Thursday, March 19, 2020

sometimes it's a mitzvah not to show up

"1) Va'yitzav Moshe... al ya'asu od melacha l'terumas ha'kodesh" -- Moshe commanded the people, "No more donations needed for the Mishkan." 
"Va'yikalei ha'am mei'havi" -- the people stopped bringing. (35:5) 

Chasam Sofer comments that this was a mitzvah like any other mitzvah.  No one said, "Whew, I'm glad they are done hitting me up for donations."  Aderaba, people wanted to give, but they were commanded to stop and so they couldn't.  They said a "l'shem yichud" and put the money back into their wallets l'shem mitzvah just like they would have given it away l'shem mitzvah.

Given our present circumstances, this is where we are holding.  It would be great if we could have minyanim and in-person shiurim and chavrusas.  Is there anyone who is thinking, "Wow, glad I don't have to get up for minyan anymore?"  I don't think so.  But right now our mitzvah is "u'shmarten es nafshoseichem."  Right now our mitzvah is to not go to minyan and to do so l'shem mitzvah.     


  1. "people wanted to give", ba'boker ba'boker (36:3); "It would be great if we could...'get up for minyan'" ...mi'shomrim la'boker, shomrim la'boker (130:6)...

    {if producing the Mishkan somehow replicates production of the world, we can understand that there be countless planets, zillions of suns, and space ad infinitum: Hashem, up-front, offered excess raw material for earth and star in place, from the depth of His heart...}

  2. I've heard that some people are doing vasikin, which is actually not hard now. The Biur H in 58 implies, and RSZ says, that it is equal to or better than tefilla betzibur. But it hardly makes up for krias hatorah and human faces. For that, we have Zoom.