Gold Rush

Based on Kedushat Levi of Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berdichev

(first posted on KabbalaOnline.org)


"Don't kindle any fire in all your dwelling places on the Shabbat day." (Ex. 35:3)

They beat out thin leaves of gold and cut them into threads, which were then spun together with the royal blue, purple and crimson wool and the fine linen. (Ex. 39:3)

The Tabernacle was fashioned by Betzalel, who understood the will of G-d and understood how to fuse and combine the letters of the alef-bet, with which the world was created. Betzalel, who was imbued with chochma, bina, and daat (wisdom, understanding and knowledge) built the Tabernacle patterned after the world which was created with chochma, bina, and daat. (Berachot 55a).

G-d originally intended to create the world using the attribute of strict justice. But G-d saw that the world would not be able to last, so He blended the attribute of chesed (mercy and kindness) and other attributes together with judgment in order to provide everything that His creations would need for their sustenance, both physical and spiritual. ( Bereishit Rabba 12:15)

The Tabernacle was a model of the original work of Creation, and Betzalel, with his chochma, bina, and daat, and his artisans used the different attributes of the Creation in their work. This is alluded to by the gold and silver, and royal blue, purple, crimson and fine linen textiles that were used in constructing the Tabernacle. Gold represents the attribute of judgment, and silver the attribute of loving-kindness. The Tabernacle needed both precious metals to be complete. (See Zohar II 148a)

The gold (representing judgment) was beaten out very thin in order to reduce and sweeten the harsh effect of the attribute of judgment. Then it was cut into threads so that attribute of judgment would not be whole. Afterwards they were spun together with royal blue, purple, crimson and fine linen threads which represent other attributes of G-d's Creation. Then the attribute of judgment would be appropriately blended into all aspects of Creation and help them when needed to subdue the power of the Evil Inclination.


(First published in B'Ohel Hatzadikim, Pekudei 5760)

Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev (1740-25 Tishrei 1810) is one of the most popular rebbes in chassidic history. He was a close disciple of the Maggid of Mezritch. He is best known for his love for every Jew and his active efforts to intercede for them against (seemingly) adverse heavenly decrees. Many of his teachings are contained in the posthumously published, Kedushat Levi.

Rabbi Binyomin Adilman is the former head of the Nishmas Chayim Yeshiva in Jerusalem. Back issues of his weekly parsha sheet, B'ohelei Tzadikim, from which this article was taken, may be found on www.nishmas.org.


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