Parshat Terumah 5782: The “Crown of a Good Name,” and Do Our Actions Reflect Sanctification of Our National and Private Lives?

Shalom Friends;

This week, our Parshat HaShevua, Parsha Terumah is being co-sponsored both anonymously dedicated for Hatslucha to children of the community and by and by Rabbi Tully and Hindy Bryks dedicated lilui nishmas for Hindi’s Father, Moshe Zev ben Yosef, z”l. To our anonymous co-sponsor and to Mishpachat Bryks, 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 5782: The “Crown of a Good Name,” and Do Our Actions Reflect 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 also apply to Parshat Terumah, 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 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. By… being fit and alert to learn Torah and perform Mitzvot, we transform the mundane into the sublime. Earning a livelihood, thereby enabling us to serve Hashem, becomes a spiritual endeavor.

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, Tzaddik L’Vracha, an observant Jew and a Tzaddik back in Philadelphia, was one such example of a great, righteous person who seized upon 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 indispensable 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 a number of years ago 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. This author has been a recipient and can attest to the multitudes of kindness of righteous people giving from their hearts, especially during these years of the corona pandemic, here in Ramat Beit Shemesh Alef.

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… (ibid, citing 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. (ibid, citing R’ Menachem Mendl of Kotzk)

R’ Menachem Mendl of Kotzk was once asked where Hashem is and he replied; “Wherever 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. (ibid, citing 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), on both an individual and National political/governmental for the support, well-being and maintenance of health of divorced single parents and their children? Does Hashem’s Will also extend to kindness and care for the elderly in this age of digitalization and vanishing monetary currency? And do these three 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 successive Israeli governmental and political dereliction of moral obligations regarding alt-leftist-agendized, Israeli supreme court mandates, rather than draining and reforming the supreme court swamp. Does Hashem’s Will, as expressed in the above three posukim, extend to Israeli governmental sanctioning of expulsions of our fellow Jews, first from Gush Katif sixteen and a half years ago, to the thrice expelled families from Amona — to who knows where and most recently, the expulsions and destructions of the Yeshiva in Homesh at Yassamnikim billy-club brutality and gunpoint?

And what about those of the Am who went about their own lives, just like any other day, at the very moments that their brethren were being cruelly evicted? And what about “the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth,” or that famous Joe Friday line from the TV series “Dragnet” “just the facts, ma’am” from Israeli government ministries regarding the corona pandemic and its latest variants, about affects — positive and negative, of vaccines, masks, travel bans, lockdowns and more?

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 — our 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.

The multitudes of kindness of righteous people in Ramat Beit Shemesh Alef. giving and helping from their hearts, should only spread among all sectors of Jews in Israel, including the politicians and government, and Jews worldwide.

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, that the oft-destroyed Homesh buildings be rebuilt and be permanent and that the thrice expelled families of Amona be restored to their rebuilt homes, entirely at total government expense; all due to alt-leftist-agendized, supreme court legalized Yassamnik gunpoint. Baruch Hashem that our dear brother Jonathan Pollard is now free of his parole and restrictions and that he and his ill wife Esther Yocheved bat Rayzl Bracha are finally home and going into their second year in Eretz Yisrael. May the MIAs be liberated alive and returned to us in ways befitting Al Kiddush Hashem — as with the return in April, 2019, via Russia, of the remains of Zachariah Baumel, as should the remains of the two chayalim from the Gaza War of seven 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. And may we soon and finally see the total end to the Communist Chinese Wuhan Lab corona virus pandemic and all like viruses and variants. May we fulfill Hashem’s blueprint of B’nei 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!!!

Chodesh Tov! Good Shabbos!
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.