Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Mishenichnas Adar Marbim Besimcha

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 Mishkan and the bringing of korbanos.

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 Mishkan as a home for the Shechinah in the desert.

The posuk states “Veyikchu li terumah mei’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 did Moshe take contributions of material required for the construction of the Mishkan only from people who possessed this attribute?

In Parshas Shemos (4:13-14) the Torah relates that Moshe tried to convince Hashem to appoint his brother Aharon instead of himself to be the one who would repeat G-d’s words 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 placed over the heart - and to serve as the Kohen Gadol in the Mishkan. 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 verodef 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 Mishkan because he possessed the middah 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 Mishkan 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,” a present given with a clean heart.

A Mishkan 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 Mishkan built, bring holiness to this world, and effect major accomplishments, you can only partner with people who possess good hearts, who give without conditions and who are genuinely interested in contributing to the public welfare.

Anyone who seeks to utilize their time on this world for positive accomplishments should seek to distance themselves from people who aren’t able to rejoice in another’s happiness and those who donate with the intention of promoting their own divergent agenda. If you want 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 lev are people with whom you can realize great achievements. Seek them out and accept their partnership in your endeavor.

Those who are nedivei lev are positive people who look to do good without criticizing others gratuitously. People who are nedivei lev seek to help others and 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 Mishkan 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.

If you want to be a person whose life is full and marked by accomplishment, you have to 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.

You have to spend time learning the sefer Chovos Halevavos so that you will be imbued with sufficient doses of bitachon to help you survive in a mean and changing world. Studying the Shaar Habitachon will guide one through the turbulence in life and reinforce the knowledge that our ability to navigate and succeed in life is achieved by the degree of faith we maintain in the Borei Olam.

One who is a baal bitachon experiences happiness and serenity that escape others. A baal bitachon rejoices in his friends’ successes and does not become jealous and embittered when his ambitions are not realized the way he would have wanted.

In the last halacha in Orach Chaim, the Mechaber rules that in a year in which there are two months of Adar, there is no obligation to celebrate the fourteenth day of the first Adar with a seudah or with increased joy.

The Rama concurs and says that even though some 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 Rama, 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 Alef. To complete this thought, as well as to conclude his discussion of the halacha and the entire Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim, the Rama brings a posuk which seems to sum it all up: “Vetov lev mishteh somid - 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. He is 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 takes the lead in volunteering his assistance. A lev tov seeks to use his life to increase G-dliness and happiness in this world.

It is noteworthy that Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim opens with the verse, “Shivisi Hashem lenegdi somid,” and ends with the posuk, “Vetov lev mishteh somid.” The connection between the two statements is obvious: A person who always sees Hashem before his eyes is one 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 with himself and in harmony with others.

One who fails to recognize that G-d runs the world tends to fall prey to negativity and to be jealous of those around him. One who observes the posuk of “Shivisi Hashem lenegdi somid” is a person who is happy with his lot because he realizes that such is the will of the Creator. Such a person is a “tov lev” and is “mishteh somid.”

The fact that the Rama brings the posuk in Hilchos Megillah in reference to Adar indicates that this month is a propitious time to begin working on utilizing that lesson to increase the measure of happiness in our lives.

During Adar, the weather begins to turn warmer. The snow melts and trees and flowers prepare to begin sprouting. Let us thaw our souls and hearts and seek good causes in which to involve ourselves. In the spirit of Adar, let us rid our hearts of ill will, evil thoughts and malice towards others. It will make us all happier and healthier.

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

Lezchus the tov lev, Shalom Mordechai ben Rivka.


Blogger Hirshel Tzig - הירשל ציג said...

Reb Pinchus: May the zechus of your standing up for Reb Sholom Mordechai "beishtein" forever and ever. Your wonderful work LeTovosoy will never be forgotten.

9:13 AM  

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