28 February 2020

Parshas Terumah and the Aron HaKodesh

By Roy S. Neuberger

Why are the measurements of the Aron Hakodesh given in fractions?

“When it comes to ruchnius, a person should feel that he is never done… he should constantly strive to attain more … because there are no limits to the heights a person can achieve in the spiritual realm.” (Rabbi Yaakov Galinsky on Parshas Terumah)

Personally, when I am trying to learn Torah, the feeling of “incompleteness” is overwhelming! Am I able to comprehend? On the contrary, I feel far from understanding Hashem’s Torah … and yet I am going to continue to try to approach Him!

The Torah is infinite, and I am, lehavdil, me!

“Regarding material things [however]… he should feel that he has exactly enough.” Rabbi Galinsky tells a powerful story: “I was around eight years old and food (in Poland) was scarce. I was eyeing my sister’s plate, thinking it had a bigger portion, when I suddenly felt a slap, and heard my mother’s voice ringing in my ears: ‘Look at your own plate!’” (ibid)

Powerful mussar!

My friends, as the edifice of Esav continues to crumble, it behooves us to keep this perspective in mind. We have only one priority. It is not only good to concentrate on ruchnius; rather, it is necessary for survival. Last week, I cited a number of current phenomena – wildfires, epidemics, rising water levels – which threaten our physical world. There are also social phenomena, in which behavior patterns which are completely antithetical to the will of the Ribono shel Olam are becoming accepted throughout the world.

Is it surprising that anti-Semitism is rising along with rejection of Hashem’s will?

The process is logical. Those who flout Hashem’s law understand on some level that the Master of the Universe forbids them from acting in this way. Therefore, in order to rationalize their rebellious behavior, they try to pretend that Hashem either does not exist or that He does not involve Himself in the conduct of His world.

But this is not sufficient to assuage their guilt, because they know in their G-d-created soul that Hashem proclaims laws for this world. So they try to cover up their guilt by disparaging Hashem’s representatives in this world, namely, His Children, Am Yisroel. Thus, anti-Semitism arises among those who flout Hashem’s will. They denigrate us in order to try to discredit the Law which forbids their unlawful behavior.

And how should we react? 

Rabbi Galinsky brings a beautiful moshul from the Chazon Ish: “When I go out at night, I notice that I have a huge shadow that follows me. [But] the closer I am to the streetlamp, the smaller the shadow gets. When I stand directly under [the streetlamp], the shadow disappears…. I learned from this that the … closer we get to the light, the more we confront our own insignificance.”

For survival and security, it behooves us to stay close to the Light. The closer we stand, the more invisible we will be to our enemies, because of the intense Radiance.

“May [Hashem] shine a new light on Tzion and may we all speedily merit its light!” (Shacharis)

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Roy Neuberger, author and public speaker, can be reached at roy@2020vision.co.il.

© Copyright 2020 by Roy S. Neuberger

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