21 February 2009

The metal count

The weekly Torah portion «Trumah» deals with how the Jews built for the Almighty a transportable temple, the Mishkan, in the desert. And G-d promised that after this building He would dwell within each one of the Jews.
Three metals were used in the construction of the Mishkan: gold, silver and copper.

Gold is a valuable and expensive metal. Why was it necessary to be used as opposed to cheaper ones like silver or copper?

The Rebbe explains that these three metals hint at three types of Jews. Because G-d wanted that every Jew participate in the construction, He specifically pointed out the use of these three metals: gold, silver and copper.

Silver «kesef» hints at the righteous among the Jewish people who constantly strive «nikfsafim» towards the Almighty and His Torah.

Gold «zahav» is more valuable and hints at the Baalei tshuva (penetents or those who are returning to practice Judaism). About these people it’s said that they are higher than the righteous.

Copper «nekhoshet» hints at the Jews who had committed various transgressions and were drawn to the Snake «nakhash» which had led to the first sin on earth.

The building of the Mishkan is not reserved for only the righteous! Every Jew has to take his/her part. Therefore it was built using all three: gold and silver, and copper. Mishkan was a collective effort by the whole society «tsibur». This word (צבור) is the acronym words «tsadikim» (righteous), «beynonim» (intermediary) and «reshoim» (sinners).

This so that the righteous should not say: «I will myself build The Temple of God! Why do I need to draw the sinner closer to the Torah and the commandments? »

By the same token the sinner might say: «What do I have to do with these commandments of Torah? Will G-d really reveal Himself in something done by me? »
The answer is that all of us should be involved and when that happens, G-d’s promise “I will dwell amongst them” is realized.

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