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The Creation of Souls

R Pesach Siegel

Parshat Terumah

Jan 31, 2014

Parshas Terumah 5774


“And Hashem spoke to Moshe saying. Speak to the Bnei Yisroel and they should take me a Terumah.”[1]

The Bnei Yisroel brought their gold, silver & copper. They brought their precious animal skins. They brought with a full heart. They brought enough and more.[2]

A Mishkan was made.

From the inanimate items they brought. A living entity was formed. The smoke from the sacrifices had a mind of its own. It went straight up despite the efforts of the wind to blow it aside.

The area, despite its similarity to a slaughterhouse was free from insects and flies. It was free from a bad odor. The smell of death was not present.[3]

The show-bread, placed on the shulchan every erev Shabbos was eaten the following week, as if baked from afresh.[4]

The Aron HaBris contained two sets of luchos. Each was one amah by one amah cubed. They were engraved upon sapphire. The Aron itself was comprised of golden and cedar boxes. The weight of the Aron was beyond the ability of mortal man to carry. And it wasn’t carried by mortal men. The Aron carried itself. It carried its carriers. When the bearers of the Aron crossed the Jordan River upon entering Eretz Canaan, they held on to the poles of the Aron and kept on walking as if solid ground was beneath them.[5]

The Mishkan is called Mishkan Ha’Eidus, the tabernacle of testimony.[6] The Mishkan is testimony that Hashem granted them a reprieve from the sin of the golden calf. Behold, His Shechinah descended among them.[7]

The Torah says, “VaYa’aseihu eigel maseicha”[8] – and Aharon formed it in the image of an eigel. Thus Aharon is the one who created the eigel. Yet the Torah says, “Va’ashlicheihu ba’eish vayeitzei ha’eigel hazeh”[9] – And I threw it into the fire and this eigel emerged (on its own).

The MaHaral explains, while it was Aharon who created the actual form of the eigel, he intended to create a dead statue. Aharon thought that the Bnei Yisroel would not worship a lifeless image. The eigel emerged from the smelting pot full of life. It was the life within the eigel that led the Bnei Yisroel astray.

Where did this life come from?

It came from the desire to create an eigel.[10]

Hashem created man with the ability to create. Man was created bitzelem Elokim. Just as G-d creates, so does man.

G-d does not create the ability for an evil statue to be filled with life. It is man who does so. The belief that evil doers have in the powers of evil enables them to draw from their own life force. They share their life force with the lifeless statue enabling it to live. By worshipping evil they create. They create a life force for evil. Aharon HaKohen was a part of this process. He provided the body for the evil life that was instilled in it.

The Mishkan is an atonement for the sin of the eigel. It is particularly an atonement for Aharon’s share in the sin of the eigel.[11]

From where did the life force in the Mishkan emanate from? The Sochatchover Rebbe writes in his sefer, Shem MiShmuel, that it came from the teshuva of the Bnei Yisroel.

Following the sin of the eigel, the Bnei Yisroel thought themselves beyond redemption. They had crossed the line of no return. They were as a kallah who sinned in the  middle of her chuppah. One cannot hope for forgiveness when committing such a grave violation.

And yet, Hashem revealed His thirteen attributes of mercy to the Bnei Yisroel. He forgave them. He loved them as before. He loved them even more than before.

They were filled with a longing, the longing to be the faithful bride of such a forgiving Creator, whose love for them is unlimited. They wished to return, to come back and be one with the Creator.

And they created. What emerged was a spiritual force of their own making. It was this spiritual force that imbued the Mishkan with life.

The Mishkan and the subsequent Batei Mikadash were alive. They possessed a body and a soul. It bled when it was pierced by a sword.[12] It displayed life when the golden cherubim on top of the Aron embraced each other in total love.[13]

The Mishkan was not only the atonement for the sin of the eigel, it was the antithesis of the eigel.

[1] Perek 25, posuk 1

[2] Parshas VaYakhel, perek 36,  posuk7

[3] Pirkei Avos, perek 5, Mishna 5

[4] Meseches Yoma, daf 21a

[5] Meseches Sotah, daf 35a

[6] Parshas Pikudei, perek 38, posuk21

[7] Rashi

[8] Parshas Ki Sisa, perek 32, posuk 4

[9] Parshas Ki Sisa, perek 32, posuk 24

[10] Sefer Gur Aryeh

[11] Rashi, Parshas Shemini, perek 9, posuk 2

[12] Meseches Gittin, daf 56b

[13] Meseches Baba Basra, daf 99a

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