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Parshat Vayak'hel-Pekudei (5767)
This week's double section has a stong connection to bringing Moshiach.
First of all, it deals totally with the building of the Tabernacle, preparing us for the third Temple that Moshiach will build (Mimonedies Laws of Kings 11:1).
Also, this Shabbat we finish the book of Exodus and begin the book of Leviticus; i.e. leaving the desert and beginning to offer sacrifices; Again hinting at the Temple service that Moshiach will renew (ibid).
And finally, on this Shabbat we 'bless' the coming month of Nissan - the month when we were redeemed from Egypt and WILL be redeemed from the present exile (Talmud R"H 11a).
But what do all these hints have to do with us? The arrival of Moshiach, the future redemption and the Third Temple will be miracles from G-d. (See Ex. 15:17 and Micah 7:15). So why should all this concern us? Isn't it all G-d's business?
To understand this, here is a story.
The story takes place in the Ukraine some 300 years ago.
In a few hours it would be Passover (Pesach). Jews throughout the world were joyously preparing for the 'Holiday of Freedom' but the Baal Shem Tov (Rabbi Yisroel Baal Shem, called the Besh't for short) was miserable. And that meant disaster for the Jews.
Since the 'birth' of the Jewish people some three thousand years earlier when Moses took them from Egypt, it was obvious they could not exist without a "Moses".
As the mystical Jewish book The Zohar says; there must be a Moses in every generation to teach them, save them from their enemies and lead them out of their spiritual "Egypts" (See Num. 27:15-17 and Tanya Chapt. 47).
And the Baal Shem Tov was the Moses of his generation. So if he was worried, it was not a good sign.
The night before Pesach he ordered his Chassidim to say Psalms non-stop while he closed himself in his room. At midnight his personal attendant entered to find the Besh't lying almost lifeless on the floor of his room, pale as a sheet, eyes wide open staring at something beyond the ceiling as though his soul was totally in another place.
The crying and wailing of the Chassidim broke the still night and could be heard a mile away; something awful was happening.
At sunrise the Besh't ordered his pupils to assist him to the Mikva as he was too weak to walk himself and to also prepare themselves for the baking of Matzot and for the Morning Prayer.
But instead of the usual joyous song and joy that accompanied the morning and afternoon prayers and the elated holiness ordinarily felt during the Matza baking, the Besh't was somber and looked as though he was about to burst out weeping. He even ordered his Chassidim to think about the prayers and spiritual unities of Rosh HaShanna and Yom Kippur… the days of Judgment!
But then, after the baking the Besh't gathered his pupils and gave them a lecture on 'Bi'ta'chon'; complete trust and reliance on G-d. He stressed that even when it seems that all is lost, Bitachon itself can transform the situation to joy and salvation.
But then he became despondent again.
And so it was in the Seder Night. For most of the evening he was very serious, once in a while he even winced as though receiving terrible news, but occasionally he shook his head in agreement and smiled.
Then, suddenly his eyes widened in pleasure, a warm smile covered his face and he burst out in laughter!
He stood, opened his arms and raised his eyes thankfully and declared,
"Mazal Tov!! Mazal Tov! Thank G-d! Blessed is the G-d of Israel who chose Moses and Israel so that even the simplest of Israel can do things that even this 'Israel' (i.e. Israel Baal Shem) can't do!!!"
None of the Chassidim had any idea what was going on but they knew it was good so they all began singing joyously until eventually they were dancing more and more wildly until they were out of breath and had to sit down to rest.
When all was calm again the Besh't explained what happened.
"Yesterday I saw in the spiritual worlds that trouble was descending. It was decreed that a community of some four hundred Jewish families was going to be attacked and wiped out by gentile gangs on the first night of Passover.
"I tried to pray, to request mercy. But nothing worked. I reminded G-d of how He forgave the Jews for the sin of the Golden Calf, how they are His people, how they have suffered so much… but nothing worked. So I told you to say Psalms while I prayed in my room, I actually tried to give my soul for theirs.. but to no avail.
That is when I gave you the lecture about trusting in G-d when all else fails, because I saw that the decree was out of my hands.
But then, when we began the Seder night I heard something. An old Jew called Lipa and his wife got into a conversation almost an argument as they ate the Matzos and drank the wine and, to my amazement; it had huge repercussions in the heavens as though what they said would tip the heavenly scales.
"It began when they got to the part in the Hagadda about how Pharaoh ordered his soldiers to drown all the Jewish male babies in the Nile river.
"'Feh!' said the woman. How could a father do that to his children. I mean, G-d is the father of the Jews, right? So why didn't He step in?
"'Her husband sat silently for a few minutes and finally answered. 'Listen, I think we shouldn't mix into G-d's business. I mean, whatever He does is fine with me.
"But his wife replied, 'He can do what He wants but I don't understand the suffering. What's the point? Why doesn't He just take us out of exile like He did back then? Sounds cruel to me!!'
"So he replied, 'G-d has His time and I'm sure He'll keep all His promises."
"Finally", Said the Besh't "After each of them had drunk their fourth cup of wine and were a bit drunk. The man's wife finally stood up and declared, 'well, I don't know what has been till now but I agree that it's time for G-d to keep His promise and save the Jews!!' at which point Lipa and his wife stood up and danced.
"So," Concluded the Besh't, "It was that dance that saved the Jews. I tried and tried to change the evil decree with no success. And that simple Jew did something that even I couldn't do!!"
This answers our questions.
True, the arrival of Moshiach is in the hands of G-d. But, (so-to-speak) G-d is in our hands.
That was why G-d told us to build a Holy Temple; to make sacrifices in order to please Him (Lev.1:9) and change His mind! (See Gen. 8:21).
And this will also be the job of Moshiach; to convince all the Jewish people to have only one priority… to please G-d and 'change His mind'.
G-d created the world in such a way that He would not be revealed in His creation. (The word for 'world' "HLM" is the same root as that for 'concealment') Our job is to 'change His mind' so He should be revealed here.
That is also the unique nature of the month of Nisan; it is the month that the Jews were born to be G-d's people…concerned only with bringing Moshiach and revealing G-d here. (See the end of Rambam, Laws of Kings12:5).
So it all depends on us… to do all we can to change G-d's mind and reveal....
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