Photo Credit: courtesy, Sivan Rahav Meir
Sivan Rahav Meir

Shalom Sivan, My name is Hallel, the fiancée of Nethanel Eitan, hy”d, who fell in Gaza on Hanukkah. I would be pleased if the following excerpt from his diary would be shared in order to spread his light. May we hear good news. Am Yisrael chai.

Jerusalem is surrounded by mountains.
Jerusalem is a symbol of life.
She is so beautiful, and with such unique beauty.
She does not have the tallest mountain in the world.
She does not have an impressive mountain glacier either.
Her mountains, in fact, are average.
Despite all this, she is the most beautiful city in the world.
True beauty comes from within and radiates outwards.
To see the beauty in someone else, you have to look inside.
A husband who sees the beauty in his wife will always see it, no matter how many years have passed.
This is the story of Jerusalem – what’s inside makes her the most beautiful city.
And if I succeed in applying this principle and I succeed in finding my Jerusalem in a woman, I will find the most beautiful woman in the world.


– From the diary of Lieutenant Nethanel Menachem Eitan, hy”d


Why Are The Details So Important?

The Torah portion we read describes the Mishkan, the sanctuary and spiritual center that accompanied the children of Israel in the desert. The Mishkan’s construction is described at length, down to the finest detail. What, in fact, is the importance of these small details? Here are two explanations:

Professor Dan Arieli calls this “The Ikea Effect.” If we buy a table that is already assembled, we feel much less attached to it that if we bought the parts of a table at Ikea and put them together ourselves. Similarly, the fact that we built the Mishkan ourselves meant that we were far more attached to it than if it had descended from heaven ready-made.

Professor Nechama Leibowitz pointed out that the creation of the world is described in 34 verses alone, while the construction of the Mishkan is described in more than 400 verses. How could it be that the entire cosmos, the stars, and the galaxies, the oceans and even the creation of Adam are briefly described, whereas the “synagogue” of the nation is described at length? Professor Leibowitz explained that the Torah is not interested primarily in the universe, but rather in man. The Torah is less interested in what G-d does than in what man is meant to do in following G-d’s instructions.

These explanations are pertinent not only to the desert Mishkan, but to all the small, routine, yet vital acts and mitzvos that we do today.


Translation by Yehoshua Siskin ([email protected]).


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Sivan Rahav-Meir is a popular Channel 12 News anchor, the host of a weekly radio show on Galei Tzahal, a columnist for Yediot Aharonot, and the author of “#Parasha.” Every day she shares short Torah thoughts to over 100,000 Israelis – both observant and not – via Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp. Translation by Yehoshua Siskin.