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Navigating Life’s Challenges

by Chaim Kramer

This week’s parsha begins with giving a half-shekel to the Mishkan (Sanctuary) and later to the Temple. This was mainly for sacrifices to effect forgiveness for the Jewish nation. Obviously, Charity helps at all times, so we should be careful to maintain our shuls and schools, etc.

The next passage deals with the laver for the Kohanim to wash their hands and feet prior to serving in the Temple. It indicates that serving HaShem should not be done haphazardly but with intent to come forth clean in our devotions.

The following two passages deal with the spices used to consecrate the vessels in the Sanctuary, as well as the special oil used to anoint kings. Furthermore, they explain the spices used for the daily ketoret (incense) sacrifice. Ketoret in Aramaic translates as “to bind,” and the ketoret sacrifice is meant to bind this lower earth with the higher spiritual worlds! A simple thing that can take a lowest material item and raise it above to the highest levels. Rebbe Nachman explains (Likutey Moharan I, 24) that the ketoret represents joy. When we perform our devotions to HaShem with joy, we can effect the binding of the worlds together and elevate the mundane to HaShem!

The following passages speak of who will be the General Manager of the Sanctuary project and the importance of guarding Shabbat and not violating it, even if it means a delay in erecting the Sanctuary! This is the great significance of the power of Shabbat, which supersedes the mitzvah of the Sanctuary. This is because Shabbat, unto itself, has within its observance the ability to effect forgiveness of sins.

Following these passages is the story of the making of the Golden Calf and Moshe’s successful pleading on behalf of the entire nation to have their sins erased. The amount of discussion on this sin and Moshe’s efforts can take up many reams. How is it possible, just forty days after the Revelation at Sinai, where the Jews saw God face-to-face (as it were), can they make idolatry? Reb Noson points out that this is the power of free choice and the power of the imagination. He explains that man has an ongoing battle with the imagination which can cause him, even after an incredible spiritual revelation, to choose a different, misleading, and dangerous path. May HaShem spare us. Amen.

Have a great Shabbos

מאמרים קשורים

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