This weekend the madrichim will be on a seminar aptly titled 'madsem'🎉🎉🎉. As most of us live at home, this means being away from our parent's dining room table for the weekend.
This also happens to be the week that we learn about the vessels that were placed inside the Mishkan during Bnei Yisrael's time in the desert. One of those vessels is the 'Shulchan', a holy table made of acacia wood. The Talmud (Chagiga 27a) states that "now that the Beit Hamikdash is destroyed, a person receives atonement at his own table", Rabbeinu Bachya attests that the Talmud is referring directly to our dining room table at home 🏠.
This weekend I will not only miss out on eating at my dining room table, but I will also miss the jokes about the Chevra Kadisha often shared around it. Yes... my mother works at the Jewish funeral home ⚰️.. No... she doesn't work with the dead bodies 🧟, but it can make Friday night dinners quite... morbid. Not only that, but it has also sparked a peculiar interest within me about death and the traditions surrounding it, so I was surprised to learn that there is a custom in the religious circles of France to fashion their coffins from the wood of their dining room table.
Remember how I said the Shulchan of the Mishkan was built of acacia wood? Well, Rabbeinu Bachya suggests that the Hebrew word for acacia 'shittim' forms an acronym for the words 'shalom', 'tova', 'yeshua' and 'mechila' - peace ☮️ , goodness 😊 , salvation 🙏, and forgiveness🤝. These values are reflected in our modern day dining room tables where we feed friends, family, the poor, welcome the traveler and host guests. Therefore, when people are buried in the wood of their dining room table it shows us that in the end, the only valuable thing we have to show are the good deeds we performed, the charity we gave and the goodness we shared with others.
Behatzlacha to all my fellow madrichim starting their 2018 Hineni Journey.
And I promise, no death next week! ☠️☠️☠️
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