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Judaism: Shabbat, Mishkan , and Adar

It's all about cooperation.
Published: Sunday, February 23, 2014 10:32 PM


Six days work may be done, but the seventh day shall be קודש (Holy) to you, a day of complete rest” (Exodus 35;2).

“Every person whose heart inspired him came, and everyone whose generous spirit inspired him brought the contribution for the Lord, for the work of the Ohel Moed, the Tent of Meeting , for all its necessities, and for the holy garments”(Exodus 35;21).

Classic Rabbinic thinking notes the proximity of these two ideas, of Shabbat and Mishkan (Sanctuary/Temple), and learns two main lessons from it. One, that the building of the Temple does not permit violation of the Shabbat prohibitions of labor. Second, that those very labors that were used in the Mishkan define creative human endeavors, thus providing the definition of Melachot, activities, that are proscribed on Shabbat. I’d like to show an example of another לימוד (deduction) from the proximity of Shabbat and Mishkan, which the Aruch HaShulchan made, which has profound lessons far beyond the outskirts of Sanctuary and Har Habayit (Temple Mount):

The Shulchan Aruch writes that after reciting Kiddush over wine at the beginning of the Friday night meal, one should drink a “kmalei lugmav” of wine (Chap. 271, par. 13). This is “about a cheek full of wine; the book “Shmirat Shabbat K’Hilchata” explains that for the average man, this amounts to 40-45cc of wine (vol.1, page 514, 1979 edition).  If the one reciting Kiddush does not drink that amount of wine, one of the others at the meal may drink it. However, if between two people they drink that amount of wine, their separate drinking does not combine to make the necessary 45cc. Some argue and say that if between all those present 45cc wine is drunk, their combined efforts do add up.

The Aruch HaShulchan ((Chap.271; par.36) brings a proof that even for a Mitzvah in the Torah involving eating (and Kiddush on wine is only a Rabbinical precept), the eating of several people does combine to form a required amount( shiur). With regard to the Sanctuary and its Table, the Lechem Hapanim (Showbread) was eaten by the priests: “Aaron and his sons should eat it in a holy (Kadosh) place “ (Vayikra 24;9). Eating in Torah terms requires at least the amount of the size of an olive (K’zayit); yet the Talmud says that there were so many priests usually in the Temple that each one got only about a bean (פול) - sized amount of bread (Yoma, chap.4). The Aruch HaShulchan concludes that one is forced to say that the eating of all the Kohanim (priests) combined to fulfill the K’zayit requirement.

He concludes that this is why the alternative opinion in the Shulchan Aruch is that for Kiddush, the drinking of several people combines for the 45cc of wine. Just as the Temple was holy (Kadosh) in terms of space, during Shabbat we enter holiness in time, and in both realms, people’s efforts combine. He even notes that there was sometimes a multitude of priests and only a fixed amount of bread, and some modest priests didn’t eat any bread, and let their brother’s eat instead; eating and drinking requires הנאה,benefit, yet these priests paradoxically fulfilled their requirement to eat, by the eating of others. How?

It is to be noted that Aaron received the priesthood, instead of his brother Moses, because when Moses returned from Midian to Egypt, Aaron greeted him with great joy: “V’Ra’acha v’samach b’libo”- and when Aaron sees you he will rejoice in his heart (Exodus 4; 14). This is why the eating of all Kohanim, the priestly descendants of Aaron, combines: for the one who is happy in his heart over the accomplishments of others, is truly one with others.

Of course, the majority opinion in the Shulchan Aruch is that the drinking of several people does not combine for the 45cc. Perhaps this opinion holds that the Kohanim, are, after all, special people, and we cannot generally learn from them and their happy hearts.

However, there is the second opinion, and for Jews today, and especially for those in Israel, it is vitally important: we do combine. For by the establishment of this Jewish State of Israel, we have entered ראשית צמיחת גאולתינו, the first stages of Israel’s ultimate Redemption.

Regarding this time, our Rabbis has taught that eventually we will all be Kohanim (and all the world will follow the Lord’s will) : “And you shall be for me a nation of priests and a holy, kadosh, people” (Exodus 14;6). This means that every Jew will feel happy with the achievements of his fellow. No longer will the Yesh Atid Jew belittle the Torah learning of the religious Jew, but feel happy that those Jews are a repository of all Jewish learning since Sinai. No longer will the hareidi irresponsibly sit back and think that only his Torah and Tehillim (Psalms) protect the Jewish people; such magical thinking did not protect us from Nazi Germany, and indeed the hareidi R.Zalman Sorotzkin has written in his Aznayim L”Torah:” Halvei (how I wish) that we would have had a Jewish army like the IDF during WWII”.

The lesson of the happy heart of the priest, is the happiness that each Jew should feel during Adar, and Purim, as we raise our cups together Ad dlo Yada (the Purim slogan for drinking happily) in our springtime of Redemption.