Midreshet Amit


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Parshat Teruma

By: Rabbi Rafi Rosenblum

The Midrash (Shemos Rabbah 33,1) tells us something fascinating. When Hashem gave the Jewish nation the Torah, He told them that He came with it. To explain what this means, the Midrash offers a parable. There was a king who only had one daughter. That daughter got engaged to a prince from a faraway land. When it was time for them to get married, the prince wanted to take her back to his kingdom. The king told him that he wasn't able to stop them from going, because it was his wife. But at the same time, he wasn't able to leave his daughter. He therefore requested of the prince to do him a favor. Wherever they decided to go and build a palace, they should build an extra room for him in which he could live. That is what Hashem requested of us when He gave us the Torah. Wherever we go, we should build a special room for Him in which He can live in order that He won't be separated from the Torah.
What is this special room that we are instructed to build for Hashem? Does it mean that we need to leave over space in our homes for Hashem to live in? This week's parsha says "v'asu li mikdash v'shachanti b'socham"- make for me a holy dwelling place and I will live in you. Shouldn't the pasuk say "and I will live in it"? Rather, this pasuk is commanding us that we all must build a holy dwelling place inside ourselves in which Hashem can reside. This is only done by working on and improving our middos. Once we start having good middos, Hashem can then live inside each and every one of us. This is the special room that the midrash informs us that we are instructed to build for Hashem. Only after we construct this room will we really be able to acquire the Torah.

According to this, we see the importance of having good middos. A person can't display ownership over the Torah until they have first displayed ownership over their middos, because having stellar middos is the foundation for receiving the Torah. This is highlighted by a Gemara in Meseches Sotah which tells us about someone who is haughty that Hashem says he and I can't dwell together. Based on the Midrash that informs us that Hashem and the Torah are inseparable, if a haughty person and Hashem can't live together then a haughty person can't have the Torah either. This is exactly what the Gemara in Meseches Pesachim says when it tells us that anyone who is haughty, even if they are a very learned person, will forget the Torah that they learnt.

This is a very important lesson for all of us. We are all trying to get closer to Hashem and to find our chelek of the Torah. In order to do that, we first need to make sure that our middos are up to par. We need to keep in mind what Meseches Avos teaches us, that derech eretz kadma l'Torah- being nice and respectful comes before the Torah. Only after that will Hashem come and live inside each and every one of us and only then can we really reach our full potential with regards to our Torah learning. Have an amazing Shabbos.