July 19, 2024
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Maintaining a Home for Hashem Through Our Observance of His Torah

When I got married to my wife Rivka, I didn’t realize just how much our lives would be interwoven with my in-laws. During our first six years of marriage, we lived in Eretz Yisrael. When my father-in-law, Rabbi Singer, heard we were looking to move back to the USA, he immediately invited us to move to Passaic. “I need your help in building the Yeshiva, and Rivka can work together with Mom as real estate agents in Passaic/Clifton.”

Not all couples are so intertwined with their in-laws, yet the bond is often a strong one. Whenever I get a shidduch inquiry, the parents also ask about the other side’s family. Some people say, “What’s the difference, you’re marrying the boy or the girl, not their family!” However, anyone who’s married will tell you…it’s a package deal. With marriage, your family increases in size, as you find yourself with another set of parents, grandparents, siblings, and so on. It’s always valuable to ask about the future in-laws.

This idea is expressed in the opening midrash of Parshas Terumah. The midrash quotes a pasuk, “Ki lekach tov nasati lachem, Torasi al ta’azovu.” Hashem tells Klal Yisrael, “I gave you a valuable acquisition: the Torah. Please do not forsake it.”

What’s the connection between clinging to the Torah that Hashem gave us and our parsha’s main topic, the construction of the Mishkan (Tabernacle)?

To understand the connection, the midrash relates a metaphor: A king had only one child, a precious daughter. After many years, the king married off his princess to a prince from another country. The king requested that the prince please build a little room in his palace so that the king can visit whenever he wants, since he will miss his daughter terribly.

This metaphor is describing Hashem’s giving of the Torah to Klal Yisrael. The Torah is Hashem’s princess, and Hashem gave it in marriage to Klal Yisrael. But Hashem did not want to lose the company of the Torah, so he asked for a Mishkan to be built—a dwelling place where Hashem could feel close to His precious Torah.

Just as when a couple gets married, the in-laws of the new couple are included in the deal; similarly, when Hashem gave the Torah to Bnei Yisrael, Hashem was included in the deal. Hashem wanted His specific place close to the Torah.

Unfortunately, we currently do not merit to have a Mishkan or a Beis HaMikdash. However, we do have the Torah! We are still married to the “princess.” When Hashem gave us the Torah, he made it clear that He was giving us His prized possession.

The Gemara tells us that Bezalel used the letters of the Torah to fashion the Mishkan. As such, we still have the building blocks that can create a Mishkan.

Upon completion of the Torah reading in shul, the Sefer Torah is returned to the Aron and the paragraph of “Uvnuchoh Yomar” is said. This paragraph includes the above pasuk of “Ki lekach tov…” Anyone who davens at our yeshiva on Shabbos morning has heard how Rabbi Singer sings this pasuk with a lot of fervor. The reason is simple: this pasuk expresses Hashem’s love for the Torah and indicates that we received an incredible gift. Our relationship to Hashem is created and maintained through our learning and observance of the Torah.

The next pasuk in this paragraph is, “Eitz chaim hi lamachazikim bah…—It is a tree of life for those who grasp it.” As long as we continue to hold on tight to the mitzvos of the Torah and apply ourselves in its study, we have the basis for feeling close to Hashem. If we relate to the Torah properly, then we will merit the building of the third Beis HaMikdash, where Hashem will once again dwell in our midst.


Rabbi Baruch Bodenheim is the associate rosh yeshiva of Passaic Torah Institute (PTI)/Yeshiva Ner Boruch. Rabbi Bodenheim can be reached at [email protected]. For more info about PTI and its Torah classes, visit www.pti.shulcloud.com

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