Torah Message from Rabbi Moldovan
Yaakov prepares his family for the prolonged sojourn in Egypt by sending Yehudah, the greatest of the brothers, ahead to "prepare" a place in Egypt (Bereishis 46:28). The Medrash brings two explanations on what was to be prepared. Either Yehuda was to build a Yeshiva in order that the family of Yaakov will be able to learn Torah upon their arrival in Egypt. Alternatively, the Medrash says, Yehudah was to build a "house" for Yaakov and his family. We can rightly understand why such an important figure as Yehudah was charged with the monumental task of building a Yeshiva, but why send Yehudah to build a simple house? The commentaries explain that Yaakov felt it necessary to send no less than Yehuda to set up a home for him. In Yaakov’s worldview, a home was no less ‘spiritual’ than a study hall or a shul. He viewed every aspect of life as being imbued with spirituality. Therefore, it was essential that the foundations of Yaakov’s dwelling be set up by someone as great as Yehuda. The Divrei Yitzchak elaborates on one of the spiritual aspects of setting up a home that Yaakov had in mind in sending Yehuda. He explains that Yaakov did not want his children to settle amongst the spiritually corrupt Egyptians, rather he intended that they settle in their own neighborhoods with modest homes, where they could be raised in a Jewish environment. This mission was so vital that he could entrust it to none other than Yehuda, the proven leader of the family. This Midrash reminds us of a vital life lesson – that spirituality is not confined to the study hall and shul. Spirituality must permeate even the seemingly ‘mundane’ aspects of our lives, including the location of our home, and the way that we conduct ourselves in our home. A person can fall prey to the mistake of viewing his home as a solely physical dwelling and forget that it must also be elevated into a Mikdash Meat – a mini Temple.
May we all merit to elevate our homes into such a great place.