Connecting The Dots

Moshe Kempinski

A simple verse in Parshat Pekudei offers deep insight into our world today. In the midst of the Moshe’s stock taking of all the items that were gathered for the building of the Mishkan/Tabernacle we read:

“And of the remaining thousand seven hundred seventy and five shekels he made Vavim ( hooks ) for the pillars, and overlaid their capitals, and made fillets for them.” (Exodus 38:28)

What lesson can be learned from those simple Vavim or hooks?

We are living in a much fractured world. It is a world that the Ancient Mystics called “Olam dePeruda” – the world of separations. Every event in the world is viewed separately and distinctly from every event that occurs before and after it. Every revolutionary new idea simply overwhelms and supersedes every new idea that came before. The world we live in has lost any sense of context and poetry and is perceived as being totally random.

It is a world wherein each event is perceived to be placed by happenstance in the flow of history and each event is focused on separated from its context or history.

This can help explain how very intelligent people can look at the intricacies of the Middle East and offer simple and illogical solutions. This occurs simply because these simplified solutions do not take into account the culture, process and passions of the region. They are solutions created by a western mind set that is so totally disconnected from the realities and history of this region

Those so called solutions are so illogical and so preposterous that they can only make sense when context and history is removed. Peace is viewed as a separate almost random thought and event and not as part of a process. These very intelligent people are so focused on their “resolutions “that they are forced to disconnect from the harsh reality of the process.

Events , solutions and ideas simply become dots on a massive random field.

The only hope of making sense of any of it is by learning to connect the dots.

The Mishkan/Tabernacle that was created in the desert was meant to be a microcosm of the spiritual reality in the world. It would become a portable Mount Sinai until G-d’s House would be built on Abraham’s mount Moriah. Every artifact and raw material for the building of that Mishkan was donated by people moved an inner call and passion. Every individual item was a magnificent and radiant entity on its own merits and yet remained unimportant until the whole structure came together.

When the Mishkan and all of its vessels were completed, Moshe gave the people an accounting of how he used the materials that were donated. He gave a reckoning of every ounce of gold, silver and copper that was given. In the accounting of the silver, the total amount donated was 100 kikar (each kikar was 3000 shekels), plus 1750 shekels.

21 These are the accounts of the tabernacle, even the tabernacle of the testimony, as they were rendered according to the commandment of Moses, through the service of the Levites, by the hand of Ithamar, the son of Aaron the priest.– 22 And Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, made all that HaShem commanded Moshe . . 25 And the silver of them that were numbered of the congregation was a hundred kikar , and a thousand seven hundred and three- score and fifteen shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary:

The Midrash describes how Moshe was confused about the 1775 shekels that remained unaccounted for. It describes his confusion and his consternation out of the concern that his people might think that he had abused the donations. HaShem then revealed to him that those remaining shekels were to be used for the Vavim,-the hooks that were to steady the pillars of the Mishkan:

28 And of the remaining thousand seven hundred seventy and five shekels he made Vavim – hooks for the pillars, and overlaid their capitals, and made fillets for them

It was those Vavim that connected and held the whole structure of the Mishkan in place.

The Hebrew word for hooks is Vav (plural vavim).The sixth letter of the Hebrew alphabet is Vav. When that letter is placed at the beginning of a verse or word it carries the meaning of the word “AND” .It is called Vav Hachibur or the connecting Vav. The ancient mystics on the other hand called this letter ” Ot HaEmet” the letter of truth. Why would that be?

The letter ” vav” connects words, verses and messages. The letter Vav gives the flow of thoughts, a history and a continuity. Just as the Vav in the Mishkan held the whole structure of the tabernacle together, thus does the letter Vav reveal the tapestry that makes up the Biblical text. Moshe was informed of the importance of that little Vav in the Mishkan and revealed the importance of the vav in our reality. When we relearn context and connect all the events and visions that seem so randomly placed before us we begin again to find direction and purpose.

World events are strewn across mankind’s history and dispersed across our experienced reality. Such events, tragedies and cataclysmic occurrences are so numerous that mankind feels humbled and frightened by their sheer number. Our sages in the , Gemara in Masechet Pesachim (6b) writes that one should begin to inquire about the laws of Pesach thirty days before the actual holiday that is to say from Purim. The sages explain that this is due to the intricate nature of the laws of Pesach.

Perhaps it is due to another reason as well. The festival of Purim which taught us much about the hidden patterns behind what ostensibly seems so random. We are approaching Passover and are beginning our preparations for the spiritual liberation this appointed time calls forth from within us. . In order to truly do this we need to have begun to master the art of “connecting the dots” it is only then that we will truly be ready to unleash the spiritual experience of Pesach.

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