By Rabbi Nosson Greenberg
In this week’s parsha Hashem finishes instructing Moshe in the building of the Mishkan (and in the manafacturing of the clothing for the kohanim). The Ramban tells us (preface to sefer Shmos) that the exile of Egypt officially concluded when the Yidden were able to spiritually regain the level of the Avos. That, posits the Ramban, took place with the construction of the Mishkan. For just as the Avos had a presence of the Shechina resting in their tents, so too Klal Yisroel needed to have a constant presence of Hashem in their midst i.e. the Mishkan.
Using this theme of the Ramban, Rav Eizek Sher (the Slabodka Rosh Yeshiva,) makes a more specific comparison between the Mishkan and the tent of one of the Avos. Chazal tell us that Sara’s tent was blessed with three phenomena: a holy cloud clung to her tent, her Shabbos candles miraculously remained lit the whole week, and the dough was blessed. So too in the Mishkan, says Rav Sher, these three particular blessings were present. A holy cloud rested over the Mishkan building, the ner ma’aravi – the western candle of the menorah would (according to some opinions) miraculously remain lit constantly, and the lechem hapanim – the bread that sat on the golden shulchan – contained a blessing that just a small portion of it would fill a person immediately to capacity.
How beautiful it would be if even today in golus we could recreate these blessings within our humble homes, our mikdashai me’at. We should strive that the Shabbos candles remain lit the entire week. Shabbos candles, we know, are lit to foster shalom bayis – peace and harmony between husband and wife. How lovely it would be if such an aura of tranquility could be found in our homes not just once a week or from time to time, but rather as in Sara’s tent from Friday to Friday, a constant state of shalom bayis.
How beautiful it would be if the dough in our lives would be blessed. Why did Chazal use dough as an example of food that was blessed, and not the more simple bread? Perhaps, when you look at dough it looks like a small mound, but let it sit for a while in a warm environment. There it has the ability to rise to majestic heights. Everything Hashem has given us is a blessing. But sometimes we look at our possessions and achievements as small chunks of doughy insignificance. Give them some time and a lot of warmth. Warmth of emunah and bitachon, warmth of acceptance and happiness. And we will see them grow. And they will fill us with simcha to capacity.
How beautiful it would be if we could be totally connected with a holy cloud. All of us are proud of the yiddishe houses that we have built, and rightly so. But let us ask ourselves: is the Shechina clinging to our homes? Is there enough of an infusion of kedusha that the Shechina is really comfortable with being a guest in our humble abodes?
How beautiful it would be!
Have a great Shabbos.
Rabbi Nosson Greenberg is rov of Khal Machzikei Torah of Far Rockaway, N.Y., and maggid shiur at Yeshiva of Far Rockaway.