By: Rav Moshe Weber, Shlita, Editor: Rabbi I. Ido Weber Erlich, Shlita
Eng. Translation: Emanuel Behar, Gramatical Editor: Ari Chester
Portions of the following are included in the collection of tapes: "Shemu ViTachi Nafshechem". To obtain them, call: 02-828284, or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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One should transform himself into a tabernacle - a dwelling for the Shechina, the Divine Presence.
The student of Torah should posses humility of character, meekness of spirit.
Insights on life: One should transform himself into a tabernacle - a dwelling for the Shechina, the Divine Presence. So writes the Rambam, commenting on - "And cleave to Him" (Deut 11:22). He writes, "To cleave - this suggests one should love Hashem always, relentlessly contemplating Him. One should thereby cleave to Hashem, his heart and thoughts never ceasing from contemplating Hashem, whether on the road, upon rising, and so forth. Indeed, one should contemplate Hashem always and relentlessly to the point where, although speaking with his fellow man, his heart will not be with his mouth and tongue; for his thoughts will focus on Hashem, he will 'stand' before Hashem. Certainly, these righteous men... will constitute a dwelling place for the Shechina."
"This is the reason why it is a mitzvah to stand before a Scholar: the Holy One, blessed be He, dwells forever within him, even when he engages in mundane speech; for the Torah is carved in his intellect, and the constant focus of his soul, the remembrance of Hashem, is likewise the focus of his heart. For the Torah and Hashem, blessed be He - are One." (Baal HaTanya, Likutey Torah).
Source in the Parsha: "They shall make me a sanctuary, that I might dwell among them" (Exodus 25:8). This corresponds to: "One thing G-d has spoken, two things have I heard" (Psalms 62:12). Writes the Alshich, "One, this implies: Make me a sanctuary. Two, this implies: Make it such that their deeds match the sanctuary, that they themselves (the Jewish Nation) should be temples of Hashem; thus, His Shechina, blessed be He, will dwell in and among them, as it says: So that I might dwell among them."
"And so should you do", " for all generations"(Rashi) -- "Even now, when, because of our many sins, we don't have a holy temple in a physical sense, we should nevertheless establish ourselves as holy temples, spiritually, for all generations" ,(Ramban).
Insights on life: The student of Torah should posses humility of character, meekness of spirit. Thus write our Sages, of blessed memory: "A gift from the wilderness, the gift went to the valley, and from the valley to the heights; and from the heights to the valley." What does this mean? Suppose: one is the 'wilderness,' where everyone walks on him, and Hashem gives him the Torah as a gift. Since it is given to him as a gift (specifically, to the Jewish Nation), his heritage is 'Hashem', like it says, 'The gift went to the valley' - the word 'valley' is similar to 'heritage.'(in hebrew) And, since his heritage is Hashem, he ascends to greatness, as it is written, 'And from the valley to the heights.' If one is arrogant in his heart, Hashem will consequently lower him, as it says, 'And from the heights to the valley.' Nevertheless, if he repents, returning to Hashem, blessed be He, then Hashem will raise him up again, like it says, 'Let every valley be raised' (Isaiah 40:4)" (Talmud).
"Hashem, blessed be He, said to David: Since you humbled yourself, you will be like Me - when I declare a harsh verdict, you may nullify it... When he [David] would engage in Torah, he would strain with all his strength, like a worm. He would, explains Rashi, bow his hands and feet together, like a worm, sitting on the ground. And when he would go out to war, he would harden himself, like wood" (Talmud).
"Sages who break themselves over Torah in this world, the Holy One, blessed be He, reveals to them secrets in the world to come" (Talmud).
Themes in the Parsha:
"And let them take for Me a portion."
Portion ('terumah') - this word is comprised of the letters which spell: Torah, followed by the letter: Mem; the gematria of Mem is forty, for Hashem gave us the Torah in forty days. The structure of the Mishkan reflects the essence of the Torah; after all, the purpose of the Mishkan entailed a dwelling from the Aharon (the ark), in which the tablets ('luchot') were placed. This teaches: the study of Torah equals to all the worlds. So, what does the structure of the Mishkan teach us regarding Torah study?
The Ark: All of the measurements of the Aharon, the ark, were not whole numbers: the ark measured 5/2 cubits lengthwise, 3/2 cubits of width, and 3/2 cubits in of height. Likewise, the student of Torah must study in humbleness; his heart, ideally, should be broken within him, void of haughtiness, of pride or arrogance.
The Staves: The 'bodiim,' or staves (which carried the Ark) must never be removed from the rings on the Ark, commands the Torah. These staves correspond to the working men of Israel, the homeowners, who support the community - they support the students of Torah. They are like the leaves surrounding the clusters on grape vines. Without these leaves, the clusters could not exist, for the bare exposure to sun, heat, and wind would destroy them. The leaves correspond to the homeowners, the workers of Israel. They plow, till, seed and reap, providing the food which the students of Torah eat. This is the meaning of: "Rejoice, O Zebulun in your exertions, and Issachar in your tents" (Deut 33:18). Notice that Zebulun, the workers, are written first, and then second, Issachar, the scholars. Indeed, the staves of the ark (the workers of Israel) must never be removed, for they support the ark - the tablets therein, the Torah (that is, the scholars of Israel).
The Cherubim: Their faces resembled the faces of young children. For the breath of young children lack sin (namely, the children of Beit Raban); and these children, free of sin, have the ability to nullify the verdicts of Hashem.
The Shulchan (the Table): Now, after the destruction of the temple, our Sages teach us that our table (upon which we eat) atones for our sins. Specifically, by feeding the poor, and speaking words of Torah at our meals, we atone for our sins. The verse: "You shall place before me showbread, always" (Exodus 25:30) hints that when feeding the poor, one should do so with warmth and love, honorably and kindly. For Hashem, blessed be He, gives food to all flesh, all life, with warmth and love, with honor and kindness.
The Menorah: The Menorah was formed from one ingot of gold, one single composition. So, too, should be the formation of the hearts of Israel. They should all be one, combined as a single entity, from the biggest to the smallest. This is also hinted to by: "From it's base to it's flower" (Numbers 8:4) and "And they shall be even at the bottom" (Exodus 26:24). Thus, combined as one, we will be complete; that is, the congregation of Israel from below will direct itself towards the congregation of Israel above....
The Middle Bar: "The Middle bar inside the planks shall extend from end to end" (Exodus 26:28). This teaches us to walk the middle path, between the two extremes, the two ends, as elucidated by Rambam - this is the middle bar. However, if one takes to one end, one extreme, he cannot rectify himself, and return to the middle way, unless he goes all the way to the opposite extreme; thus, rectifying his conduct as such, he can return to the middle path, the middle way.
The Crown: "And you shall make on it a gold crown ('zer') all around" (Exodus 25:11). The Shlah tells us: "You merited to make a gold crown ('zer') all around, and did not merit to make it alien or strange ('zar'). To explain: if one learns Torah in order to observe, practice, and fulfill, praiseworthy is he! He is crowned with the crown ('zer') of Torah! However, if he masters Torah, and he loves to preach to others, but he himself does not fulfill, he is an alien ('zar'). He is punished, twice more than a common man, for he mastered Torah, coming close to Hashem, but then made himself an alien, a stranger!"
The ways of the world ("halichot") are His. Do not read "halichot" but"halachot," Torah laws
On Shabbat, when one takes a cooked dish from the stove, intending to return it, he must be careful not to transgress the law: A cooked dish, upon being returned to the stove, must have the same contents as when it was removed. That is, if you took a pot of sauce (and only sauce) from atop the stove, you can only return the pot onto the stove with sauce - do not add anything else to the pot, lest you violate the prohibition of: do not cook on Shabbat. (See Shulchan Aruch, Ohr Chiam, Shulchan Aruch HaRav, Mishneh Berurah, etc, for elucidation)
"A woman of worth, who can find? For her price is far above rubies" (Proverbs 31:10).
In the city of , Morocco, near the graves of two very famous Moroccan Rabbis, Rabbi Yehuda ben Atar and Rabbi Avner Hasaphatim, lies a grave inscribed: "La La Salica." This is the grave of the young Jewish girl, Salica. These three graves are secluded from the others, and according to tradition, with good reason - The Divine Presence dwells there, says tradition. We also know, from tradition, that those who visit the graves, praying to G-d on the merit of the beloved deceased who rest there, are likely to have their prayers answered... Who is this girl, Salica, buried next to two righteous tzaddikim?
Salica's family lived in Morocco. Her father, Shlomo, supported her family through selling house utensils. He worked hard, with integrity. Salica's mother and sisters, as herself, were all modest and G-d fearing. Salica, especially, stood out for her wisdom and goodness, and her graceful, Jewish charisma, beaming from her face.
Not far from her house lived the Muslim families, some of whom belonged to the elite circle of government authorities. One young man, from these families, noticed Salica, the Jew. Awestruck by her charm, her charisma, he resolved to marry her, to take her as a wife. As he matured, and the time came for him to choose a wife, he informed his father of his fervent desire to betroth Salica. "I will have nothing to live for, father, if I don't marry Salica," he told his father. The father kindly accepted his son's requests, and was certain that Salica's father would be delighted if she were to marry into an honorable, rich family as his. Of course, Salica would have to abandon her faith, and convert to Islam, in order for the marriage to occur. But neither the son nor father saw any problem with this.
Now, this boy's father was a distinguished man. Normally, his requests and desired were fulfilled on demand, immediately, without fail. So when Shlomo, Salica's father, outright refused to agree to the marriage, he was thunder stricken! He desired to fulfill his son's will, regardless of all obstacles. Outraged, his honour soiled, he sought revenge.... "You shall see," said he to Shlomo, "that Salica, your daughter, will marry my son, for the good - or for the bad..." Adamant, Shlomo turned his back, ignoring this altogether.
As expected, but a few days afterwards, Shlomo and his family heard knocking on the door. "We come to take Salica, in the name of the Law!" The authorities, indeed sought to arrest and prosecute Salica, for they had been informed, by a certain rich and distinguished Arab, that Salica had converted to Islam, but then returned to her heritage, her Jewish faith.... The authorities ransacked the house, searching for Salica. To their surprise, she was not to be found! For, reacting to rumors that the authorities sought her arrest, she escaped to a nearby town, retreating into hiding with relatives.
The authorities were clever, and would not back down so easily. So, they arrested Salica's mother, as a hostage, until Salica would appear, and hand herself over for prosecution. When Salica heard of this, she immediately returned to the city, for the sake of her mother's freedom. Upon handing herself over to the authorities, they arrested and imprisoned her. A few days later, she appeared in court, for judgment. "How dare you convert to our faith, then abandon it," roared the prosecution. All the Jews of the community, her family, her friends - they trembled at the aggressiveness, the recklessness of the prosecution. They dreaded the probable verdict...
But Salica did not fear. She remained firm and strong, outwardly demonstrating her will and determination, before the judges and prosecution. She proudly maintained, "Never, never did I leave my faith. I never became a Muslim, and I never, ever will! I was born a Jew, and thus shall I die!"
Nevertheless, the judges, heeded the lies of the prosecution, listening to their accursed lies. The prosecution "proved" that she had converted to the Islamic faith, but then returned to her heritage, the faith of her ancestors, Judaism. The judges declared the verdict...
The guards, with cruelty and viciousness, imprisoned Salica. Meanwhile, messengers from the wealthy Muslim families came to influence her heart. Even so, isolated in a dreadful cell, Salica refused to listen. The promised her riches, wealth, prosperity - all the good in the world, they promised, but in vain. Salica would not give in.
The leaders of the Jewish community, finally, came to her, begging that she convert, and marry the Arab. Otherwise, they pleaded, the entire community would suffer. Still, she remained strong. The pleading was to no avail. Finally, the prison guards were sent to her, to brutalize and torture her, to forcefully persuade her to abandon her faith, convert, and marry the Arab. "I cannot betray my G-d, the G-d of my ancestors, the G-d of the Universe." The torture, the brute force, the terror - this, too, was to no avail. The prison guards even forcefully brought the Jewish leaders, once again; under force, her own leaders commanded her to convert, and marry the Muslim. She refused, outright. Salica remained strong, in her heart, in her mind, and would not betray her faith.
She was to be killed by the sword. In the last few moments of her life, awaiting the execution, the final fulfillment of the verdict, the Muslim boy approached her - the very cause of her misfortune, the cause of her sorrow and torture. He whispered, "Please, Salica, my love, listen to me. Please, this is your last opportunity. You can be saved, Salica, saved from death. You don't even have to become Muslim, Salica. Just pretend to, outwardly. Just marry me, please. I don't desire your death, your harm. Faith is of no importance to me..." But Salica turned her head, refusing to so much as acknowledge him. In the last seconds of her life, bound in chains, while the executioner held the sword high, raised above her neck - Salica screamed the ancient cry of the Jewish martyr: "Shema Yisrael - Hear, O Israel, the Lord is our G-d, the Lord is One!"
Salica sanctified the name of Hashem in her life, and even more, in her death.
*** Miraculous stories are told, over and over, by the Moroccan Jews, about the miracles which are said to occur on the merit of Salica, for those who pray at her grave...
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