Men are from Mars

 
     
 

ספר שמות פרק לח

ח) ויעש את הכיור נחשת ואת כנו נחשת במראת הצבאת אשר צבאו פתח אהל מועד:

And he made the Wash Basin from copper and its base from copper from the mirrors that were gathered at the entrance to the Ohel Moed.

רש"י על שמות פרק לח פסוק ח

ח) במראת הצובאת - בנות ישראל היו בידן מראות שרואות בהן כשהן מתקשטות ואף אותן לא עכבו מלהביא לנדבת המשכן והיה מואס משה בהן מפני שעשויים ליצר הרע א"ל הקב"ה קבל כי אלו חביבין עלי מן הכל שעל ידיהם העמידו הנשים צבאות רבות במצרים כשהיו בעליהם יגעים בעבודת פרך היו הולכות ומוליכות להם מאכל ומשתה ומאכילות אותם ונוטלות המראות

The Jewish women had in their hands mirrors that they would look into to beautify themselves, and even these they brought as a gift to the Mishkan. Moshe was revolted by them because they are used by the Yetzer Harah. HASHEM said to Moshe, “Accept them; these are the most precious to me of all the gifts because with these mirrors the righteous women brought forth legions of children in Mitzraim.”

 
 
 

The mirrors are the most precious of gifts

The Torah specifies that the Wash Basin in the Mishkan was

made of copper taken from the mirrors that the women brought as

donations. Rashi explains that by telling us where the copper

came from, the Torah is teaching a significant lesson. 

Moshe Rabbenu was appalled by the idea of using mirrors in the

Mishkan because they were used to enhance a woman’s beauty,

which is a source of Yetzer Ha’Rah. Yet HASHEM said that not

only should they be used, they were the most precious of all the

items that were donated. In fact, the very reason HASHEM

wanted them to be used in the Mishkan was that the women used

them to beautify themselves and attract their husbands.

How could Moshe Rabbenu have been so

 mistaken?


The difficulty with this Rashi is how could Moshe Rabbenu have

been so mistaken? Chazal tell us he was the greatest human who

ever existed. For forty days, he lived like a Moloch -- without

food, drink, or sleep -- and learned the entire Torah. Yet he

looked at these mirrors with disgust until HASHEM told him that

they were actually the most precious gift given. How is it

possible that Moshe was so off in his understanding?

Boys and Girls are different

The answer to this question can be found by watching little

children at play in the local public school yard. The girls will be

off on one side of the yard playing jump rope or hopscotch, while

the boys will be off to the other side playing tag or touch football.

Even though the classes are mixed, in play it is rare to find boys

and girls together.

The reason for this is that boys and girls are different. They have

different interests, desires, and value systems. They are different

in the way that they behave, relate to each other, and

communicate. In fact, boys and girls are so different that you

would almost assume they come from different cultures, maybe

even different planets. It isn’t that they are socialized or trained

differently; it is that their inner makeup is fundamentally

different. 

As an example, studies show that when asked “Who is your best

friend?” three-year-old boys are as likely to name a girl as their

best friend as they are a boy. At that age, mixed gender

friendships are quite common. Yet, by the time this same group

of children is 5 years old, only 20% will have a best friend from

the opposite gender. By the time that they are seven, it is almost

nonexistent for a boy to have a best friend who is girl, or for a

girl to have a best friend who is a boy -- because by then they

have almost nothing in common.

This separation and disinterest continues until puberty when

something remarkable happens: the boys become very interested

in the girls, and the girls become very interested in the boys. It

isn’t that their differences have disappeared. Quite the opposite,

they are even stronger now, but there are powerful forces

developing within them that pull them to each other – attraction

and infatuation.

Why did HASHEM create this state of infatuation?

HASHEM created these entities so that man and woman could

marry. If it weren’t for these forces, a successful marriage would

never exist. To ask two individuals, vastly different in nature,

outlook, and temperament to live as one would never happen – it

would be impossible.

To allow man and woman to create a successful union,

HASHEM put various forces into the person – attraction and

infatuation are some of them. They are very powerful, so

powerful that they can pull together two opposites and bring

them together in harmony, peace, and love. However, as

powerful tools, they can also easily be misdirected and misused.

Answer to Moshe Rabbenu

The answer to the question on Moshe Rabbenu seems to be that

he was fully aware of the powerful force of attraction and the pull

that it exerts. What he wasn’t aware of was the purity of the

women who donated the mirrors. HASHEM told him that these

women were different. They used their beauty only for its

intended purpose -- to attract their husbands to them. These

mirrors had become holy as they had been used to strengthen the

bond of love and devotion between husband and wife. The

children brought forth from such a union were pure and exalted;

therefore, these mirrors were the most precious of all the

donations.

Lack of understanding in our times

This concept has great relevance in our times. We live in an age

when the very social fabric of society seems to be tearing apart at

the seams. With divorce rates in the Western World hovering at

50%, the concept of raising children in a stable home seems to be

a relic of the past.

One of the causes of this breakdown is the misuse of the very

system that HASHEM put into man to allow him to flourish.

Attraction and infatuation are tools that, when used properly,

allow a husband and wife to achieve harmony, tranquility, and

peace. However, when misused, these forces no longer

accomplish their intended purpose and the couple themselves

suffers—never quite understanding why their marriage doesn’t

work anymore.

Understanding the purpose and proper use of these forces that

HASHEM created is one of the keys to living a successful life.

 

For more on this topic please listen to Shmuz #99 - Men are from Mars

 

 

 

 

 
                                          
     
     
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
   
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