Trumah: Chapter 49

A time of goodwill


The mule-driver continues from the previous section, speaking about, "But as for me, let my prayer be to You, the Creator, in an acceptable time (a time of goodwill): Elohim, in the greatness of Your steadfast love hear me, in the truth of Your salvation." He comments that a favorable time is when the congregation is praying. "But as for me," refers to King David. He then explains that a prayer of Redemption in a time of goodwill brings together time and favor. This prayer is said during the Minchah of Shabbat, we learn, because at that time all anger is removed and Judgment is aroused only in order to be sweetened with Chesed and Mercy, and there is joy in everything. The mule-driver next says that Moses died during the time of the Shabbat Minchah; therefore at this time the gates of the Holy Study Hall are locked and everyone has to justify himself before God. Moses, the Faithful Shepherd, Joseph the Righteous and King David all died at this same time, so there are three justification prayers. When Moses died, the light of the sun darkened and the Written Torah was barred. When Joseph died, all the springs dried up and all the tribes went into exile. When King David died, the moon herself gathered in her light, which was gathered up by the Oral Torah. Then, we are told, the lights of Torah were concealed and there was much confusion and many arguments among the scholars; thus, the rabbis decreed severe fasts and locked the gates of the Torah.


By invoking the three qualities of Moses, Joseph, and David -- Faithfulness, Righteousness, and Kingship -- we magnify these sublime qualities within our fellow man and ourselves. Judgments are repealed as we repent and meditate upon this mystical text. The iniquities of man and the sins of our own past are accounted for and compassionately corrected by the unfathomable greatness of Moses, Joseph, and David, and through the forbearance they engender.