Friday, March 16, 2007




The final chapters of the book of Shemot outline the completion ofthe construction of the Tabernacle. Moshe called for a detailed audit ofall the materials collected for the project and the specific amounts anduse thereof. Our leader wanted teach that leaders must be above reproachand must keep accounts of all public monies that pass through their hands.
The Tabernacle is referred to as one of "testimony” i.e. ademonstration that Hashem had forgiven the people for their trespasseswith the Golden Calf. Another reason why the Mishkan was called atestimony is because it was the resting place of the Tablets of Testimonythat Moshe carried down from Har Sinai. The Midrash, However, givesanother surprising reason for the nomenclature.

"It is a testimony to all peoples of the World that Hashem commandedits construction." The commentators explain that the intent here is to saythat Moshe did not decide on his own to build a Mishkan -- rather it wasat the behest of G-d.

The question is: If Hashem wanted to clarify this fact, why waituntil the final stages of construction to hint at this principle? Wouldn'tit make more sense to clarify this point before the collection of all thevaluable materials needed to do the job?

Rabenu Yosef Hayim of Baghdad, zt'l, The Ben Ish Hai, explains with aparable. A King married a woman and treated her royally, showering herwith precious gifts and honor. He became infuriated over an act ofunfaithfulness and angrily separated from her. The members of the royalcourt predicted that he would never allow her to return.

However, after time had passed, he sent a message to his formerlove.

"Clean your palace and set your domain for a royal visit. I amplanning to come to see you."

Not long after the King arrived and entered the Queen's home. He ateand drank and chatted with her --much to the disbelief of the members ofthe court. When the fragrance of perfumes and oils came from the Queen'sresidence the people understood that the King had been appeased and thatshe was back in his majesty's favor.

Such was the case with Hashem and the people of Israel. He broughtthem to Mount Sinai and gave them His most precious possession -- theTorah -- and he dubbed them royalty -- a Kingdom of Kohanim. After only 40days they sinned and He left them and the nations of the world predictedthat He would never take them back. But, as soon as Moshe prayed on theirbehalf He did forgive His beloved.
Moshe then said: "I know that you have forgiven them but pleasedemonstrate beyond a doubt to all the peoples of the Earth that indeed youhave accepted my prayers"

Hashem replied: ''By your life, I swear that I have taken them back.Build for Me a Mishkan and I will come and dwell amongst them for theentire world to see. This Tabernacle will serve as a TESTIMONY that I haveforgiven the Jewish people.”

In these hard times of brutal exile we should all take this messageto heart. May Hashem return His presence to a New Temple in Yerushalayimand again demonstrate His love for us, His People, with the coming of

Mashiah speedily and in our days. Amen.

Shabbat Shalom