Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Parshas Terumah / Adar

וְעָשׂוּ אֲרוֹן, עֲצֵי שִׁטִּים: אַמָּתַיִם וָחֵצִי אָרְכּוֹ, וְאַמָּה וָחֵצִי רָחְבּוֹ, וְאַמָּה וָחֵצִי, קמָתוֹ.

"And they shall make an ark of acacia-wood: two cubits and a half shall be the length thereof, and a cubit and a half the breadth thereof, and a cubit and a half the height thereof." (Sefer Shemos, 25:10)

We know that the aron/ark was made of a combination of gold and wood. However, when the Torah refers to the ark, it simply calls it the “Aron atzei shitim/acacia wood ark”. Not calling it the “gold and acacia wood ark” implies that there is some special importance to the wood, more so than that of the gold.

When discussing the concept of joy as it relates to Mishenichnas Adar Marbim B’Simcha/increasing joy in the month of Adar, R’ Shimshon Pinkus notes that the basis of most simcha is the concept of “Hischadshus/renewal.” We, as humans, like things that are new. If one was to ask me for a D’var Torah and I responded to him, “B’reishis bara Elokim…”, the person probably would be flabbergasted that I gave him such a simple vort. What did that person want? He probably wanted something new; a piece of Torah that he had never heard before. This, explains R’ Pinkus, is why little children enjoy seeing a fire truck so much; it’s something they don’t get to see everyday.

One need not look any further than the story of Purim to realize that this concept of Hischadshus/renewal is tied in to this holiday. The Jews during this time weren’t exactly the best-behaved. R’ Pinkus says that the decree of death upon the Jews by Haman was imposed by G-d in response to the Jews getting pleasure from the feast thrown by Achashveirosh. Being that they got joy from a party that was thrown by such an evil person, Hashem decreed that the Jews no longer had any merit to live. However, since they changed their ways, the decree was annulled. R’ Pinkus explains that this “new” nation of Israel was a completely new and separate entity than was the nation that had sinned so grievously. This is why the verse says “Kaimu v’Kiblu”, in a similar way to that which the Jews said “Naaseh v’Nishma” at Har Sinai – this “new” Jewish people had to reaccept the Torah.

A bracha that many people give a new bride and groom is that everyday of their marriage should be as happy as their wedding day. Marriages are most passionate at the beginning. Learning is most fervent at the beginning of a z’man. However, it’s only natural that over time things, relationships, etc, lose their passion. In order to achieve that which was once there, we must search for a way to bring about Hischadshus/a renewal. When we achieve this renewal, we achieve the joy that is spoken of when we refer to “Mishenichnas Adar Marbim B’Simcha.”

With this, we can understand why the ark was referred to as simply the “acacia wood ark”, as opposed to including gold in its title. If I strip a tree of its bark or of its fruit, as long as its roots are in the ground, the tree will rejuvenate; the tree will renew; the tree will undergo a process of Hischadshus. Thus, while gold may be valuable and beautiful, it is only the wood that symbolizes Hischadshus – that which we should be searching for in Adar.

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