will the betrayed go back to business with the betrayer?

Friday, 3 March, 2017 - 5:26 am


Dear Friends,


Two partners quarreled. One betrayed the other, thus causing much damage to the trust that had existed between them until then: He had gone ahead and had made a deal with someone else without consulting his partner. How strong and how painful will the break between them be? They will probably be battling with each other for the rest of their lives.

Let’s say, though, that they had a reconciliation. They no longer quarrel and the betrayed has forgiven the betrayer. Is there any chance that they will do business with each other again? I would say that the chances for that are not so good. On the other hand, if they do go back to being partners, that would be a sign that the betrayed not only forgave the betrayer completely, but has actually regained his trust in him.

When Moshe Rabbeinu came down from the mountain on the 17th of Tammuz with the Luchot (Tablets) in his hands, and saw Bnei Yisrael calling the Golden Calf “This is your G-d, Yisrael,” he smashed the Luchot. Worse – Hashem, who had been so badly betrayed, decided to end the relationship with the nation that was sitting at the bottom of the mountain. Rashi tells us that Moshe went up immediately for forty days and begged for mercy, but he was unsuccessful, and he came down at the end of the month of Menachem-Av. But a faithful shepherd like Moshe does not give up, and he ascended the mountain again on Rosh Chodesh Elul – for the third time – for forty days and again begged for mercy, this time successfully. At the end of the forty days he heard the sentence that we call out on that day every year since then: “Salachti Kidvareicha” – “I have forgiven as you said.”

Moshe Rabbeinu was so successful, that since then, throughout the generations, those forty days from the 1st of Ellul to the 10th of Tishrei are days of mercy and forgiveness.

But will the betrayed go back to doing business with the betrayer?

Well, the day after Yom Kippur Hashem spoke to Moshe, telling them, “They will make me a Temple and I will dwell within them.” Sometimes I think about Moshe’s warm feelings at that moment, and the joy that Bnei Yisrael felt when they heard about it. Not only had Hashem forgiven them, but he was renewing their partnership. I want a house, and you will build it within your camp, from your money, from wood and stones, gold and silver, goatskin and red-dyed ram skins.

So when we read Parashat Terumah, we should pay attention to all this, and understand how great the joy and the excitement were, and mainly – understand the major message here: Hashem has faith in us, despite everything! He wants us just the way we are – flesh and blood human beings. He wants us to instill Him in our gold and silver, into our homes, into the offices, into life, and mainly – into our hearts. Hashem wants to be there – everywhere. To dwell with us and within us.


Shabbat Shalom,


Rabbi Zalmen Wishedski

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