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RABBI CHAIM LOBEL הרב חיים לובל

This week is Parshat Pekudei – Shekalim
Candle Lighting 5:32 PM 3/4/11 NYC EST
Rabbi Chaim Lobel – Young Israel of Aberdeen, NJ
www.yiaberdeen.com

 

 

Mysticism Part II – In Memoriam of Mr. David M. Warren (Menachem Dovid ben Harav Yosef Z’L)

After Israel completed the Tabernacle, the Torah states: “And Moses saw all the work, and, behold, they (Israel) finished it as G-d commanded, that is how they completed the work. And Moses blessed them.” (Exodus 39:43)

Rashi (1040 – 1105) teaches us that Moses’ blessing was later included in King David’s Book of Psalms - “May it be the will of G-d that He manifests his presence upon your handiwork, and May the graciousness of G-d be upon us, May He establish our handiwork, and may our handiwork be established by Him.” (King David, Jerusalem 1040 BCE – 970 BCE; Psalms 80:17) 

The Sforno (Rabbi Ovadiah ben Jacob Sforno, Bologna, Spain 1475 – 1550; Psalms 90:17) explains each part of the verse as follows:

“The graciousness of G-d be upon us” – May we understand His gracious Torah and thereby know His will.

“May He establish our handiwork” – May we have the willpower to easily perform what we understand.

“May our handiwork be established by Him.” – May our handiwork reach a sense of purpose and be desirable to G-d. 

The Torah is quite clear – After the Israelites completed the Tabernacle exactly “as G-d commanded” Moses blessed them. And what was his blessing? As we learn from Rashi and the Sforno, Moses’ blessing was for the Children of Israel to continue doing things pleasing to G-d. And, within Moses’ blessing, we find the steps necessary to do so: First, learn G-d’s will by studying Torah. Next, submit oneself to G-d’s will, doing only what He wants to the best of our understanding. And only then will our handiwork be of purpose and desirable to G-d. 

Every Jewish soul naturally strives to become closer to G-d. Moses, the greatest of all prophets, who spoke to G-d face-to-face, shows us the path but it is a challenging uphill climb. Studying Torah is hard work. Submitting ourselves to G-d’s will at all times, G-d’s will as we learn it from the Torah, not as we would like it to be, is extremely difficult.  

Again and again, we see people looking for shortcuts, an easy way to ascend the heights without having to scale the cliffs. We see people with the barest knowledge of Torah drawn to Kabbalah (Jewish mysticism) and the Messianic Era. Yet, if there was an easier way, would Moses have hid it from us?  

Torah study is exhausting. Submitting ourselves to G-d’s will in every instant in every detail can be extremely taxing. But this is the only way. This is what we must strive to do.  

Only after “they finished it as G-d commanded,” did Moses bless the children of Israel that “our handiwork be established by him.” This is the only way.

Shabbat Shalom


 
   
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