Parshat Terumah 5778: The “Crown of a Good Name” and Sanctification of Our National and Private Lives

Shalom Friends;

This week, our Parshat HaShevua, Parsha Terumah is being sponsored anonymously in honor of all of the Chesed done by the Bornstein family . To the anonymous sponsor and family, blessings and many thanks for your sponsorship and for your continued kindnesses.

You can celebrate a Simcha — a birth, a Bar/Bat Mitzvah, a Chassuna or other Simcha event in your life, or commemorate a Yahrtzeit of a loved one, or for whatever other reason by sponsoring a Parshat HaShevua.

Please forward to your relatives and friends and encourage them to sponsor a Parshat HaShevua. And please be in contact with me with any questions, or for further details.

Best Regards,

Moshe Burt
skype: mark.burt3

Parshat Terumah 5778: The “Crown of a Good Name” and Sanctification of Our National and Private Lives

by Moshe Burt

The Shem Mishmuel (Translated to English by Rabbi Zvi Belovski, Parshat Terumah, pg. 169-172) cites R’ Shimon who said;

These are the three crowns: the crown of Torah, the crown of Kehunah and the crown of Malchut. But the crown of a good name is greater than them all.

There is an oft-repeated (on this blog)Torah Gems citing of the Ibn Ezra on Parsha Yithro regarding the appointment of a judicial system, and the application of that lesson to all of us:

“The Torah did not mention ‘G’d-fearing men’ because only Hashem knows what is in man’s heart.” (Torah Gems, Aharon Yaakov Greenberg, Parsha Yithro, page 131)

The above citing of the Ibn Ezra would seem to apply to Parshat Terumah as well, as the point of Terumah seemingly goes beyond the construction of the Mishkan and the Mizbeiyach and beyond the Mishkan’s treasury and into all facets of the mundane. And this author would seem to get some additional mileage from again citing (as in a previous vort on Parshat Va’eira) this classic scene from the Burt Reynolds movie of the late 1970s, “The End.” Reynolds, swimming far from land, and afraid for his life, cries out:

“I could never make it…Help me make it, Lord, Please…., I’ll give you 50% of everything I make, that’s 50% Lord, I wanna point out nobody gives 50%, I’m talkin’ gross, Lord….”

And as he manages to make it close to land, he says:

“I think I’m gonna make it. You won’t regret this, Lord…. I’m gonna start donatin’ that 10% right away. I know I said 50%, Lord, but 10% to start….”

In his Sefer “Majesty of Man”, Rabbi A. Henach Leibowitz writes on Parshat Terumah citing The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 231):

…Elevate our physical actions to a spiritual plane by focusing on these actions as a means to the ultimate goal of Torah and mitzvot….

We need not live “dual lives” — spiritual in performing our religious obligations and secular in fulfilling our mundane needs. If we purify our intentions and aim for our ultimate goal of serving Hashem in everything we do, we can infuse the physical world with holiness and harmonize our entire lives into one grand… praise to the Creator.

This author’s former auto mechanic, an observant Jew and a Tzaddik back in Philadelphia, was one such example of a great, righteous person who seized opportunities to uplift and sanctify his parnossa. He always kept a few shop loaner cars available so that when people brought their vehicles in for major repairs, that they were able to borrow a loaner car, free of charge, for work so as to not be inconvenienced while the work on the vehicle was being completed. He also made his loaner cars available, again free of charge, to people when they came to Philadelphia from out of town. He was also a Shul president and active in communal affairs throughout his life.

This author can think of numerous other examples, here in Eretz Yisrael of righteous people giving as their heart motivates them.

At the outset of the Gaza War of the summer of 2014, there were numerous successful efforts to provide soldiers at the front with small pieces of equipment which were not issued them by the military but would be indispensible to their ability to perform on the battlefield. And there were large loving outpourings from many to see that the soldiers going into Gaza received pizza pies.

Who can forget how many of B’nei Yisrael opened their hearts and pockets last year after a murderous terror event to join with the Littman/Beigel families at the Simcha of the marriage of Sarah Techiya to Ariel Beigel.

This brief list does not come even remotely close to even scratching the surface of motivation of the heart. It’s what sets us apart from the nations.

In our Parsha, we begin learning about the construction and the contents of the Mishkan (Tabernacle).

Aharon Yaakov Greenberg, in his sefer, “Torah Gems,” renders to English Sefer Sh’mos, Perek 25, posuk 8 and provides a citing from Avot D’Rabbi Natan and two citings from R’ Menachem Mendl of Kotzk (“Torah Gems,” Volume Two, pages 171-172):

“And let them make Me a Sanctuary [Mikdash], that I may dwell among them.”

“Let them make” — great is work, for even The Holy One, blessed be He, did not have His Divine Presence abide among Israel until they had worked… (Avot D’Rabbi Natan)

It says “among them” and not “among it,” to teach… that each person must build the Mikdash in his own heart; then Hashem will dwell among them. (R’ Menachem Mendl of Kotzk)

R’ Menachem Mendl of Kotzk was once asked where Hashem is and he replied; “Whereever they let Him in.” “Let them make Me a Mikdash” — if a person is filled with love and fear of Hashem, then “I will dwell among them,” literally among them. (R’ Menachem Mendl of Kotzk as cited from “Nahalat Shiv’ah)

R’ Shimson Rafael Hirsch z”l renders translation followed by commentary in the new Hirsch Chumash on Sefer Sh’mos, Perek 22, posukim 21-23 (pages 470-473, Parshat Mishpatim) which seems symbolic of this spirit of sanctification of our national and private lives as well as dedication to fulfillment of His Commandments:

Posuk 21: “You shall not let any widow or orphan feel their dependent state.”

Posuk 22: “Woe [to you] if you, too, should let them feel their dependent state! For if they must cry out to me, I will certainly hear their cry.”

Posuk 23: “And then My anger will grow hot and I will let you die by the sword, and then your wives will become widows and your children orphans.”

Stand up for them and uphold their rights…

Woe unto you, if their only resort is to cry out to Me; for I will assuredly hear their cry; I will make the state and society pay dearly for it, if their weakest members must appeal to Me to find justice.

Does Hashem’s Will, as expressed in the above 3 posukim, not also extend to a moral obligation of one’s ratzon (desire, will) for the support, wellbeing and maintenance of health of divorced single parents and their children? And do these 3 posukim not extend to caring for special needs children as well as the physically and psychologically abused — be it a spouse, or be it physically and psychologically abused youth either domestically, educationally or in the streets?

And does Hashem’s Will not extend to the dereliction of moral obligation regarding alt-leftist-agendized, Israeli supreme court mandates, rather than draining and reforming the supreme court swamp, and Israeli government sanctioning of expulsions of our fellow Jews, first from Gush Katif twelve and a half years ago, and last year — for the second time — from Amona; to who knows where, at unJewish Yassamnikim blllyclub brutality and gunpoint? The latter eviction forced on the residents of Amona a full seven days early, in violation of the very court mandate. And what about those of the Am who went about their own lves, just like any other day, in both instances at the very moments that their brethren were being cruelly evicted?

Wouldn’t it seem to follow that all of us need to keep in mind the spiritual parallels and implications inherent in our actions, or lack thereof, intentions and how those intentions, ratzonot (desires, will) and actions impact collectively on the development of good and pure names and on the building of a Mikdash in each of our hearts?

And to repeat yet again, from Torah Gems citing of Ibn Ezra on Parsha Yithro, regarding the appointment of a judicial system, with consideration for and intellectualization of attaining the “crown of a good name”:

“The Torah did not mention ‘G’d-fearing men’ because only Hashem knows what is in man’s heart.” (Torah Gems, Aharon Yaakov Greenberg, Parshat Yithro, page 131)

In short, ‘G’d-fearing men’ — men with ‘crowns of a good name’ are not defined by their kippot (size, material, design), by their attire (i.e. what color suit, shirt or hat they wear, or don’t wear) or what hashkafah they appear to keep outwardly. It would seem that man’s ‘good name’ and the building of each individual’s Mikdash in their heart would be deemed through man’s kavanah, ratzon (intent and will), as well as his actions.

May we, the B’nei Yisrael be zocha that our brethren — the refugee families from Gush Katif be permanently settled and be made totally whole — be totally restituted for all that was stolen from them and that the expelled families of Amona be restored to their rebuilt homes, at government expense; both due to alt-leftist-agendized, supreme court legalized Yassamnik gunpoint. May our dear brother Jonathan Pollard be liberated and truly free — only upon his return home to Israel, and that the MIAs be liberated alive and returned to us in ways befitting Al Kiddush Hashem, as should the remains of the two chayalim from the Gaza War of three and a half years ago. May we have the courage and strength to stand up and physically prevent the possibility of Chas V’Challila any future eviction of Jews from their homes and prevent Chas V’Challila the handing of Jewish land over to anyone, let alone to enemies sworn to Israel’s and Judaism’s destruction and eradication. May we fulfill Hashem’s blueprint of B’nai Yisrael as a Unique people — an Am Segula, not to be reckoned with as with “the nations” and may we be zocha to see the Moshiach, the Ge’ula Shlaima, as Dov Shurin sings; “Ki Karov Yom Hashem Al’Kol HaGoyim”, the Ultimate Redemption, bimhayrah b’yamainu — speedily, in our time”, — Achshav, Chik Chuk, Miyad, Etmol!!!

Good Shabbos! Chodesh Tov!

Moshe Burt, an Oleh, is a commentator on news and events in Israel and Founder and Director of The Sefer Torah Recycling Network. He lives in Ramat Beit Shemesh.

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