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HOUSING PROBLEMS

by Michael Alterman    
Torah from Dixie Staff Writer    

At the time when Hashem said to Moses, "Make for me a Tabernacle" (Exodus 25:8), Moses trembled and said, "How can Man make a house for Hashem?"Hashem answered him, "Not according to my power am I asking you [to make me a house], but according to your power" Pesiktah (a Midrashic compendium).

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At the time when Hashem said to Moses, "Make for me a Tabernacle" (Exodus 25:8), Moses trembled and said, "How can Man make a house for Hashem?"Hashem answered him, "Not according to my power am I asking you [to make me a house], but according to your power" Pesiktah (a Midrashic compendium).

The Chofetz Chaim, the late 19th and early- 20th century saintly leader of European Jewry, says that we can learn from here a very important lesson which both diminishes our requirement and increases our responsibility. Hashem was telling Moses that He expects from each individual only what that individual is capable of doing -- no more and no less. Our requirement is to build a structure out of ourselves which will house Hashem's presence, and He will accommodate Himself to its measurements and specifications. As Avi Lowenstein quoted from the Rabbis and discussed on Parshat Bo in Volume 1; Issue 6 of Torah from Dixie (back issues can be ordered from the TFD offices), "One need only create an opening the size of a pinpoint and Hashem will open it as the entrance to a great hall."

However, this idea does not give us permission to slack off, giving up the fight to become the best we can be. A person can never know his ultimate capabilities until he gives it a try. We may surprise ourselves in finding that the sanctuaries we construct in our hearts and minds surpass our initial expectations. The important thing is to never lose hope and to always maintain the struggle.

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Michael Alterman, who hails from Atlanta, is currently a sophomore at Yeshiva University in New York.

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