Parshas Pekudei
Exodus 38:21 - 40:38

Dedicating A New House ©

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.

STORY: Dedication of the New Temple
Many, many years ago my family participated in the purchase of land, construction and dedication of a new Temple. I was very young at the time but remember we first tore down the old building, removing and storing sacred items that would be used in the new building. We also used bricks and other materials from the old building in the construction of the new. We recycled what was usable from the old building in the new. This was so long ago that the events almost escaped me without a notice. It's strange how things like that can happen. Memories drift off into obscurity, then one day something happens that return them just as if they happened yesterday. Our Chah Nu Khas Ha Bais, dedication of the Temple building, was near Pesach. We were forced to move into our new facility before it was complete. For some reason the building we had been using was not available any longer. Our new building had a basement but the stairs were not in place. This huge hole was covered with boards and a large railing. The railing was nothing more than a challenge for for me. I was a show off. I climbed the railing and jumped down on the boards covering the hole. I began jumping up and down showing off. One of the boards became dislodged and I fell through to the concrete below. Thank G-d I wasn't hurt.

The dedication of the Mishkon transpired on the first day of Nisan which, as I recall, was close to the time we dedicated our Temple even though it was not completed. Now the Mishkon in the wilderness was completed in advance of its dedication. Yet our mystical spiritual Mishkon is more like the uncompleted Temple when I was a youth. Still, both are houses of worship. One is a physical house of worship and the other is a private, unseen, unnoticed, hidden house of worship. The physical house in the BaMidbar was completed before we used it. The spiritual house within us may have some serious gaping holes that need serious attention.

We read in the Torah of the wise people that participated in the construction of the Mishkon. Then we stop and ponder, 'Who has participated in the construction of our spiritual Temple?' Dear holy reader, when considering my spiritual Temple it unfortunately has been constructed by both righteous and corrupt people. Your Temple may be like mine. And even though that may be the situation, it is our responsibility to dedicate our Temple as a holy place unto Hashem. It is our responsibility to anoint every article within our Temple as holy unto G-d! It is our responsibility to maintain our Temple as a place of GREAT HOLINESS!

It is distressing when I fail to accomplish this great responsibility. It is for this reason that I look forward to Pesach, to the housecleaning, to the separation and removal of chometz. This spring cleaning ritual is one of the greatest reminders to each of us and our children that we MUST expel the haughtiness in our lives, that we MUST remove our dirty pride. This ritual of spring is like an anchor that will allow us to drift only so far until the next Pesach, until the next time of major housecleaning.

Holy reader, while we clean our physical house in preparation for Pesach, our attention should be drawn to the EXTREME NEED to clean and purify our spiritual house! Think of how nice it feels when retiring at day's conclusion, to bathe and then to crawl into a bed made with fresh, clean linens. It's w o n d e r f u l ! ! Dear reader, when we read the words of Parshas Pekudei, "And spoke Hashem to Moshe saying, 'In the day [of the moon's] renewal, in the first [day] of [the moon's] renewal set up the Mishkon, the Tent of Meeting...'" In other words, OPEN HOUSE! Begin operating! Start the process that the house is intended for! Holy reader, we have already entered the time period when the Mishkon was dedicated thousands of years ago. The moon's renewal occurred several days ago. We have already entered the month of Nisan. We are now in that time zone of renewal. It is for this reason that we MUST consider our own actions. We are approaching the Festival of Freedom. Soon our neshamas will surge like rockets into space! We are in this freedom zone when it should be easier for us to repair, to clean and to polish areas in our lives that at other times of the year are not so sensitive to change. Please don't pass this wonderful time of opportunity by. Get absorbed by and become consumed by the removal of chometz. Use this opportunity to advance and improve your spirituality!

Good Shabbos!

Dr. Akiva G. Belk

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