You are commanded to make an aron from cedar wood and place inside the Luchos of Testimony (Shmos 25,16). You should place the kapores covering on top of the aron and place inside the aron Luchos of Testimony that I will give you (ibid 21). Rashi points out that it is difficult to understand why Hashem repeated to Moshe the placing of the Luchos in the aron?
Chazal say that according to Rabbi Yehudah the broken Luchos together with the first Luchos were placed in the Aron Hakodesh (Baba Basra 14; Bamidbar Rabba 4,21). Rashi’s opinion (Ki Sissa 31,22) together with the Zohar’s is that the commandment to build the Mishkan was before the sin of the Aigel. Therefore, says the Shemen Rosh, Hashem is hinting to Moshe in this twofold commandment that there was also going to be a second giving of the Luchos and the whole and the broken should be placed in the aron hakodesh.
This aron that contained the broken Luchos went with them to battle (Bamidbar 10,33 Rashi). It is therefore perplexing that when Am Yisrael goes out to battle and they require rachamei shamayim that they bring out with them the broken Luchos which symbolize their idolatry of the Aigel (Shmos 32,19)?
However, just the opposite is true. This alone shows us the inner strength of a Jew that even in a state of fragmented spirituality he still possesses a Pinteleh Yid that can never be destroyed, erased, or defiled, but rather always remains connected to Hashem.
The Torah in its last three words לעיני כל ישראל testifies to this truth by ending the Torah with the breaking of the Luchos (Rashi). It is incredible that Hashem desires that the finality of the Torah should revolve around the most tragic event in Jewish history. However, the minhag of Yisrael is that when they finish reading the Torah they begin again immediately with its beginning “Bereishis bara”, which interprets the breaking of the Luchos as a strength and not a weakness alone. The lesson taught here is that even though one might think that after such a downfall as the Aigel all is lost and forlorn, Yisrael nevertheless defies this reality by demonstrating that they can arise up from the ashes and start anew, – to be Bereishis in all areas of his falling. At this new ראשית he can once again renew his love of Hashem since ואהבת את ה’ אלהיך is gematriah ראשית. He can renew his love of his fellow Jew since the gematriah of ואהבת לרעך כמוך אני יהו’ is also the gematriah ראשית. Plus he is still capable of renewing his love and dedication to the Torah since the gematriah of בית רבתי, the first letter of the Torah, which is an enlarged letter ב is gematriah אהבת תורה (Rebbe from Ozhirov).
לעיני כל ישראל is the acronym letters of כלי . Even after one experiences a falling from Hashem he nevertheless remains a כלי , a vessel to receive Hashem’s Shechinah and is fully capable of making a new beginning.
Also from the mitzvah of annihilating the nation of Amalek we can derive the importance of a Yid in the eyes of Hashem even though he worshipped idolatry. For Chazal tell us on the passuk (Devarim 25,18) ויזנב בך כל הנחשלים that Amalek were able to attack all the members of Shevet Dan who worshiped Avodah Zarah, and whom the clouds of Glory spit them out from their protection. Even with embracing idolatry, Hashem nevertheless had incredible compassion on Shevet דן for being attacked by Amalek to the point that their eradication now became a national campaign and mission. From here one sees that even if a Yid sunk to such a low level of Avodah Zarah, Hashem still hopes to see a comeback and greatness emanating from his life.
In this week’s parsha we have the mitzvah of building a MIshkan for Hashem in order that He will dwell within it and us. There were 48 planks from which the walls of the Mishkan were constructed. The number 48 represents the 48 years that Avraham Avinu worshipped idolatry before he came to believe in Hashem. The בריח התיכון the miraculous pole that went through the three walls of planks of the Mishkan making them into one came from the אשל tree that Avraham planted (Bereishis 21,33).
Chazal say that the מחצית השקל money that Am Yisrael gave to the building of the Mishkan cancelled the money that Haman weighed to Achashveirosh in order to destroy Am Yisrael. Haman thought that Am Yisrael terminated their relationship with Hashem since they sinned bowing to the statue of King Nevuchadneitzer and by partaking from the orgy of Achashveirosh. But he was wrong, since even after doing avodah zara of the Aigel they gave shekalim to the building of the Mishkan in order for the Shechinah to dwell inside their midst.
Everyone undergoes ups and downs in Avodas Hashem, some hitting lower plateaus than others and for longer periods of time. The zechus of the Broken Luchos is the merit for the Yid to realize that even after his fall he can pick himself up and start over again. The broken Luchos symbolize the life long struggle of even the Yid who hits rock bottom and yet like the broken Luchos he mertis to see a light at the end of the tunnel. The first Luchos although broken were placed with the same honor as the second Luchos in the aron testifying that although the letters might have flown away but the impressions of those letters remain embedded in the pieces of the heavenly marble. Am Yisrael together with the fortification of the broken Luchos went on to battle against their enemies. These Luchos brought out the Pinteleh Yid, the unconditional love of Hashem towards us and our unconditional love towards Hashem no matter what our spiritual station is at the present time.
It is Amalek that strives to make the Yid feel that after the fall one has also fallen entirely out of the relationship. In Megillas Esther the name of Haman is mentioned 54 times. There are also 54 letters in the ten sons of Haman. What is the significance of this number 54 and its relationship to Amakek?
Amalek is thrilled and considers himself the victor if he can successfully can make the Yid who had a נפילה or a shortcoming, feel rejected and ousted from Klal Yisrael and Hashem. He wants the fallen Yid to feel like Shevet דן gematria 54, spit out from the Clouds of Glory without any hope of return. This 54 of דן originates back to קין (Bereishis 4,12) who was cursed withנד which means to be in a galus state, distant from one’s source and roots. Amalek attacks the דן the Yid who is in galus from the Machaneh Yisrael and the ענני הכבוד. Yet even Shevet דן who was rejected, appeared so only from the outside. Look at the gematriah ofדן spelled out in full letters דלת נון equaling 540. Yet the gematriah of ישראל is 541 one more. The negative effect of Amalek cannot touch our madraigah of ישראל אף על פי שחטא ישראל הוא (Sanhedrin 44) that even if a Yid horribly sins and goes off the derech, nevertheless he is still called Yisrael and can liberate himself from the clutches of Amalek.
The Rokeach in his introduction to Megillas Esther writes that just as there are 54 mentioning of Haman’s name in the Megillah so too the name of Esther is mentioned 54 times. According to our explanation this conveys that there is a hidden (Esther) Pinteleh Yid in every Jewish person that protects the Yid from falling away totally as Amalek would like us to think so.
Interesting to note is that the gemarrah discussing the broken Luchos which were placed in the aron and carried out to war with Yisrael, is found in Eruvin daf 54. The mitzvah of Eruvin possesses the capability of turning aרשות הרבים a public domain into a רשות היחיד a private domain. The sefarim explain that the רשות הרבים symbolizes the world of Kelipos, the cravings of the body, fragmentation and idolatry. Theרשות היחיד symbolizes emunah, the Pinteleh Yid, and the recognition of Hashem and his Oneness. Eruvin and the broken Luchos which are still honored and placed in the aron alongside the second Luchos, brings a burst of emunah for the Yid to fight against Amalek 54 and his striving to persuade the fallen Yid to give up any hope of reattaching to Hashem.
The Tur (Orach Chaim 292) writes that in the nusach of tefillas Mincha of Shabbasאתה אחד ושמך אחד there are 55 words the same as in the parsha of Shabbos זכור את יום השבת לקדשו (Shmos 20,8). Amalek can only reach up to 54 affecting our national and personal galus of נד. He is the antithesis of Shabbos which is 55 הן עם לבדד ישכון. The זכור of יום השבת לקדשו helps us זכור את אשר עשה לך עמלק to free ourselves from his influence. It is Shabbos that has the power of geulah as Chazal state (Shabbos 118b)
אמר רבי יוחנן משום רבי שמעון בן יוחי אלמלי משמרין ישראל שתי שבתות כהלכתן מיד נגאלים שנאמר כה אמר ה’ לסריסים אשר ישמרו את שבתותי וכתיב בתריה והביאותים אל הר קדשי
If Yisrael would have kept two Shabbosesמיד immediately they would have been redeemed. The term מיד immediately conveys that in Shabbos lies the power of redemption from galus just waiting to be released. Also in the term מיד which is gematriah 54 symbolizing Amalek’s clutches on Klal Yisrael, lies the segulah of Shabbos which is 55 one over Amalek.
In Megillas Esther where the ונהפוך הוא, the turnaround point of the Purim story occurs is found in the passuk בלילה ההוא נדדה שנת המלך that night the king was awakened from his sleep (Esther 6,1). Chazal say that the title king also refers to Hashem. Klal Yisrael were under the evil decree of Haman and Amalek to be totally annihilated. ישנו עם אחד מפוזר ומפורד בין העמים (Esther 3,8). The word ישנו could be translated as, there is, or they were sleeping. Klal Yisrael were in a galus in which they were in a deep sleep unaware of their far away distance from Torah and Hashem. The Pinteleh Yid however never sleeps from its service to Hashem. It was at that night that the Pinteleh Yid woke up the King of Kings pleading for Him to seek merit for the salvation of His people. The word נדדה has three basic letters נדה which symbolizes galus and the letters of נד נה. The waking up of the מלכו של עולם means that the Pinteleh Yid took Yisrael out of the נד of Amalek and brought them into the direction of the נה of Shabbos, and the geulah.