Terumah: The Secret of Jewish Unity
Why wait until the next war to strengthen Jewish Unity? Who needs another war? There is a much better, safer and easier way of bringing about Jewish Unity...
by Rabbi Lazer Brody
Moses was bewildered. "How can I possibly carve the holy menorah out of one block of gold, with no welding or adding on parts?" This was Hashem's demand: "The menorah should be made of a hammered block [of pure gold]," (Exodus 25:31). Rashi explains that Hashem told Moses not to make the menorah in the manner that the goldsmiths would, creating separate parts and then welding them together. Moses had to produce this intricate ceremonial 7-armed menorah with a hammer, out of one block of gold. Moses shrugs his shoulders, raises up his arms to Hashem and says, "This is impossible!"
Is this the Moses we know? Moses single-handedly erected and disassembled the entire Holy Tabernacle every day for seven days before its inauguration. On three occasions, Moses learned Torah with Hashem atop Mount Sinai while fasting for forty days and forty nights. Moses overcame the most powerful enemies in the world, like Og and Sichon. Never once was he discouraged or bewildered. Why now? And why was it so important to Hashem that the Menorah be made from one solid block of gold?
There are significant differences between a live human body and a machine. Whereas the machine is created in a modular manner from separate parts that are attached, the body is one whole, with nothing attached or welded. Whereas a machine can be taken apart and reassembled, dismemberment of any of the body's parts causes extreme damage. The window or door of a car can be smashed, but the car can still drive. If any part of the body is broken, the entire body suffers. Whereas all parts of a machine are replaceable, few parts of the body are.
The Jewish People resemble a body rather than a machine. Each one of its inseparable parts has a profound influence on the whole. When a Jew learns Torah with pure intent or does an act of kindness in Jerusalem, another Jew in Australia or Canada feels stirrings of spiritual stimulation that awaken him to his latent Judaism. In that way, the Jewish People resemble the holy menorah; sure, different arms project from the center, but they're all part of the whole and inseparable from it, just like appendages of the body. Yes, there are different types of Jews – Sephardim, Ashkenazim, Chassidic, Lithuanian, Charedi, national religious and secular – but they are all inseparable arms of the whole entity known as the Jewish People.
So what is Hashem telling Moses? By hinting to Moses that the menorah is allegorical of the Jewish People, Hashem is telling Moses – their leader – to make sure that there is unity among them. This is their secret of illumination. Moses, the greatest of the prophets, foresaw the bickering that there would be and therefore "did not know how to make the menorah from one block of gold" – he had no idea how to assure Jewish unity as Hashem commanded. Hashem thus cast an image on the mountain and showed Moses what to do. Moses was still bewildered. Hashem finally told Moses to take the tremendous ingot of solid gold and throw it into the fire; Moses did, and out came the Menorah (Midrash Tanchuma, BeHaalotcha, Ch. 3).
To this day, our leaders have difficulty creating Jewish Unity. So what does Hashem do? Every so often, He throws us into the fire of a war. During wartime, you can't imagine how all of Israel comes together as one.
Why wait until the next war to strengthen Jewish Unity? Who needs another war? There is a much better, safer and easier way to bring about Jewish Unity. How? We spread the fire of emuna. Emuna is a fire that not only warms a person's soul to Hashem, but enables Jews to connect with one another. Where there's emuna, everyone works together as a unified whole rather than serving himself or his own group's narrow interests. Just as the menorah is a whole, unified entity, so must the Jewish People be as well. When we're unified, no adversary can ever prevail over us. Am Yisrael Chai!
Rabbi Lazer Brody was born in Washington, D.C. in 1949. After receiving his bachelor's degree in agriculture from the University of Maryland in 1970, he moved to Israel and joined the Israel Defense Forces regular army, and served in one of the elite special-forces units. He is a decorated combat veteran of two wars and numerous of counter-insurgence and anti-terrorist missions on both sides of Israel's borders.
Rabbi Brody is the English-language editor of Breslev Israel's highly popular English-language website at www.breslev.co.il, and the founder and director of Emuna Outreach. Between Breslov Israel and Emuna Outreach, he devotes his time to spreading emuna and particularly the teachings of Rebbe Nachman of Breslev around the globe.
"Lazer Beams," Rabbi Brody's award-winning daily web journal, has been instrumental in helping tens of thousands of people around the globe find joy and fulfillment in their lives.