A Humble Foundation
"Look at that building under construction, Avi."
"It is magnificent, Chaim. What is it?"
"It is a Beis HaMedrash."
"What a beautiful place to learn Hashem's Torah! That man looks like the building supervisor. I would like to ask him a few questions.
Chaim and Avi walk over to the man.
"Excuse me sir, are you in charge of construction of this building?"
"Yes I am, young man."
"It is a truly beautiful structure."
"How many people will sit in this Beis HaMedrash?"
"B'ezras Hashem there will be 700 seats."
"What a Kiddush Hashem. Sir, what is the most important part the construction of this great building?"
"The foundation, young man. The entire structure is built upon huge blocks of steel reinforced concrete. The weight of the whole building rests upon them. If one is even slightly larger than the other, the walls will not be straight, and the structure will eventually collapse."
"That is very interesting, sir. Is this a new concept?"
"Far from it, young man. The Mishkan (Tabernacle) built by Betzalel in the desert over 3000 years ago rested on the same principle."
"Really? I thought it was a portable structure."
"It was. However, the boards that formed the walls rested upon 'adanim,' square pegs with holes in them. These pegs were made of silver, and the boards were inserted into the holes."
"Where did the silver come from, sir?"
"Each one of the 603,550 men of Klal Yisrael contributed half a shekel of silver (Shemos 38:26). Those half-shekels were melted down to make 96 adanim."
"Could a rich man contribute more?"
"Definitely not. This trumah had to be an equal amount from every Jew."
"That is a very deep subject, young man. The Keli Yakar explains that the Mishkan was a structure upon which the Shechina (Divine Presence) would rest. Hashem only associates Himself (so to speak) with humility. Wherever there is a trace of gayva (pride), He will not go. Therefore, the Mishkan had to be a humble structure. The foundation was made of these silver pegs. They were made from equal contributions. No one could brag that he had a bigger share in the adanim. Similarly, all 96 adanim were exactly the same size, another sign of humility - no one was greater than another. Lastly, they formed the foundation, the lowest and most humble part of the structure. So you see, young man, that the foundation upon which the Mishkan rested was humility."
"That is fascinating, sir. Please tell us more."
"The Keli Yakar elaborates that the pegs were called 'adanim,' which has the same root as the word 'adon' - master. This teaches us that one who lowers himself in this world, like the lowly pegs, becomes an 'adon' - a master - in the upper world. Similarly, one who lowers himself; Hashem lifts him and makes him the yesod of the binyan - the foundation of the structure of Klal Yisrael. That humility is the yesod upon which the Jewish Nation is built."
"Thank you very much sir. I see that you really know what you are building."
Kinderlach . . .
Humility is the key to greatness. Place yourself below other people. See their good qualities. Realize that they are older, wiser, wealthier, or more experienced than you. Do not try to act as their superior, rather, place them above you. Give them the honor and respect that they deserve. You will be building the foundation of a great structure - Klal Yisrael. You will be preparing a place for the Shechina to rest. And you will be making yourself truly great - an adon in the eyes of Hashem.
The Crown for Everyone
"They shall make the Aron..."(Shemos 25:10). This verse is referring to the Aron Kodesh, the Holy Ark, which stood in the holiest place of the Mishkan (Tabernacle). The Medrash (Shemos Rabba 34:2) asks a very interesting question regarding this verse. When Hashem instructed Moshe Rabbeinu to make all of the other kelim (vessels) of the Mishkan, He used the singular form of the verb, "and you shall make" (Shemos 25:17,23,31, etc.). When He came to the Aron, He used the plural form of the word, "They shall make" (Shemos 25:10). What was the difference between the Aron, that "they" were commanded to help in its construction?
The Medrash answers with an inspiring insight. The Aron represented Torah. "Let everyone come and work on the Aron, in order that they can all acquire the Torah." The Torah was for everyone. The Medrash continues describing two other kelim - the shulchan (table), and the mizbeach (altar). They represented Malchus (kingship) and Kehuna (priesthood) respectively. Hashem instructed Moshe to make a gold crown for the other two kelim (Shemos 25:24). When referring to the Aron, He said to make a gold crown "on it" (Shemos 25:11). What is the difference? The words "on it" are used to describe the crown of Torah, because it is above the others; it is greater than the others. Acquiring the crown of Torah is like acquiring all of the crowns together. Therefore, we see that the crown of Torah is both the greatest crown, and the one that is most available for anyone to take.
Kinderlach . . .
Who wears a crown? A great person. A person who deserves much honor - a King, a Kohen. There is a third crown that is greater than Kingship or Kehuna. The crown of Torah. Not only is it the greatest crown, it is the most accessible. You do not need royal blood to wear the crown of Torah. You just need a desire to put all of your energy into learning. Commit yourself to learning Torah to the best of your abilities. Then carry out your commitment. You will soon be wearing a very beautiful thing - the crown of Torah.
What were the dimensions of each yeria? (26:2)
How many boards formed the west wall of the Mishkan? (26:22)
Which vessels were inside the paroches? Outside? (26:33-35)
What were the dimensions of the Mizbeach? (27:1)
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