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The Systems of the Jewish Year

Parshas Shmini 2000

By Rabbi Yaacov Haber

"And it came to pass on the eighth day of inauguration of the Mishkan.”

Six Parshios and at least 12 difficult tractates of the Talmud are dedicated to getting us ready for this great moment. There were so many things that we needed to know. How do we build the Mishkan? What are its dimensions, what materials, craftsmanship, design and engineering? Who is a kosher Kohein? What are the qualifications, physical impediments and spiritual attitudes that we need to be familiar with? What should the Kohein wear? We learned about complicated weavery, engravings, gems that light up, and purification processes. What should be done in this Mishkan? There are so many different sacrifices to learn about. The rich, the poor, the thankful, the sinner and the plain Jew celebrating a holiday, all have laws that are particular to their time and situation.

The laws were studied and reviewed, the Mishkan was built, everyone purified themselves, got dressed up, eight days of inauguration took place, it was Rosh Chodesh Nissan - the day Hashem created the world- “and it came to pass on the eighth day.” everything finally came together and it didn’t work!

Nothing happened! It didn’t work! What ever was supposed to happen, didn’t happen. Could you just imagine the hush, the disappointment and the anticlimactic emotions that must have overtook the people. They had given their gold, their jewelry and their sweat to this moment and it didn’t work. It was as if had G-d ignored the whole project!

Moshe entered into the Ohel Moed to investigate. He spoke to Aharon - we don’t know exactly what they said - but they came out of the Ohel Moed hand in hand and everything started to happen. They blessed the people together, all the people saw the glory of Hashem, a fire came down from Heaven and consumed the sacrifices, the people began to sing praises to Hashem, the people fell on their faces and prayed. It worked!

They had found the missing piece. Everything G-d had asked for was in place except for one thing. Moshe and Aharon had to come together. They were partners - two halves of a whole - that needed to connect. When they embraced the circuit was completed. The Heavens opened up and released friendly fire. Our goal was achieved.

Moshe and Aharon were partners with two very different job descriptions. Moshe’s job was to bring G-d to the people; Aharon’s job was to bring the people to G-d. G-d and the people had to meet half way - in the Mishkan. Moshe and Aharon had to hug.

With all the individual greatness of Moshe and Aharon they were each walking with one leg. Together they created a model for partnership that has the ability to bring forth the Shechina. A model we must follow.

As individuals we can become so great. We become educated, sensitive, moral, ethical, loving, wonderful, one-legged people. We live, we plan, we build, we learn everything there is to know and we wait for it to work. We need the Shechina, the fire from Heaven to descend. We need our lives to make sense. We need blessing and inspiration. It is only when the knot is tied with another Jew and the partnership bonds that true kedusha can happen. No one can do it alone. The more connection of souls, the more bonding between people, the more partnership - the more Shechina, the more blessing and the more inspiration.

Yet bonding is not easy. It couldn’t have been easy for Moshe and Aharon who were working in two different directions, one going upward one pulling downward, one with Shalom one with din, one watching from a mountain the other from a valley. The only way they could bond would be with selflessness and love.

I often repeat the words of my Rebbe. “United and untied have the exact same letters - the difference is where you put the ‘I’.” That says it all.

To our Choson and Kallah I’d like to say - you both have everything, Thank G-d, except each other.

May Hashem bless you so that as you bring together all the complicated components of your selves and your Mishkan you should be privileged to a complete bonding. May the fire of Hashem descend upon you and bless you with holiness, happiness and shalom.

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