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“For the cloud of Hashem would be on the Mishkan by day, and fire would be on it at night…throughout their journeys.” (40:38)

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A Torah scholar whose life is Torah is a microcosm of the Mishkan. He is a living embodiment of the Mishkan, as Chazal say, “The Shechinah resides within each person who is worthy of being a repository for it.” Horav Yehudah Tzedaka comments that the Mishkan had two attributes: fire and cloud. Likewise, the Torah scholar should possess these two attributes. Cloud is an allusion to tznius, modesty. He should always be modest, unpretentious, “covered,” as if by a cloud. However, when the honor of Torah is at stake, he must act as a fire, with passion and zeal, not shying away from challenge or confrontation. Humility is a special virtue, one that every Torah leader should possess. There is a time, however, when misplaced humility and self-effacement is a liability. When the Torah, or those who epitomize its doctrine are disparaged, one must rise to the occasion and vehemently oppose those who would undermine the Torah.

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