The Eicha Project
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Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson
This Shabbos is Rosh Chodesh Nisan and Parshat Hachodesh.
This week, we begin reading Sefer Vayikra, also known as Torat Kohanim. The major theme of this week’s Parsha, is Korbanot to Hashem.
ב. דַּבֵּר אֶל בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְאָמַרְתָּ אֲלֵהֶם אָדָם כִּי יַקְרִיב מִכֶּם קָרְבָּן לַי־הֹוָ־ה מִן הַבְּהֵמָה מִן הַבָּקָר וּמִן הַצֹּאן תַּקְרִיבוּ אֶת קָרְבַּנְכֶם:
. Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: When a man from [among] you brings a sacrifice to the Lord; from animals, from cattle or from the flock you shall bring your sacrifice.
Sefer Vayikra, and this week’s Parsha in particular, seem to have little relevance to our lives today. After all, how can we offer Korbanot, if we have no Beit Hamikdash? What’s the use of even learning it?
Today, we’re living on the cusp of the Geulah, during the times of חבלי משיח-the birth pangs of Mashiach. Every day in davening we say
אני מאמין באמונה שלמה בביאת המשיח, ואף-על-פי שיתמהמה - עם כל זה אחכה לו בכל יום שיבוא
I believe with perfect faith in the coming of the Messiah. How long it takes, I will await His coming every day.
(Maimonides 13 Principles of Faith)
Mashiach CAN come today, and we have to be prepared. The Final Redemption will include the building of the Third Beit Hamikdash and the re-institution of the Temple services. While today we pray, during the times of Mashiach, we will offer Korbanot, once more. Therefore, we must study the laws of the Korbanot and service in the Beit Hamikdash. Learning Torat Kohanim, is one of the ways we can prepare ourselves for the Geulah.
The first verse of this week’s Parsha is
א. וַיִּקְרָא אֶל מֹשֶׁה וַיְדַבֵּר יְ־הֹוָ־ה אֵלָיו מֵאֹהֶל מוֹעֵד לֵאמֹר:
1. And He called to Moses, and the Lord spoke to him from the Tent of Meeting, saying,
In the Torah scroll, the word וַיִּקְרָא is written with a small Aleph. The famous explanation, is that it demonstrates Moshe’s humility. However, the Zohar offers an alternative view. The Aleph, is viewed as an imperfection. Hashem’s calling to Moshe was imperfect, because it took place in the Mishkan in a foreign land. From this we can see, that true perfection, is only found in the Land of Israel.
This theme, permeates the entire Sefer Vayikra. The generation of the Midbar was on a very high spiritual level. The lowly maidservant saw G-d at the Splitting of the Sea, the generation received the Torah directly from Hashem on Har Sinai, their cloths grew with them and they even ate heavenly good, Manna.
But, this little Aleph at the beginning of Sefer Vayikra teaches us, that no matter how good it was in the desert from a spiritual standpoint, something was lacking. True perfection can only be achieved in the Land of G-d.
This message too, has a direct significance to us. Even though our physical and spiritual lives seem completely healthy and perfect, outside the Land of Israel - something is missing. Perfection cannot be achieved. The little Aleph reminds us of our goal - serving Hashem in His Chosen Land, the Land of Israel.
May we all be zoche to commemorate Pesach in two weeks time, with the Korban Pesach in the Beit Hamikdash in Yerushalayim - במהרה בימינו אמן
8-Year-Old Miriam’s Mother: She Was My Sacrifice
"Say at the Holy Temple I brought first fruits to Jerusalem. That I brought the best of my children as a sacrifice to G-d".
-Miriam Monsonego’s mother
This week’s Sidrah describes everything that must be made for the Tabernacle, and in effect, the Temple.
It is particularly significant today, as we approach the End of Days.
There is a famous grammatical contradiction in this week’s Sidrah.
וְעָשׂוּ לִי מִקְדָּשׁ וְשָׁכַנְתִּי בְּתוֹכָם
And they shall make Me a sanctuary and I will dwell in their midst/within them
The word מִקְדָּשׁ- Sanctuary, is a singular noun, however, the second clause sates וְשָׁכַנְתִּי בְּתוֹכָם - I will dwell within them. How could only one Sanctuary be made, yet, G-d dwells in NUMEROUS sanctuaries?
The Torah is eternal and her lessons and laws are eternal. Although here, the Israelites are only commanded to build one Sanctuary, the Tabernacle, effectively, it is an eternal commandment for all the Jewish people. It is the duty of each and every Jew to ensure that his home, is a מקדש מעט - a mini Sanctuary.
This can be achieved in a few ways. For example, trying to keep a Kosher home, filling one’s home with Sefarim,fostering an environment where Torah learning is encouraged, observing Shabbat etc.
However, this concept is not only relevant to the Jewish individual, or the Israelites collectively in the desert. The concept is significant to the State of Israel, as a Jewish state, today.
A Jewish State too, must be a מקדש מעט - a mini Sanctuary. And although, Israel and her government, might not be perfect when it comes to the attitude and laws towards observant people, she must still be praised.
All official government institutions are Kosher.
In many cities in Israel, buses do not run on Shabbat.
Purim and Chanukkah are national holidays.
The work week, corresponds to the Jewish week.
It is illegal for Chametz to be publicly displayed on Passover.
Furthermore, for the first time since the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE, Israel is once again the world centre of Torah learning. There are thousands of Jewish academic institutions in Israel - Yeshivot, Batei Midrash, Midrashot, Batei Knesset etc.
However, the significance of this week’s Sidrah, runs even deeper.
Within our lifetime, the majority of the world’s Jewry will live in the Land of Israel. This will have a serious impact on Halacha. Many questions will be raised. Can we celebrate the Jubilee year? Can we re-institute a monarchy? Has the Redemption arrived? Can we build a Temple?
In the Old City, there is an institute known as The Temple Institute, that has made all the vessels for the Temple according to Halacha, in preparation for the Messiah. I personally, have had the honour of visiting this institution and I was told that all the vessels are ready. They can be used. All they’re waiting for is the Messiah and the Temple.
The Temple Institute (in Hebrew, Machon HaMikdash), founded in 1987, is a non-profit educational and religious organization located in the Jewish quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City. The Institute is dedicated to every aspect of the Biblical commandment to build the Holy Temple of G-d on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem.
Our short-term goal is to rekindle the flame of the Holy Temple in the hearts of mankind through education. Our long-term goal is to do all in our limited power to bring about the building of the Holy Temple in our time.
Thus, the Institute’s efforts include raising public awareness about the Holy Temple, and the central role that it occupies in the spiritual life of mankind. The many areas of activities conducted by the Institute combine research, seminars, publications, and conferences, as well as the production of educational materials.
Below, are photos of vessels, found in this week’s Sidra, that were made by The Temple Institute. They are ready to be used in the Temple.
We have everything ready. We all have all the vessels needed. We have thousands of priests.
Now, we must do our best to make our homes and Israel a מקדש מעט in order to bring Mashiach, במהרה בימינו אמן! speedily in our days!
Cry No More - Yaakov Shwekey
To be honest, it was the video and the footage that made me teary - not so much the song.
This is a song composed by Rav Kook. It was considered by him as a possible alternative to Hatikvah.
לעד חיה בלבבנו
לשוב אל ארץ קדשנו
עיר בה דוד חנה.
Eternally lives in our hearts,
the loyal faith [Haemunah]
to return to our holy land,
the city where David settled.
שמה נעמוד לגורלנו
אב המון קנה
שמה נחיה חיינו
חיי עדת מי מנה.
There we shall stand [to receive] our destiny,
[which the] father of many [nations] acquired,
there we shall live our life
the life of the innumerable community.
שמה נעבוד אלוקנו
בחדוה בגילה וברננה
שמה נעלה לרגלנו
שלש פעמים בשנה.
There we shall serve our God
with joy, happiness and song
there we shall pilgrimage
three times a year.
תורת חיים חמדתנו
מפי עליון ניתנה
נצח היא נחלתנו
Torah of life is our desire,
given from heavenly mouth
forever it is our heritage
from the desert it was given.
A family singing the song.
Today is the 10th of Tevet, a fast that commemorates the siege of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar during the First Temple Period. This culminated in the destruction of the First Temple on the 9th of Av, the Babylonian Exile and the Babylonian conquest of the Southern Kingdom.
Today, for the first time since the Destruction of the Second Temple and the start of the Roman exile, Jerusalem is once again whole, and in Jewish Hands.
Today, when we mourn the ancient siege of Jerusalem and the Destruction of the Temple - we can also be grateful, that we have a Jewish Jerusalem that is waiting for us with open arms.
Today, which is also used as a “general Kaddish day” for Holocaust victims - we can be grateful that we have the State of Israel - a sovereign homeland; something that Holocaust victims didn’t have to protect them, and something that they never got to see whilst living.
While Asarah B’tevet is a day of commemoration and mourning, it is also day which gives us the opportunity to think about renewal, the phoenix rising from the ashes and be grateful for what we have today - the State of Israel and Jerusalem.