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Monday, Adar 3, 5781 / February 15, 2021


The Torah readings for the next few weeks will describe the construction of the Mishkan (Tabernacle).  The Torah states the purpose of the Mishkan, "And they shall make Me a sanctuary so that I shall dwell among them."  


The sages note that the Torah does not say "I shall dwell in it," i.e. in the Mishkan.  Rather, "I shall dwell among them," through the Mishkan and Beth HaMikdash (Holy Temple), G-d rests and dwells within every Jew


*  A heathen once asked the Talmudic sage Rabbi Gamliel, "Where does your G-d dwell?"  Rabbi Gamliel replied, "I do not know."  The man asked, "You pray to your G-d every day and you do not know where He dwells?" 


Rabbi Gamliel answered, "You asked me about something which is thirty five hundred years away from me (referring to the amount of years since creation).  I will ask you about your soul, which abides within you day and night. Tell me where exactly does it dwell in your body?"


"I have to admit that I do not know!" answered the man.


"You do not know where your soul is and you expect me to tell you where G-d resides!" Rabbi Gamliel concluded. 


The man continued, "We, idol worshipers, are better off for we worship to the works of our own hands (idols), thus, we can always see them.  But you cannot see your G-d!"


Rabbi Gamliel replied, "Just the opposite is true.  You see the works of your hands (idols), but they cannot see you.  But our G-d, the Holy one, blessed be He, although we cannot see Him, yet, He sees the works of His hands.


*  A heretic said to the Talmudic sage Rabbi Meir, "How is it possible that your G-d, Who fills heaven and earth, spoke to Moshe from between the two Cherubim which were on top of the Ark?"


Rabbi Meir replied, "Bring me a magnifying mirror." The heretic looked into the mirror and saw how big his reflection appeared. Then Rabbi Meir said to him, "Now bring me a reducing mirror." This time the heretic saw that his reflection was very small.


Rabbi Meir said to him, "If you who are flesh and blood can change your size merely depending in which mirror you look, how much more so can Hashem Who created the world!  When He wishes, He fills the heaven and earth; and when He wants, He speaks to Moshe from between the two Cherubim upon the ark."


*  The Midrash tells the following story:  A ship full of heathens was sailing on the Great Sea, when a storm broke out.  The heathens prayed to their idols for mercy, but to no avail.   They turned to a poor Jewish lad who was on board, "Pray to your G-d that we may be saved."   The lad cried out to G-d and the sea became calm.


When the heathens came to dry land, they went down to purchase supplies.  They asked the Jewish lad, "Don't you wish to buy anything?"  The poor boy, who didn't have any money, replied, "What a question to ask an unfortunate poor stranger like me!"


"You call yourself an unfortunate stranger?"  We are the unfortunate ones!  Some of us are here, while our G-ds are in Babylon or in Rome; and even those who have their idols with them realize that they are of no help.  But you, wherever you go, your G-d is with you!"