As if our adventures
in the Midbar aren't spicy enough with the Eirev
rav and all... Hashem commands the Bnei Yisroel
to build a Mishkan as a sign of healing and just as Moshe's
about to offer the first sacrifice, Hashem adds salt
to the mixture...
Salt. This Midrash is all about salt. Apparently Hashem's had a soft
spot for salt since day two of creation. Here's what happened: Once the
chaos of creation cleared, day two brought on a new challenge. The
waters just ran rampant - up in the heavens, down on earth, mixing and
sloshing with no clear divide. Hashem commanded the
waters to divide into "heavenly waters" above the earth, and lower
waters that cover the earth.
Well, that was fine for the "heavenly" water. They got to
be closer to Shamayim. But what about the water that
got stuck on earth. They too yearned to be close to Hashem.
That's where the salt comes in. To comfort the lower waters,
Hashem made a pact with the sea that its salt would
be placed on any Korban that would be put on the Mizbayach.
Additionally, fresh water would be poured on the Mizbayach
every Sukkot in a special service called Nisuch
Ha'mayim (water libation).
So here's a good question: Why wait until Sukkot? Why not splash the Mizbayach with fresh water everytime? (Don't worry, the heavenly fire can cut through a little
dampness if necessary!). One answer is that all water eventually makes it up to the sky by evaporation. It is only the salt of the sea that is condemned to earth permanently.
Salt is a sign of the covenant between Hashem and the Jewish people.
Just as no person can live without salt, the world cannot survive
without the study of Torah. That's why we place salt on the table at
meal time to remind us to speak words of Torah at the table where people are eating.
As long as there were Mishkan and Bait Hamikdash korbanot, salt was an important part of the Avodah. When the Bait Hamikdash was destroyed, salt found its way to the table of every Jewish home. Our Rabbis teach that the table in a Jewish
home is like a Mizbayach. Whenever we eat bread, we should sprinkle
some salt on it to remind us that we are in the presence of Hashem.