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Devar Torah - Terumah

Thursday, 15 February, 2018 - 10:34 pm

In this week's Parsha Hashem tells Bnei Yisroel to build a Mishkan. To construct the Mishkan it was necessary to use cedar wood. Rashi asks where did they acquire wood (of such size and quality - 15 feet high x 2 1/4 feet in diameter) in the Midbar? He answers that Yaakov Avinu saw through Ruach Hakodesh that the Jews would build a Mishkan in the desert, so he brought small seedlings from Eretz Yisroel down to Mitzrayim, and instructed the Jews to take them – as full grown trees – when they left Egypt.

When Bnei Yisroel left Mitzrayim they had enough money to buy wood from the nearby nations. Why had Yaakov bothered to plant trees from Eretz Yisroel in Mitzrayim? Rashi hints the answer by noting that the source of this is Rebbi Tanchuma and the meaning of Tanchuma is comfort. Yaakov foresaw the pain the Jews would have in Mitzrayim, the hardship of their labor and the casting of children into the Nile, etc. Hashem promised that Bnei Yisroel would leave Mitzrayim and Yaakov wanted them to have something physical to see, that would encourage them while they were enslaved.

Yaakov knew that there would be a Mishkan built in the desert after leaving Egypt. So he took seedlings from Eretz Yisroel and brought them to Egypt and planted a forest which grew for over 200 years. Hence, when a Jew in Goshen would pass this forest of over 100 large cedar trees, and he would ask who planted this forest, he would be told that Yaakov Avinu planted it from the seedlings he brought from Eretz Yisroel. When we are going to leave Egypt, we will take the trees with us to build a Mishkan and go back to Eretz Yisroel. Now this Jew had something tangible to see that would serve to remind him that he would someday be redeemed from Egypt: this would give him comfort. Similarly, the Jewish people came from Eretz Yisroel and are now in Golus Mitzrayim will go out from this golus like the trees and return to Eretz Yisroel.

This is also the comfort for us. Our Golus is compared to the Jews wandering in the desert, a place of kelipa. We must convert our Midbar to a dwelling place for Hashem. When we do that, then the Beis HaMikdash will be built.

How do we have the power to overcome the darkness of this exile? That is what Yaakov Avinu provided. He brought cedars to Mitzrayim. Cedar trees represent tzadikim. As the possuk says “the righteous will flourish like a palm tree and grow tall like a cedar in Lebanon” (Tehillim 92:13). A tzadik is on a very high level; he is the Nosi (leader). The word Nosi is an acronym for Nitzutei shel Yaakov Avinu – the spark of Yaakov Avinu. Yaakov encompasses all of the neshomas of Bnei Yisroel, especially the leaders of the generations. Yaakov envisioned the problems of golus so took certain neshomas which are beyond the level of exile and not affected by it, and planted them in golus, so they will encourage us so that we shouldn't become affected by the surrounding darkness of our environment and instead to make this golus a dwelling place for Hashem; through this we shall go to the Geulah. This is the comfort Yaakov provided us.

Likutei Sichos, Vol. 31

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