Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

14 Adar I 5765 - February 23, 2005 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network

Opinion & Comment
Who is Counted in Klal Yisroel?

When a group comes together to do something — whether it is a neighborhood committee, or a sports team, or a business organization, or an army — they are united by a common goal but the individuals may be sharply divided in their individual motives. Some may be motivated by genuine altruistic motives of improving the world, some may be motivated by the hope of personal material gain, some may be driven by hatred of an opponent, some may be locked in a routine and just doing what they always do, and some may just be moved to do evil.

For all practical purposes, it does not really matter what motivates their participation. As long as they cooperate and do their part, the job will get done, the game will be won, the enemy will be defeated. Everything will be fine and no one will ever know the difference.

"For man sees with his eyes, but Hashem sees the heart" (Shmuel I 16:7). The Torah, as the word of Hashem to us, has different interests and different demands.

All the parshiyos in the Torah in the second half of sefer Shemos are concerned with the building of the Mishkan — the space that houses the Shechinah in our world.

It is established with three terumos: The first was the half-shekel of counting whose proceeds were used to cast the adonim, the silver sockets that held up the keroshim, the gold-covered boards of the Heichal. The second terumoh was the one noted at the beginning of parshas Terumoh, wherein each gave according to his nedivus leiv, his personal commitment, generosity and ability. This was used for constructing the rest of the building and the various vessels used in the Mishkan. The third terumoh refers to another uniform half-shekel that was given to the Mishkan as the first of the annual machatzis hashekel and was used, as always, to fund the public sacrifices brought in the Mishkan and later in the Beis Hamikdosh.

HaRav Shamshon Rafael Hirsch writes, "Every member of the community has an equal portion in the basic values on which the Sanctuary rested (Terumas Adonim) and in the ideals that are to be attained through the Sanctuary (Terumas Shekolim). With regard to the construction and maintenance of the Sanctuary, however, everyone could contribute as he wished (Terumas HaMishkan)" ("Shevat VI," p. 362).

The Mishkan (and later the Beis Hamikdosh) is the focus of our aspirations. We pray towards it and we visit it thrice yearly. The ideal avodoh, which is the ideal of human life, is attained in the service in the Mishkan.

The posuk says, Zeh yitnu. Chazal (Yerushalmi Shekolim 5:4) say that Hashem took a coin of fire from under His Kisei Hakovod and showed it to Moshe Rabbenu.

The basis of our avodoh is a full commitment to this Aish-Dos the fire that underlies the Kisei Hakovod. That is the first thing that we must bring. If we understand who we are and what we are for, we must be able to bring this coin that represents our fire, this basic commitment in our life, which is a constant requirement of all units of Klal Yisroel, and forms the very foundation of the Mishkan.

Once that basic foundation is in place, then there is room for individual creativity and the unique personal contribution that each of us can make as we all, together, construct the Mishkan. In the end we can take no credit or special pride or shame in the size and nature of our contribution, since its final goal is the avodoh, which is a collective product of us all.

To be sure, we cannot assess the commitment of our fellows. It is hard enough to know our own hearts, and we must constantly examine ourselves to see if we are clean and pure.

But the base upon which all is built is the personal and complete commitment that each of us makes to serving the Ribono Shel Olom: Zeh yitnu kol ho'oveir al hapekudim — Whoever wishes to be counted in Klal Yisroel must give this.

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