Our Rabbis taught, "Open with blessing." This is especially true at the present time after we have completed the first day of Rosh Chodesh and are preparing to enter the second day. In particular, this applies in regard to the present month, the month of Adar which has a "healthy mazal (source of influence)" for each and every Jew.
Our Sages taught, Ayn mazal l'Yisrael, literally, "Israel has no mazal," i.e., that the Jews are above the functioning of the mazalos. Nevertheless, even within the sphere where the mazalos have power, in Adar, the mazal is healthy.
Surely, the above is true within the interpretation of our Sages' statement as "The Ayin -- the infinite -- is the mazal of Israel," i.e., that Israel receives its influence from this transcendent level. In Adar, this transmission of influence is healthy and strong.
There is a connection between the above and this week's Torah reading, Parshas Terumah, which expresses the purpose of the service of the Jews within the world: "And you shall make Me a Sanctuary and I will dwell within." Furthermore, as Rashi comments on this verse, this is accomplished, Lishmi, "for My sake," implying that a Jew has the possibility of rising above self-concern and conducting his life for G-d's sake. When a person lives in this manner, he will surely receive the healthy positive influence mentioned above.
The above concepts can be understood in greater detail through the analysis of the donations given by the Jewish people for the sake of the Sanctuary. The first of the items G-d asked from the Jews was gold. On the surface, this is problematic. Seemingly, the requests should have been made in ascending order, beginning with simple items, the fabrics and the brass which everyone could have given and concluding with those which are most precious, the gold and the gems used for the High Priest's garments. Indeed, the gems are mentioned last. Why then is gold mentioned first?
This, however, is a lesson, emphasizing to us that every Jew has the potential to donate gold to the Sanctuary, for the intent is the Sanctuary within the heart of every Jew. In a spiritual sense, our Sages interpret the word zahav (üäå), the Hebrew for gold, as an acronym for the Hebrew words (Çëÿü ÅÜàÉä äå) meaning, "This is one who gives while healthy." Giving this "gold" is within the potential of every Jew.
The existence of this positive potential receives greater emphasis at the present time for the very next moment can be the last moment of exile and the moment that follows, the first moment of the Redemption. The potential for the Redemption is highlighted even more in these weeks which are part of the special sequence Ü"Ü ì"ëüüàÖ, i.e., the weeks from Parshas Shmos to Parshas Tetzaveh. And similarly, the weeks that follow are associated with the Redemption.
Thus Parshas Vayakhel begins by relating how Moshe gathered together the entire Jewish people. This is a fundamental prerequisite for the Redemption, that the Jews join together "as one man, with one heart." And it is through this service, fulfilling the commandment, "Love your fellowman as yourself," that we will hasten the coming of the Redemption.
This will be hastened even more by the distribution of money to be given to tzedakah, with the intent that every person add a donation from his personal funds. This will lead to our giving tzedakah for the construction of the Third Beis HaMikdash. Every Jew, even young children, will participate in the construction of that edifice.
The term children is used as an analogy for the entire Jewish people in the present era. For just as a child's observance of mitzvos is for the sake of chinuch, education, so too, our observance of mitzvos can be conceived of as training for the ultimate observance of mitzvos that will come in the Era of the Redemption.
Every Jew has the potential to bring about the Redemption immediately. He can transform the golah (äîàé), "exile," into geulah (äîàÇé), "redemption," by drawing down the alef, the revelation of G-dliness.
And this is the intent of the command, "You shall make Me a Sanctuary and I will dwell within," -- "within each and every Jew" as he exists within the context of this physical world. Although "the heavens and the celestial heights cannot contain You," G-d's Presence can be manifest within "this House," the Beis HaMikdash erected in this material world, and within the Beis HaMikdash that is within the heart of every Jew. It is through this service that we will hasten the coming of Mashiach, a descendant of David and Shlomo who constructed the First Beis HaMikdash. For this reason, new resolutions should be taken in this vein at present and this will lead to the Redemption.
[The Rebbe Shlita paused and descended to distribute the money to be given to tzedakah. Before beginning that distribution, he added:] This is a leap year in which there are two months of Adar, a total of sixty days. Our Sages teach that all undesirable additions become butail, of no significance, in sixty. May we merit this and the transformation of darkness into light in the immediate future.
- (Back to text) The preciousness of the gems is emphasized by the fact that they were donated by the princes of the tribes, i.e., the wealthiest individuals among the people. Furthermore, according to the Midrash, they were so precious they had to be brought by the clouds of heaven.
- (Back to text) At the time of the construction of the Sanctuary, every Jew had the potential to give gold in a literal sense, as well. For after spoiling the Egyptians before the exodus and the spoil they received at the Red Sea, the Jews were all wealthy.
The fact that Parshas Terumah begins with the concept that every Jew has the potential to give gold represents a contrast to Parshas Mishpatim which begins with a description of the sale of a thief as a servant. Why is he sold? Because he does not have the funds to make recompense for the object he stole.
- (Back to text) The significance of these weeks is not expounded upon at length in Chassidic thought. Indeed, there is only one maamar which appears to refer to this subject.
- (Back to text) Note Avos D'Rabbi Nasan 11:1 which states that the children participated in the donations for the construction of the Sanctuary. Surely, this will apply in regard to the construction of the Beis HaMikdash in the Era of the Redemption. The children will have a share in all elements of its construction.
- (Back to text) Although the Beis HaMikdash was built by King Shlomo, the preparations for its construction were made by King David. Herein, there is an additional emphasis on the idea of making a dwelling for G-d within the context of our material world. For David was a man of war, whose service involved transforming the darkness of this world into light.
- (Back to text) Note the emphasis of the Rambam (in his Commentary to the Mishnah), that Mashiach must be a descendant of both David and Shlomo.
- (Back to text) Translator's Note: This includes the first day of Rosh Chodesh Adar I which is actually the thirtieth of Shvat.