RAV DOVID FEINSTEIN, zt”l, on PARSHAS BAMIDBAR
(as heard and adapted by Rabbi Aaron D. Mehlman)
במדבר סיני באהל מועד
“Hashem spoke to Moshe in the Sinai desert, in the Tent of Meeting.”
What is the importance to identify the exact geographic position where Hashem spoke to Moshe and the Jewish People?
We must realize that each location contained unique features and these items were intended to teach the People important lessons in faith and survival.
The emphasis of “In the Sinai desert” underscores G-d’s kindliness and interest in the Jewish People.
A desert wilderness is a harsh and dangerous environment. Despite the life-threatening challenges, the physical needs of the Nation were met and exceeded by G-d.
It was in the desert that a miraculous spring provided pristine, sweet drinking water for millions, and Manna, a bread-like supernatural food that sustained and nourished a generation, was provided effortlessly for decades.
It was in the desert that our clothing miraculously repaired and replenished as fibers never frayed or became threadbare and other life-enhancing measures were administered and the Jew’s quality of life vastly improved.
In the desert, we were subject to the largess of the Almighty and we experienced Hashem’s essence of “Kol Yochel” - His ability to provide anything, anywhere, and at any time.
The Jewish Nation appreciated how they could survive even in a desert, under the protection of Hashem.
And it was precisely in the desert that Hashem assured them they would enter Eretz Yisroel!
The Jewish People were expected to make an argument a fortiori that if Hashem could protect them under the harshest conditions, how much more so in Eretz Yisroel!
The inescapable conclusion must be that G-d would of course defend and safeguard their security in the Holy Land.
The emphasis on Ohel Moed, Tent of Meeting, was intended to convey the following.
In truth, the very construction of the Mishkan is somewhat puzzling, a real “sticking point.”
The original plan was to have the Jewish People enter Israel within a month’s time of the Exodus from Egypt and build a permanent Bais Hamikdash in Yerushalayim.
So why the need to rush the construction of a Mishkan, a mere temporary Tabernacle, in the desert?
The answer is that Hashem yearned to rest His Shechina amongst the Jewish People, and without delay.
G-d’s love for the Jews was of such magnitude, it was critical a Mishkan is built so as to allow Hashem’s Divine Presence rest within Klal Yisroel as quickly as possible.
These two critical lessons - that survival in the desert and a future Eretz Yisroel was solely dependent on Hashem, regardless of obstacles or difficulties, and Hashem’s burning love for the Jewish People and His desire to rest the Shechina amongst us - albeit in a hastily built and temporary Mishkan, is splendidly hinted at by the opening words of this week’s Parsha, “Hashem spoke to Moshe in the Sinai desert, in the Tent of Meeting!”