This Monday was the second of Elul and it was the first anniversary of my father in law’s passing. Here are a few words I said at the meal Sunday night. Additionally I have uploaded an audio file in case anyone wants to hear my voice made for silent films.
Velvel Rubinoff with grandchild
In the past week’s parsha the phrase במקום אשר יבחר הי is repeated 16 times. As we all know the place hashem chose was ירושלים and more specifically the בית המקדש. As an aside I heard in the name of הרב יוסף דוב Soloveitchik something interesting about this. Say you were living in ירושלים while the בית המקדש was standing, what was the atmosphere like because you had the שכינה as your neighbor? Rav Soloveitchik explains that although you would think there would be awe and fear it was more a calming experience. It was like having a neighbor that could always rely upon and to borrow a cup of sugar when needed. What is interesting about this is the word שכינה and the Hebrew word for neighbor שכן have the same root letters.
As we are sadly aware, we no longer have the בית המקדש (may we see it speedily rebuilt in our days) there are several places we can make a mini-בית המקדש. Of course one place is a shul like the one we are in now. The other one is the home and there are reminders everywhere. The fact we use salt on our bread after making a hamotzie and the how we consider the table a mizbaech are just two examples of this. I think this is something the shver, הניך משה זאב בן לייב, excelled at. The fact he was able to teach his children Torah and to see them grown and now to transmitting those lessons to their children is a testament of his success in raising his children.
I remember a conversation I had with the shver and he mentioned a story to me where a child was in his house and the child asked him if his house was the בית המקדש. I can’t remember the context of this statement but the statement always stood out to me.
Additionally just like the בית המקדש where there was music played by the levim the shver always had a song on his mind and loved to sing with his children and grandchildren.
Finally, this coming week is parshas Shoftim and that always reminds me of a conversation the shver and I had. I have a question which I have not been able to resolve. In the parsha it mentioned that a judge is not allowed to take a bribe. However this is mentioned earlier is Sefer Shemos. Why is it necessary for the Torah to repeat this? We discussed this for at least an hour and were not able to come up with an answer.