Posted by: mosesfromsinai | March 1, 2010

Kee Seesa – Stay Focused

This week’s Torah portion is called Kee Seesa.  It begins with the counting of the Jewish Nation and then goes on to discuss all the items to be built in the Mishkan, the Temple in the desert.  The Torah tells us who was selected to be in charge of  building all the items for  the Temple including the garments worn by Aaron and his sons.  After all this,  the first portion of Kee Seesa concludes with the reminder to the Jewish Nation to keep Shabbos.  

This at a first glance seems strange.  True we learn what is prohibited on Shabbos from the work that was done in the Mishkan, the 39 Malochos, the 39 forbidden acts of work, but still this is a strange warning right after being involved in such a holy task connected to the Temple, the dwelling place of the Al-mighty.  One would think that we would obviously not get involved in things forbidden when we are connected to the Holy Temple.  Indeed, we find in the Talmud and Jewish law that various fences that the Rabbis made do not apply to the Temple.  On Rosh Hashona, the Shofar was sounded in the Temple and the Lulav and Esrog were used.  We were not concerned about a Jew carrying by mistake.  The connection to the Holy Temple would remind the Jew not to carry.  Yet for some strange reason the Torah deemed it necessary to remind us to stop our activities as it relates to building the Mishkan and the various elements connected to the Temple when Shabbos comes. 

Perhaps it is exactly because building the Mishkan and the items connected to the Temple are so holy that we may lose our focus in life.  Shabbos is the sign that the Al-mighty created the world in 6 days and rested on the 7th.  This is our mandate.  We are to show the nations that the Al-mighty created the world, and no activity can over-ride this mandate (other than life saving – which enables a person to continue to observe the Shabbos in the future). 

This is an important lesson in life.  We need to stay focused on our priorities.  Even if something is actually holy and special, we cannot allow it to override the priority of Shabbos (unless we have a specific instruction to do so – such as circumcision on Shabbos – and even that Mitzvah has certain guidelines).  Stay focused and do not stray is the reminder in this week’s Torah portion.  

Had the Jews stayed properly focused, they would not have asked for and served the Golden Calf, which takes place later in this Torah portion.  (Please note –  the Golden Calf actually did happen before the commandments related to building the Temple were given – just the Torah records it this way to teach us various lessons including perhaps the lesson to stay focused and not lose ourselves, even in holiness i.e. the building of the Mishkan, its utensils and garments for the Cohanim.)  This is truly how we create a dwelling place for the Al-mighty, by showing the nations that the Al-mighty created the world.

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