These and Those

Musings from Students of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem

[Alumni Guest Post] Build a House like Solomon

Posted on May 24, 2013 by The Director of Digital Media

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Dvar Torah by Daniel Shibley (Year '11, Fellows '12)
in honor of Hannah Landes and Eitan Gavson:
Photo credit: Andrea Wiese (PEP '14)

Photo credit:
Andrea Wiese (PEP ’14)

Last evening I had the extraordinary pleasure of celebrating the marriage of two friends who are dear members of our community. The chatan and kallah sparkled with radiance as their parents beamed with pride. As the chatan and then the kallah were escorted to the marriage canopy, which symbolizes the home that they have begun to build together, I could not help but think of the beauty and purity of the candelabra that is kindled in our parasha this week in Numbers 8:4

וְזֶה מַעֲשֵׂה הַמְּנֹרָה מִקְשָׁה זָהָב, עַד-יְרֵכָהּ עַד-פִּרְחָהּ מִקְשָׁה הִוא: כַּמַּרְאֶה, אֲשֶׁר הֶרְאָה יְהוָה אֶת-מֹשֶׁה–כֵּן עָשָׂה, אֶת-הַמְּנֹרָה. פ And this was the work of the candlestick, beaten work of gold; unto the base thereof, and unto the flowers thereof, it was beaten work; according unto the pattern which the LORD had shown Moses, so he made the candlestick

Like the gold mentioned in the verse, the chatan and the kallah were models of perfection, each one completing the other, while we looked on, sharing in and hopefully adding to their unbridled happiness.

Among the heartfelt blessings that were heaped upon the couple, was the ever popular blessing to build a “bayit ne’eman b’yisrael” (a faithful home in Israel). Homes are places of light and warmth, places of guests, Torah, family. With every new home that is created, an element of the celebration goes beyond the new couple, the entire community wants to share in the light that is cast forth from this new union. The second verse in our parasha, numbers 8:2

ב דַּבֵּר, אֶל-אַהֲרֹן, וְאָמַרְתָּ, אֵלָיו: בְּהַעֲלֹתְךָ, אֶת-הַנֵּרֹת, אֶל-מוּל פְּנֵי הַמְּנוֹרָה, יָאִירוּ שִׁבְעַת הַנֵּרוֹת. 2 ’Speak unto Aaron, and say unto him: When thou lightest the lamps, the seven lamps shall give light in front of the candlestick.’

discusses the kindling of the lights of the mishkan in the desert, God’s house which is now complete, dedicated, and ready for use. On this verse Midrash Rabba comments:

When a person builds a house, he makes the windows narrow on the outside and wider on the inside, so that the light from the outside should optimally illuminate the interior. But when King Solomon built the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, he made the windows narrow within and wide without, so that its light should emanate to the outside and illuminate the world.

Imagine for a moment that the home being formed by the new couple is a miniature recreation of Temple of Solomon, or that the Temple is a form of bayit ne’eman. Kindling the lamps in the mishkan is akin to the uniting of two people under the chuppah, as they ignite the flame to inaugurate their new home. My blessing for them is that they should build a house like Solomon where the light gleaming through the windows lightens and enlightens the world.

Mazal tov Eitan and Hannah! Shabbat shalom to everyone.

Photo credit:  Andrea Wiese (PEP '14)

Photo credit:
Andrea Wiese (PEP ’14)