(Torah Portion Pikudai) Happier!

The Torah tells us that Betzalel was the chief architect chosen to build the Temple. Betzalel was only thirteen years old, yet he was endowed with exceptional wisdom. His wisdom was unique, for he knew the formula and code how to blend the Hebrew letters in the same fashion G-d created the Heavens and earth.

This information was necessary, for Betzalel was in charge of creating a dwelling place for G-d in this world and this formula was an essential component of the Temple’s formation.

There is an interesting dispute in the Talmud regarding when G-d created the world; was it in the month of Tishrei – when we are commanded to observe Rosh Hashana – the beginning of our new year, or was it in the month of Nisan – the first month of our calendar year?

Tosefos resolves this dispute by explaining that there is truth to each opinion. How? There were two processes with which G-d created the world. First, He decided to create the world, and secondly He implemented His plan.

Tishrei, when we observe Rosh Hashana is when G-d decided to create the world, and only in the month of Nisan did He actually create the world.

Rabbi Zalman Sorotzkin o.b.m. explains that the creation of the Temple, G-d’s abode in this world, actually mimicked the process of creation. G-d instructed the Jews to construct a Temple in the month of Tishrei – similar to G-d’s intent in creating the world in Tishrei, but it wasn’t until the month of Nisan that they were instructed to actually erect the Temple – similar to G-d Who actually created the world in Nisan.

Because the months of Tishrei and Nisan were times of creation, both are host to the celebration of special holidays.

We all know that during the month of Elul which precedes Rosh Hashana, we prepare ourselves spiritually for the awesome Day of Judgment. Asks the Sfas Emes, since the month of Nisan hosts our miraculous Exodus from Egypt, what sort of preparation do we undertake in the month of Adar which precedes Nisan?

Today and tomorrow is Rosh Chodesh Adar II. The Talmud tells us that when we enter the month of Adar we add to our happiness and joy. Adar is host to the joyous holiday of Purim when we experienced salvation from Haman’s threat of genocide of the Jews.

There are two basic ways to serve the Almighty – through awe and through love. Our approach during Elul is through awe, since we are preparing for the Day of Judgment. However, our approach during the month of Adar is to serve G-d through love. Being in a joyful mood raises our senses to serve the Almighty through love which is a prerequisite to experience an exciting and meaningful Pesach, when we reenact our redemption and recall all the miracles G-d performed for us in making us a nation.

Serving G-d through love is greater and more powerful than serving Him through awe and fear. In fact, our Sages teach us that when a person repents for his sins before G-d through feelings of love of G-d, rather than fear of punishment, his repentance is so powerful that it actually transforms his sins into merits!

In the Megilla that we will read in two weeks on Purim it states that the Jews, “Upheld and accepted upon themselves.” Our Sages explain that after the Jews experienced the miracle of Purim, which took place when they were in exile after the destruction of the First Temple, they eagerly renewed their commitment to accept all the laws that their ancestors accepted at Mount Sinai.

While the nation was at Mount Sinai, the awe and Revelation of G-d was so convincing, true and overwhelming they were, in a sense, forced into accepting the Torah.

After the Purim miracle, the Jews recognized that were all saved by G-d in a miracle that did not defy the laws of nature, at a time while they were in exile. They thus recognized that G-d truly loves them and cares for them no matter how far they strayed. Every Jew living at the time of the Purim miracle reaccepted the Torah with an expression of love to the Almighty.

We can all tap into the energy of love that our ancestors displayed during the Purim miracle, more than 2500 years ago, to motivate us to cheer up and place our hope in the Almighty, that He send the Moshiach – whose arrival will bring peace to the Land of Israel and the entire world – an event that we urgently need and can occur in a moment’s time!

Have a most enjoyable, restful and peaceful Shabbos!
Rabbi Dovid Saks