MARCH 3-4, 2017 6 ADAR 5777
"And they shall make an Aron of shittim wood…you shall cover it with pure gold." (Shemot 25:10-11)
Our parashah begins the important subject and beautiful story of the building of the Mishkan. Of all the beautiful objects created, the Aron which contains the two Tablets stands out. It is to be made of shittim wood coated with pure gold. Why not pure gold through and through? Is there a purpose for the wood? Most definitely; the wood represents our most important quality.
Rabbi Dovid Kaplan tells: It started as a gag. John Flemington went online looking to trade a paper clip for a pencil. Someone agreed to the deal, more out of looking for something to break the monotony in his life than out of any need for a paper clip. John then managed to trade a pencil for a pen. The pen went for a stapler, which went for a flashlight, which was then traded for a basketball. The ball traded for a fan, which then went for a chair, then for a table, then for a bicycle, then for a moped, then for a motorcycle, that was traded for a role in a movie and that for a boat, then for a van, and eventually John and his wife ended up trading for…a home in Saskatchewan. That trade-up process took about a year and John ended up in the Guinness Book of World Records for the most successful trade-up in history!
I know it's Saskatchewan, but a home is a home. For the price of a paper clip, it's not bad. Of course, better than the home is the mussar lesson that John has taught us. We all know that one must always strive to grow. But there is something that we often forget that we can strive to unimaginable heights. Our Sages put it differently. They said one must always ask himself when his actions will reach the actions of his forefathers.
The Aron which holds the Torah is essentially of wood. Wood is something that grows; it teaches us that a Jew must always grow like the wood grows on a tree.
Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Reuven Semah
"Make an Ark of cedar wood...and cover it with gold." (Shemot 25:10-11)
The Aron (Ark), which held the two Tablets in them, had to be made out of cedar wood and covered with gold from within and from without. Since this is one of the most important vessels in the Mishkan, shouldn't it be made totally out of gold? What is the significance of the wood between the layers of gold? The answer is that the Torah must be kept in something wooden because wood is a substance which symbolizes growth. The scholar and the layman both must be like wood in the sense that they are constantly growing and improving. The gold covering symbolizes the midot, the character, which must be sterling and pure like the pure gold in the Mishkan, but the main substance which can hold the Torah is wood. The lesson for us is that no matter what our level of understanding is, we must try to increase our learning and be constantly on the move towards perfection. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Shmuel Choueka
"Plan ahead!" ordered the plaque on the wall of the supervisor's office. "Don't get caught napping!" warned the paperweight on his desk.
The boss had the right idea about work - and life. A person who does not plan will often miss a good opportunity for success and achievement. Planning, however, is not the same as dreaming. A planner assesses problems and potential solutions, collects facts and materials, and anticipates possible setbacks. A person who dreams, on the other hand, focuses on the results and ignores the difficulties that may arise en route to achieving a goal. The planner deals with each new challenge as it arises; the dreamer may give up in frustration when progress is blocked by unanticipated obstacles.
As you face each new day, you must expect both ups and downs. Problems, when they occur, should be viewed as challenges and used to propel you forward towards successful completion of a task. Those who fail to plan, plan to fail. A good plan anticipates difficulties that are not in the original strategy and converts them into propellant, accelerating the drive towards success. (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.
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