• Maverick (Avigdor) Peters

Parshas Tetzaveh 2018: Level Up!

Video games don't always come with instructions on how to win. Maybe a little booklet on how to set up your game or troubleshoot it but never on how to actually win. If you want to you might be able to find a “cheat-book” online or at the library. Generally, you have to figure it out on your own.

Life, you could say is like this too. We were put here to accomplish and grow, to advance from one level to the next. We have to avoid hazards and overcome obstacles. However, we only have one life and we can't afford to blow it!

The kohanim (priests) were instructed to have their garments made for use in the mishkan (tabernacle) and then later in the Beis HaMikdash (temple). These were very special garments of particular materials and designs.

Hashem had Moshe speak to and instruct the artisans himself. This was because, as the Ramban (Nachmanadies) points out, only Moshe could evaluate them properly, to say who had been endowed with the unique attribute for the job. Which attribute? Wisdom. As the parsha says, “And you shall speak to the wise-hearted people whom I have invested with a spirit of wisdom, and they shall make the vestments....”

The Gemara (Talmud) in Berachos (55a) teaches Hashem only bestows chochma (wisdom) on those who are wise.

Nefesh HaChaim asks the obvious question; how is that possible? How can Hashem give chochma only to those who are ALREADY wise? Where does the initial wisdom come from (in order that they should be considered wise and worthy for more wisdom)?

This wisdom Hashem "gifts" them is not regular smarts or intellect. It’s a whole new world of deeper thinking. A “chochma elyona shel haTorah”, a high level of Torah based wisdom.

He brings a pasuk from Iyov, “Vayomair l’adam hain yiras Hashem hee chochma...” illustrating wisdom and fear of heaven are actually one in the same. Meaning, the initial wisdom comes from he who conducts his life with a constant degree of heavenly awe/fear. Hashem then takes this person and fills him with a lofty level of chochma.

Interestingly, the Ba’al HaTurim shows another connection between wisdom and fear of the Almighty. The gematria (numerical value) of the Hebrew words “Chachmei Laiv asher” (wise heart) has the same numerical value as the word “yiras” as in “yiras shamayim” (fear of Heaven), which are both 611. Giving strength to the Gemara that says, Hashem grants a special amount of wisdom to those who properly fear Him. As we say every morning, “raishis chochma yiras Hashem”, the first chochma comes from fearing Hashem.

The Torah is a blueprint of everything that is, and within it are the instructions to living a meaningful and fulfilling life.

We see an example of how our Torah can elevate us in this very parsha. How did those individuals receive the “chochma haelyona”? Through proper fear of Hashem. Hashem gives opportunities throughout one’s lifetime to grow but not just grow as the typical individual would grow (physically, financially, socially, etc.). Hashem gives each of His children the opportunity to reach incredible spiritual heights. He gave us the keys to unlock levels of accomplishment that we cannot fathom. Just having proper yiras shamayim endows us with remarkable wisdom.

In this video game we call "life", we were given not just a guide on how to basically get by, but a detailed manual how to get the highest score possible. All we need to do is follow the directions and we can unlock one level after another.

Let’s understand that we have the potential to reach these high levels by developing proper yira and doing what’s expected of us.

Have a wonderful Shabbos and weekend!

Maverick V. Peters

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