by Rabbi Arye D. Gordon.
The Nikolsburg Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yechiel Mechel Lebovits, shlita, just completed his annual visit to Los Angeles. The Rebbe stayed 10 days with the Los Angeles Community. During Shabbos Parshas Pekudei/Shekalim, the Rebbe davened Kabalos Shabbos
at the Chassidishe Kollel, Kollel Yechiel Yehuda. The Community had the opportunity to participate in the Rebbe’s Friday night Tish. The davening, the zemiros, the divrei torah from the Rebbe, all made for an exciting Oneg Shabbos. The Rebbe was hosted over the weekend by Rabbi & Mrs. Shimshon Weiss and during the week by Mr. & Mrs. Mark Mandelbaum.
Shabbos morning the Rebbe davened at Beis Naftali on La Brea and lead the tefilot with heartfelt and emotional feelings.This year the Rebbe went to Yeshivat Yavneh for Mincha and for Seudah Shlishis. It was an opportunity of the Yavneh community to meet and hear from a chassidishe Rebbe, a novel experience for many of them.
Those who were fortunate in the past to meet the Nikolsburg Rebbe when he visited our city, cherished the chance to renew their connection with Rabbi Lebovits. Known for his warmth, kindness, love of people and spiritual countenance, many took advantage of the opportunity to visit with him during his stay. The Rebbe Shlita set aside time during the week to give advice and offer words of Chizuk to those who came to see him privately.
Among the Divrei Torah given by the Nikolsburg Rebbe on this week’s Parsha was this insight on the pasuk, “And the courtyard was erected around the Mishkan and the altar, ….. and Moshe completed all of the work.” (Shemos 40:33) Said the Rebbe, “Several verses before (ibid. 39:32), the Torah tells us that “The entire work of the Mishkan was completed, and the Jewish people did everything according to what Hashem commanded Moshe, thus they did.”
We know that each word in the Torah is important and precious. When the Torah tells us that Moshe fulfilled Hashem’s command to completion, the verse uses direct and straightforward language: Moshe completed all of the work. Why then does the Torah deem it important, when speaking about the Jewish people, to emphasize again that they adhered to Hashem’s command? If the work was completed, as we are told about Moshe, why is it necessary to say that they did everything according to what Hashem commanded, and then adding that “thus they did?”
The Rebbe went on to explain, “When Moshe heard the command to build a Sanctuary for Hashem, he responded the way he responded to all of Hashem’s commands. He developed a profound longing to connect with his Creator through the mitzvos, and he felt a very deep yearning to fulfill this command properly. Therefore, the verse says simply that Moshe completed the work. He needed no further preparation.”
“On the other hand, the rest of the Jewish people were not on Moshe’s level of avodas Hashem. They still needed to prepare themselves properly before performing these mitzvos. They had to develop a longing for Hashem’s closeness and grow in their enthusiasm and fervor towards these commandments. Therefore, the Torah tells us that the Jewish people completed the work, but they first tried to prepare themselves as best as they could. They yearned to do these mitzvos in the manner that Moshe himself performed them, hence the special mention that they did everything “according to what Hashem commanded Moshe.” The Torah emphasizes again that “thus they did” – after preparing themselves, they performed the mitzvos with proper joy and enthusiasm.”
“May Hashem enable us to at least have a desire to yearn for His closeness and for the true taste of Shabbos, and to develop an attachment to all precious mitzvos of the Torah.”The Rebbe ended his Los Angeles visit by attending a special dinner hosted by Mark and Sheryl Mandelbaum. Until next year.