Where Every Jew is Family

Why All the Coverage of the Same Thing?


Ever notice how the news these days is all the same?  “Trump said this” … “Hillary’s latest emails” … I just can’t believe that there’s nothing else important going on in the world.  What’s with the tunnel vision?

Well, leave it to me to explain it all 😉

For three Torah portions, we are told how G-d commanded Moses to make the Mishkan, the portable temple used by the Jews in the desert.  We were told all of the in’s and out’s, measurements, materials, even processes.  We would expect it to end by saying something to the effect of, “And they did all that G-d commanded.”  In fact, that’s what happened when G-d told Noah how to build the ark and other such sections of the Torah where explicit commands are given.

However, when it comes to last week and this week, we get a repeat of the entire section.  Instead of saying “And they did it,” it says exactly what they did, repeating the entire thing.  What gives?

This is especially crucial when we take into account that the Torah is a very precise document.  We learn out so many laws from a letter, a word, even the absence of a letter or word!  Why would G-d waste all that ink?

The answer is that Moses received a very spiritual message from G-d.  The Mishkan which he was commanded to make and what he was shown on Mt. Sinai was a celestial abode for G-d.  G-d said, “Make this on Earth, and I’ll dwell with you.”  What was actually built, however, was a physical structure.  There’s no way to compare the two.  It would not have been sufficient to simply write that the Jews built all that Moses had seen, because they didn’t. What Moses saw, the Jews could not build; and what the Jews built was not all that Moses saw. The vision shown to him by G‑d on the celestial plane was transcendental, and the version built by the architects was physical. Each is its own subject, and each deserves its own portion.

This answers a very common question: What does it matter if we do this mitzvah or that in a particular or precise way?  “I’m busy in April, we can have a seder when I get home from school in June.”  Or, “Does it really make a difference if the mezuzah is on paper or parchment?” etc.

YES, it does! We must remember that the earthly Mishkan was tailored to fit the precise specifications of the celestial Mishkan, so that they would fuse seamlessly and channel G‑d’s presence downward. The same is true of every mitzvah. Each mitzvah is designed to channel a specific formula of divine energy downwards, and must therefore replicate the formula of this energy in detail. And though the specifications we are given are physical, they mirror the celestial specifications perfectly.

So by lighting the Shabbat candles on time, giving tzedakah properly, hearing megillah on Purim and eating matzah the night of the seder, you are, literally, making a home for G-d in this world and bringing Heaven down to Earth!

~Rabbi Yossi

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