A great emperor was filled with self-greatness and longed to build a symbol that would commemorate him. The ruler turned to two senior architects in Europe and ordered the erection of an elaborate opera house in central Vienna. After five years of hard work, an impressive architectural structure has been erected that all of Europe could talk about.
The architects excitedly anticipated the emperor's visit and arranged a grand musical performance with three great tenors. The great evening came and thousands of people waited in the entrance of the hall for the emperor's entry. The royal caravan stopped, the ruler took his head out of the carriage window and did not even get out of it. He shouted: "Utter ignorance! Incomprehensible! I will not put my name on this failed structure!”
The architects approached with trembling feet and the emperor shouted: "You built the opera hall on the ground floor! When people come in, all their mud comes in with them! An opera hall is supposed to be built high, to produce a heavenly musical experience. When people come in, they remove their shoes. On the next floor, they switch their phone to silent and on the third floor, they close it completely."
When you do something grand, it needs to be high, tall and prominent. In this week's Torah portion, Parshat Terumah, we learn about the donations for the Mishkan, the tabernacle, in the desert.
Why did G-d command us to build for Him a home, while the Jews were in the desert? A desert is not fit for residential living, and definitely not proper for a king’s palace!
And yet, G-d chose the desert for His palace. G-d wants us to transform, and change, the lowest and darkest parts of the world, and make it into a beautiful place for Him.
Living in such a harsh world, burdened by the traps of exile, we can make the world into a high and prominent palace.
May we merit to see the palace built to its completion with the coming of Moshiach now!
Candle lighting time: 4:59 PM