Gutten Rosh Chodesh! Happy Adar Alef! Since it’s a leap year, we get to have two months of Adar this year. So now we officially start two months of Adar!

The beginning of this week’s parasha finds Moshe Rabbeinu on Har Sinai learning from Hashem various laws of the Torah.

Discussed throughout this week’s parasha is the Mishkan, the Tabernacle, where Hashem’s presence rests in the time of the Jewish nations’ travel through the desert. Hashem explains to Moshe the details of each of the vessels of the Tabernacle: the Aron/Ark, the Kapores/Cover, the Shulchan/Table, and the Menorah. More explanation is given regarding the construction of the Mishkan and the various curtains that cover it, the walls that surround it, and the Paroches, the partition between the Kodesh, the main sanctuary, and the Kodesh haKadashim, the Holy of Holies. Outside the sanctuary, in the Chatzer/Courtyard, is the Mizbeiach/Altar.

Each of the vessels of the Mishkan are described in detail so that the Jewish people will be able to construct them… and that’s where we leave off at the end of this week’s parasha!

Here’s what I want to know about the Mishkan: if Hashem had so many specifications for how it should be constructed, why didn’t He just give us the vessels ready made? He could have miraculously made all of the things that the Jews would need to put into the Mishkan appear, and then tell them how to set them up inside.

Parashas Terumah

True, it would have been a lot less to be able to write about in the Torah, but it would have been so much simpler! Instead of going into so many parshiyos (Torah portions) about the Mishkan, Hashem could have knocked it all off in one shot!

My humble guess is that Hashem had another plan in mind. We can tell, from all of the Torah-space that the Mishkan got, that it’s important to Hashem. He wants to come and dwell among us.

If Hashem would have just given us the Mishkan and its vessels ready made, we wouldn’t care about them. They wouldn’t have anything to do with us.

So what did Hashem do instead? He dedicated a lot of parshiyos to the Mishkan. He instructed us in every detail about how to construct it, how to treat it, where to put everything, and how to use it. The Jewish people followed His instructions. Now the Mishkan is something important to the people too, because we have spent so much time learning about it, and in that time, building it!

Now, when Hashem will finally come down to the Mishkan upon its completion, we will be so excited because we worked hard to get to that goal… and now we have achieved it!

This Motzaei Shabbos (Saturday night) is the Siddur Party for my mother’s first grade class. Each of these little five/six years will be receiving their own siddur/prayerbook for the first time. Every year, the principal tells over a story and special message to the first graders about tefillah, prayer. If I was asked to give them a message, I think this would be it:

This week these children are so proud of their siddurim. They worked hard to learn the prayers, to memorize their lines and the songs they’ll sing for their parents. They baked, decorated and learned, working very hard for weeks, to produce this beautiful siddur presentation. This love for davening, for prayer, is a feeling that can be lost as you grow up, unless you work hard to hold onto it.

Putting effort into your prayers and your relationship with Hashem, waking up early to be ready to daven, saying Shema at night with sincerity, are all ways that we can make tefillah important to us. The more we work on it, the prouder we can be of the levels we can make our tefillah reach. Rather than just saying the words without paying attention, we can take ownership of them and make them into prayers that we can be proud of.

What have you worked hard for and achieved that you’re proud of?

Listening to “Nachpesah” on the album Torah Harbeh by Yumi Rosenbaum! It’s very pretty!