Shabbos Parashas Behaalosecha

Last week’s parashah ended with an account of the offerings the tribal princes brought during the inauguration of the Mishkan. The beginning of this week’s parashah adds a postscript recalling the service of lighting the menorah in the Mishkan. Accordingly, in his commentary on the parashah, the Maggid discusses the service in the Mishkan in general in the unique features of the lighting of the menorah. Last year we presented a segment from this discussion (link). We now present another segment.
In the segment we presented last year, the Maggid explains that the Mishkan, and later the Beis HaMikdash, served as the conduit whereby our prayers would ascend to heaven and Hashem would send blessing down to us. The Maggid likens the Mishkan and Beis HaMikdash to a road. In the present segment, the Maggid elaborates on this analogy.
If a person wants to get to a certain destination, the Maggid says, he must take the road leading to it. If he stays on the road, he will reach his intended destination. But if he strays from the road, he will end up someplace else. Similarly, if we worship Hashem in the way He specified, our acts of worship will rise directly up to Him, and He will send down blessing directly to us. But if we perform acts of worship that Hashem did not specify, thus taking a distorted course that resembles idolatry, He will convey blessing down to earth through a distorted channel, and instead of reaching us it will end up elsewhere. As hinted at in Yeshayah 65:1, read homiletically, Hashem will be forthcoming toward those who did not seek Him.
Thus, Hashem told Avraham (Bereishis 17:1-2): “I am Almighty God, walk before Me and be wholehearted, and I will set My covenant between Me and you, and I will increase you most exceedingly.” If we follow the proper path and direct our hearts to Hashem, Hashem will send down blessing through a channel that leads to us. Along these lines, in describing the special eminence of the Beis HaMikdash and the service we performed there, David HaMelech declares (Divrei HaYamim Alef 29:10-12):
Blessed are You, Hashem, the God of Yisrael our forefather, for ever and ever. Yours, Hashem, is the greatness, and the strength, and the splendor, and the triumph, and the glory, even everything in heaven and earth. Yours, Hashem, is the kingdom, and the sovereignty over every leader. Wealth and honor come from You ….
The Hebrew expression corresponding to for ever and ever is מעולם ועד עולם, which can be rendered as from world to world. David is speaking of a state of affairs where the heavenly realm and the earthly realm are aligned and unified – we direct all our praises and worship to Hashem alone, and carry out the service in the Beis HaMikdash in the manner He specified, and He blesses us with wealth and honor. We can elaborate on the phrase even everything in heaven and earth. Heaven is the source of bounty and earth is the source of service to Hashem by man through the proper exercise of his freedom of choice. When we send service to Hashem up to heaven, Hashem sends bounty down to earth, so that heaven and earth each contain everything – both worship and bounty.  This is the state of affairs that will prevail in the end of days. Thus, Yeshayah declares (verse 40:3): “A voice calls out in the wilderness: ‘Clear the way of Hashem, forge in the desert a straight road for our God.’” The voice is heralding the era when Hashem will make all necessary repairs to the conduit between heaven and earth, so that it will operate as before.
But now, on account of our sins the Beis HaMikdash remains in disrepair. In Yirmiyahu’s words (Eichah 1:4), the paths of Zion are desolate. Still, we rely on Hashem to sustain us. Thus David HaMelech entreats (Tehillim 25:6): “Remember Your mercies, Hashem, and Your kindnesses, for they are from times of yore.” The Midrash expounds (Bereishis Rabbah 22:1): “Not [new] from now, but from times of yore.”  Given that the Beis HaMikdash is now in disrepair, we ask Hashem to keep sustaining us by reverting to the worldly means He employed in earlier times, before the Mishkan, the predecessor of the Beis HaMikdash, was built. In the same vein, in Vehu Rachum prayers that we recite as part of Tachanun on Mondays and Thursdays, we appeal to Hashem for His help, saying: “It is Your way to perform free kindnesses in each and every generation.”
David Zucker, Site Administrator

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