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Simcha Groffman

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Parashas Trumah

Constant Mitzvos

"Class, let us now begin our study of the parashas ha'shavuah - parashas Trumah."

"Rebbe, may I ask a question?"

"Go right ahead, Avi."

"I know that we receive great reward for learning Torah. Learning these parshios that describe the Mishkan is certainly classified as Limud HaTorah. However, they have always been a dry subject to me. We have no Mishkan, mizbeach, or korbonos nowadays. Are there practical lessons or halachos that we can learn from these parshios that would make them more exciting? What can we take and use from them?"

"That is an excellent question, Avi. Firstly, there is a wealth of symbolism in the Mishkan. Learning about the hidden meaning of all of its components can deeply inspire us. Secondly, when we learn about the Mishkan and the Avodah, we can gain an appreciation of its romemus (exaltedness). We are then able to understand and feel what we are missing because we do not have that makom of hashoras HaShechina (place where the Divine Presence dwells). This can improve our prayers, most of which focus on the rebuilding of the Beis HaMikdash. So you see, Avi, there are practical reasons to learn these parshios."

"Thank you very much Rebbe."

"With that introduction class, let us now begin to learn about the Aron Kodesh. It was a wooden box, coated with gold inside and out. It housed the luchos ha'eidus (tablets of testimony) which had written on them the Aseres HaDibros. It had four gold rings, two on each side. Poles were inserted into the rings, and those who carried the ark held the poles. The verse tells us, 'The poles shall remain in the rings of the ark; they must not be removed from them' (Shemos 25:15). Rav Levy Yitzchak of Berdichev zt"l, who is known to us as the Kedushas Levy, asks the following question. All of the large vessels of the Mishkan had poles for the carriers. Their poles were removable. Why is the Aron Kodesh singled out as the only vessel which cannot have its poles removed?"

"Perhaps it was the most important vessel, Rebbe."

"In a certain sense it was, Chaim. The entire Mishkan was a miniature model of the world. Man is also a miniature model of the world. The Mishkan and man were similar models. Therefore, each of the vessels of the Mishkan corresponded to a part of the human being. Now, we all know that the 613 mitzvos correspond to the 613 limbs and sinews of the body. Therefore, the kelim of the Mishkan also correspond to the 613 mitzvos."

"Which mitzvos did the Aron Kodesh correspond to, Rebbe?"

"That is a very good question, Mendy. The Kedushas Levy relates that the Aron Kodesh represented the four fundamental mitzvos of the Torah. One, to know that Hashem exists, and that He created the entire universe. Two, to know that He is One. Three, to love Him by wanting to give Him nachas ruach in all ways possible. Learn Torah, pray, give tsedaka, and perform all of His mitzvos in order to give Him pleasure and happiness. Four, to fear Him. We must carry these fundamental mitzvos, represented by the Aron Kodesh and the luchos ha'eidus, with us in our hearts all of the time. They are 'constant mitzvos.' And so, the symbolism is complete. Just as we may never remove the poles from the Aron Kodesh, so too we may never remove these constant mitzvos from our hearts."

"How beautiful! How relevant! How inspiring!"

"Yes, class. The Mishkan is more current than today's headlines, and it is much more relevant and useful. Study it well, and it will inspire you for life!"

Kinderlach . . .

We are at the beginning of five parshios that describe the Mishkan and its kelim. Learn them well! They are relevant to your life here and now! The poles of the Aron Kodesh, which were never removed, remind us of the four constant mitzvos which we must never remove from our hearts. Always remember that Hashem exists and that He created the universe. He is One, there is no other. Love Him and fear Him. When you carry these mitzvos in your hearts always, kinderlach, you will become walking examples of the Aron Kodesh - a makom of kedusha - a makom of hashoras HaShechina.

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