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Shabbos Chic Blog

Mishkan

Rabbi Friedman On Shabbat Parshat Behaalotecha


I absolutely LOVED this quote from Rabbi Yosef B. Friedman in an email from The Kehot Publication Society this week. It speaks to my soul in such a deep way, and reminds me of a song I wrote years ago about being a lamp stand. We are all lamp stands, really, and life is all about the light we reflect around us:

"Speak to Aaron and say to him: 'When you kindle the lamps, be sure to place the wicks in these spouts so the seven lamps shine toward the central shaft of the candelabrum.' "
(Chumash Bamidbar 8:2) 
 
When you kindle the lamps: This phrase can be read to mean "When you ascend with the lamps."

In the book of Proverbs, King Solomon compares the G-d's commandments to an oil lamp: "For a commandment is a lamp." The lamp-apparatus comprises several parts: the vessel, the oil, the wick, and the flame. Nonetheless, the essence and purpose of the lamp is not its physical apparatus but the light that shines from it."

These are the opening words and hidden meanings in our weekly Torah portion, and they are special to me.

And here are a few additional words from LChaimWeekly.org, also from an email this week:

"The commandment to kindle the menora is symbolic of every Jew's obligation to involve himself with others and exert a positive influence on everyone with whom he comes in contact. All of us are commanded to ignite the Divine spark in our fellow Jews and light up our surroundings."

Let's all do it with our Shabbos candles tonight - let's exert a positive influence in the world by igniting light in our surroundings.

Thinking About Shavuot This Shabbat

One of my teachers, Rabbi Yitzchak Schwartz, shared the following with me:

"Kabbalah teaches a version of the Relativity Factor. The idea is that the perspective of a person is dependent upon whether he is looking up or looking down.

When people are looking beyond themselves to something that is more or greater than they are right now, they feel themselves to be small, and that what waits for them is very big.

Whereas, if they are looking at something that is smaller than they are, then they feel themselves to be very big."

We always have a choice, an opportunity to ourselves and to see others in perspective. The only way I know how to do that is to ask God for help. I ask God to show me other people, situations and myself the way he sees me.

And Rebbetzin Chana Bracha Siegelbaum, always my weekly inspiration with her Women At The Crossroads: A Woman's Perspective on the Weekly Torah Portion, adds to my personal lessons this Shabbos Bamidbar, when she writes:

"Thus, we affirm our belief that rather than competing for importance and power, the energy we receive from the Divine source must be circulated equally among us."

She is talking about the arrangement of the tribes around the Mishkan, as well as the social hierarchies we find ourselves immersed in today. Keeping in mind that we are here with the continual challenge to see things the way they really are, meaning the way God sees them, we can stand back and pray for an attitude adjustment to our perspective when necessary.

I must say, that opportunity presents itself to me MANY times every day!

Finally, Rabbi Yisroel Jungreis sent the following to me in an email this week:

"Midbar can be defined as wilderness or desert; the word bamidbar means “in the Wilderness”, teaching us that if we wish the Torah to impact on us and elevate us, we have to make ourselves like a desert. Even as a desert is barren, so too must we divest ourselves of all pre-conceived notions and allow the Torah to re-shape us. Even as in a desert there are no diversions, so we cannot allow anyone or anything to distract us from our Torah study."

Shabbat Shalom Terumah!

One of my teachers, Chana Bracha Siegelbaum, posts this week about the mikdash (sanctuary) in our hearts, a fitting study for the Torah portion this week, Terumah.
Her post is called

                      "Making a Sanctuary in our Heart
We know that all the mitzvot of the Torah are eternal, but how is it possible to fulfill the mitzvah of building the mikdash today? A person is like a mini-cosmos. Therefore, the command “make me a sanctuary” implies that we all are charged to perpetually make a sanctuary in our heart, in order to prepare a place for the Divine presence to dwell. When G*d dwells in the heart and soul of every one of us, the continuation of the verse: “that I may dwell among them” is fulfilled."

mishkan2
Although I try to remember everyday,  the day I remember my responsibility to be a sanctuary is usually Shabbos.  On weekdays I know that there is a flame burning in my heart, but on Shabbos it becomes my primary activity to remember and uphold the sacred space I occupy.

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