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B”H

Shalom and Bracha!

 

  This Shabbat we read the portion of Ki Tisa. Amongst the things which are discussed in this week’s portion is the commandment to make the Kiyor, the washing basin. Hashem commanded that a washing basin of copper be made and placed in between the altar and the tent of the Ark. The Kohen had to wash his hands and feet from the basin before serving in the Temple. This was so critical that if a Kohen served before washing, whatever service he performed was invalid and he deserved to die by the Hand of G-d.

 

  The copper that was used for this washing basin came from mirrors that were donated by the Jewish women. At first, Moshe refused to accept them, because mirrors are objects of vanity. Hashem told Moshe to accept them, and further told him that these were the most precious of all of the donations to the Temple. During the worst period of the servitude, when the Jewish men were exhausted and despondent and had no interest in procreation, these mirrors were used by their wives in order to beautify themselves and arouse their husbands, assuring the continuation of the Jewish nation.

 

  This gives us a beautiful lesson that relates to our time. We know that our service of Hashem in the time of Galut (exile) is imperfect, marred by distraction and insincerity. Often we fall short of our own goals, and far short of Hashem’s expectations. When we reflect upon the greatness that will permeate the world when Moshiach comes, we sometimes feel that all that we do in exile will be totally insignificant. The Kiyor teaches us that the opposite is true. Even the mundane objects that we use to survive Galut and hasten the redemption become an integral part of Hashem’s sanctuary in the time of Moshiach.

 

  The numerical value of the letters of the word Kiyor represent revealing Hashem in the Galut. Every Hebrew letter has a numerical value. Kiyor has 4 letters: Kaf (20) Yud (10) Vav (6) and Reish (200). The Kaf and Vav add up to 26, which is the numerical value of the name of Hashem. The Reish and Yud add up to 210, which is the number of years we were enslaved in Egypt. The letters are intertwined, symbolizing infusion Hashem into the exile.

 

  From the Kiyor we also learn a Halachah relevant to our times. Our prayers parallel the service in the Temple. Just like the Kohanim had a special way to wash, every morning when we rise we must wash our hands, using a vessel. The vessel should be filled with water, lifted with the right hand and transferred to the left hand, and then water should be poured over the entire right hand until the wrist. Then the vessel should be transferred to the right hand and water should be poured of the entire left hand. This should be repeated three times, so that each hand should be washed three times alternately (right, left, right, left, right, left). Kaballah and Chassidut explain that the right side represents kindness and the left severity.

 

  By repeatedly washing the right hand first, will elicit that Hashem’s kindness should preceed and outweigh His stern judgement. Left handed people do the reverse. Thereafter the blessing Baruch Atta A-donai E-lohainu Melech Haolam Asher Kid’shanu B’mitzvotav V’tzivanu Al Netilat Yadayim should be said. By washing this way, we cleanse ourselves from impurity, we celebrate that Hashem has renewed our life, and we commemorate the service in the Temple, thereby awakening and demonstrating our yearning for Moshiach. May we speedily see Moshiach and the Kohanim performing their service in the Holy Temple.

 

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Biggs

 

Dedicated in merit of David Ben Sarah

 

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