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Tehillim on the Parsha: Vayakhel: Ugly, Yet Beautiful Again

“I am black and I am beautiful.” (Song of Songs 1:5) If black, why beautiful? Is there such blackness, ugliness, that is also beautiful?
The Congregation of Israel said before God, “I am ugly in my actions, and I am beautiful in my actions.” “I was ugly when I was in Egypt as a slave, but I was beautiful when I said before You at Sinai, “All that God says we will do and we will hear.”

I was ugly as I stood at the sea, as the verse in Psalms (106:7) says, “And they rebelled on the sea at the sea.” But I was also beautiful at the sea when I said, “This is my Lord and I will glorify Him.”

I was ugly when I made the Golden Calf. I was beautiful when I made the tabernacle.

I was ugly in the form of an ox, as the verse in Psalms (106:20) says, “And they exchanged their glory for the image of an ox.” I was beautiful in the image of an ox, as the verse (Leviticus ß 17:3) says, “An ox, or a sheep, or a goat, that is brought as an offering.”

I was ugly even in the tabernacle itself as the verse (Ezekiel  23:38) says, “they have made My house impure.” But I am beautiful again as I serve You in the Mishkan. (Shemot Rabbah 49:2)

We acknowledge before God that there are times when we stand before Him as  “ugly” people, and yet we continue to stand before him because we know that we can always make ourselves beautiful to him again.

There are times when we stand before God and we feel inadequate and undeserving. We feel that our actions do not reflect the beauty of a relationship with God. However, the Midrash reminds us that as long as we remember that we can become beautiful once again, we can continue to stand before God. We will make ourselves beautiful to Him once again.

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