Please read Ohr HaEmunah from Rabbi Menachem Azoulay on Parshas Terumah here: http://beyondanydoubts.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/teruma.pdf Text is also below the line at the bottom of this blog entry.
The more we understand our thinking and what it is for,
the more choices we have regarding our speech and deeds.
The more emunah we have in Hashem,
the more we can steady ourselves in choosing to live spiritual truth over natural response.
The farther we get from the moment of Adom’s creation,
the more intermingled are true thoughts from our holy neshama regarding survival being up to Hashem with natural thoughts about the best way to survive based on our own efforts.
The more we see that we are, indeed, spiritual beings who are given physical existence in order that we may have a participatory role in revealing Torah and Hashem as the King,
the more courage we have in the moment to be mesiras nefesh whatever self-consciousness may otherwise motivate us.
The more we desire to see the King,
the more will power we have to recognize and not identify with the competing desires that are natural.
The more successes we have choosing our spiritual goals as our essence,
the more recognition we have into competing natural messages that previously would have been the motivation for our conduct and the more self-control we have in the moment.
The more love we feel for Hashem,
the more we are able to quiet our inner stressful emotions by remembering that He is with us right here and now.
The more we understand how Hashem has made our neurology – to want, to feel stressed and frustrated when we do not receive, and to experience an urge for aggression when we do not see or feel His Love,
the more we understand that the calmness we feel when we love Hashem in that moment reveals His Love for us, built into our design.
The more we realize His Love for us,
the more we see how He desires for us to participate in revealing Him.
The more we want to reveal Him, even though our thinking after so many generations of galus has many darkened layers over His Hiddenness,
the more our simple wanting is effective because of the simple emunah it takes to want to reveal Him.
We cry out to You in hisbodidus, we try to figure out how to unmix up all the thinking in the world today. We don’t want all the self-conscious thinking that further conceals You.
Hashem, sincerely, we just want You Hashem, we just want to see the King.
Hashem’s so beautiful,
A piece of the Eternal
With mind we see
Our hearts yearn to be
Your Will is everything
We hope for,
Your mercy is everything
We ask to become free
We wish to serve and see
From Rabbi Menachem Azoulay on Parshas Teruma
Based on R’ Menachem Azoulay’s “Ohr Ha’Emunah”
What is the “hk”? Hashem said to the Jewish people: volunteer, donate and make the Mishkan and do not say that you are giving anything from your own pockets, because everything is mine, as it says: (j’c hdj) “,Itcm v¬u«vh ot1b c·vZv* h´k u ;xFv* h¬k ” – The silver is mine and the gold is mine, says Hashem. Hashem reminded the Jewish people you are donating what is already mine, do not be stingy, do not hold back I gave it to you and now you give it back.
It is such a powerful and amazing thing to cling to Hashem. That is what the soul wants. The soul needs nothing aside from attachment to Hashem. That is the essence of holiness.
Holiness is attachment to Hashem, to constantly long for Hashem. All of our davening and meditating is longing for our Father. It is not sufficient to long for Hashem one hour a day (the prescribed minimum amount of Hisbodedus in Breslev tradition), we must long for our Father all day. The one hour Hisbodedus (customarily in the fields) is for crying over the fact that we are so distant from our Father, but longing and craving for closeness to Him must occupy us all day long.
Our primary focus must be desire and longing. A person must accustom himself to yearn for, desire and long for Hashem at all times. We must strive always to have good strong holy desires. As Rebbe Nachman taught, this world is nothing, the main task in serving Hashem is the desire. As far as serving Hashem, it is unlikely that anyone can say that they served Hashem. Even an angel cannot boast that he is able to serve Hashem. The primary focus must be on the desire for Hashem. The important question is do we truly want Hashem.
Desire is attachment, connection and that is the highest level a person can reach. “Hashem, I want you. Hashem, I cannot do anything without you. Hashem, bring me close to you.” If we have that, we are not missing anything.
Our entire purpose in life is to build a sanctuary in our hearts for Hashem’s presence. At moments that the honor of Hashem rests on a person, the soul is filled with life and beautiful song and it understands that the world was created for this very purpose. From this feeling, a person draws strength and courage to work and toil in the service of Hashem. From this, he draws the ability to withstand the passions and the impulses, weakness and fatigue.
In this week’s Parsha, Hashem asks us to participate in building the Mishkan, a place for His presence to rest. How can we participate? By giving! And what does Hashem want us to give? Gold, silver, copper, blue wool, purple wool, etc. Gold, silver and copper refer to the good points in every single Jew. For each and every one of us, even the least worthy, even the lowest of the low, there is no such thing as a “Jew” who does not have, at least, one good trait. If it is not a “golden” trait, then it is a “silver” one, and if not “silver,” it is, at least, “copper” – but something good can be found in each and every Jew.
In this merit, the Mishkan was built. During the course of the day for each of us there can be found sparks of light – good thoughts, thoughts of teshuva, overcoming the evil inclination. Each of these sparks is a wonderful contribution to the building of the Mishkan. Every good spark in our lives is another contribution to building the Beis Hamikdash – whether the communal one or the private one within each of us. Hashem said, build a Mikdash and I will dwell in them. Hashem did not say that I will dwell in “it,” rather He said “them.” The reference is not to the Mishkan or the Beis Hamikdash only but that Hashem will rest within each and every one of us. Each Jew, according to the purity and the merit of his heart, according to his contribution, he prepares a place for Hashem’s presence. In similar measure, he feels the grace of Hashem. The final letters of each word of the pasuk oav ogubc ,uzjk” ” spell the word t-r-u-m-ah.
Holiness means to learn to submit. Three are said to have all of their sins forgiven: a bridegroom, a convert and someone who achieves prominence. The bridegroom receives forgiveness because he submits to his wife, a convert because he submits himself to the Jewish people and the one who achieves prominence because he submits himself to the public, the community.
Rus gave up everything to follow Naomi and she was rewarded with being the grandmother of Moshiach. Rochel gave up everything (in what is probably the greatest act of submission ever) and she was rewarded with being the mother of the Jewish people.
A person who desires holiness must attach himself to eternal matters. He must remember, at every moment, that everything is nonsense, only Hashem is truth. The body pulls us down. The body tells us, “there is time, Hashem is not going anywhere, what does it really mean to long for Hashem. Right now, what you need is a piece of cake, you need to taste something sweet, you need a little more sleep, five more minutes, otherwise you won’t be able to get out of bed at all.” The evil inclination seduces us and convinces us to see evil as good, pretending that he is good for us.
We can use the same tactic for good. Rebbe Nachman taught us that when a person is far from joy or excitement in tefilla, he should pretend to be happy and enthusiastic. He should imitate enthusiasm and joy until he will slowly be zoche to be inspired. When a person imagines himself a certain way and even tries to imitate tzaddikim and real G-d-fearing Jews, he becomes attached to holiness. He will see that imitation and imagination can be a powerful force to draw one close to good and to triumph in the monumental war with the yetzer hora.
When we are with Hashem, with the soul, everything is amazing and we are happy. When we are with the body, we are also happy, but only temporarily, the happiness dissipates. The war for holiness never ceases. If a person is not moving forward, he is moving backwards. He gets dragged after the temptations of this world. A person must infuse holiness into his home. A child must see his father things other than eat. A home is not a bar, the children must see their father learning Torah every day.
Holiness comes only when we act for the sake of Hashem. On the pasuk “” – Rashi says, “for my name.” While all mitzvos, must be done lshem shamayim, tzedakah has a stronger inclination towards ulterior motives, to gain personal honor. Therefore, the Torah specifically stresses the need to proper intentions here. Mitzvos done with the proper intent are far greater and more powerful than those very same acts performed with ulterior motives. The reward for a mitzvah done lshem shamayim is many times the reward for the same mitzvah done otherwise. The gemara in Pesachim (50:) says that a person should engage in Torah and mitzvos even with improper intent because by engaging with improper intent, he will come to proper intent (“”). This statement is only
true for one who earnestly attempts and wants to do the will Hashem perfectly but for the moment it is difficult for him and he feels seriously tested and cannot, at this time, overcome. But, he knows the truth and he is working towards it – then we can say “” But, for the person that acts exclusively for his own honor and glory, this chazal does not apply.
We have come to this world to serve our Creator, not for Hashem to serve us, G-d forbid. Our purpose is to seek what Hashem wants from us right now, not what we want from Hashem. For this reason there were chassidim that had the custom, after finishing their hisbodedus and their tefillos, to say to Hashem, “until now I made many requests from You, from here on out do as you please and I accept everything that you choose for me with love.”
Another element of holiness is self-discipline. To set tasks and goals and adhere to them. A person who maintains self-discipline receives a lot of siyata dishmaya. When a person is busy, he feels alive and this gives him joy. He handles things diligently, not trying to force his own schedule, but with tefillos and supplication. He knows that ultimately, everything is in Hashem’s hands.
Through all of these good traits, we build our Mishkan. With love, with generosity. It was purposely after the sin of the Golden Calf that they built the Mishkan. After the great sin, they had to seek good points within every Jew. I am darkened by the sin – but I am beautified by the building of the Mishkan.
The Mishkan still exists today, it is just hidden. It is impossible to destroy something that was built with generosity, good and pure desires and with purity of the heart. Those ingredients create an everlasting reality that cannot be interrupted.