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22 Adar 5762 - March 6, 2002 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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Opinion & Comment
And You are Peacefully Secure and Your House is Peacefully Secure

by L. Jungerman

And it came to pass in the first month of the second year, on the first of the month, the Mishkon was erected. And the cloud covered the Ohel Mo'ed and the glory of Hashem filled the Mishkon.

The two portions we read this week, Vayakhel- Pekudei, describe the practical stages of the building of the Mishkon which was concluded on Rosh Chodesh Nisan. And then did the glory of Hashem reside therein.

Chazal say that already seven days prior, at the end of Adar, Moshe Rabbenu erected the Mishkon daily and dismantled it at the end of the day. The process was repeated for seven days before it was left to stand permanently from the first of Nisan.

Another difference between the seven-day period in Adar and the eighth day in Nisan, was the nature of the avodoh done then. "Throughout the seven days of dedication, Moshe served as the kohen godol but the Shechina did not come to rest upon the Mishkon. As soon as Aharon donned the high-priestly garments on the eighth day and officiated, the Shechina came to rest upon the Mishkon" (Midrash Parshas Shemini, Perek Alef).

Homiletical works beautifully illuminate the significance of this situation and the lesson to be extracted therefrom. Moshe Rabbenu, master of all prophets, was certainly great enough and duly worthy to draw the Shechina to the Mishkon and have it rest there. But this is not what happened since Hashem wished to teach us that the dwelling of the Shechina in the Mishkon -- which is, in effect, the very purpose of its construction -- is dependent upon the degree of peace and serenity that is extant among Jewry. And since it is Aharon who symbolizes for us peace and brotherhood, for he was the lover of peace and pursuer thereof, it was only through Aharon that peace could be imbued in the Mishkon.

Chazal taught us: "Said R' Yuden: On the day that the Mishkon was erected, Moshe entered and heard a sound of glory, a pleasant, exhilarating sound. Said Moshe: `I would hear what Hashem is saying. How is He speaking? With mercy? Otherwise?' Hashem said to him: `Moshe! I am speaking peace unto them. I have nothing else in My heart, as it is written: For He speaks peace upon His people and upon His devout ones'" (Yalkut Tehillim 100).

We see hereby that the Mishkon served as a symbol of peace between Israel and their heavenly Father. Peace, we know, is conditional upon unity amongst Israel. As Chazal put it: "So long as there is peace in the retinue below, there is peace in the heavenly retinue, as it is written: Who builds His upper chambers in the heavens (Amos 9:6). When? At the time that, `He has founded His stairway on the earth' (Midrash, Shemiras Haloshon)."

Moshe Rabbenu taught this lesson by serving for seven days as the kohen godol, each day erecting the Mishkon in the morning and dismantling it in the evening, as if to say that the center pole which unites the beams of the Mishkon and holds them together erect on a firm footing was still lacking. On the eighth day, when Aharon, pursuer of peace, served as the Kohen, the Mishkon stood firmly and only then did the Shechina come to dwell therein.

The question is asked in Avoda Zora 34: In what garments did Moshe do the avoda during the seven days of his service? And the answer is given: In a white tunic- garment that was fashioned without a hem. The Baalei Hatosafos explain there that Moshe's garment was purposely sewn without a hem, as opposed to the regular priestly garments which did have a double facing, so that all should regard Moshe's service as only temporary; it would not continue once Aharon was installed.

Why was this particular way chosen to publicize that fact?

There is deep significance in the choice. In a garment missing a hem or inner facing, there is nothing to unite the threads and to keep them from unraveling. Its not eventually unraveling is almost inconceivable.

So it is with the Mishkon. Without the retinue down below to unite Israel, the Mishkon is constructed and dismantled repeatedly. When is it established more permanently and substantially?

When peace and unity reign. Then does Aharon perform his priestly tasks in a tunic that has a hemmed (doubled under) border which holds it together forevermore (based on Chazon Lamoed).

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