crazily wonderful Shabbat!

Friday, 8 March, 2019 - 9:05 am

 One of the friends of the Chabad House in Florida came to the Rebbe once with a complaint: “Your Shaliach in Florida, Rabbi Avraham Karf, has gone mad - Meshuge. He gives his all to the Chabad House; he has even mortgaged his own home for the Chabad House. There are limits!”

The Rebbe answered him, smiling: “Every town has its town Meshuge; my Shaliach is Miami’s town fool.”

In Parashat Pekudei we learn that when Moshe built the Mishkan (Tabernacle) he did something strange.

He brought the various components in, one by one, and immediately put them to use: “He put the Shulchan (table)… He prepared on it the setting of bread…; he placed the Menorah… He kindled the lamps…; He placed the Mizbach Hazahav (gold altar)… and on it he burned incense.” Only afterwards did he finish the construction of the Mishkan itself – “He placed the curtain of the entrance of the Mishkan.”

In the same way, offerings were brought on the main altar, and only afterwards did Moshe “erect the courtyard around the Mishkan and the Mizbe’ach.”

So, true, Moshe Rabbeinu was not a Yekke (Sorry, Baselers!), but the truth is that not only a Yekke but any orderly person would have completed the construction of the Mishkan and its courtyard, and only afterwards would have started the services there, right?

No, not always. There are two kinds of service, when it comes to service of Hashem. One is normal and logical, orderly and structured, going from the easier to the harder, step by step, without skipping any of them. But there are times in the lives of a person, as there are in the life of a nation, when things must be done differently: There is a need to jump ahead, to do what can be done as fast as possible, in order to acquire or save as much as possible. When Moshe Rabbeinu was finally putting together the Mishkan, which was meant to complete the atonement on the Sin of the Golden Calf and to bring the people closer to their Creator, he hadn’t a moment to lose. He therefore lit the Menorah – and started the other services as well – at the very first moment it was possible to do so, even though not everything was in place yet.

Forty years ago, the Shaliach in Miami knew that Jews were coming to Miami in an attempt to forget about Mother’s Friday night chicken soup, or Father’s moving Kiddush, and he had been sent by the Rebbe in order to remind them, to point the way, to bring light to these people. He hadn’t the time nor the luxury to wait until everything was worked out in an orderly fashion; rather, he had to do whatever he could, as fast as he could. And if they say that he’s crazy? Nu, he can’t really deny that.


May it be a crazily wonderful Shabbat!

Rabbi Zalmen Wishedski

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