Pekudei : Kosher Idols

Our one-and-a-half-year-old is starting to pick up more and more words. Such as "EAT," and "olives," and "DIS," and of course, the Israeli "DIE."  However, this one is different from the rest, since she has much older brothers, who are still in the "soccer phase" of life.  So, thanks to them, she's walking around the house yelling, "GOOOOAAAAAALLLLLL!!!!"

Yeah, I know, not the holiest thing in the world.  But, whatever.

Please continue to daven for Dovid ben Liba Sora.

There is a famous question regarding the Keruvim that were on the Aron that was placed in the holiest place in the Beis HaMikdash.  One of Judaism's biggest "No-Nos" is idol-worship and making idols.  It's something that we're quite strict about.  Yet, here we have the Keruvim, two images of angels, made out of gold, placed upon the Aron which held the original tablets of the Ten Commandments, and represents Torah.  It seems to be a pretty big 180 degree turn from our usual treatment of "godly images."

There are many different answers given to this question.  The main one of course is: "Because Hashem said so."  However, it's our job to try to understand WHY Hashem said so and to learn from it.  One reason I recently saw posed that these "godly images" are different from others, for two reasons.  First, they are made of the same mold of gold.  They are in essence "stuck" to the cover of the Aron.  They have no "freedom of movement" away from the Torah, if you will.  Another difference is that they are both looking down, towards that Aron, submitting themselves to it.

The main reason we are so strict regarding making or owning idols, is that some form of foolishness will enter our hearts, and we'll come to view them in a godly way.  Yet, because of these two very "restrictive" differences that the Keruvim had, compared to other images, there is no such worry.

Perhaps we can learn from this lesson.  There are many other objects in life which can be used as a form as idol worship.  Money for instance is a big one.  A person's ego is another.  One's desires for physical pleasures, certainly can be used in such a way.  However, we really don't believe that there is a set of Evil Things and a set of Good Things.  All things can be used in a positive way, however, it depends on HOW and WHY they are being used.  The above mentioned items can all be used, if used within the realm of Torah.  There is nothing wrong with money.  In fact it can be used for great good.  A person's ego can be focused and trained to help a person a lot in his learning.  Physical pleasures as well can be used for good. As long as, like the Keruvim, we "stick" to the Torah and focus these things through the lens of the Torah, we turn a potential "idol worship" to a mitzvah.

A friend told me that he read that once somebody asked the Brisker Rav, "If everything in the world can be used for good, how can the concept of 'Denial of Hashem' be used for good?"  The Brisker Rav answered, "When somebody asks you to safeguard an object, you cannot 'rely' on Hashem to guard it for you.  You need to guard it as if there was no Hashem in the world."

With that, I wish you all a wonderful Shabbos!