What is & What Should Have Been
Most of the titles for the Lead Tidbits are clever, only sometimes only one person thinks so. This time we’re going without one.
Imagine parents who decide to buy a fancy computer with the works, including a fast internet connection, as a gift for their son. He’ll be thrilled. And he’ll do lots of creative things with the set up. And really grow as a person. So they buy it. But they are holding it for their son’s birthday, several weeks away.
Meanwhile, their son, who is usually a top student and and a gentleman to boot, gets involved with the wrong crowd. His grades have been slipping and in a few subjects they plunge perilously towards failure. The parents are called in to meet with the principal and the school’s counselor.
The upshot of the meeting is that things can turn around for the better, and the recommendation is that a computer with internet might be very useful in help- ing the young fellow improve his attitude and bring his grades back up.
It seems that G-d, so to speak, had great plans and hopes for the Jewish People. Those plans included the Torah, Eretz Yisrael, and the Mikdash (the last two items are not necessarily in order).
As the Torah records through the Book of Sh’mot, we came out of Egypt, expe- rienced the Splitting of the Sea and all the miracles of the Exodus and its aftermath, and we stood at Sinai and heard G-d Himself speak to us.
But before we actually received this special set of mitzvot and this awesome challenge, we got involved with the wrong crowd. And we started to slip. And when Moshe Rabeinu saw what the People were doing, he smashed the Luchot. And G-d’s commands for the Mikdash were put on hold. Subse- quently, Moshe descended the Moun- tain with the second set of Luchot and G-d’s message of forgiveness. And then, we were commanded to make for G-d a Mikdash so that He might dwell among us. Based on the chronological sequence in Ki Tisa and then Vayak-hel, there emerges an apparent “reason” for Mikdash as an atonement for and repair of our straying from our commitment and covenant with G-d.
Based on this presentation and the MASHAL of the computer, we can suggest that it is a shame that the con- cept of Mikdash became seen as an antidote to the Golden Calf in particular and to unfaithfulness in G-d, in general. Just as the computer serves well in the area of remedial work, so too l’havdil, does the Mikdash and its functioning have the potential to help the Jew as an individual and the Jewish people as a whole on their path towards holiness and commitment to G-d and His Torah.
The extensive account of the details of the Mishkan in T’rumah and T’tzaveh should fill us with an enthusiasm for holy pursuits, untainted by the Calf, and show us the ideal of Mikdash.
The “repetition” of the details in Vayak- hel and P’kudei — rather than the Torah just telling us that “they did as they were commanded”, tells us that the Mikdash was “used” so to speak, by G-d to rein in the People.
Hopefully, the third Beit HaMikdash will be here for us to grow to ever-greater heights of Kedusha, so that HaShem will truly dwell among us.