In Parshat Beha’alotcha we read about two objects that were impressively made from one single piece of metal.
The Parsha opens with the command directed towards Aharon to light the Menorah. Then the Torah provides a one-pasuk description of the Menorah’s construction:
“This is the workmanship of the Menorah: hammered out of one piece of gold; from its base to its flowers it is hammered out.”
The fact that the Menorah was sculpted out of one piece of gold was a feat so impressive that even Moshe was stumped as to how the Menorah was supposed to be built.
Later in the Parsha, we read about the Chatzotzrot. Moshe was commanded to make two silver trumpets. Here again the Torah specifies that the trumpets must be “Miksha”, hammered out of a single piece of silver. (This is probably why there are no Chatzotzrot in the IKEA catalogue.)
Though not mentioned in our Parsha, there is one additional ritual object that had to be shaped from one piece. The Keruvim, which sat on top of the Holy Ark had to also be Miksha.
The word Miksha comes from the word Kashe, which means hard or difficult. To sculpt these elaborate objects is certainly difficult. But why were these three items singled out for Miksha treatment? Is there any common thread between the Menorah, the trumpets and the Keruvim that can help shed light on this shared construction requirement?
The key to understanding the Miksha factor is by seeking the symbolism inherent in each of the aforementioned items.
The Menorah symbolizes Torah knowledge. The Talmud in Baba Batra learns from the position of the Menorah in the Mishkan that Harotzeh Sheyachkim yadrim: one who wants to become wise must go south. Similarly the Midrash recounts how Moshe would meditate by the light of the Menorah when he was trying to figure out a particularly difficult lesson from Hashem.
Keruvim represent children. Rashi in Parshat Teruma (25:18) quotes the Gemara in Sukah (5b) which states: The Keruvim looked like children.
The Chatzotzrot, trumpets, symbolize happiness. In this morning’s Torah reading, the last pasuk relating to the trumpets sums up the instances in which they were to be blown (10: 10). The sound of the Chatztzrot was supposed to both foster and express our feelings of joy.
Torah, children and happiness: three of the most fundamental and essential aspects of our lives. Each stands on its own as an important pursuit, and yet they are inextricably intertwined one with the other. One might think that as fundamentals, success in these areas should be easy. Comes the Torah and tells us in each instance: “Miksha Hi.” They’re hard to accomplish and maintain. These three goals seem to pull us in three different directions. Spending time learning Torah versus time spent on maintaining the family. The financial stress of paying for a Jewish education for our children, and how much happier we imagine we could be without that expense.
Some people believe that such tensions and questions are symptoms of a lack of faith and that the Torah has a clear answer for every situation.
By examining the Menorah, the Chatzotzrot and the Keruvim, we are better equipped to appreciate that at times the Torah’s lesson is to embrace the challenge and the tension. By specifying these three objects the Torah teaches us that even with goals as noble and essential as Torah, family and joy, it’s okay to say “Miksha Hi.” Life is hard, and that’s why it’s meaningful. By appreciating the inherent difficulties, may we merit to enjoy the full measure of Hashem’s blessing in all of these areas.