Thursday, September 06, 2007

Consistency & Detail

I really enjoyed this dvar Torah my best friend gave at his brother's sheva brachos, and I'm printing it with his permission. Enjoy. Sorry, no time to translate.

Here's the complete version of the speech I prepared for _____'s sheva
brachos. I ended up forgetting a piece, but luckily it was a stand
alone unit and it flowed well without it. I am happy with the content.
I'm told the delivery was good as well.
'A while back I heard a shiur from Rabbi David Aaron, founder and current head of Isralight. At the end of the shiur he took a few minutes of questions. One man raised his hand and asked Rabbi what's wrong with me? I walk the streets of Yerushalayim, the holiest city on earth, I daven at the kotel and I feel nothing. Why can't I feel the kedusha I know is all around me?

What Rabbi Aaron often does is to explain that a lot of the questions we have on Judaism stem from misconceptions and if we would only understand the concept we're questioning correctly the questions would just disappear. Rabbi Aaron told him: you have to understand קדושה means dedication. When I'm מקדיש a בהמה to the בית המקדש I'm dedicating an animal to the בית המקדש.

I found this to be a very useful concept because now we know whathappened under the chupah. What we witnessed last night was a מעשה קידושין, an act of dedication. I'm not the first to make the comparison between being מקדיש something and a man marrying a woman. תוספות in קידושין did this for us 800 years ago. תוספות explains that הרי את מקודשת לי means מיוחדת לי and מקודשת לעולם בשבילי, meaning you are dedicated to me and forbidden to all others because of me. This makes so much sense because dedication means focusing on one thing to the exclusion of all others. So if we want to encourage dedicated marriages of course we can only allow one spouse per customer.

Now that we know what kedusha is how does one attain it and how our חתן and כלה incorporate it into their new home? Let's take the משכן as a model. The משכן was the house where הקב"ה and עם ישראל lived together. They obviously did something right because their home was filled with kedusha. It's interesting to note that the word משכן is ראשי תיבות for the words מיטה, שולחן, כיסא, נורה. These are the four basic necessities in a house: bed, table, chair, and lamp. The משכן, like any good home, had all these things. The שולחן and מנורה were in the kodesh. הקב"ה is referred to as יושב הכרובים so the כרובים are the כיסא. The קודש קדשים was called חדר מיטות, the bedroom, so that's our מיטה. Why do I say that these four items are the basic household necessities? Two reasons. First of all it makes sense that a person needs a bed to sleep in, a table to eat at, a chair to sit on, and light to see by. Secondly, there's a ראיה from the פסוקים in מלכים. In 'מלכים ב' פרק ד a woman from שונם asks her husband to make an independent living space in their home for אלישע הנביא so he'll stay by them when he's in the area. She asks him to put in אלישע's room מיטה, שולחן, כיסא, מנורה.

So let us examine the משכן and see what the secret of attaining kedusha was there and maybe we'll have some pratical advice to send our חתן and כלה home with. I think there were two main keys in the משכן. The first was consistency – "אש תמיד תוקד על המזבח לא תכבה", the מנורה had a נר תמיד, and עם ישראל brought a קרבן תמיד twice a day. The second was attention to detail. There are several prerakim which describe the building of the משכן in great detail and we are told repeatedly that everything was done exactly "כאשר צוה ד' את משה". These two things, consistency and attention to detail, show that one is dedicated. Now ____ and ____ you know what's required of you. You each have to show your spouse that you're always there for them forany little thing they might need. It's a tall order, but אי"ה you'll be מצליח and build a home filled with קדושה.'
Shana Tova!