• Rabbi Shmuel Brazil

THE MISHKAN – HASHEM'S SPACE | PARSHAS TERUMAH

All donations towards the building of the Mishkan had to be motivated by pure intentions and love of Hashem as the passuk says ויקחו לי תרומה that the materials should be given לי lishmah (Rashi). Understandably, there are many shades and percentages of lishmah and one can be sure that the upper levels of lishmah were used for the major vessels of the Mishkan such as the aron and keruvim, the menorah, shulchan, and the alter of incense. The lower degree of lishmah was applied to forming the lesser vessels such as the kiyor and other כלי שרת that were used in the avodah of the Mishkan.

The meforshim explain that Bezalail was gifted with the wisdom of how to read the level and degree of intention and love that accompanied every gift donated to the building of the Mishkan. This is hinted in the passuk (Shmos 35,32) ולחשוב מחשבות which is normally translated as to become master weavers. However, one can also translate its meaning as to uncover the thoughts of others. Therefore, Bezalail was able to match one's kavvanah of his donation to the particular vessel that paralleled the level of purity needed for its construction and geographic location and usage in the Mishkan.

If I were to ask you which vessel do you think merited to the highest degree of intention and purity in its donation, you would likely say the aron. After all the aron held the first and second luchos, it was the only vessel placed in the Kodesh Kadashim, and it was from the aron that the voice of Hashem to spoke to Moshe. Yet I saw someone bring in the name of the Sfas Emes even though I have not yet found it in this parsha that the most pure degree was needed for the space in which the aron was placed.

You see, Chazal tell us in Yuma 21 that מקום הארון אין מן המדה the aron did not take up any physical space not in the Mishkan and not in the Beis Hamikdash. This statement means that the space of the aron was supernatural, beyond our reality and our three dimensional understanding of space. Compared to everything else this was a constant miracle 24/7 which occurred non stop in the Holy of Holies. To me this was the greatest donation to the Mishkan – a space that was non space. I therefore ask you which people donated this gift to the Mishkan and why was this higher than the pure intentions of those who donated towards the construction of the aron?

I think this can be answered with an interpretation of Rav Simcha Bunim from Pershischa on the words in Yishtabach הבוחר בשירי זמרה Hashem chooses the songs of songs. He explains the seemingly double lashon that the wordשיר does not mean song but rather the remains, like we find in the lashon משירי אנשי כנסת הגדולה from the remainder of the Great Assembly (Avos 1,2). There are instances when a person can express his gratitude his yearning and his emotions. Other times he cannot find the words to reveal his overwhelming emotions. If he is able to express and release them, he finds relief from his build up of a choking emotional inferno. The down side is that these deep feelings which became actualized in physical words which possess dimensions and boundaries, beginnings and ends, compromise his previous feelings that were originally stored inside of his heart. For if he lacks a way to actualize or express his deep emotions of love and appreciation towards someone because it is too overwhelming, then what he didn't express in words or action remain even more powerful and are still very spiritual not yet being taken over by the physical dimensions of speech or action. These unreleased expressions of emotion and the non actualized deeds of conduct, are the most dear to Hashem and are His first choice since they remain in their purest form closer to his neshama rather than his body. Unadulterated by speech or action, they remain uncompromised in Man who is the Olam Katan and do not come in contact with the Olam Hagadol the physical outside that surrounds a person.

So too we can say that when the נדיב לב brings his love to fruition and concretizes it in the physical form it is compromised to some extent even though it can be the purest of the pure intention wise. It contrast it was the donation for the space that came about from those Yidden who even after they gave towards the Mishkan they still felt it was not enough to warrant Hashem' descent and dwelling in their midst and they were overwhelmed with passion to give more. But the announcement throughout the camp was that no more donations are needed, placed a tight lid over their steaming passion to be part of creating Hashem's dwelling place. This caused that they were left only with a craving רצון , will and yearning, to give more but with no avenue to fulfill this overwhelming passion. Hashem took this רצון which can be described as belonging to the world of spirit alone without any actual expression of the physical which characterizes this world of dimensions, and He used it to create a non dimensional space in which to place the aron in the Mishkan.

We find the same episode by Yaakov Avinu. He was sleeping at the makom of the Mikdash on Har Hamoriya and he dreamt in a prophecy from Hashem that He said to him that the land that you are now lying down on, your children will inherit. Of course Hashem meant the entire Land of Eretz Yisrael and not merely the four by four cubits that he actually lay on. Rashi brings the Chazal who say that indeed Hashem folded the entire Eretz Yisrael under Yaakov. But isn't that physically impossible? The answer is that since this place was where the future Beis Hamikdash was to be built, and where he slept was the future makom of the Aron, the entire Eretz Yisrael was able to be folded under Yaakov and still not take up any space.

There is a physical places that are restricted to function with natural laws and dimensions. However, Chazal tell us that Hashem is called מקום because He is the space of space. Nothing in the physical world can exist without the will of Hashem. The place where Hashem desires to display His Shechinah, manifests itself as the מקום של מקום the place of Hashem. Due to the resting of His Shechinah, this place takes on supernatural characteristics that it does not take up any space just like the Shechinah.

The gematriah of מקום של מקום adds up to שבת. The passuk says (Shmos 16,29) אל יצא איש ממקומו ביום השבת which can be translated as do not leave His space referring to Hashem on the Shabbos. On this holy day a Yid is uplifted to be in the space of Hashem which does not take up any space. The Zohar calls Shabbos יומא דנשמתא the day of the soul. The word space contains also the word scape (to escape). On Shabbos we are given a window of opportunity to scape the hustle and bustle of Olam Hazeh, and the pursuit to chase after materialism and indulgence of never ending physical pleasures which we derive from our earthly experiences. In the space of Hashem we can contact infinity יום שכולו שבת , for the purpose of embracing our soul and to be embraced and uplifted by the neshama yesairah which we receive during our visit to Hashem's Space. Shabbos is the day of שירי זמרה which is the gematriah זה ביום שבת



- Rabbi Shmuel Brazil

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