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The car packed to the hilt, the Thule threatening to burst at the seams atop our car, our family drove with desperation for one purpose only: to be near the mountains. The familiar rental cabin nestled fifteen miles from Mt. Baker in Washington affords five star mountain accommodations: no cell phone access, no wireless internet and no cable TV. In essence, the goal was to set up shop, our own Mishkan, away from the roar of everyday life. While some of the usual technological conveniences were lost, we knew we would not be without the four elements crucial to the Mishkan and considered symbolically essential in any Jewish home: the Ark, the Table, the Menorah and the Incense Altar. Ok, well not literally - they wouldn't fit in the car. However, all of these elements are interconnected to the basic physical elements that still exist in this world: air, fire, earth and water. Being out in the more remote areas at the foot of a mountain, it wasn't hard to see that I was in a larger than life Mishkan model that was vitally connected to all of these natural elements. Perhaps it was noticing on our second day the Holy Smoke bus, clad in gold (or school bus yellow paint) that waited outside the gate of the cabin properties boasting of an eatery just down the road. It sat there, as if some beacon, reminding me that even in this remote area, under the Heavens, we carry our own Mishkans with us today and follow suit with the kohanim: setting up, tearing down, wherever we go, wherever we stay.
by Rebbetzin Malkah
It looks something like this: Esav pulls up to Yaacov's tent exhausted. With reckless ambition, he orders a bowl of lentil stew super-sized, pays with his birthright, and drives off gastronomically satisfied. And there you have it: the first drive-through in history. Sound familiar? While we have Esav to thank for this modern-day invention, more importantly his example is an admonition in preserving our own birthrights : our generations and our destinies. For in casting off his birthright so frivolously, he forfeited not only generational blessing and achievement, but also the chance to merit the world to come. If we can recognize the gravity of preserving and emboldening our present and future toldot (generations) by the very manner in which we feed our lives, not only will our very lives and destinies be impacted, but we will move the Malchut Shamayim (Kingdom of Heaven) ever closer.