Parshas Ki Sisa
Exodus 30:11 - 34:35

Creating Holiness ©

By Dr. Akiva G. Belk

This study of the weekly parsha is dedicated in the loving memory of Mrs. Ethel Sakash Belk, my mother, may she rest in peace .

Holy reader, yesterday was the Shabbos following Purim. I arose shortly after the break of day to prepare for morning prayers. Daybreak is approximately eighty minutes before sunrise. Sunrise was 6:20 am. Daybreak was close to 5:00 am. One should arrive at the Shema just as the first ray of sunlight breaks in the east. This is especially true if one is praying alone as I was.

According to the Shulchan Aruch it is better to "awaken the dawn" in accordance with Psalms 57:9 where Dovid Ha Melech said, "Arouse my glory! Awake the lyre and the harp! I will awake the dawn ." Now on Shabbos we normally do not set an alarm to arise early even though it is acceptable to set an alarm that shuts off automatically if set prior to the beginning of Shabbos.

When I awoke after saying Modeh Anni.. {some Yidden at this point don their Tallis without saying the bracha so as to observe the mitzvah of not walking 16 feet without wearing tzitzis according to the Shulchan Aruch} and...

after washing my hands in accordance with Psalms 26: 6,7 "I wash my hands in pureness and I will circle Your altar Hashem. To be heard in a voice of thanksgiving and to tell of all Your wonders."...

after washing my face in deference to our Creator in accordance with Genesis 9:6 "for in the Image of G-d, He made the man.."

after rinsing my mouth and after carefully cleansing my mouth

after relieving myself and

after washing a second time in the rest room

I am prepared to honor Hashem with the first blessing of the day. Outside of the rest room I say:

Netilas Yadayim... then Asher Yatzar... Rayshees Chawmaw... Then don the Tallis Katan with the appropriate blessing.

After donning my Tallis Katan I peered out the window. There was a heavy cloud cover overlaying the Georgetown valley. It looked like it would soon begin snowing and it did. Soon Naomi, my wife and soul mate, joined me. We spoke a little then began morning prayers. I noticed that the snow began during our prayers. There is no way to describe the feeling of heavy clouds rolling in as the snow began. To me it feels like the presence of Hashem is manifest all around the mountain where we live and pray.

Today is Sunday and the snow is continuing...

Now, dear reader, this leads us to our discussion of this week's parsha. We read:
"And spoke Hashem to Moshe saying, 'And you, you take top spices, pure myrrh five hundred [shekel weights] and spices of cinnamon from half [portions] two-hundred-fifty [shekel weights] and sweet calamus {plant] spices two-hundred-fifty [shekel weights]. And cassia [plant] two-hundred-fifty [shekel weights] in [the] shekel [value of] the Holy [Temple] and 5.7 liters [1 1/2 gallons] of olive oil. Make it into Holy Anointing Oil prepared from the spice blender; a maker of spices. [The blended spice] oil shall be for Holy Anointing. And [then] Anoint the Tent Of Meeting, and [Anoint] the Ark Of Witness, and [Anoint] The Table and all Vessels [pertaining to the Table], and [Anoint] the Menorah and all Vessels [pertaining to the Menorah], and [Anoint] the Altar of Incense, and [Anoint] The Altar Of Offerings and all the Vessels [pertaining to the Altar of Offerings], [Anoint] The Wash Basin and [Anoint] The Base [of the Wash Basin]. And Separate / Sanctify them and they each shall become [most] Holy of Holies. Anything that touches them will become Holy.'" Exodus 30:22-30

We read in this passage the selected spices, the preparation for blending, the expert individual chosen to blend the spices and the purpose for the spices. Now, holy reader, just as great preparation is made to anoint the Most Holy Items of the Temple we are required each morning to prepare our vessel. The Mishkon of our being is very Holy! We are to treat it with that dignity, respect and preparation!!

Dear reader, the meal {the flour} for the meal offerings that are placed in a Holy Vessel or on the Holy Altar become intrinsically holy as do other items used for offerings. In a similar fashion we can create holiness. When we properly prepare for morning prayers, our words of thanksgiving and praise are HOLY! They are proceeding from a NEW Vessel that has been properly sanctified. Every morning each of us becomes a NEW CREATION! The stains on the previous day's Vessel are gone. Our Vessel is NEW! Our opportunity is NEW! At night we lay the old Vessel to rest. In the morning we rise as a NEW Vessel. This is why it is so important to properly prepare our NEW Vessel each and every morning!!

Our NEW Vessel will deal with yesterday's problems differently! Our NEW Vessel will sanctify the coming day. I SAID THE COMING DAY! How can one sanctify something that has already begun? How can one sanctify something that is NOT NEW... NOT FRESH? Holy reader, the point is, it is for this reason that we awaken... that we arouse the dawn. WE SANCTIFY THE DAY BEFORE IT HAS BEGUN!! It is by this method that we prepare the New Mishkon of our being each day. It is by this formula that we enter each NEW day! This is how we create HOLINESS! We make sure our Vessel is prepared and NOT TAINTED! We awaken the dawn with Holiness. Then we impact the NEW DAY with Holy Words and Holy actions.

May Hashem bless each of us in our actions of creating Holiness!

Good Shabbos!!

Dr. Akiva G. Belk

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