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We just ran a campaign this week in our Yeshiva, Lev Aharon, that collected over a million dollars in two days, towards our building fund. I coached it. Together with the Rosh Yeshiva’s son Yitzhak, and Charityextra, and of course, the hand of Hashem, we were able to put it together. I put the videos together, ran the back end, and the Yeshiva Staff and students, worked very hard.  Although one of the things that make me feel the most successful in life, is fundraising for worthy causes, this one was not so easy for me. The night that we reached the million, I went to bed, feeling bittersweet. The only one who did not raise anything, for this great yeshiva, during the campaign, was me!

Why did not I not send out a link? Because just two weeks ago, I tried powering back on my phone after Shabbat. I put in the pin, and pressed OK on my Samsung phone screen, and it did not unlock. No matter what I tried to do, I could not open my phone. I went to the phone provider Hadran, and they said, we can just to a factory reset, which will wipe out everything on your phone. It will be like a brand-new phone. We are sure, that you have it all backed up, to your Gmail account. They did factory reset, and I lost EVERY SINGLE contact I have, from the last 10 years of fundraising, and all media, conversations, etc. of the last few years. I don’t know how this happened, but I did not have anything backed up! All my clients, all my donors, all my friends and family, all erased. I have no way to get back some of those numbers, as some were big donors that NO ONE will give you their personal numbers again. I had no contacts to send out the link to! Being that I was running the back end of the campaign, I had no time to reach out to people, and ask for numbers, either. All the other Rabbis in yeshiva, had raised whatever they raised. I was the only Rabbi, that had a big, fat, ZERO, on my team, on the yeshiva campaign page.

The next morning, when the Yeshiva had already raised $1,120,00, I woke up with this bittersweet feeling, at 6:15 am. There are no 6:30 minyanim right next to my house. So I walked to a small shul, Rabbi Dupar’s underground shul, and waited for the 6:45am. I said Great! At least I can look for something to write on, for Parashat Pekudei. The first Sefer that caught my eye, was the Sefer from Rav Heiman, Hikrei Lev. And this is the exact words that jumped out at me on the page I opened to in Parashat Pekudei:

There was one person in the whole nation who did not give anything towards the building of the Mishkan. Moshe Rabbeinu himself! How ironic!

The Midrash Tanhuma tells us that once they finished the construction of the Mishkan, the Nation was sitting and waiting, yearning, for the Shechina to dwell in the Mishkan they built. So, what did they do? They went to the Chachmei Lev, the wise craftsmen, who built it, and said, What are you sitting around for? Set up the Mishkan, so that the Shechina will dwell amongst us!

The Chachmei Lev tried to erect it, and they did not know how! They couldn’t erect it! When they tried to erect it, it would fall. They then went to ask Betzalel and Aholiav his helper, who constructed the Mishkan, but when they tried erecting it, again, it would fall. The Nation hoped, that if these two knew how to make it, maybe they would know how to erect it! But when they tried to erect it, they could not.

The Midrash asks, Why could they not erect it? It answers, that this is because Moshe felt bad that he did not take part of the construction of the Mishka. The donation was given by the Nation, the work was done with the guidance of Betzalel and Aholiav, by the Hachemei Lev. Moshe felt bad, that he did not have a part in it all , so, Hashem hid from them the way to erect the Mishkan, and they could not erect it.

All the people came to Moshe, and they said, why can’t it be erected? Hashem told Moshe, “Since you felt bad that you had no part in making the Mishkan, that is why all the previous ones could not erect it.” Moshe said, “Master of the world, I don’t know how to erect it. He told him, make with your hands as if you are erecting it, and it will stand on its own.” (Tanhuma Pikudei,11)

The Hikrey Lev (page 232) writes, that this Midrash is telling us something. Moshe did not give anything towards the Mishkan! Why not? The Yefe Toar writes that it happened by mistake. Moshe made the same mistake as the Nesiim, who thought to wait for the end, to see what was lacking, that they could fill. But in the end, everything was quickly donated by the people! There was nothing lacking!

The Hikrei Lev writes, that this is an impossibility, to say, that Moshe made such a mistake, if our Rabbis explain that there was a complaint from Heaven on the Nesiim who waited till the end. They were coined lazy by our Sages.  וְהַנְּשִׂאִ֣ם הֵבִ֔יאוּ אֵ֚ת אַבְנֵ֣י הַשֹּׁ֔הַם וְאֵ֖ת אַבְנֵ֣י הַמִּלֻּאִ֑ים לָאֵפ֖וֹד וְלַחֹֽשֶׁן:   Rashi writes that due to their laziness, the letter Yud was taken from the name of the Nessiim. So how could we hold Moshe accountable for such a thing?

The Hikrei Lev writes, that Moshe did not give anything of his own, because G-d told Moshe, to take from the materials from THEM , וְזֹאת֙ הַתְּרוּמָ֔ה אֲשֶׁ֥ר תִּקְח֖וּ מֵאִתָּ֑ם זָהָ֥ב וָכֶ֖סֶף וּנְחֹֽשֶׁת,  which Moshe understood, that he was not to give from his own towards it! He was to take all the donation from the Nation!

The Hikrei Lev, writes that the Mishkan was supposed to be from the money that the people took with them from Egypt, the gold and silver they borrowed from the Egyptians, or found at the shore of the Yam Suf. G-d wanted, to forever remember what the Jews went through, the pain they suffered.

Also, I thought, maybe one can say, that G-d wanted the Mishkan to be an atonement for the sin of the Golden Calf. Moshe was not there, during the sin, so he could not be held accountable for not doing anything to stop it. So G-d wanted all the money to come only from those who needed an atonement.

We find in the Purim story, that Mordechai would ask the students what they just learned, in order for him to get an idea what message G-d is telling him. (Esther Rabba 7;13) For me, to open the Sefer, and the first thing that I see is this Dvar Torah at that hour, right when I was feeling the feelings I felt, is G-d speaking to me. There is a special power in yearning. Sometimes, you just can’t do something that you respect or value, sometimes you can’t be the person you aspire to be. But that inspiration, G-d does not ignore!!!!

The Zohar (Terumah 157;2) tells us, that a person needs to remember on his table, while eating a meal, the destruction of the Temple, and the destruction of Jerusalem. Through worrying and feeling bad over the lack of the Temple, when one is sitting, and enjoying food and drink, IT IS CONSIDERED AS IF HE BUILT THE TEMPLE!  This is why Ashkenazim say prior to Birkat Hamazon, the Psalm עַ֥ל נַהֲר֨וֹת׀ בָּבֶ֗ל and we mention the Destruction in our Birkat Hamazon. The whole story of Purim, started, when the Jews enjoyed a meal at Achashverosh’s party, that the utensils of the Temple were being displayed and used!

Sometimes, all G-d wants from us, is to want. He wants us to want to be better. To want to have more Faith, more Kavana, more Torah, more Peace, more Mitzvoth. Sometimes, that is all G-d is testing us with.


About the author, Yosef

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