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Termâh

This parsh.jpg (2373 bytes) provides a strong message about the sanctity and importance of a spiritual household in Judaism. Shemoth 25:8 says "They shall make for me a sanctuary so that I may dwell among them". In recent times, it has been suggested by some that because our Holy Temple in Jerusalem no longer stands, the presence of HaShem no longer dwells amongst the Jews \ Heaven forbid. However, this week’s Parasha provides a strong indication that if we work at it with spiritual preparation, our houses will become the very vessels in which HaShem’s presence prefers to dwell on this Earth. The previous verse (25:8) provides a glowing beacon of light for those Jews who have been lead astray by Amalek and the critics regarding where the Divine Presence actually dwells (or concentrates).

According to the RMb"M, the word "Shochen" (Hebrew for 'to dwell') that is mentioned in verse 25:8 is "employed with reference to G-D to denote the continuity of His Presence and Providence in any place or person" (Guide 1:25). The RMb"M's words show that the Divine Presence does not require the Holy Temple to dwell in this world. 

The gematria for the word "betocham" (among them) in verse 25:8 is 468. The verse starts off with: "They shall make for me a Sanctuary --so that I may dwell among them- like everything that I show you". The simple meaning of this verse shows that HaShem dwelled amongst us (during the days of The Temple) provided that we adhered to the commandment to create The Temple (Sanctuary) in its desired form. But just how does a Jew accomplish this drawing down of the Divine Light in the absence of The Temple? Further... how do we know that the Divine Presence is still with us right now (in the absence of the Great Temple)?

We read in Parashat Bo that "You shall say, It is a Pesach feast-offering to HaShem, Who passed over the houses of the Children of Israel in Egypt when he smote the Egyptians , but he saved our households (bataynoo)."  It is interesting to note that the word "bataynoo" (our households) mentioned earlier in Shemoth 12:27 (Parashat Bo) also has the same gematria of 468 that (among them) has in 25:8.   Perhaps this relationship teaches us something important about the Jewish house for all time.

This gematria underlines the importance of creating a Jewish home that is worthy of receiving HaShem's Presence. Indeed, HaShem tells us that we become Holy any time (and anywhere) we sanctify ourselves: "You shall sanctify yourselves and you will be holy, for I am HaShem your G-D".  This implies that our homes can become vessels of holiness if we sanctify them.  Thus, we have established a numerical connection between our households and the Divine Presence (among them).

How does one properly prepare his/her house to receive and / or merit this Divine Presence?

The answer lies in another gematria that corresponds to "our households". The word "chachmath" (wisdom) also has the same gematria of 468 (Shemoth 35:35). In this verse, we read that HaShem fills Betzalel and Oholiov of the tribe of Dan with "wisdom of the heart" in order for them to "execute all the tasks of the engraver, the craftsman, and the embroidered of greenish-blue wool, dark red wool, crimson wool, fine linen, and the weaver, also that of laborers and planners". The realization that it is HaShem alone that provides the wisdom we need to prepare our houses for his Presence is the first step. However, the wisdom spoken of here is one of the heart. What is wisdom of the heart? Again in Shemoth 28:3 we read: "Speak to everyone who is wise of heart, to whom I have granted a spirit of wisdom, and let them make Aaron’s vestments."

So what does it mean to have wisdom of the heart? How did Shlomo Ha Melech (King Solomon), the wisest man who ever lived, attain his extraordinary wisdom? We are told that at the beginning of his reign, HaShem appeared to the young and inexperienced king and said, "What shall I grant you?" To which Shlomo replied, "Grant Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, to distinguish between good and bad; for who can judge this vast people of Yours?" G-D said to him, "Because you asked for this--you did not ask for long life, you did not ask for riches, you did not ask for the lives of your enemies, but you asked for discernment in dispensing justice--I now do as you have spoken. I grant you a wise and discerning heart (1 Kings 3:5-12). Shlomo Ha Melech was granted wisdom because he exhibited an overriding desire for wisdom. He valued wisdom more than riches and long life. A wise heart means a craving for wisdom. And G-D responds to this yearning by saying "I have granted wisdom to all those who are wise of heart." (Shemoth 31:6) This paragraph was taken entirely from Sichot Mussar, 5731:10.

Thus, the relationship between these two gematrias is more apparant. Our households can approach the level of holiness that our Hebrew ancestry had in Egypt if we pray (plead) to HaShem for wisdom of the heart.

In fact, our households have the ability to reach the holiness that was represented by the altars themselves. This is evidenced by another incredible gematria with the same value.  The numerical value of the words "Ve-hamizbechoth" (and the altars) also corresponds with values of "their households" and "wisdom" (468).

Thus all four gematrias have the same numerical value of 468.

[among them = our households = wisdom = and the alters = 468]

The same altars that were the very essence of the physical Temple (that we no longer have in our possession) are ultimately represented by our Jewish Households. Rabbi Eleazar said: Prayer is more efficacious than offerings. In that light, May HaShem answer our heartfelt prayers (for a true wisdom of the heart) and fill our Houses (today's alters) with a true discernment of good and bad  by dwelling amongst us and may He lead us upright to our land.

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* AE: Ben Hhaim: Gematria is an ancient system used to derive meaning from different passages in the Hebrew scriptures whose Hebrew letters have the same numerical values.