Friday, February 21, 2014

the connection between Chur's kiddush Hashem and Betzalel's wisdom

The Midrash writes that the Torah traces the lineage of Betzalel back to Chur because Betzalel’s wisdom and ability to make a Mishkan was a reward for Chur sacrificing his life in protesting against the making of the eigel.

 ד"א ראו קרא ה' בשם בצלאל בן אורי בן חור מה ראה להזכיר כאן חור אלא בשעה שביקשו ישראל לעבוד עבודת כוכבים נתן נפשו על הקב"ה ולא הניחן עמדו והרגוהו אמר לו הקב"ה חייך שאני פורע לך משל למלך שמרדו עליו לגיונותיו עמד שר הצבא שלו ונלחם עמהם אמר להם על המלך אתם מורדים עמדו והרגו אותו אמר המלך אילו ממון נתן לא הייתי צריך לפרוע לו עאכ"ו שנפשו נתן עלי מה אני עושה לו אלא כל בנים שיצאו ממנו אני מעמידם דוכסים ואפרכים כך בשעה שעשו ישראל העגל עמד חור ונתן נפשו על הקב"ה אמר לו חייך כל בנים היוצאים ממך אני מגדלם שם טוב

What is the midah k’neged midah here?  Why is the reward for Chur’s self-sacrifice specifically the ability to build a Mishkan?  And what happened to the principle of schar mitzvah b’hai alma leika, that the reward for mitzvos is only given in the next world, not this one?

The Shem m’Shmuel explains that the reward for doing a mitzvah is not some extraneous gift, like a lollipop the teacher gives a kid for getting the right answer, but rather the reward is the goodness that is the essence of the mitzvah itself.  Where is that goodness manifest?  Some of it rubs off in olam ha’zeh, as the rationalist philosophers tell us, in the form of a better society, a better, more moral life for ourselves, etc.  But there is much more to mitzvos that goes on behind the scenes, in the form of goodness that gets released in other olamos that our neshoma touches, as the Nefesh haChaim and others explain at length.  The real reward for mitzvos happens up there, in the next world, because the real tikun that mitzvos bring about happens up there.

The exception to the rule is the mitzvah of kiddush Hashem.  The disdain and disrespect for G-d, the chilul Hashem, that goes on in this world has no effect upstairs, where G-d’s presence is so clear and obvious.  The mistake of making an eigel is only possible in olam hazeh, where foolishness blinds us from the truth.  Unlike other mitzvos, kiddush Hashem is not about making tikunim upstairs – it’s about pushing away that foolishness and making G-d’s presence felt down here.  The real tikun happens in our world; therefore, the schar comes in our world as well.

The Shem m’Shmuel doesn’t use those words, but in Chabad it’s a recurring slogan: the Mishkan is kavyachol a “dirah batachtonim” for the Shechina.  Chur gave his life al kiddush Hashem, the goal of which is to reveal G-d’s presence more fully davka in the hester of this world; his reward is a grandson who can build a Mishkan, the goal of which is to bring G-d into this world.

The Midrash ends with a derush on the words “chochma u’tevunah ba’heima,” reading it as “beheima,” animals. 
כל מי שנתעסק במלאכת המשכן נתן בו הקב"ה חכמה ובינה ודעת שנאמר (שמות לו) ויעשו כל חכם לב ולא בבני אדם אלא אפי' בבהמה ובחיה שנאמר (שם) חכמה ותבונה בהמה בהמה כתיב שנתנה חכמה באדם ובבהמה ולא נתפרסם מכלם אלא בצלאל הוי קרא ה' בשם בצלאל:
Does that mean that the goats or the cows suddenly started doing math problems?  What would be the purpose of that miracle be?

What the Midrash means, says R’ Simcha Bunim m’Peshischa, is that the blessing of chochma came down even to our nefesh ha’behamis, even to the lowest levels of our soul.  Meaning, the miracle here is not that since you have a Mishkan, a shul, a beis medrash, now when you feel all spiritual and holy, you have an address to go to.  The miracle is that even when you are eating ice cream in the park on a summer day, you are using only the nefesh ha'behamis, you are still connected with holiness because as a result of the Mishkan, G-d's presence is felt in all aspects of life. 

(Update: R' Chaim Kanievski explains the Midrash based on the Yerushalmi Yoma 4:4 (23a) that one of the typea of gold used in the Mishkan was processed by being eaten and expelled by the na'maiyot birds.  Since the work on the Mishkan had to be done lishma, the animal needed to have intelligence.)

No comments:

Post a Comment