DIVREI TORAH

VAYAKHEL – LOOKING BACK SO THAT WE CAN LOOK AHEAD & LOOKING AHEAD SO THAT WE CAN LOOK BACK

OHR TZVI ON THE PARSHA: VAYAKHEL – LOOKING BACK SO THAT WE CAN LOOK AHEAD & LOOKING AHEAD SO THAT WE CAN LOOK BACK

Rabbi Yehoshua Weber

Dedicated in memory of and l'iluy nishmas our dear son & brother,משה יהודה ז"ל בן מאיר אליהו on his 2nd yahrzeit. Judy & Mark Frankel and family.    

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It’s the story of what happened after Dvir Emanuelov was killed in the 2008 Cast Lead Gaza war.

Shortly after his death, his broken-hearted mother, Dalia, reached out and asked: “Please God, show me that Dvir’s death had meaning. Send me a hug from Dvir.”

Soon after that conversation, Dalia’s daughter asked Dalia to join her at a concert.

Dalia wasn’t up to it. She wouldn’t disappoint her daughter, though. So she came to the theater, sat down and waited for the concert to begin.

That is when a beautiful little boy wandered away from his parents and sat down next to Dalia.

Dalia asked him for his name. He answered, “Eshel.”

Eshel, then, chimed in: “I have a brother. His name is Dvir.”

Dvir!

Dalia was shocked to hear her son's uncommon name and rushed over to Eshel’s parents.

Dalia reached them, saw the baby and, apologizing, asked: “If you don’t mind my asking, when was your baby born?”

The baby’s mother replied, “He was born right after the Gaza war. Six months ago, to be precise.”

Hearing “Gaza War,” Dalia swallowed, “May I ask you one more question?”

The mother replied, “of course.”

Dalia, already crying, asked: “Please, why the name Dvir?”

The mother explained “During that war, I was pregnant and the doctors were concerned about a birth defect. There was little, though, that doctors could do. I had to wait and see.

And then I heard about the first casualty, Dvir Emanuelov. Instinctively, I turned to God and said “If I am blessed with a healthy son and can look ahead to a healthy future, I promise that I’ll look back and remember those who we must thank for that future.”

“I promised to name my son Dvir in memory of that soldier whom we must thank for that future.”

Dalia, with tears streaming down her face, finally said: “I am Dvir’s mother.”

The mother of baby Dvir - after her initial shock – handed the baby to Dalia and said: “Dvir wants to give you a hug.”[1]

Dalia received her hug from Dvir.

Dalia held Dvir and realized: She had looked back and had found the power to look ahead.

And once she fortified herself by looking ahead, she was able to look back – not just at loss - but also at the beautiful memories of the son she once had.

It’s Dalia’s story.

It’s our story.

And it may also be the story of our parsha.

Our parsha offers the following detailed accounting of our mishkan’s building: “He made the ark …two and half cubits long…He made the table…two cubits long… He made the Menorah…hammered out…”[2]

We read this detailed accounting and we wonder: Weren’t all these details already spelled out in the parshios of Teruma and Tetzaveh when we were initially instructed about the mishkan?

In those parshios, we read: “Make the ark …two and half cubits long…Make the table…two cubits long…..Make the Menorah….hammered out…”[3]

Since the mishkan’s details were already spelled out, the simple statement “they completed all the work of the mishkan”[4] should have sufficed.

Why, then, all this repetition in this week’s parsha?

An answer to this question may lie in the parsha that intervenes between the initial mishkan command and our parsha’s implementation of that command.

That intervening parsha, Ki Sisa, details the sin of the golden calf.

That sin caused the shattering of the tablets and deprived us of the mishkan – which was meant to be a resting place for those tablets.[5]

Parshas Ki Sisa, then, is about losing the tablets and the mishkan.

In contradistinction both Teruma/Tetzaveh and our parsha are about receiving the tablets and the mishkan.

We received them, though, for two very different reasons.

In Teruma/Tetzaveh, we received them because we were pure and unsullied – because those parshios precede the sin of the golden calf.

Such a mishkan motivates us, even today, to maintain whatever purity we have.

Our parsha, though, discusses a very different mishkan.

Our parsha follows on the heels of parshas Ki Sisa - with its recounting of the sin of the golden calf and of our near annihilation in its wake.

Our parsha’s mishkan was built by people who sinned and suffered and who - for a time – were denied a mishkan.

Yes, we built that mishkan - but only when Moshe looked ahead with such fervor that Hashem resurrected a lost mishkan.

Such a mishkan motivates us, even today, to look ahead so as to look back to heal a pained past.

Yes, there are two ways to build a mishkan.

If there is purity and happiness, then we can look back at an extant mishkan and carry it forward.

If there is destroyed mishkan in our past then looking ahead may fortify us enough to look back at whatever mishkan that we had in our past.

Two types of mishkan - both magnificent.

And because of that, two parshios, each describing a mishkan in all of its magnificence

It’s not just Dalia.

And it’s not just the mishkan.

It’s also you and I.

Sometimes it is easy to look back and to then continue on into the future.

Sometimes, though - when looking back is painful - we may need to empower ourselves by looking ahead.

We may then be able us to look back – not just at loss - but also at the beautiful memories of what we once had.

[1] Rabbi Benzion Klatzko, “Looking for a Hug,” The Torah Anytime Newsletter, August 12, 2017

[2] Shemos 37:1-17

[3] Shemos 25:10-31

[4] Shemos 39:33

[5] Ramban Shemos 35:1. According to that Ramban, the mishkan had initially been commanded before the sin of the golden calf. See also Ramban Shemos 25:1, 35:1. Although see Rashi, Shemos 31:8 and Ibn Ezra HaAruch, Shemos 25:6.

 

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