Newsletter

THE SMALLEST NATION

Roy Neuberger - Apr. 13, 2018


This week’s Torah Portion describes the inauguration of the Mishkan, the Tabernacle.

 

The essence of our mission is unity with the King of the Universe. No other nation possesses this greatness. The Mishkan was where this encounter took place, thus the term “Ohel Moed,” which is translated as “Tent of Meeting.” The Torah says, “They took what Moshe had commanded to the front of the Tent of Meeting, and the entire assembly approached and stood before Hashem. Moshe said: This is the thing that Hashem has commanded you to do; then the glory of Hashem will appear to you.” (Leviticus 9:5-6)

 

This holiness that resided in the Mishkan was later transferred to the Holy Temple in Yerushalayim. “King David went and he brought up the Ark of G-d … to the City of Dovid with gladness. Whenever the bearers of the Ark of Hashem walked six paces, he slaughtered an ox and a fatted ox. Dovid danced with all his strength before Hashem and Dovid was girdled in a linen tunic. Dovid and the entire House of Israel brought up the Ark of Hashem with loud joyous sound and the sound of the shofar….” (II Samuel 6:12 -15; Haftaras Shemini)

 

This Place is called a house of prayer for all the peoples.” (Isaiah 56:7)

 

“Also a gentile who is not of Your people Israel, but will come from a distant land … and will come and pray toward this Temple … May You hear [them] from Heaven … so that all the peoples of the world may know Your Name, to fear You … and to know that Your Name is proclaimed upon this Temple ….” (I Kings 8:41ff)

 

The nations hear of our greatness and desire to attach themselves to us. In my book, From Central Park to Sinai, I recount an amazing incident in which I was driving in Manhattan during rush hour. I suddenly realized that I had forgotten to say the mincha, the Afternoon Prayer. I had only a few minutes until sunset. I pulled into one of those “Don’t even think of stopping here!” zones, got out of my car and started saying “Ashrei,” the beginning of the prayer. Suddenly I heard a loud voice: “What do you think you’re doing! Get that car out of here.” I turned around and said, in a quiet tone, “Officer, I actually just need a few minutes to pray before sunset.” Silence. He looked at me. “Pray! Why didn’t you tell me! You take as long as you want! And don’t forget … pray for me!”

 

The nations of the world desire our prayer. In their heart of hearts they too yearn for the “house of prayer for all the peoples.” They too know there is no survival without us and our unity with the Lord of the Universe. They too know that Hashem promised our Father Abraham that “all the families of the earth shall bless themselves by you.” (Genesis 12:3)

 

Several weeks ago, before boarding a plane to the Holy Land, I noticed a group of very large men about to board our plane. They looked quite unlike the typical El Al passenger. Guess what? I wound up sitting across the aisle from two of these gentlemen!

 

Guess what! We talked for most of the flight.

 

This was a group of National Football League players, and they were really big! Someone had paid for an entourage to visit Israel. My wife and I prepared our new friends for the Holy Land as well as we could. They were extremely respectful. I also believe that they were grateful to meet Jews who were so friendly to them and whose obvious priority was the fulfillment of a Biblical lifestyle, the effect of which would be to bring those blessings Hashem promised to our Father Abraham down to this planet.

 

My wife took a picture of me standing between my two giant friends. I was reminded of the Biblical spies, who said, “There we saw the Nephilim, the sons of the giant from among the Nephilim; we were like grasshoppers in our eyes and so we were in their eyes.” (Numbers 13:33)

 

But we are not grasshoppers!

 

No! We are descendants of kings and prophets, giants of Torah, masters of spiritual greatness. We are the smallest of the nations and the greatest of the nations. We are not measured physically. For you are a holy people to Hashem, your G-d [Who] … has chosen you to be for Him a treasured people above all the peoples on the face of the earth. Not because you are more numerous than all the peoples did Hashem desire you and choose you, for you are the fewest of all the peoples. Rather, because of Hashem’s love for you and because He observes the oath that He swore to your forefathers did He take you out with a strong hand and redeem you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh, king of Egypt.” (Deuteronomy 7:6-8)

 

The Mishkan was erected in the desert. Within it the Presence of the King of All Kings came to meet with the Holy Nation of Israel, bringing blessings to this world. The holiness of the Mishkan was transferred to the Temple, whose location lies within a small city in the midst of a small nation. To this Place are drawn all those who seek blessing. “A Baraisa was taught in the yeshiva of Rabbi Yishmael: Blessing is not found except in something at which the eye cannot gaze, as it is said: Hashem shall command the blessing upon you in your hidden storage places…. For blessing is not found in something that has been weighed, nor in something that has been measured, nor in something that has been counted. It is found only in something that is hidden from the eye.” (Taanis 8b)

 

Soon the Shechina, the Presence of G-d, will return in its glory! “V’sechezena ainainu … May our eyes behold Your return to Tzion in compassion!” May we see it soon in our days!

 

PHOTO CAPTION

Renaldo Wynn (left) and Michael Pierce (right)

aboard El Al Flight 008. The author is between them.


 

Recent Posts


Tags

night Western Wall creation evil inclination Sages Matriarchs Purim gossip tears soul mikveh, Sabbath siddur Creator evil moon sanctity spies Raiders of the Lost Ark shmittah chessed cholent Temple Sukkah bris milah idolatry Zion, Angel Malbim Leah Judah Tallis eternity redeemer Eve ancestors Bilaam Rebecca Isaiah Rabbi Akiva Earth Pharaoh Rashi slaves Gog repent Heavenly Mercy prayers Moshiach Ishamael Exodus Ishmeal Banias sacrifices Geula Golden Calf Midrash Golan Zechariah tablets locusts Psalms commandment dreams meraglim Abrahem Hasmoneans alone Day of Judgement Pinchas Shabbos Torah scholars bible peace Golus liberation evolution mitzva Torah mikveh Balak judgement Haman Israel enemies compassion flood United Nations Sefiras haOmer Father in Heaven Amram Rebbe Second Temple terror High Holy Days Adam America fear heavenly throne New Moon Ammon messiah rain Babylon Mount Sinai Jewish Chafetz Chaim Avraham tremors Esther Egypt King David Prophecy Passover Jewish holidays brotherhood persecution purity Achashveirosh Chanukkah Red Sea Boaz holy Rosh Hashanah Ashkenazi Talmud light materialism Maccabeans secret Day of Atonement Western World stones Babylonia resurrection Sea of Galilee eternal survival esrog plague terrorist Solar eclipse hubris Divine presence prayer book Edom Amalek seder 2020 Vision Blame Holiness self-worship Judgement Day tabernacle kesuba slavery Nation of Israel murder patriarchs sin Lot Benjamin Magog Repentence world to come prayer Land of Israel deluge Mount Zion fault Genesis Passover Seder Shushan Faith Rosh Hashana Tu b'Av prophet Samuel Master of the Universe prophet kiddush heavenly gates culture media Jews three weeks Ruth King of the Universe Samuel cries synagogue Moshaich Zohar Beit Hamikdash Chol haMoed G-d barley Jacob Ten Commandments Miraglim Mordechai Holy Ark ethics fires God Jewish festival Moshe Tu b'Shvat Ishmael miracle Psalm Sabbath patriarchs'matriarchs prophets Yerushalayim pain Hagar miracles Sodom Matisyahu Noah Greeks Miriam fragrance Lunar eclipse water blessing Protective edge sun Chanukah violence incense Tisha b'Av danger logic Angel of Death Shavuos kosher matzos keys priests song darkness Rabbis Sephardi forefathers leprosy Maimonides Sarah redemption Parsha exile Children of Israel Solomon Elul lights yeshiva Esau Jew angels stars Dead Sea Moab Canaan Chofetz Chaim Joseph pray menorah paradise Bais Hamikdosh Holy Temple Holocaust Zion Laban Sukkos Shechina chaos Final redemption trees minyan automobiles spirituality war Rachel Galil Ezekiel Mount Hermon spiritual shield of Abraham rabbi Abraham salvation Torah portion Tzuk etan mitzvos Macabees holiday Moses Jeremiah yarmulke kinneret terrorists End of Days Rome Judaism Red Heifer missiles Hebrew biblical Song of Songs Isaac king Terror Attack in Jerusalem Eglon Yom Kippur Samuel the Prophet Temple Mount repentance Tefillin Europe Yaakov terrorism Aharon Garden of Eden Hashem rosh chodesh Holy land idol King Solomon shofar Jewish People earthquake Jerusalem David Baku India High Priest heaven death bird angel Teshuva

Archive