Rabbi's Message

  • February 12, 2016


    The following Dvar Torah, from my friend and colleague, Rav Chaim Soloveitchik of Yeshivat Reishit & Rav of Kehillat Ohr Sholom, Ramat Beit Shemesh, is a beautiful and important insight.

    The Torah teaches that the Mishkan was made from “Atzei Shitim Omdim,” which were non fruit bearing trees. The Midrash asks why the Mishkan had to be made with specifically non fruit bearing trees. It answers that God wanted to teach us by example that when building our own homes we should not use fruit bearing trees.
    What does this Midrash mean? Is this simply a lesson in “bal tashchis,” that we should not waste fruit trees to build our homes? Isn’t the Torah’s prohibition regarding wasting things enough to cover that? What is added by the command to use this type of wood for the Mishkan?
    Perhaps the explanation is as follows. When a person grows a fruit tree, the results can be seen fairly quickly. Within a few years there can already be actual fruits growing on the tree. However, with non fruit trees, it takes a lot longer for it to reach the height and overall growth where it can be put to good use. The Midrash can be teaching that God wanted the Mishkan built from a type of tree which takes years to yield success as an example for how we should approach building our spiritual homes. Raising spiritual children and creating a holy home is not something which happens overnight. It can take years of effort and toil before results can be seen. But we must be inspired to persevere with patience by learning from the example of the Mishkan.
    May all of us learn this important lesson and commit ourselves to the years of toil and effort to build our own spiritual homes.