0 Posted by - February 25, 2014 - Parsha, Shemot


Parashat Pekudei

you want to be successful at something, you need to be passionate about it. The greater the challenge to be successful, the more passion you need. Take two people. Both from similar backgrounds. Both with similar strengths and weaknesses. Both going through the same motions. Both going for the same goal. There is but one difference between the two. One has a passionate desire to be successful, while the other one does not. Who is going to be more successful? Mr. Passionate, by far. This is part of the laws of nature governing how G-d lets people succeed. Now, let’s strip Mr. Passionate of the background that is the same as that of his impassionate adversary and give him a more negative one. Take away some strengths, and give him some more weakness. Who has a greater chance for success? It might be a close call. Studies say that passion is one of the make-it-or-break-it factors for success in all areas of life.

Passionate people are few and far between. We are in a world full of people who lack passion for what they are doing. When you have passion, you are ahead of the game. In business, sports, in studies and in relationships. So, where can you get it? After reading this, you might just become passionate about being passionate. To break the passion code…

There are five elements necessary for achieving passion for a goal. The greater the strength of the element, the greater the passion. One missing element may burst the whole bubble. Here they are, in sequence of their importance. Important, it has to be important to you, something that you value highly. Faith, you have to believe that it is within your reach, somehow. Even if you have to fail 99 times, it will have been worth it for you to go that extra mile, to succeed on the 100th.  Identity, taking the whole thing personally, identifying yourself with the goal, not pushing responsibility of getting the job done onto others. Present, not postponing the project for another time. Plan, some sort of strategy to decide on your next step. Some people say, if it is important enough to you, if you take it personally, then you will find a way. If you really, really, really want it , then you can succeed at it. Others say, if there is a will, there is a way. But these are only some of the elements, not all the elements. You need all five elements to create real passion.

In this week’s parasha, Moshe did the impossible. He was the first ever to build a House for G-d. The scoffers of the time scorned Moshe :Do you think that G-d’s Glory will enter a manmade Mishkan, a Tabernacle? He was laughed at. People said he couldn’t do it. And the truth is, he couldn’t. The Midrash tells us that Moshe could not set up the Mishkan on his own. G-d told Moshe to go through the motions, as if he were erecting it. The Mishkan rose, miraculously, on its own (הוקם המשכן) . Still , the Torah says ויקם משה  and Moshe erected. Even though he just went through the motions. Still in all, the Mishkan was referred to with mention of his name. (see Rashi 39; 33)

Why are the words ככל אשר צוה ×”’ את משה , just as Hashem commanded Moshe, repeated numerously in our parasha,? This is because Moshe put his heart and soul into building the Mishkan, to ensure that it be constructed just as G-d had shown him at Mt. Sinai. Moshe soulfully dedicated himself, so that the Jews would not make any mistakes in building the Mishkan, and that is why Moshe’s meticulous obedience to the precise instructions given by G-d as to how to build the Mishkan is repeatedly mentioned in our parasha. And further, G-d said, Since Moshe dedicated his soul to building the Mishkan, I will refer to it with his name. As it says ויהי ביום כלות משה להקים את המשכן   “And on the day that Moshe finished erecting the Mishkan”, and  not,  on the day that the Jewish people finished erecting the Mishkan.  (Tanchumah Naso ב’)

If Moshe did not actually carry out the construction, why did he get the credit? Because he put his heart and soul into supervising it. And when you are passionate about something, even if you do not do it on your own, it is called by your name. כל המצטער על הדבר נקרא על שמו Anyone who invests all his concern in what he does – the end product is accredited to him and named after him. Moshe was מצטער  on the Torah: he sat forty days and nights in heaven, without food or drink, and the Torah is called “his” – referred to with the mention of his name, תורת משה  . King David put his heart and soul into the construction of the First Temple. He collected the funds, (that in the end were not even used by his son, Solomon) built the foundation, and, in the end, it is called the House of David. מזמור שיר חנוכת הבית לדוד(Midrash Tehillim 30).

What difference does it make whose name is used when we refer to the Torah, or whose name we use when citing the Miskan and Temple? What is the Midrash telling us with this?

A person’s name is one of the most personal things he has. This is one of the ways the Nazi’s tried to break down their Jewish captives, by giving them a number instead of a name. When someone associates something with his name, it brings passion to the project. The Midrash is telling us that these inhuman feats, bringing the Torah down from the sky, building a House for G-d, were accomplished only because they were done passionately. Because the people who accomplished these feats associated their identity with these projects. Because they believed that it could be done. Because they did not push any aspect of their goal off onto other people, nor did they postpone their action to a later date. Because it was of the utmost importance to Moshe and David to fulfill their missions. And because they did whatever they could do. Their name became an intrinsic part of the project; they identified completely with it.  So, we accredit it to them.

It is also noticeable when a person does not have passion. The Nesiim, the heads of the Tribes, first told Moshe that they would pay for the whole Mishkan. Moshe rejected this pledge, saying that the Mishkan was open for donations from everyone. So, they told Moshe that they would be responsible for providing whatever would be missing after the people had made their contributions. In the end, nothing was missing. They felt bad that they did not get a chance to participate in gathering materials for building the Mishkan, and G-d allowed them to donate the stones for the Breastplate. And, for not being zealous, they lost the  letter י , yud, from their name.(Shemot 35; 27, Rashi)

What did they do wrong? Didn’t they write a blank check for Moshe to fill out at the end? The answer is because the Mishkan was built with the emotion, with the passion of the Jewish people. With the Jewish people identifying themselves with the Mishkan.  No passion, no Mishkan. Why does passion tell us whose name we associate things with? If you are passionate about something, it means that that something is part of your inner self. It becomes part and parcel of your identity. Torat Moshe, Moshe’s Mishkan, David’s House. The Nessiim, did not put their whole self into it, so they lost a letter from their name when mentioned in connection to the Mishkan. This is why we do not have our Temple back. Because even if we pray for it, we are not passionate about it. We do not associate ourselves with the Temple. This sheds a new light on why we stamp out the names of Haman and Amalek. We are erasing their passion, through erasing their name and identity.

Being passionate is putting your whole heart into something. Dedicating one’s time, intellect and emotion to a single goal. You have only one heart. Even if one has a few issues about which he feels passionate, it is possible to be totally passionate about only one thing at a time. This is where time management is of key importance. If you are passionate about a few things, then each one needs its own time and place, and must be dealt with one at a time. Great people, people who accomplish a lot in life, are great time managers. Every minute counts. When they have an extra month in the year, they take advantage of it. (R’ Chaim Kanievsky authored 15+ s’farim. All were written in leap years, when there was an extra Adar. All the s’farim were published in Adar B. That is when the Rav found time to write.) When the clock is pushed back an hour, they take advantage of that. Every spare five minutes is 300 seconds.  Each minute has its object of passion, when at that moment, nothing else exists, except for one particular goal. Being aware of only three things – Me, Now, and This. This is the way to pray with passion. To learn with passion. To work with passion. And to live with passion.

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