In Tannah D’bay Ailiyahu 17 Chazal say בשעה שאמרו ישראל נעשה ונשמע מיד אמר הקב”ה ויקחו לי תרומה as soon as Hashem heard Yisrael proclaim נעשה ונשמע He immediately said take for me a terumah and build a Mishkan. What is the connection between these two events?
The Malbim explains that every vessel in the Mishkan symbolizes a part of the human body. The passuk tells us ועשו לי מקדש ושכנתי בתוכם Make for me a Mikdash and I will dwell in them, in Man. The Aron which is the holiest vessel placed in the holiest part of the Mishkan, symbolizes the mind. Even the sides of one’s head are called temples, for the mind is the most spiritual part of Man as the soul of Man is reflected from there. The mind is the set of faculties including cognitive aspects such as consciousness, imagination, perception, thinking, intelligence, judgment, language and memory, as well as non – cognitive aspects such as emotion and instinct. The Aron was constructed from three boxes one within the other. This parallels the brain which is composed of three sections cerebrum, medulla and cerebellum each with its distinct function.
Inside the Aron was stored the Luchos the heavenly G-d given Torah. This teaches that Man must fill his head and thoughts with Torah for it contains the instructions of life which leads to the success of one’s mission on earth. On top of the Aron were two golden cherubs each with the face of a child. They were made from the same piece of metal hammered out from the two ends of the kapores, the lid on top of the Aron. The cherubs had their wings spread upwards sheltering the lid with their wings, and their faces towards one another.
The cherubs symbolized that the approach of a Yid to his mitzvah performance must be that of a child who is full of energy, excitement, and interest. The fulfilling of mitzvos should not become a burden or rote behavior. One should always strive to make the experience inspiring and uplifting. Today is a new beginning as your neshamah was returned to you while you were sleeping. You therefore have the ability to look at your avodas of Hashem with new and fresh lenses if you desire so.
One’s ultimate goal in serving Hashem through Torah and mitzvos is to fulfill them with the intention of “for the sake of heaven” and not to be driven because of ulterior motives. This is symbolized by the kapores the lid surrounding the top of the Aron. The word כפר means atone and also to become cleansed without impurities. One has to strive to serve Hashem without self interests or selfish reasons which makes one’s avodah more complete.
The Zohar writes that the middos of Love and Awe are integral in mitzvahperformance. In fact they are the two wings which bring one’s mitzvos before the KisayHakavod. Without love and awe, the mitzvos lack the airborne power to achieve the ascent heavenwards like Hashem desires. The two wings of the cherubs which are lifted upwards represent the love and awe which is desired to be aroused when fulfilling mitzvos. An amazing allusion to this idea is that the gematriah of כרוב including the word is equal to אהבה יראה. If one would only think prior to doing a mitzvah of how much overwhelming gratitude he should feel for this incredible “other worldly” opportunity for him, who is a mere speck of dust in the universe, and who is now requested by the creator of the entire cosmos Himself, from the one and only who sustains and gives to you life from second to second, just to do this mitzvah, you will be immediately filled with overflowing love and awe towards Hashem your loving and awesome benefactor.
The Sfas Emes explains that this concept is manifest in the very nusach of Birkas Hamtizvos. ברוך …. אשר קדשנו במצוותיווצונו …… He asks why is there a repeat of the word מצוה? Would it not have been sufficient to say אשר קדשנו וצנו….? What is במצוותיו adding? The Sfas Emes explains that our Chachamiminstituted the recital of a beracha before the mitzvah for the purpose of a preparation to the fulfillment of the mitzvah. Therefore aligning the berachawith the Zohar, one must prepare for the mitzvah with the arousal of both love and awe emotions in order to fixate the wings on it enabling the mitzvah to make the journey to the Kisay Hakavod. This is their intention of placing the word במצוותיו in the nusach of the beracha. במצוותיו is specifically referring to the two mitzvos of love and fear of Hashem. Its mention is for the purpose of stirring and igniting the Yid into the mode of these two middos before fulfilling the mitzvah in order to make it complete.
Interesting that the letters of כרוב spell ברוך which is the root of the word ברכה . This also hints that one must internalize the symbolism of the כרובים and their outstretched wings in his ברכה which is the way one prepares to fulfill Hashem’s mitzvah.
It is very possible that after reading this mamar, one can become despaired when he comes to the realization that his mitzvos and tefillos may be all grounded since he is not on the level to take the time or energy to supply them with wings. Why bother in the first place to perform the mitzvos when they are not destined to be airborne. Here’s the good news! The sefarim tell us that if one davens even once a wholesome tefillah that tefillah has the power to raise up with it all the grounded tefillos that you davened in the past. Even more so, that if he alone cannot muster up to daven that wholesome awaited tefillah, if another Yid davens a perfect tefillah, he too can elevate your grounded tefilloswith his.
However, there is one catch in the latter elevation that it can only be achieved when there is achdus in Klal Yisrael. So when
Now we can understand the words of Chazal brought at the beginning of the mamar. When Hashem heard that every Yid said נעשה ונשמע in the plural form instead of אעשה ואשמע which is in the singular, He realized that each Yid took on the responsibility of כל ישראל ערבים זה לזה as the Medrash Tanchumah states. If all the Yidden are like one body, then they will gladly share their maalos with their brethren. Now I can ask everyone to donate to build a Mishkan in which I can reside. For the Mishkan must be built by donations of אהבה ויראה in order to deserve Hashem’s Shechinah to dwell within. Being in an achdus state amongst themselves fulfills this prerequisite demanding love and awe of Hashem in one’s donations.
For the tzaddikim who will donate to the Mishkan in a wholesome way with love and awe of Hashem will be able to elevate and fill in what is lacking from all those who were not yet on that madraigah. This is symbolized by two cherubin facing each other. Why two and not one! It comes to teach that even though one Yid might not yet possess the wings necessary for his tefillos and mitzvos to be elevated heavenwards, through achdus it can still be achieved.
This is hinted in the passuk ויקחו לי תרומה מאת כל איש אשר ידבנו לבו תקחו את תרומתי. One can read the passuk with a comma which will change the meaning. ויקחו לי תרומה מאת כל Take for me a terumah for the materials needed in the building of the Mishkan from everyone. If you will ask how can we accept their donations when their omissions are lacking the love and awe of Hashem? The answer is איש אשר ידבנו לבו . Beyond any doubt, there will be at least one Yid איש, which is the acronym of אהבה יראת שמים love and awe of heaven. Such an individual donates his heart with his donation. He is the individual who removes all personal motivations from his giving, and his heart is full of love and awe of Hashem. Such an individual makes possible תקחו את תרומתי from כל anyone who donates.
This idea of achdus which facilitates filling in the love and fear which is lacking in the mitzvos and tefillos by tzaddikim and ovdei Hashem, and to place the missing wings on them, is alluded to in Devarim 33, 3. אף חובב עמים כל קדושיו בידיך והם תכו לרגליך ישא מדברותיך. Hashem loves even עמים which refers to the state of avodas Hashem at the level of embers (גחלים עוממים) which describes that even though there remains an inner flame, on the exterior there is no fire. The ember teffillos and mitzvos are fulfilled out of habit הרגל, void of love and awe. They are earth bound and remain by Hashem’s feet תכו לרגליך from the lashon of הרגל. These mitzvos are characteristic of ישא מדברותיך, people who feel that it’s a burden and weight and which they want to get over with quickly. Their mitzvos and tefilos remain below by Hashem’s feet as it is written והארץ הדום רגליו. This is in contrast to the tzaddikim upon which the Torah describes their mitzvos as כל קדושיו בידיך the mitzvos of the kedoshim who fulfill them with love and awe of Hashem are, בידך are held in His hand and are close to Him.
The next passuk says תורה צוה לנו משה מורשה קהילת יעקב Through the tzaddikim which are referred to as לנו, the Torah is observed the same way Moshe Rabbeinu received it, through love and awe of Hashem. These maalos of love and awe become ירושה an inheritance to all of Yisrael קהילות יעקבthrough the tzaddikim.
The word מורשה can also mean poor רש. Poor mitzvos are those that are lacking the love and fear of Hashem which create the wings that carry them before the KisayHakavod. But Chazal also expound on the word מורשה to be מאורסה which means to be married which symbolizes a bond between husband and wife. The passuk conveys that through the tzaddikim who davens the perfect tefillah and fulfills the perfect mitzvah with all the necessary kavanosand emotions, those mitzvos of ours which were poor and did not connect to heaven can be transformed into a deep union with Hashem. But that only works if there is achdus. This is expressed in the next passuk ויהי בישורון מלך בהתאסף ראשי עם יחד שבטי ישראל on the condition that there is unity amongst the leaders and the people of AmYisrael. Then the mitzvos that were poor can become upgraded with a shelaimus.
Shabbos is a day when the love and awe of Hashem are given to us as a gift. The Zidichover Rebbe writes that שבת is the gematriah of אהבה בכל לב אהבה בכל נפש אהבה בכל מאד. The Tikunei Zohar writes that the first word of the Torah בראשית is ירא שבת. Both the awe and love of Hashem are presents to us via the neshamayeseirah of Shabbos. The passuk says that Hashem will carry Yisraelon כנפי נשרים the wings of eagles (Shmos 19,4). This happens ביום שבת on every Shabbos which is gematriah of כנפי נשרים. Concerning Shabbos the Torah describes its beracha given by Hashem in the word ויברך. It alludes to Hashem’s bentching of Shabbos with the beracha of the letters כרוב and its wings, which is the gematriah of אהבה יראה.
This kedusha concept of “winging it” is the antithesis of the secular interpretation of the same word, whose meaning is to ad lib and to improvise. When one ad libs, there is no preparation at all. In kedusha, to wing it means to be well prepared with the arousal and inspiration of love and awe to Hashem before fulfilling the mitzvah which delivers one with the wings to ascend to the Kisay Hakavod.
Amalek “wings it” in tumah for he is אשר קרך the essence of happenstance. Amalek tries to get the Yidden whose mitzvos and tefillos are not in the clouds the ענני הכבוד, which manifests Hashem’s glory. They are the נחשלים, weak in spirit and their mitzvos are not airborne for they lack that love and awe of Hashem which is required. Mitzvos that have wings can protect you just as the wings of the cherubim sheltered the lid with their wings.
In the story of Purim the Yidden although were fulfilling mitzvos, nevertheless, it was not with love and awe. Their mitzvos lacked wings and did not ascend to the Kisay Hakavod. They lacked the protection from the decrees of Haman who wanted to annihilate Am Yisrael. Mordecahi was the only one called איש יהודי. He could save the Yidden from the decree by sharing and giving as a matanahhis love and awe of Hashem. But the condition for this transfer is achdus which the Yidden also lacked. They were described as an עם אחד yet they were מפוזר ומפורד בין העמים they were separated from each other like the goyim. Therefore Esther told Mordecahi לך כנוס את כל היהודים unite them together and in this way the transfer of your love and awe to them will work and the Yidden will have all their mitzvos and tefillos ascend before the Kisay Hakavod and serve for them as a zechus to annul the evil decree.
This could be the reason why Mordechai is described with techeiles the turquoise color בראותם יחד תכלת מרדכי which some meforshim learn that it is referring to the tzitzis פתיל תכלת. As Chazal say that the color reminds one of the ocean then the sky and then the Kisay Hakavod (Sotah 17). Through Mordechai the yeshuah of Purim came about because he transferred his avodahof love and awe to AmYisrael. Esther also played a role in the geulah of Purim because she told Mordechai that the transfer can only take place with achdus. כנוס היהודים is gematriah with the letters and two words אהבה יראה In Shoshanas Yaakov we say ברוך מרדכי היהודי. We are not just saying he should be blessed because of his role in saving the Yidden. We are saying that the yeshuah was that he transferred to us the symbol of the כרוב the wings of אהבה ויראה which caused us the redemption to come. The mitzvos and tefillos ascended to the Kisay Hakavod which is symbolized by the techeilis, and the yeshuah came about. Through יחד unity, they actualized the תכלת מרדכי that all mitzvos and tefillos came before the Kisay Hakavod.
– Rav Brazil