Shemot: Chapter 40

"Before the day cools"


Rabbi Yitzchak opens with an explanation of the title verse. We learn that the subjugation of Yisrael will end after one thousand years, whereupon God will appear in the terrestrial Jerusalem to purify it. At this time, He will drive the heathen nations from the Holy City and shake the wicked out of the earth. If the exile lasts longer than one thousand years, we are told, it is because Yisrael will not return in repentance to God.


Often, we know that a particular behavior is positive and beneficial to our life. Nevertheless, another voice inside us persuades us to avoid it and procrastinate. Likewise, we are all-too-often aware that a certain behavior is extremely detrimental. We routinely vow not to engage in such actions. Yet these same voices compel us into the misdeed, even though we do not really want to.

When we allow our negative and wicked impulses to rule over our own positive traits and good intentions, the nations of the world are empowered, measure for measure, to rule over Yisrael. Meditating with deep conviction on the words presented here shakes and dislodges all the disobedient impulses that govern our daily behavior. We stir repentance in our hearts for all our iniquities caused by these negative traits. Genuine repentance and deep remorse are unimaginably powerful forces; and through them, we now achieve our final purification and correction.

Our soul achieves dominion over our lives. In turn, Yisrael is purified with great mercy and is empowered so that her relationship with the other nations of the world is strengthened, founded upon unconditional mutual love and respect. Permanent world peace is achieved through our spiritual actions performed here, for they have infinitely more power and might than the military or political actions that take place in the physical realm.