This page presents insights by Rabbi Tuvia Bolton on the weekly Torah portion.
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Parshat Terumah (5764)
This week's section is the first read in the month of Adar (the happiest month of the year) and speaks of the building of the Mikdash, the prototype of the Holy Temple.
There are many other religions with their various Bibles and temples but none of them have anything like this.
G-d, the creator of all being, goes into painstaking detail describing every minute measurement of this edifice including the vessels used therein: the courtyard is exactly 100 x 50 Amas (an Ama is 11/2 feet) the tent of meeting 30 x 11, the Ark is 2 1/2 x1 1/2 x 1 1/2 etc..
But isn't this a bit overdoing it? What difference could all these details possibly make to G-d? Why didn't He just let the Jews build as big and plush a Temple as they wanted? After all, they had taken almost unlimited riches from Egypt why not put them to holy use?
And does all this have anything to do with the joy of Adar?
To understand, here is here is a story.
The Fourth Rebbe of Chabad; the 'Mahara'sh': (Morenu HaRav Shmuel) had a Chassid of whose daughter married a fine, learned, G-d fearing and charitable young man that was a misnaged; a religious Jew that hated the Chassidim.
The young man, to satisfy his father-in-law, went to go to get a blessing from the Rebbe before the wedding but afterwards didn't want to hear of it; the whole idea of holy Rebbes giving blessings was abhorrent to the core his soul.
After a year the couple was blessed with a baby boy, and called him Shmuelik. He was a beautiful child with sparkling, happy eyes but after a few weeks they noticed that he was not moving his legs!
They ran from doctor to doctor and professor to professor but little by little a depressing picture was being painted before their eyes. All the doctors agreed that the child would be paralyzed for life. It was a shame, but nothing could be done, it was obviously some sort of heavenly decree.
The child grew. He was intelligent and alert but his legs just didn't work and all the prayers and good deeds of his parents didn't help. It was just as the doctors said… hopeless. Or so the father believed and when his wife looked plaintively at him he just replied,
"Feh! If the best professors couldn't help then how could your Rabbi do anything?"
But when the child turned sixteen years old she refused to remain silent.
"What will be?!" She screamed at her husband. "Just because of your hardheaded stubbornness our son has to suffer? Look at him … what will he do the rest of his life? Have you no mercy? What have you got to lose?!"
Her words finally had their effect and one day her husband came home from the Morning Prayers and announced that he was willing to go to the Lubavitcher Rebbe ….. but only on the condition that if it didn't work she would stop pestering him.
A few days later he arrived in Lubavitch, an audience was arranged and the next evening he entered the Rebbe's room.
He closed the door behind him and was alone with the Rebbe. As soon as he saw the Rebbe's holy face he was stricken with silence. It was as though his tongue refused to move and his mind became so confused that he didn't know what he had come for. But the Rebbe began the conversation
"You were here almost seventeen years ago. How are you? How is your wife.
The friendly tone brought him out of his reverie and he began to pour his heart out about his sick son ending his sad monologue with the words; "Rebbe, the boy is hopeless, please save him. We don't know what to do!!"
"You don't know what to do?!" The Rebbe answered. I'll tell you what to do. Make him a shidduch!" (Find him a bride!).
"A bride?" Stammered the boy's father. "A Shidduch? Who would marry him? Who could he marry? I mean…."
But the Rebbe continued, "Find a poor orphan girl. I'm sure you must know of such a girl that is G-d-fearing and has a kind heart. Appeal to her, speak sincerely, buy her gifts, jewelry, tell her you will support her and tell her of your son's good qualities. Just be positive and, with G-d's help, this will convince her to agree to marry your son."
He left the Rebbe's room a different man. The Rebbe spoke in such detail that for the first time in sixteen years he felt that G-d would really help. He traveled to Minsk, bought jewelry and several days later returned home.
On the way back it had occurred to him that the girl he was looking for was living in his own house! He and his wife had taken a poor orphan girl into their house over ten years ago and, although he never had considered her for his son, now that the Rebbe mentioned it, it made sense.
He approached her and when she saw the colorful boxes that contained the presents she became interested in the contents.
It was just as the Rebbe said. She was flattered to be considered as a match for his son, happy to be part of his family and revealed she was aware of Shmuelik's good qualities. In short… she agreed! It was a miracle! His son would be married! He began regretting all he ever said against the Rebbe!! Happy ending!!
But that isn't the end.
A day before the wedding, which was to take place in their home, the preparations were in their height. Tables were being set, everything was being cleaned and scrubbed and the pots were boiling on the stove. The smell of cooking meat was so strong and appealing that everyone was taking samples from time to time and Shmuelik was no exception and asked his mother to bring him a taste.
At first she hesitated. Shmuelik was probably excited because of the wedding, but he never ate meat, not even on Shabbat, it would make him sick. He was a fragile, weak boy that ate only the lightest of foods. But he repeated his request several times and she had no choice but to comply against her better judgment.
And sure enough, after he finished eating the meat he felt strange.
His mother rushed to his bedside and he began to complain that legs felt light and … suddenly for the first time in his life he MOVED THEM!!
The next day, supported by two friends, he was able to walk down the aisle on his own feet and actually took a few of the steps back on his own. The joy at the wedding knew no limits.
From that day on Shmulik walked normally and lived to see children and grandchildren… the work of the Lubavitcher Rebbe.
This answers our question. The day the Temple was built was called G-d's wedding day (Song of songs 5:1). He got married, unified, to the Jewish people and to the world.
And just as in our story the Joy of the wedding came from every detail being fulfilled (especially the complicated functioning of Shmuelik's legs), so also the joy of the Temple came only when every detail was completed.
In fact this is the secret of joy: when every detail of life has meaning. And only the Torah tries to do it as we see in the details of this week's section: details are important to G-d!!
(That is why we see that those religions and philosophies that claim to replace the Torah, inevitably end up dwelling on hate and a yearning for death.)
And that is the secret of the Holy Temple; it was a complicated building made from physical materials in THIS world exactly according to G-d's specifications….to show us that G-d favors this PHYSICAL world with all its details infinitely more than all the spiritual ones!!
That is why Moshiach will rebuild the PHYSICAL holy Temple, bring all the Jews to the PHYSICAL LAND of Israel and even bring the dead back to PHYSICAL life!! Because that is the essence of true joy!!
Just as the Rebbe got Shmuelik married and on his feet… so Moshiach will have all the world dancing at the marriage of the Creator and His creation.
On that day we will see that G-d is ONE and there is nothing beside HIM.
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