Wednesday, February 09, 2005


By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz

Parshas Terumah marks the transition from parshiyos dealing with the creation of Am Yisroel and its development as a people, to the parshiyos which deal with the Mishkon and the bringing of Korbonos.

The parsha begins with Hakadosh Boruch Hu instructing Moshe on how to collect the gold, silver, copper and other materials vital to the construction of the Mishkon as a home for the Shechinah in the desert.

The Posuk states “Viyikchu Li Terumah M’eis Kol Ish Asher Yidvenu Libo Tikchu Es Terumasi. Accept donations from all those whose hearts motivate them; you shall take the collection from them.”

Moshe Rabbeinu was commanded to accept contributions only from people who possessed a “nedivus halev.”

What is “nedivus halev” and why could Moshe take contributions of material required for the construction of the Mishkon only from people who possessed this attribute?

In Parshas Shemos [4: 13, 14] Moshe tried to convince Hashem to appoint his brother Aharon instead of himself, for the privileged role of speaking to the Bnei Yisroel. The posuk recounts that Hashem grew angry with Moshe and informed him that his brother Aharon would travel to greet him and would be happy that Moshe was selected. The lashon of the Posuk is “Vero’achah Vesomach Beliboh.”

Rashi explains that Hashem was telling Moshe that he was incorrect in assuming that Aharon would feel upstaged by Moshe’s appointment as the leader of the Jewish people.

Moshe was told that on the contrary, Aharon would be truly happy for him. It is interesting that the Posuk states “Vesomach Belibo - in his heart he will rejoice for you.”

Rashi states that as reward for his genuine, heartfelt happiness over the promotion of his younger brother, Aharon was zoche to wear the Choshen –which was worn over the heart—and to serve as the Kohen Gadol in the Mishkon. What proved his worthiness to serve lifnai ulifnim was the fact that he experienced true, selfless joy over his brother’s spiritual attainments.

Aharon Hakohein, the same person who was able to be happy for his brother Moshe, was the one who is described by Chazal as an “Oheiv Shalom Verodeph Shalom.” Because he was blessed with a good heart, he was able to pursue peace between his fellow Jews. He was able to relate to other people and their problems, to bring people together and to minimize the elements that separated them.

Aharon was able to bring peace between warring partners and incompatible spouses; he was able to bring people closer to Torah; he was able to wear the Choshen and perform Hashem’s service in the Mishkon because he possessed the midah of “vero’achah vesomach beliboh.”

A selfless giant, he was unencumbered by jealousy.

That may be a hint to the explanation behind the requirement that the Mishkon be built by donations of people “asher yidvenu libo.” Rashi explains that it is a depiction of good intentions, “preshnit belaz,” which my Chumash translates as “A Reinhartizgeh present,” which means a present given with a clean heart.

A Mishkon has to be built with the help of people who possess pure and clean hearts and thus are able to donate their goods with the fullest measure of good intentions.

In order to get a Mishkon built; in order to bring holiness to this world; in order to effect major accomplishments, you must only deal with people who possess good hearts, who give without conditions and who genuinely are interested in contributing to the public welfare.

If you want to accomplish things in life, stay away from those who aren’t able to rejoice in another’s happiness; stay away from those who donate with the intention of promoting their own divergent agenda. If you want to be able to build, you have to be able to distinguish between those who are giving because they truly want to give and those who give because there is something in it for themselves.

Those who are blessed with good hearts and donate to the cause because they are Nedivei Leiv are people with whom you can realize great achievements. Seek them out and accept their partnership in your endeavor.

If you want to be a person whose life is full and marked by accomplishment, you have to follow the same prescription. You must seek to mold your heart in the pattern of Aharon Hakohein. You have to work on your middos so that you will be selfless, non-judgmental and not consumed by jealousy of others.

People who are Nedivei Leiv are positive people who look to do good without criticizing others gratuitously. People who are Nedivei Leiv seek to help others, to spread brotherhood, G-dliness and goodness in this world.

People such as these merit to improve themselves to the degree that their hearts become pure and holy and they become incapable of engaging in wrongdoing or harming others in any way. Their entire lives become a chain of goodness, happiness and greatness. They exist to help and support others and thus merit positions of leadership in the Mishkon Hashem.

They are not only an inspiration to others, but their entire life becomes a string of positive reinforcement directed at their fellow man, and thus the ripple effect of their contribution continues to grow.

There is no better time than now to start educating ourselves to be forces for good. Adar is the month of happiness, Mishenichnas Adar Marbim BeSimcha.

The last halacha in Orach Chaim indicates how this can be done. The Mechaber rules that in a year in which there are two months of Adar, such as this year, there is no obligation to celebrate the fourteenth day of the month with a festive meal or with increased joy.

The Ramah concurs and says even though some Poskim argue with the Mechaber’s ruling and state that there is an obligation for Mishteh and Simcha, our custom does not follow that ruling. Nevertheless, says the Ramah, in deference to the ruling of those who are more stringent, it is proper to add something special to our meals on the fourteenth day of Adar Aleph.

To complete this thought as well as to round off his discussion of the halacha and the entire Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim, the Ramah brings a posuk which seems to sum it all up: “Vetov Lev Mishteh Samid, one who possesses a good heart constantly feasts.” In other words, one who is a Lev Tov, a good-hearted person, is always happy.

Who is a Lev Tov? He is someone who delights in the happiness of his fellow Jews; a Nediv Lev. We are speaking of someone who looks with an approving eye at others and what they are seeking to build. A Lev Tov doesn’t sit on the sidelines carping and taking pot shots; a Lev Tov takes the lead in volunteering his assistance. A Lev Tov seeks to use his life to increase G-dliness and happiness in this world.

Significantly, the Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim opens with the verse “Shivisi Hashem Lenegdi Samid” and ends with “Vetov Lev Mishteh Samid.” The connection between the two statements is obvious: a person who always sees Hashem before his eyes is the person who can be in a perpetual state of happiness. He who realizes that all that transpires in this world is G-d’s will is one who can be constantly at peace and in harmony with others.

One who refuses to recognize that G-d runs the world tends to fall prey to negativity and to be jealous of those around him. Why does my neighbor have a Lexus while I have a Ford? How come she has a designer pocketbook while I have to make do with last year’s style that I bought in Marshals? How come he has more money than me and a better job?

One who observes the Posuk of “Shivisi Hashem Lenegdi Samid” is a person who is happy with their lot because they realize such is the will of Hashem. Such a person is a “Tov Lev” and is “Mishteh Samid.”

The fact that the Ramah brings the Posuk in Hilchos Megillah in reference to a year with an Adar Alef and Adar Beis, indicates that Adar is a propitious time to begin working on utilizing that lesson to increase the measure of happiness in our lives.

In Adar the weather starts turning warmer…the snow melts away; trees and flowers prepare to begin sprouting. Let us thaw out our souls and hearts and seek good causes in which to involve ourselves. In the spirit of Adar, let us rid our hearts of disease and ill will, evil thoughts and malice towards others; it will make us all happier and healthier.

May we all merit healthy and pure good hearts, bursting with happiness and joy in Adar and all year round.


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