In keeping with the spirit of Purim, our families are busy preparing Mishloach Manos (food gifts) and Matanos Laevyonim (financial gifts for those who require our help). Klal Yisrael, in every generation, earn the title of Baalei Chessed: giving and caring people. It was this spirit of caring and giving that allowed the Mishkan, which we studied for the past four weeks, to be dedicated.
Last week’s Parsha of Pekudei begins with a troubling extra word. The passuk says, "These are the countings of the Mishkan, the Mishkan of testimony."
To explain this, the Midrash tells us that Moshe built a Mishkan with the donated materials, and with the excess, he built a Mishkan for the testimony. Thus, the passuk repeats the word "Mishkan," hinting to the second "Mishkan of testimony."
This Midrash begs for explanation. Where do we find that Moshe built two Mishkans? Rav Binyamin Kamenetzky zt"l answers this question with a story.
A young family once moved into the same building as Rabbi Avraham Auerbach, shlit"a, a Rosh Yeshiva of the Stolin Yeshiva in Jerusalem. He treated them like grandchildren for almost three years. They asked the sagely Rabbi for advice on many topics. The husband shared a story of an encounter they had with Rav Auerbach:
“My wife’s relative needed a shidduch, and my wife decided to try the well-known segula (kabbalistic remedy) to pray at the Kotel on this woman’s behalf for 40 days straight. After a few days, my wife realized that the shlep would make it very difficult to keep at it for 40 days. Before abandoning her plans, my wife suggested that we discuss this segula, and seek a possible solution, with Rav Auerbach.
“We asked Rav Auerbach to tell us the origin of this famous segula. Rav Auerbach, with warm, grandfatherly love, smiled. ‘My rebbitzin is from a family that has lived in Yerushalayim for many more years than I have,’ he said, as he turned to his wife and signaled her to answer us. Rebbitzin Auerbach answered, and taught us an unforgettable lesson. ‘Going to the Kotel for 40 days is nice, but it does not change who you are. You have an ability to help others and to give to others. If you do that, you will grow as a person. Think of a kindness you can do for someone else and do it 40 times. You will become a greater person. That will be a much bigger merit for your relative.’”
Rav Binyamin Kamenetzky zt"l used this story to answer our initial question, based on an explanation by the Gerrer Rebbe, Rav Yitzchok Meir Alter zt"l, author of the "Chidushei Harim." The Chidushei Harim explains that of course Moshe did not construct two Mishkans. Rather, the passuk is subtly sending a message. The phenomenon of the Jews' uber-excitement to donate to the Mishkan was a revelation of the essence of the Jewish soul. Deeply rooted in every Jew is a drive to give and to connect with Hashem and His Shechina.
When they heard the call for the need of materials to build Hashem's sanctuary, the Jews sprang into action. Every Jew pitched in and eagerly jumped to donate. The response was so overwhelming that Moshe had to make another proclamation for the Jews to stop bringing materials!
The extra donated materials, explains the Midrash, served as a testimony to Hashem, and a testimony to us, of who we really are. We are a nation of givers, and we are a nation of doers. Every member of the Jewish Nation has greatness inside. We must only look inside ourselves and do something positive to reveal it
I thank all the parents and families for their continued support of our upcoming Divine Providence Auction and for their ongoing support. As Purim approaches, I thank all of those who have helped since Rosh Chodesh to increase and elevate the spirit of Purim in the school.
As has become traditional over the past few years, my wife and I will be in Lakewood fundraising over Purim. We apologize for not being able to see all the great local costumes and to share the uplifting Providence Purim with our local friends.
Good Shabbos, and best wishes for a freilich Purim!
Rabbi Peretz Scheinerman,