They shall make a sanctuary for Me so that I may dwell among them. (Shemot 25:8) With the exception of the tragic incident of the Golden Calf, the rest of the book of Exodus is devoted to the preparation and the building of the Mishkan, the dwelling place of Hashem's Presence (Shechinah) in the desert. The Ramban explains that the redemption from Egypt was not complete with the physical departure from the land of enslavement. The revelation at Mt. Sinai was the goal of the redemption. But it wasn't complete even with the giving of the Ten Commandments. The spiritual goals were achieved permanently with the building of the Mishkan. The Ramban compares the different components of the Mishkan with the different components of the revelation at Mt. Sinai.

Rabbi Yonatan Eibshutz explains that the acceptance of the Torah by the Jews at Mt. Sinai was not total, and was acquired later by means of the service in the Mishkan. This is evident with the sin of the Golden Calf - that with their first opportunity to show their acceptance, they failed. What went wrong at Mt. Sinai? According to Rabbi Eibshutz, the Israelites had everything handed to them on a platter. They did not have to work for it, and therefore they took it less seriously. They would have to work for their Divine service. When they build the Mishkan, this would bring back the experience of the revelation at Mt. Sinai. Each would have to make a contribution, and not a fixed tax either. It must come from the heart.

There is a lesson to be learned here. People often ask, "What can I get out of such and such a misvah?" The answer is clear. You can get out of a misvah only what you put into it. Years ago, our synagogue started in private homes in our neighborhood. It was great, yet as a long term solution, there was something missing. That something was a building dedicated to prayer - a shul. And a shul will only prosper to the extent that each member contributes to it - not just annual dues, but something more - a personal commitment to the shul's welfare. As the world says, "Put your money where your mouth is." Of course, it's not always the money that counts. The investment of time, effort and dedication to a misvah is more important than money. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Reuven Semah "Make Me a sanctuary and I will dwell in them." (Shemot 25:8) The Midrash says on this pasuk that this is compared to a king who had an only daughter. Although he wanted her to marry, he couldn't bear to part from her. So he told his daughter, "Wherever you go, make me a room so I can be with you." So, too, Hashem said to the Jewish people, "Take my daughter, 'the Torah,' but make me a sanctuary to dwell amongst you."

When the great Rav Shach saw this Midrash, he got so excited for days. He said: You see how great it is to learn Torah. You get to have Hashem with you. Hashem and the Torah are inseparable, and when one acquires Torah, he acquires a connection with G-d. Let this be an inspiration to us to attach ourselves to the Torah and to Hashem. It will only bring us more berachah! Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Shmuel Choueka


This article is provided as part of Shema Yisrael Torah Network Permission is granted to redistribute electronically or on paper, provided that this notice is included intact.

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