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by Rabbi Dovid Siegel
This week's haftorah which we read in conjunction with Parshas Hachodesh
portrays the upcoming month of Nissan in a brilliant light. It begins with
an elaborate description of the special sacrifices which will introduce the
Messianic era. The prophet Yechezkel focuses on the dedication of the third
Bais Hamikdash and says, "On the first day of the first month(Nissan) take
a perfect bullock and purify the Bais Hamikdash." (45:18)The Radak (ad
loc.) notes that the Jewish nation will return to Eretz Yisroel long before
this. During that time most of the construction of the Bais Hamikdash will
be completed leaving only final stages for the month of Nissan. Radak
suggests that the inaugural services will begin seven days prior to the
month of Nissan and will conclude on Rosh Chodesh itself. He offers with
this an interpretation to the classic saying of Chazal "In Nissan we were
redeemed and in Nissan we are destined to be redeemed"These words, in his
opinion, refer to the events of our Haftorah wherein we are informed that
the service in the Bais Hamikdash will begin in the month of Nissan.
As we follow these dates closely we discover a striking similarity between
the dedication of the final Bais Hamikdash and of the Mishkan.Historically
speaking, each of them revolves around the month of Nissan.In fact as we
have discovered, they are both completed on the exact same date, Rosh
Chodesh Nissan. But this specific date reveals a more meaningful dimension
to these dedications. The month of Nissan, as we know, has special
significance to the Jewish people; it marks our redemption from Egyptian
bondage. In truth, this redemption process began on the first day of
Nissan. Because, as we discover in this week's Maftir reading, Hashem began
preparing the Jewish people for their redemption on Rosh Chodesh Nissan.
All of this indicates a direct corollary between the Jewish people's
redemption and the erection of the Sanctuary and the final Bais Hamikdash.
Rosh Chodesh Nissan, the date which introduced our redemption and
afterwards our service in the Mishkan will ultimately introduce the service
of the final Bais Hamikdash.
In search for an understanding of this we refer to Nachmanides' insightful
overview to Sefer Shmos. In essence, the Sefer of Shmos spans the Jewish
people's exile and redemption. It begins with the descent of Yaakov and his
household to Egypt and concludes with the exodus of our entire nation. Yet,
almost half of the sefer is devoted to the intricacies of the Sanctuary,
something seemingly unrelated to redemption! Nachmanides explains that the
Jewish redemption extended far beyond the physical boundaries of Egypt.
Before they left the land of Israel, Yaakov and his sons enjoyed a close
relationship with Hashem. The devotion of the Patriarchs had produced such
an intense level of sanctity that Hashem's presence was commonplace amongst
them. However with their descent to Egypt this experience faded away and,
to some degree, distance developed between themselves and Hashem. Over the
hundreds of years in Egypt this distance grew and they eventually lost all
association with Him. Nachmanides explains that even after their liberation
from Egyptian bondage scars of exile remained deeply imprinted on them.
Having left Egypt, they began rebuilding their relationship with Hashem and
prepared for a long journey homeward to Him. Finally, with the erection of
the Sanctuary they reached their ultimate destiny and reunited with Hashem.
The Sanctuary created a tangible experience of Hashem's presence amongst
them, the clearest indication of His reunification with them. With this
final development, the Jewish people's redemption was complete. They now
returned to the status of the Patriarchs, and were totally bound to their
Creator. All scars of their exile disappeared and they could now, enjoy the
closest relationship with their beloved, Hashem.
This perspective is best reflected in the words of Chazal in P'sikta
Rabsi.Our Chazal inform us that, in reality, all the segments of the
Sanctuary were already completed in the month of Kislev. However, Hashem
waited until Nissan which is called "the month of the Patriarchs", for the
erection and inauguration of the Mishkan. With the insight of Nachmanides
we can appreciate the message of this P'sikta. As stated, the erection of
the Sanctuary represented the completion of our Jewish redemption,their
reunification with Hashem. In fact, this unification was so intense that it
was tantamount to the glorious relationship of the Patriarchs and Hashem.
In essence this present Jewish status reflected that of the Patriarchs in
whose merit this relationship had been reinstated. It was therefore only
proper to wait until Nissan for the dedication of the Sanctuary. Nissan
which was the month of the Patriarchs was reserved for this dedication,
because it reflected the Jewish people's parallel level to the Patriarchs
In this week's Haftorah we discover that this concept will continue into
the Messianic era and the inauguration of the final Bais Hamikdash. Our
ultimate redemption, as in our previous ones, will not be considered
complete until we merit the Divine Presence in our midst. Even after our
return to Eretz Yisroel, which will transpire long before Nissan, we will
continue to bear the scar tissue of thousands of years of exile. Only after
Hashem returns to us resting His presence amongst us will we truly be
redeemed. This magnificent revelation will, quite obviously, occur in the
month of Nissan. Our final redemption which reflects Hashem's return to His
people will join the ranks of our redemptions and be introduced on that
glorious day, Rosh Chodesh Nissan.
May we learn from them to totally subjugate ourselves to our Creator
thereby meriting the final and total destruction of Amalek and his followers.
Rabbi Dovid Siegel
Kollel Toras Chesed Phone: 847-674-7959
3732 West Dempster E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Skokie, Illinois 60076 URL: http://www.arlin.net/kollel
Haftorah, Copyright © 2001 by Rabbi Dovid Siegel and Torah.org.
The author is Rosh Kollel (Dean) of Kollel Toras Chesed, Skokie, Illinois.