On Motza’ei Shabbos, December 14, Rabbi Moshe Meir Weiss, well-known speaker and author, spoke to a large crowd at Congregation Ohel Simcha. The event was hosted by Chazq, Chickens for Shabbos, and www.DailyGiving.org.
Rabbi Weiss began with discussing the importance of not talking in shul. He noted that a shul is a mikdash m’at and “to sin in the palace of the King is much worse.” Talking and being disrespectful is sinning in Hashem’s palace. He suggested strategies to use to persuade people to stop talking in shul. “Convince people that their t’filah helps. Imagine that you had a six-minute audience with President Trump. Would you waste it with small talk or get right down to asking for what you need? Use your time with the Ribbono shel Olam. Every word counts.”
He shared that, if someone is homeless, he is not obligated in the mitzvah of Chanukah candles. The mitzvah is a din on the house. Since the miracle happened in the Beis HaMikdash, it would appear that the mitzvah of lighting Chanukah candles should be done in shul. Rabbi Weiss pointed out that we bless the chasan and kallah that they should build a mikdash m’at. “Our homes are each not just a house; each house is supposed to be a mini-sanctuary. So, we light the menorah to remind us that it’s a mikdash m’at.”
Rabbi Avigdor Miller posed the following question: Why is the creation of the world described in the Torah in only 31 p’sukim, while the Mishkan, which only lasted for 39 years in the desert and then a few hundred years in Eretz Yisrael, is described in five parshiyos in the Torah? He answered that the Mishkan is the blueprint for a Yiddishe home.
The centerpiece in a Jewish home has to be Torah. “Torah is the Jewish home.” Rav Miller taught that s’farim should be front and center in the Yiddishe home. Also, there should be pictures of g’dolim. In the Kodesh HaKodashim there are the images of two children because the goal of a Jewish home is to teach the children and influence them to love Torah. The k’ruvim are in an embrace because the main thing in a Jewish home is that there should be shalom. The mission statement of the Mishkan is love, unity, and friendship.
Rabbi Weiss then spoke about how important it is to make sure there is shalom in shul. “A shul is destined to become a church when there is machlokes in the shul.” He taught that if you miss a Y’hei sh’mei rabah, it could be dangerous. Hearing it, you could avoid a car accident or some other bad event. Teach this to people in shul, but not in a way that will embarrass them in public.
The word bayis (house) has the g’matria of 412 and mikdash has the g’matria of 444. The difference between a bayis and a mikdash is 32, which is the Hebrew word leiv (heart). “If you put heart into a bayis, it becomes a mikdash.” The purpose of the mikdash is to bring korbanos so we can come close to Hashem. This is the purpose of t’filah.
Every Yom Tov, he taught, has a certain strength. The strength of Chanukah is t’filah. It’s specifically not asking, but saying thank you. “The Jewish thanksgiving is Chanukah.”
Chanukah is a time of happiness. “Chanukah is about appreciating what we have. Our purpose of being here in this world is to sing to G-d.”
This shiur can be viewed on www.TorahAnytime.com.
By Susie Garber