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Parasha Insights from Rabbi Mansour

Parashat Tzav - Don't Let the Rain Put Out the Fire

In Parashat Tzav (6:6) the Torah tells that the fire on the altar of the Bet Ha'mikdash would burn constantly, without interruption.  The Rabbis tells us that it would occasionally rain over the altar, which was situated outdoors, in the courtyard of the Bet Ha'mikdash, but miraculously the fire continued burning.

What practical lesson is there for us to learn from this miracle?  If G-d wanted to ensure that the fire would not be extinguished, He could have saw to it that it would never rain over that spot.  Why did He perform this particular miracle, that the fire continued burning in the rain?

There is an answer to this question that is of great practical value to us.  The fire on the Mizbei'ach (altar) symbolizes the fire of enthusiasm and excitement within each and every Jew that motivates him to serve G-d, to perform Mitzvot.  There is a spark within each of us that inspires us to act as we should.  But there are many people in the world who try to extinguish that flame, to put a damper on the fire of enthusiasm and inspiration within us.  So often it happens that a person decides to start attending Torah classes, until a friend tells him or her, "What are you wasting your time for?" or "They're just trying to brainwash you."  Or a woman may decide to dress modestly, only to hear a friend mocking her and telling her how poorly she looks.  These comments are the "rain" that comes down and tries to extinguish the spiritual flame.

The Torah therefore tells us that the rain could never put out the fire on the altar.  We, too, must never let the cynics, critics and naysayers put a damper on our inspiration and spiritual ambition.  More often than not, the cynics make these disparaging remarks because they cannot bear to see others achieve more than they do.  It is far easier to destroy than to build, and so rather than build themselves, they try to protect their ego by destroying others.  And besides, usually after the cynic makes this comment he returns to his own affairs and forgets about what he had said.  One mustn't lend more credence to a cynical remark than the person who made it does.

Just like the fire on the altar, we must ensure that our "fire" of excitement and fervor for Mitzvot continues to burn even when others try to put it out.


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Fri, March 22 2019 15 Adar II 5779