring the respect scholars afforded each other. At the same time, the Cherubim's faces were directed toward the Cover of the Aron containing the Tablets. This suggests that whatever differences may arise in scholars' interpretations of the Torah, those differences are based on each scholar's genuine attempt to interpret the Torah, as contained in the Tablets behind the Cover.
The poles of the Ark symbolize the supporters of the Torah, those who provide the financial wherewithal for the Torah's students. It is particularly significant that the poles were not functional. They remained in a stationary position, attached to the Aron even when it was resting. This teaches us that those who perceive that they are upholding the Torah are in reality being upheld by it. The poles did not support the Aron; the Aron upheld the poles. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Shmuel Choueka
Which Jews used to fly (even before the Wright brothers invented the airplane in 1903)?
The Kohanim that 'carried' the Aron Kodesh were not actually carrying it; it carried them. This became obvious when they got to the Jordan River; the Aron Kodesh just floated over the water while they held on. (Torahific!)
The world is moving very fast and many people cannot keep up with the high speed at which they must live. The supermarket shelves are full of products that "instantly" provide a solution for the frantic consumer. Instant coffee, ready to eat soups, hot meals in a platter - and all the hungry consumer needs to do is "just add hot water."
Since necessity is the mother of invention, many competing companies now offer a variety of hot water urns that instantly provide the missing ingredient in all of these products - boiling hot water. A brief press on the pump or handle and the hot water begins to flow.
How do these appliances always manage to have a supply of hot water? Simple! The units have thermostats inside. The thermostat measures the water temperature, and, whenever the temperature drops below a certain point, the electricity is ignited and the water is re-boiled, providing very hot water whenever needed.
So can it be in life.
Self-improvement is difficult. New concepts, inspiring thoughts or new misvot - are approached enthusiastically. Just watch a bar misvah boy put on his tefillin, and you will see what excitement is all about.
As time goes on, however, the enthusiasm wanes and the excitement may become drudgery.
How does one maintain the temperature level that is needed for perfect service to Hashem?
One needs an emotional thermostat.
The Mesillat Yesharim suggests that one measure his deeds at a specific time every day, to evaluate not only what is good and what is not - but to also evaluate the quality of one's deeds. This daily check must become habitual in order to keep the performance at maximum levels at all times.
If the passion in your performance of the misvot decreases - if the temperature drops - let your spiritual thermostat kick in to increase the temperature.
Then, the "hot water" will be available when you need it. (One Minute With Yourself - Rabbi Raymond Beyda)
A quick tip to boost the power of your prayer. Hazal tell us (Masechet Baba Kama Daf 92A) that Hashem loves the tefilot of one Jew for another so much that anyone who prays on behalf of a fellow Jew with similar needs will have his prayer answered first. A special service has now begun to provide people with names of others who find themselves in a similar predicament. You can call with complete anonymity and get the name of someone to pray for and give the name of someone that needs our prayers. The name of the service is Kol Hamitpalel. Categories include: Marriage; Income; Health; To have children etc.
Call to 646-279-8712 or email firstname.lastname@example.org (Privacy of email limited by the email address)
Please pass this message along. Tizku L'misvot.
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