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  • Writer's pictureRabbi Mordechai Lipskier

Yiddishkeit Suspended Until Further Notice?

Vayikra 5780

Under normal circumstances, Yiddishkeit is very much about structure. Today, that structure has been temporarily torn down. No school, shul, or mikveh. We can’t share in each other’s simchos or help others in the usual ways. This lack of infrastructure can leave us feeling as though Yiddishkeit is suspended until further notice. What’s the use in pretending we’re doing things right when we’re not, we might wonder. Over 3,000 years ago on the first day of Nissan, Moshe Rabbeinu initiated the work in the Mishkan.Under normal circumstances, as they traveled through the desert, assembling the Mishkan in each new place they camped, no avoda was done until it was entirely erected, including the courtyard. On the day of initiation, however, Moshe built the inner part of the Mishkan, placed one keli at a time inside, and performed its avoda, before the courtyard had been set up. Why didn’t he wait until everything was in place? The Rebbe explains[1] that when Moshe dedicated the Mishkan, he didn’t only dedicate that first Mishkan, but all future ones. And since he foresaw the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash, and a time when B’nei Yisrael would have to bring korbanos at the holy site but without the structure, he wanted to perform the initiation in a way that would encompass the future non-ideal avoda. Perhaps we can say that we are living this reality right now. We must keep in mind that Hashem foresaw this. He’s the One who designed Yiddishkeit, and He’s the One orchestrating the circumstances that have dismantled its normal configuration.

He believes in us and knows we can do our part under the most trying times. We now have the ability to bring a “korban”—i.e. to bring ourselves closer to Hashem, even without the holy walls of a shul. Like Moshe did, we must grab every opportunity. Even if it’s not ideal or seems small, it’s cherished by Hashem. This effort is not only the right thing to do, it’s also good for us and our families. Any amount of “normalcy” and holiness we can maintain will benefit us in this abnormal time.  May we merit very soon to take part in building the permanent house of Hashem, with Moshiach now. Good Shabbos, and besuros tovos by everyone, Rabbi Mordechai Lipskier

[1] Likutei Sichos vol. 31 pg. 223. 


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