וַיְדַבֵּר ה' אֶל מֹשֶׁה לֵּאמֹר. דַּבֵּר אֶל בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְיִקְחוּ לִי תְּרוּמָה מֵאֵת כָּל אִישׁ אֲשֶׁר יִדְּבֶנּוּ לִבּוֹ תִּקְחוּ אֶת תְּרוּמָתִי.
“Speak to the children of Israel, and have them take for Me an offering; from every person whose heart inspires him to generosity, you shall take My offering.” (Shemos 25:2)
We know that everything belongs to Hashem, therefore, we need to understand why the verse includes the words וְיִקְחוּ לִי - “take for Me.” Rashi explains as follows: “For Me” - dedicated to My Name.
But this too seems puzzling, doesn’t every mitzvah have to be לשם שמים - for the sake of Heaven? Even the word ‘mitzvah’ implies that we do it because it’s a ציווי השם - a commandment from G-d. And our intention in doing the mitzvah is to please Hashem.
Even more, the Mishnah says כָל מַעֲשֶׂיךָ יִהְיוּ לְשֵׁם שָׁמָיִם - “let all your deeds be for the sake of Heaven” (Avos 2:17). And the Shulchan Aruch rules as follows: “Whenever one has pleasure in this world he should not have intention for personal pleasure; rather he should focus on serving Hashem, as the verse states: בְּכָל דְּרָכֶיךָ דָעֵהוּ - “Know Him in all your ways” (Mishlei 3:6) which Chazal explain that even mundane activities should be performed for the purpose of serving Hashem” (Orach Chaim 231:1).
There is a particular kelipah called רל”י that causes a person to have doubts in Emunah, Heaven-forbid. And that ultimately brings a person to haughtiness and transgressions. The name of this kelipah has the same numerical value as עמל”ק which is also gematria ספ”ק - ‘doubt,’ as well as ר”ם - haughtiness.
Hashem knew that this kelipah will cause people doubts in Emunah. So He prompted Yaakov to come together with Rochel and Leah. The first letters of Yaakov, Rachel, and Leah are רל”י, and together they counteract the effects of the kelipah.
The way to overcome this kelipah is by constantly having in mind the verse שִׁוִּיתִי ה' לְנֶגְדִּי תָמִיד - “I have placed The Name of Hashem before me constantly” (Tehillim 16:8). That is why we say on Yom Kippur שִׁמְךְ מֶעוֹלָם עוֹבֵר עֶל פֶשַׁע - “Your Name forever passes over wrongdoings.” With the Name of Hashem, we pass over and protect ourselves from the wrongdoing of the kelipah (the letters ש-מ-ך in the order of the Hebrew alphabet comes after the letters ר-ל-י).
Chazal tell us, אין אדם עובר עבירה אלא אם כן נכנס בו רוח שטות - “A man commits a transgression only if a spirit of stupidity enters him” (Sotah 3a). When we don’t think straight, we fall prey to the Yetzer Hara, but if we stop and think, then we can overcome our evil inclination.
That is what the verse in Tehillim is telling us: וְעוֹד מְעַט וְאֵין רָשָׁע וְהִתְבּוֹנַנְתָּ עַל מְקוֹמוֹ וְאֵינֶנּוּ - “A short while longer and the wicked man is not here, and you shall look at his place and he is not there” (Tehillim 37:10).
This verse can be explained as follows: וְעוֹד מְעַט - If we pass over and put a blind eye to our inclinations for just a short while, וְאֵין רָשָׁע - then we can regain control from our Yetzer Hara. וְהִתְבּוֹנַנְתָּ עַל מְקוֹמוֹ - If we think straight and contemplate our actions, וְאֵינֶנּוּ - then our Yetzer Hara will disappear.
We see this concept in the words שִׁמְךְ מֶעוֹלָם עוֹבֵר עֶל פֶשַׁע - “Your Name forever passes over wrongdoings.” If we “pass over” and wait out our evil inclinations, then we have the power of שִׁמְךְ to overcome the negative forces that distance us from our father in heaven.
We know that the name of the angel of death is ס-מ-א”ל which can only exist because of the holy letters א”ל that is in its name. And the Holy Baal Shem Tov taught us, that not only is it kept in existence through the letters א”ל but it also receives its life force from the letter ‘samech’ that is in its name. For together they spell out סא”ל which is one of the Seventy-Two Holy Names of Hashem, which just leaves the letter ‘mem.’
The same is also true by the kelipah of רל”י which receives its life force from the letters ל”י that are holy. As we see from the verse וִהְיִיתֶם לִי סְגֻלָּה מִכָּל הָעַמִּים - “you shall be to Me a treasure out of all peoples” (Shemos 19:5), and from the verse וְאַתֶּם תִּהְיוּ לִי מַמְלֶכֶת כֹּהֲנִים וְגוֹי קָדוֹשׁ - ”And you shall be to Me a kingdom of princes and a holy nation” (Shemos 19:6). Which leaves the letter ‘reish’ that is from the unholy side, as in the word ‘rasha’ - which means ‘evildoer.’ And when we combine the letter ‘reish’ from the kelipah and the letter ‘mem’ from the evil angel, it spells out ר”ם - haughtiness.
The words לִי תְּרוּמָה spell out the words רל”י המו”ת meaning, if we take the letter ‘reish’ (which is from the negative side) and attach it to the letters ל”י (which is from the side of kedusha) then it becomes the name of the kelipah that causes spiritual death, heaven-forbid. That is why the verse says וְיִקְחוּ לִי - take away the letters ל”י from the letter ‘reish’ and bring it closer to holiness.
And that is why Rashi says לי לשמי - “For Me, dedicated for My Name.” Like we said earlier that the letters that come after ר-ל-י spell out שִׁ-מְ-ךְ - “Your Name, Hashem.” If we will focus on the Name of Hashem (as it says שִׁוִּיתִי ה' לְנֶגְדִּי תָמִיד - “I have placed The Name of Hashem before me constantly”), then we will overcome the kelipah.
We know that the kelipah of Amalek brings a person to think that he is above everyone else (עמל”ק has the same numerical value as ר”ם - haughtiness)
And the Torah says, תִּמְחֶה אֶת זֵכֶר עֲמָלֵק - “you shall obliterate the remembrance of Amalek from beneath the heavens” (Devarim 25:19). How will we overcome the kelipah of negative pride? Not through lowering ourselves, but through uplifting ourselves in our service of Hashem. As it says, וַיִּגְבַּהּ לִבּוֹ בְּדַרְכֵי השם - “And his heart was uplifted in the ways of Hashem” (Divrei Hayamim II 17:6).
A person should say, “Even if I know that I am not above anyone else, so too do I know that I am uplifted. As we say, וְרוֹמַמְתָּנוּ מִכָּל הַלְּשׁונות - “and you uplifted us above all nations.” I am a child of Hashem and part of his nation.
How can we destroy the kelipah of רל”י which causes haughtiness? By taking the letters ל”י and serve Hashem with holy pride. As it says וִהְיִיתֶם לִי סְגֻלָּה מִכָּל הָעַמִּים - “you shall be to Me a treasure out of all peoples,” and וְאַתֶּם תִּהְיוּ לִי מַמְלֶכֶת כֹּהֲנִים וְגוֹי קָדוֹשׁ - ”And you shall be to Me a kingdom of princes and a holy nation.” And from the letter ‘reish’ that remains, will become the word תְּרוּמָה which is related to the word התרוממות - holy pride.
With that, we will erase Amalek which is also the numerical value of as ר”ם (haughtiness) by using the attribute of ‘pride’ for holiness.
With this, we can answer the following question: How could Haman think that his plans will succeed? Didn’t he know that Hashem won’t let him kill all the Jews? Even when they sin they are still called Hashem's children. As Hashem says, בְּנִי בְכֹרִי יִשְׂרָאֵל - "My firstborn son is Israel" (Shemos 4:22). It must have occurred to him that he won’t be able to go through with his plans לְהַשְׁמִיד לַהֲרֹג וּלְאַבֵּד אֶת כָּל הַיְּהוּדִים - “to destroy, kill, and cause to perish all the Jews” (Esther 3:13).
Haman made the following calculation: “Hashem commanded to erase the nation of my grandfather Amalek (which is gematria ר”ם), so I will simply help the Jews erase the letters ר”ם from התרוממות (their holy pride). And how does one erase pride? By lowering oneself. So I will lower them by taking their life, and that will completely eradicate the התרוממות because nothing will be left of them.”
But that is not the way to erase Amalek. The verse says וְנַהֲפוֹךְ הוּא אֲשֶׁר יִשְׁלְטוּ הַיְּהוּדִים הֵמָּה בְּשֹׂנְאֵיהֶם - “it was reversed that the Jews should rule over their enemies” (Esther 9:1). We have to reverse the התרוממות (pride) of Amalek and bring it to kedusha, by using that pride in the service of Hashem.
As it says הִנֵּה בֵית הָמָן נָתַתִּי לְאֶסְתֵּר - “Behold the house of Haman I have given to Esther” (Esther 8:7). The house and pride of Haman, that he thought was his, was given over to Mordechai and Esther. With that Hashem showed that the way to erase Amalek is by uplifting ourselves with kedusha.
(ליל שבת קודש - תשס"א)