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  • Rav Moshe Weiss

Nahar U'Pashtei Parshas Terumah

Amalek and Mesorah

One interesting thing about Parshas Zachor is that it can fall out any number of weeks, and thus coincide with many different Torah readings. This is because the lesson we must learn from Amalek and their evil is constant and presents itself throughout the Torah. Amalek lived a life of evil governed by their own laws and morals. This was rooted in the fact that they believed that Hashem’s power was limited to creation, but that He possessed no power further than that. It was therefore up to man to survive, and to live as he saw fit. Their whole lifestyle was therefore skewed, based on motives other than the spiritual growth and connection to Hashem that we strive for. This idea sounds like it is quite far from our own beliefs; but is it really? The ideology of Amalek has creeped into our lives in more ways than we would like to admit. When a person lives his life with little to no thought of Hashem or what He wants from us, this is because the person has come to believe that Hashem is not really in charge. Hashem only comes into this person’s focus at times of panic and need, and this is due to Amalek’s influence. When people have no goals and no feeling of spiritual purpose, it is because they have lost focus on the mission of Hashem’s treasured nation. When people wander this earth without a spiritual authority to guide and direct them, this is because they actually feel as though there really are no consequences to their actions! In Parshas Terumah we find a list of all the materials that Hashem requested for building the Mishkan. The list contains such items as cedar wood and beautiful dyed wool, all used at least in part for the structure of the Mishkan. What I note as puzzling, however, is that the precious stones used for the stones of the Ephod and the Choshen are also part of this list. Why are these stones grouped together with other materials if their sole purpose was to adorn the clothing of the Kohen Gadol, and not for building the Mishkan itself? The answer is because the Torah wants to tell us that there can be no Mishkan without the spiritual leader of the Jews, the Kohen Gadol. The Mishkan represented our connection with Hashem, and the pasuk is saying that this can only happen if there is a leader and a guide. So integral is the Kohen Gadol to our growth that the stones of his adornments are deemed part of the Mishkan itself! And we must realize that this is the lesson of Amalek. The reason a person refrains from having Torah guidance can be either because he thinks he knows better, or because deep down he doesn’t really care to know what Hashem has to tell him! We must look deep inside ourselves and examine if this applies to us. Amalek is the example of what can happen to a person who wanders the path of life on his own. The Torah is teaching us here that there can be no spiritual growth without guidance from a leader such as the Kohen Gadol. The desire to seek and adhere to Torah guidance comes when a person rids himself of the influence of Amalek and focuses on living a life of fulfilling Hashem’s will. A gut Shabbos! A Project of the YSI Alumni Association Written by R’ Moshe Weiss

Nahar U_Pashtei Parshas Terumah
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