BS”D Parashar Teruma 5771

To my brothers and sisters in Eretz Yisrael

Shemot 25:8

And they shall make for me a sanctuary and I shall dwell within them

“It does not say ‘and I shall dwell in it’ (the sanctuary) but rather “and I shall dwell within them”, meaning: the holy spirit of HaShem will dwell within each and every Jew” (Sefat Emet quoting the Alshech’s commentary).

The question is: How does the holy spirit of HaShem manifest itself in the Jewish people?

I suggest:

The curtain has descended on one more act in the ongoing drama which began in Gan Eden with Adam and Chava and thus far has led to Gehennom for many of their descendants.

If, until the revolution in Tunisia two weeks ago the world was unstable; now with the spreading “people power” in many of the Middle Eastern countries the world can be defined as: ambiguous, capricious, dubious, erratic, fickle, inconsistent, insecure, irrational, sensitive, teetering, unpredictable and volatile.

And if in an unstable world we were unable to forecast the Creator’s next moves, in this present precarious, mercurial reality the search for even a sequence or progression of the Creator’s “thinking” is “mission impossible”.

Nevertheless, within the dense fog of events two “laws” – one regarding general history and the other Am Yisrael – are evident:

  1. History is composed of seemingly bland periods of tranquility, interspersed by explosive periods of upheaval and bloodshed. When, in reality, during the periods of tranquility Hashem is slowly tightening the spring of change, and then “He” releases the energy within the taut spring effecting the downfall of empires and paving the way for new ones.
  2. The “law” which is evident regarding the Jewish nation can be called “The survival of the spiritual fittest”.

It began when HaShem commanded Avraham to reject Yishmael in favor of Yitzchak. Then HaShem commanded Yitzchak to reject Eisav in favor of Ya’akov. Of the millions of Jews in Egypt only twenty percent left with Moshe while the other 80% died. Of the 600,000 men between the ages of 20 and 60 who left with Moshe only 2 merited to enter Eretz Yisrael – Yehoshua bin Nun and Calev ben Yefuneh.

The northern tribes of Israel were sent into exile in the year 720 BCE by Shalmanesser King Of Assyria, and their whereabouts are unknown to this day.

It is a basic tenet in Judaism that nothing of substance occurs in the world without being affected by the Jewish people or having an effect upon us. We are the center of the centrifuge around which the whole world spins.

Thus, in reality, the two above mentioned “laws” are symbiotic and synergetic. That which occurs in world history – the periods of calm and the upheavals – are determined by the spiritually fittest Jews who survive from generation to generation.

The turbulence we are now witnessing around us in the Middle East, whose shock waves one cannot yet predict – are all meant to advance the present and future spiritual condition of Am Yisrael in Eretz Yisrael.

For it is here – and only here – that HaShem’s holy Shechina dwells within the Jews.

An halachic example of HaShem’s unique presence in Eretz Yisrael is found in the laws pertaining to the sanctity of batei knesset (synagogues).

The synagogues in the lands of the galut are established with the prior halachic condition that they are temporary. Hence when they cease to serve as places of prayer they may be sold, even to gentiles.

Whereas, a bet knesset in Eretz Yisrael retains its special sanctity even when it is in a state of destruction, and can never be used for any purpose other than as a bet knesset.

As we witness the upheavals around us, we in HaShem’s holy land need not be apprehensive of what the future holds.

We have HaShem’s promise that He will return us to His land – which He has fulfilled in our time – and will protect us from powerful enemies – as He has done these last 60 years – and will restore His chosen people to the grandeur that was once the kingdom of HaShem in Eretz Yisrael.

Shabbat Shalom,

Nachman Kahana
Copyright © 5771/2011 Nachman Kahana