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1. Rabbi Binyomin Adler Shabbos Taam HaChaim page 2
2. Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein Maharal's Gur Aryeh page 5
3. Rabbi Oizer Alport Parsha Potpourri page 5
4. Rabbi Stephen Baars-Aish.Com Brainstorming With Baars page 6
5. HaRav Eliezer Chrysler Midei Shabbos page 8
6. Rabbi Moshe Erlbaum-Aish.Com Torah Teasers page 9
7. Rabbi Zvi Akiva Fleisher Chamishoh Mi Yodei'a page 9
8. Rabbi Zvi Akiva Fleisher Chasidic Insights page 10
9. Rabbi Zvi Akiva Fleisher Oroh V'Simchoh page 11
10. Rabbi Zvi Akiva Fleisher Sedrah Selections page 12
11. Rabbi Yissocher Frand RavFrand page 13
12. Rabbi Yehonasan Gefen-Aish.Com The Guiding Light page 13
13. Rabbi J. Gewirtz Migdal Ohr page 15
14. Rabbi Nosson Greenberg Khal Machzikei Torah page 16
15. Rabbi Avraham Kahn Torah Attitude page 16
16. Rabbi Yosef Kalatsky Beyond Pshat page 17
17. Rabbi Shlomo Katz Hamayan page 19
18. Rabbi Dov Kramer Taking A Closer Look page 20
19. Rabbi Moshe Krieger Bircas HaTorah Parsha Sheet page 21
20. NCYI Weekly Dvar Torah page 21
21. Rabbi Kalman Packouz-Aish.Com Shabbat Shalom page 23
22. Rabbi Eliezer Parkoff Weekly Chizuk page 24
23. Rabbi Ben-Zion Rand Likutei Peshatim page 25
24. Rabbi Naftali Reich Legacy page 26
25. Rabbi Mordechai Rhine Rabbi's Message page 26
26. Rabbi Elyakim Rosenblatt Yeshiva Kesser Torah page 27
27. Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks Covenant & Conversation page 28
28. Rabbi A. Leib Scheinbaum Peninim on the Torah page 28
29. Rabbi Dovid Seigel Haftorah page 31
30. Rabbi Yaakov Asher Sinclair Ohr Somayach Torah Weekly page 31
31. Rabbi Doniel Staum Stam Torah page 32
32. Rabbi Mayer Twersky Torahweb page 33
33. Rabbi Berel Wein The Torah Is For All page 34
34. Rabbi Berel Wein Weekly Parsha page 34
35. Rabbi Noach Weinberg ZTL-Aish.Com 48 Ways to Wisdom Way #22 page 37
36. Rabbi Dr. Tzvi Hersh Weinreb - OU Person In The Parsha page 34
37. Rabbi Pinchas Winston Perceptions page 35
38. HaRav Shlomo Wolbe Ztl Bais Hamussar page 36
39. Yeshiva Aish HaTorah-Aish.Com Jewish History Crash Course#39 page 36
40. Rabbi Leibie Sternberg Pleasant Ridge Newsletter The Back Page
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See page 39 for columns on last weeks parsha that were received after publication.
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Rabbi Binyomin Adler
Shabbos Taam HaChaim
Vayakhel-Pekudei-HaChodesh 5773
(From the archives)
Shabbos in the Parasha
Returning to the level of Divine Presence of the Patriarchs on our
I ntroduction
This weeks parashah discusses the actual construction of the Mishkan and
we also read Parashas HaChodesh, which discusses the Exodus from
Egypt. The Ramban writes in his introduction to the Book of Shemos that
this Book is called Sefer HaGeulah, the Book of Redemption, because of
the Exodus from Egypt. Furthermore, the Jewish People received the
Torah and then built the Mishkan, which allowed them to return to the
level of the Divine Presence that rested on the tents of their forefathers.
What is the meaning of returning to the level of the Divine Presence that
rested on the tents of the forefathers?
The Jewish People had a few merits which would allow them to be
redeemed from Egypt
One of the most intriguing aspects of the redemption from Egypt and of
receiving the Torah was that the Jewish People were not prepared for
either of these events. The Arizal writes that had the Jewish People
descended to the forty-ninth level of impurity, and had HaShem not
delivered the Jewish People at the last moment, they would never have
ascended from the depths of impurity. This idea is difficult to understand,
as this implies that the Jewish People themselves did not have sufficient
merits with which to leave Egypt. Yet, we know that when Moshe asked
HaShem in what merit the Jewish People would leave Egypt, HaShem told
Moshe that in the merit of receiving the Torah, the Jewish People would
leave Egypt. Furthermore, the Medrash (see Bamidbar Rabbah 13:19)
states that in the merit of not changing their names, language and clothing,
the Jewish People left Egypt. Additionally, the Gemara (Sota 11b) states
that in the merit of the righteous women the Jewish People left Egypt. This
being the case, how is it possible that the Jewish people almost reached a
point of no return and HaShem had to redeem them from Egypt with
apparently no merits in their favor?
One must view himself as if he himself was redeemed from Egypt
In order to understand what it means that the Jewish People had almost
reached the point of no return, we have to understand another statement
that we recite in the Hagadah Shel Pesach. On Pesach night we recite the
words that in every generation one must view himself as if he himself had
just exited from Egypt. How can one view himself as if he had left Egypt
if he never was exiled to Egypt? While we know that our souls were all
present at the receiving of the Torah, and it follows that all our souls were
in Egypt, we must also understand this recital in a practical sense. Is it
possible for a person to experience having left Egypt when he does not feel
like he was there in the first place?
Only HaShem can assist a person in overcoming the blandishments of
his Evil Inclination
The answer to these questions is that it is well known that the Zohar
compares the Egyptian exile to the power that the Evil Inclination has over
a person. The Sefarim write that the word Mitzrayim, Egypt, is an acrostic
for the words meitzar yam, the border of the Sea. In a deeper sense,
however, this means that the Jewish People were surrounded by the sea of
impurity which is the fiftieth level of contamination. Thus, besides the
physical exile that the Jewish People were forced to endure in Egypt, they
were also subject to the blandishments of the Evil Inclination. The same is
true for us in our lives. While we may not always be cognitive of this, the
fact is that the Evil Inclination is a constant presence in our lives, and it
seeks to wreak havoc on our spiritual equilibrium. The Gemara (Kiddushin
30a) states that if not for the fact that HaShem aids a person in his
struggles against the Evil Inclination, a person would not be able to
overcome the enticement of the Evil Inclination alone. Thus, despite the
many merits one may have, it is insufficient in his struggles with the Evil
Inclination. Only Hashem can allow a person to be victorious over his Evil
The merits of the Jewish People were insufficient for them to be
redeemed from Egypt and the clutches of the Evil Inclination
We can now understand why, despite having the merit of certain virtues
and the merit of the righteous women, the Jewish People were in need of
something that would catapult them out of the clutches of the Evil
Inclination. This extra push, so to speak, was the deliverance that HaShem
provided for them. This idea also helps us gain a better perspective of what
we should be feeling when we contemplate the Egyptian exile and the
redemption. We are constantly struggling with the Evil Inclination and it is
only HaShems compassion that enables us to overcome this struggle.
The Shabbos Connection
The Medrash (Bamidbar Rabbah 19:1) states regarding the mitzvah of
Parah Adumah that it said (Iyov 14:4) mi yitein tahor mitamei lo echod,
who can produce purity from impurity? No one! This is akin to Avraham
who came from Terach, Chizkiahu from Achaz, Yoshiyahu from Amon,
Mordechai from Shimi, the Jewish People from the gentiles, and the World
to Come from this world. The Sfas Emes (Parah 5647) writes that HaShem
made it that one attains purity by being tested and forged in the crucible of
this world. It was for this reason that the Jewish People had to endure the
Egyptian exile and they were submerged in the forty-ninth level of
impurity, until they merited being redeemed and becoming pure. This idea
is manifest in the Jewish People residing amongst the gentiles, and in the
Jewish people sojourning in this world in order to attain their share in the
World to Come. Similarly, writes the Sfas Emes, every Shabbos is a
commemoration to the exodus from Egypt, and every week we merit being
redeemed from the gates of impurity and ascending towards the gates of
purity. Based on the words of the Sfas Emes, we can now better
understand why building the Mishkan was the culmination of the
redemption process. Our Patriarchs lived a life of complete purity, and
despite their encounters with foreign ideas and people who were the
antithesis of their beliefs, they remained pure at all times. After enduring
the Egyptian exile, the Jewish People received the Torah, which is the
epitome of purity in this world. To attain that purity HaShem instructed
them to build a Mishkan, which would allow them to receive the Divine
Presence. Every week, with the arrival of Shabbos, we are returning to that
level of Divine Presence upon our tents, as we light candles, eat challah,
and bask in the Divine Presence, which are all reminiscent of the level of
purity and holiness that our Patriarchs attained. HaShem should allow us to
enter the upcoming month of Nissan with great joy and purity, and we
should witness the arrival of Moshiach Tzidkienu, speedily, in our days.
Shabbos in the Zemiros - Eishes Chayil
Composed by Shlomo HaMelech in Mishlei
- - , , she fears not snow for her
household, for all her household is clothed in scarlet wool. This verse is
perplexing. We normally associate white with purity and red with sin. Yet,
here Shlomo HaMelech tells us that she does not fear snow, for her entire
household is clothed with scarlet. It would appear from this that red or
scarlet is a sign of purity. The Medrash Tanchumah in Parashas Chaye
Sara expounds this verse as follows: she fears not snow for her household
refers to the cold of Gehinnom, and the reason she need not fear is
because: for all her household is clothed in scarlet wool, which refers to
Shabbos and Milah. It is fascinating that the words lavush shanim equal in
gematria LeShabbos, for the Shabbos (732). Yet, we still need to
understand how this verse alludes to Shabbos. The Medrash Tanchumah in
Parashas Reeh states that the word shanim can be read as shenayim, two.
Milah is two dimensional, as there is the mitzvah of milah, circumcision,
and the mitzvah of periah, pulling back the foreskin. The Medrash
enumerates other instances where there are two mitzvos or where the
Torah repeats a commandment. The Medrash elsewhere (Shochar Tov
92:1) states that all matters of Shabbos are double, and one example is that
we find that in the Bais HaMikdash two tamid offerings were brought on
Shabbos. Thus, we can interpret this verse in Mishlei to be alluding to
Shabbos, because the word shanim can be read as shenayim. One does not
have to fear from the cold of Gehinnom, because the entire household is
permeated with the fragrance of Shabbos, where we use lechem mishneh,
two loaves of bread, and we remember and safeguard the Shabbos. With
regard to Shabbos, the red, i.e. the sins, are transformed into white, i.e.
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purity and holiness, because all our actions on Shabbos are reflected in
shenayim, two. When one is cognizant of the uniqueness of Shabbos,
reflected in everything being double, he will be spared the horrors of
Gehinnom and he will merit great reward in this world and in the World to
Shabbos in Tefillah
The righteous who are deceased descend into this world to sanctify
HaShems Name
Lihakdish liyotzrom binachas ruach, to sanctify the One Who formed them
with tranquility. The Tiferes Shlomo (Moadim Shaar HaTefillah page 38)
writes that besides the praise that is offered by the angels, the souls of the
righteous in Gan Eden also constantly praise HaShem with love and with
mesirus nefesh, sacrifice, through their service of HaShem that they
performed while in this world. The source of holiness, writes the Tiferes
Shlomo, is mesirus nefesh, and the righteous in Gan Eden accept upon
themselves mesirus nefesh, even to descend to this world for the
sanctification of HaShems Name and for the good of the Jewish People.
This, then, is the meaning of the words that we recite here binachas ruach.
These words are literally translated to mean with tranquility, but they can
also be interpreted to mean the descent of the ruach, the spirit, into this
world. The righteous that have left this world already are referred to as
Shabbos Stories
Good morning to everyone
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky writes: Last year my brother, Rabbi Zvi
Kamenetzky of Chicago, tried to contact a friend who was vacationing at
Schechters Caribbean Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida. After about 15
rings, the hotel operator, an elderly, southern black woman, who worked at
the hotel for three decades politely informed my brother that the man was
not in the room. Would you like to leave a message? she inquired.
Sure, responded Reb Zvi, tell him that Rabbi Kamenetzky called.
The woman at the other end gasped. Raabbi Kaamenetzky? she drawled.
Did you say you were Raabbi Kaamenetzky? She knew the name! It
sounded as if she was about to follow up with a weighty question, and my
brother responded in kind. Yes. He did not know what would follow.
Why do you ask?
Are you, asked the operator, by any chance, related to the famous
Rabbi Kamenetzky?
There was silence in Chicago. My brother could not imagine that this
woman had an inkling of who his grandfather, the great sage, Dean of
Mesivta Torah Vadaas, to whom thousands had flocked for advice and
counsel, was. She continued. You know, he passed away about ten years
ago at the end the wintah? She definitely had her man, thought Reb Zvi.
Still in shock, he offered a subdued, Yes, Im a grandson.
YOOOU ARE? she exclaimed. Well, Im sure glad to talk to ya! Cause
your grandpa -- he was a real good friend of mine!
My brother pulled the receiver from his ear and stared at the mouthpiece.
He composed himself and slowly began to repeat her words, quizzically.
You say that Rabbi Kamenetzky was a good friend of yours?
Sure! Every mornin Raabbi Kaaamenetzky would come to this here hotel
to teach some sorta Bible class (It was the Daf-Yomi.) Now my desk is
about ten yards from the main entrance of the hotel. But every mornin he
made sure to come my way, nod his head, and say good mornin to me. On
his way out, he would always stop by my desk and say good-bye. Oh!
Yes! He was a great Rabbi but he was even a greater man. He was a
wonderful man. He was a real good friend of mine! (www.Torah.org)
Shabbos in Navi - Shmuel I Chapter 30
Reward for those who prepare and for those who act
In this chapter we learn how Dovid arrived at Tziklag and discovered that
the Amalekim had attacked Tziklag, burned it with fire and had captured
all the women and children residing in Tziklag. Dovid and his men then
went and took revenge against the Amalekim, killing them all except for
four hundred youths riding on camels, who fled. Dovid then rescued all the
spoils that the Amalekim had taken, and he also rescued the women and
children. Two hundred of Dovids men had remained behind, as they were
too exhausted to cross the Besor Brook. The mean-spirited and base people
of Dovids men declared that the men who had not fought should not
receive any of the spoils, and Dovid disagreed with them. Dovid argued
that the ones who remained with the baggage should receive equal share to
those who had gone out to battle. This idea of sharing the spoils applies
also to Shabbos. The Gemara states that one who toils on Erev Shabbos
will eat on Shabbos. Many Jews eat and drink on Shabbos but they are not
engaged in the preparations for Shabbos. It is usually the women who
spend the most time preparing for Shabbos, and the Gemara states that the
women are obligated in both the positive and negative commandments that
are said regarding Shabbos. Thus, it follows that both men and women will
earn equal reward for preparing and observing the Shabbos.
Shabbos in Agadah
Shabbos elevates everything to a higher place
The Pinei Menachem writes that on Shabbso every Jew has his place, as it
is said (Shemos 16:29) al yeiztei ish mimkomo bayom hashevii, let no man
leave his place on the seventh day. Shabbos, writes the Pinei Menachem,
elevates everything to a higher place. Following the sin of the Golden
Calf, it is said (Ibid 33:14) panai yeileichu vahnichosi lach, He said, My
Presence will go and provide you rest. This rest alludes to Shabbos.
Shabbos in Halacha
Exception to the prohibition of insulating with a heat-retaining
There is an exception which only applies in cases of necessity. One can
insulate a pot with heat-retaining material, in case of necessity, if the food
has cooled below yad soledes bo (110F), even while in a kli rishon. Thus,
if one does not have available a container with which he can transfer the
food, he would be allowed to insulate a kli rishon (i.e. the original pot) to
preserve hot food that is essential to the Shabbos meal.
Shabbos Challenge Question
Last week we posed the question: Why is Shabbos referred to as a kallah, a
bride? The Pinei Menachem writes that Shabbos is referred to as chemdas
yamim, most coveted of days, and this is in accordance with the Targum
that renders the word (Bereishis 2:2) vayechal, (HaShem) completed, as
vichamad, and he coveted. Based on this the Pinei Menachem suggests
that the Shabbos is referred to as a kallah, a bride, similar to what it is said
(Tehillim 84:3) nichsifa vigam kolsa nafshi, my soul yearns, indeed it
pines, and it is for this reason we recite in Kabbalas Shabbos the words
lecho dodi likras kallah, come my Beloved to greet the bride.
This weeks question is: why would it be permitted to cry on Shabbos? If
you have a possible answer, please email me at
ShabbosTaamHachaim@gmail.com and your answer will be posted in
next weeks edition of Shabbos: Taam HaChaim.
Shabbos: Taam HaChaim Vayakhel-Pekudei-HaChodesh 5773 Is
sponsored in memory of Tzedkiah ben Yehoyakim, last king of Yehuda,
died in captivity, in Bavel (561 BCE). [other sources say 396 BCE and 380
Rav Yosef Shaul (ben Aryeh Leibush) HaLevi Nathanson (1810-1875 or
1878). Born in Brezhan , Galicia , he was married at the age of 16. His
father was a descendant of the Chacham Tzvi, the Maharsha, the Rema,
the Bach, and Rashi. Reb Yosef Shaul became very close to his brother-in-
law, Rav Mordechai Zev Ettinger, and together they authored several
sefarim including Mefarshei Hayam and Magen Giborim on Tur and
Shulchan Aruch, Maasei Ilfas on the Rif , Sheves Achim (responsa),
Meiras Eynayim on hilchos bedikas hareiah, and Ner Maaravi on the
Yerushalmi. Many years before he became Rav, he founded a yeshiva in
Lvov whose purpose was to train dayanim and rabbanim. In 1856, he was
appointed Rav in Lvov , a position he held for almost 20 years. Sadly, his
Rebbetzen was niftar in 1857. He married one year later but was never
zocheh to have children with either wife. He founded a communal kitchen,
and he himself would walk around town collecting tzedaka. from the city
gevirim. For this tzedaka, he wanted to take an active role. He is most
famous for his sefer Sheilos Uteshuvos Hashoel Umaishiv, but he authored
many other sefarim, including Divrei Shaul on the Hagadah, Divrei Shaul
Yosef Daas, Yodos Nedarim, Divrei Shaul al Hatorah, and Divrei Shaul al
Agados HaShas. He also authored a Kuntres entitled Bitul Modaa, in
which he argued that machine-made matzos are more mehudar than hand
Rav Yeshayah Schorr (1879). His primary teacher was Rav Mordechai of
Kremnitz, the son of the Maggid of Zlotchov. Rav Schorrs last rabbinical
post, and the one for which he is best remembered, was in Iasi (on the
present-day border between Rumania and Moldova ). His best know sefer
is Klil Tiferes on Chumash.
Rav Moshe Meir Rosenstein of Berditchev (1821-1902). A chassid of the
Rizhiner Rebbe in his youth, Rav Moshe Meir moved to Eretz Yisrael and
settled in Tzfas in 1853, living there for several decades. At the end of his
life, he settled in Teverya. His insights have been published recently in a
sefer called Avodas HaLeviim.
Rav Yitzchak (ben Dovid) Abuhab, Kabbalist, Av Beis Din in Amsterdam
(1605-1693). Born in Castro Daire , Portugal , his family escaped the
Inquisition in Portugal and settled in Amsterdam . His father died when
Yitzchak was only seven. In 1626, at the age of 21, he was nominated
Chacham. In 1642, he migrated to Brazil . He returned to Amsterdam
three years later after the war between the Portuguese and Dutch. . He
was a member of the court that excommunicated Espinoza. Ten years later
(1666) he defended Shabtai Tzvi. Descendent of Rav Yitzchak Abuhab of
Toledo , author of Menorah HaMaor, c1320). He was also a grandson of
Rav Yitzchak Abuhab of Castille, among whose leading talmidim were Rav
Shmuel Balansi (Valenci) and Rav Avraham Zacuto (Sacut), author of
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Sefer Yohassin. In 1492, he left Spain along with Rav Zacuto to Lisbon and
died several months later.
Rav Shlomo Elyashiv (1841-1925). He was a great Kabbalist whose vast
knowledge of all aspects of Torah and exceptional ability to clarify
complicated concepts resulted in a few several Kabbalistic works,
including Drushei Olam HaTohu (Dayah) and Hakdamos VShaarim
(HaKadosh). More recently, the more philosophical and less
Kabbalistic technical sections of his works were assembled into a single
book called Leshem Shevo Veachlama.
Rav Moshe Neuschloss, av beis din of New Square . New Square is the
anglicized form of Skvira, a village in Ukraine , where the Skver Hasidim
dynasty of Chasidism had its roots. The community began in 1954, when
twenty Skver families moved from Williamsburg to a 130 acre farm north
of Spring Valley , under the leadership of their Rebbe Rav Yakov Yosef
Twersky. In 1961 New Square became the first village in New York state to
be governed by a religious group. Over the years annexations have
increased its size. Its population increased 78% between 1990 and 2000.
Rav Chaim (ben Yichya) Sinuani (1898-1979). Born in Sinuan , Yemen , to
Chacham Yichya, of the eminent Bida family. As a youth, he left home for
Jabal, to study in the yeshiva of Rav Shlomo ben Yosef Tabib and Rav
Dovid Yaish Chadad. Both of the roshei yeshiva passed away in 1919. In
1921, at the age of only 23, Rav Chaim became Rav and Av Beis Din of
Sinuan. He and his family participated in Operation Magic Carpet in
1949. He is buried in Yehud.
Rav Yisrael Bergstein (1912-1998), born in the Lithuanian city of Suvalk,
studied in Grodno under Rav Shimon Shkop and Rav Chaim Shmuelevitz
from age 11, then at age 14, under Rav Avraham Grodzinsky and the Alter
of Slabodka at Chevron. Taught at Chafetz Chaim in Baltimore and
founded a yeshiva in White Plains.
, , "
Have a wonderful Shabbos and a Good Chodesh
New Stories
New Stories Vayakhel-Pekudei-HaChodesh 5773
Rav Shlomo Elyashiv: Navigating the Heavens
In this world we can stand in his presence but who knows if in the Olam
HaEmes we will even be able to get near him. While we build in this
world and have in mind to build the heavens, he with his clear vision of
the pathways of heaven builds the heavens themselves. So said the
Chofetz Chaim about the great Gaon, Tzaddik and Mekubal Rav Shlomo
Elyashiv the author of the renowned Sefer on Kabala, Leshem Shvo
VAchlama and the grandfather of todays posek hador Rav Sholom Yosef
Elyashiv yblcta (Ed. Note: ztl).
The Baal HaLeshem, as he is known, was born in 5601/1841. He was a
talmid of Rav Gershon Tanchum in Minsk where he was appointed to be a
Rav and Posek. After a short time he resigned his position based on a
Pesikta Rabta (perek 22) that says Rebbi Avahu says, (Hashem says) I am
Kadosh and you are called Kadosh. If you do not have all the attributes
that I have then do not accept authority upon yourself.
The Baal HaLeshem did not utter any word without reason and he
enclosed himself in his room wearing tallis and tefillin, learning both
Toras HaNigla and Toras HaNistar day and night. There he composed he
seforim on Kabala. Rav Aryeh Levine, whose daughter married Rav
Yosef Sholom Elyashiv, said about the Baal HaLeshem that although his
right hand was weak and feeble and writing was a difficult chore for him
nevertheless when he wrote his seforim he was able to write with
incredible speed. Before writing his seforim he would personally make the
ink and prepare the quills B'Kedusha UBTahara.
Although publishing Kabalistic works is not a simple matter because it
reveals matters that are often best to remain secret, two incidents show that
it was clear that the Baal HaLeshem had great Siyata Dishmaya in
preserving and publishing his seforim. The first was in WWI when the
enemy soldiers came to Shavil, the town of the Baal HaLeshem, and told
the people they had 15 hours to leave. The Baal HaLeshem was already
73 years old. With bitter tears he realized that he would not be able to take
his not yet published writings with him. He then buried them in the
ground, as is Kavod for seforim. Years later when the Baal HaLeshem
took up residence in the city of Hommel and it was impossible to return to
Shavil, he told of his sorrow to another former resident of Shavil, Mr. Ben
Tzion Nourik, who then resided in Riga. Mr. Nourik with great vigor took
up the cause of rescuing the seforim even sending experts from Riga to
Shavil to recover the buried treasures. This operation was successful and
the seforim were returned to their holy owner.
Later on, in the year 1924 when the Baal HaLeshem was already 83 years
old and on his way to Eretz Yisroel, he spent a number of days in Istanbul.
Upon boarding the ship to Eretz Yisroel he realized that a set of
manuscripts were missing. With a torrent of tears the Baal HaLeshem
davened for the manuscript to be returned and moments before the ship set
sail another guest of the hotel he stayed at came running to the boat with
the manuscript.
Rav Aryeh Levine said that one time the Baal HaLeshems wife, in her
innocence told him, that every night for many years she would hear from
behind closed doors her husband learning with someone who had a very
sweet voice but she never had the nerve to ask her husband about it. One
time she was forced to come in and interrupt her husband but she was too
scared to reveal to Rav Aryeh Levine what she had seen.
About his young grandson Rav Yosef Sholom Shlita he said Ashrei
Yoladito, praised is the one who bore him. He also quotes him in Chelek
3 of the Leshem.
During his Levaya in 5688/1928 at the age of 87, all those who
participated witnessed a pillar of fire in the form of a rainbow, covering
the entire sky from east to west and were amazed. Yehi Zichro Boruch
(Gedolei HaDoros Rav YM Stern) (www.Revach.net)
Rav Shlomo Elyashiv, the "Ba'al HaLeshem,"1 was born on the 12th of
Teves, 5601/1841 CE, in Zoger, Lithuania. On the 27th day of Adar, in the
year 5688/1928, some 87 years later, he passed away in Jerusalem, just
after having made Kiddush on a Shabbat night. Just that day, "Sefer
HaKlalim" had just been published, 19 years after the publishing his first
Kabbalistic work, "Hakdamos Ushe'arim," or "HaKadosh," for short. As
Divine Providence would have it, it was the very Shabbat, Parashat
Pekudai, that the words "leshem shevo v'achlamah," the name Rav
Elyashiv used for his seforim, appeared in the weekly parshah. Hence, just
about every year since his death, the yahrzeit of the Leshem usually falls
out during the week that these words are mentioned in the weekly Torah
reading, either the first time in Parashat Tetzaveh, or in a leap year, when a
yahrzeit is observed in the second month of Adar, in Parashat Pekudai.
From a young age, Shlomo Elyashiv fulfilled all the requirements of an
illui - a Torah genius. He was brilliant, had a phenomenal memory, and
tremendous character traits. He was clearly a holy person, not desiring
anything that might distract him away from achieving his lofty Torah
goals, and he quickly became well known for his devotion to learning.
By the age of 20, he was already married to Bas-Sheva Esther Fein, from
Siaulini, Lithuania, who had immediately recognized her young husband's
great Torah potential. Therefore, she relieved him of all financial
responsibilities, so that he could learn without any distraction.
Nevertheless, at the same time, to help the young couple manage, residents
of Sianuliai appointed the Leshem as an official Dayan, though he was still
quite young, and though at first he accepted the appointment, he later
turned it down without offering any explanation.
In order to intensify his learning, he left Sianuliai and his family, except
for his son, Yitzchak, whom he took along, and moved to Telz, a great
center of Torah learning in Lithuania at that time. For 10 years, he learned
continuously, barely ever sleeping. With such diligence, he was able to
master the entire Talmud, both the Babylonian and Jerusalem, Poskim, and
many mussar seforim. Having done so, he finally began to delve into
Kabbalah, which seems to have been his true calling in life, and continued
until he had mastered the realm of Nistar as well.
Eventually, the Leshem returned back home to Siauliai, where he
continued with his rigorous schedule of Torah learning, usually remaining
in his room wrapped in his tallit and tefillin. He never wasted a moment,
and never spoke a single word that was not for the sake of the service of
God. It wasn't long before his name became well known amongst the
Torah giants of his time, many of whom came to visit with him.
The great Chofetz Chaim, Rabbi Yisroel Meir Kagan, met with Reb
Shlomo, and commented, "In this world, it is still possible to stand next to
him, but who knows if in the World of Truth it will be possible to stand in
his realm."
The Chazon Ish, Rabbi Avrohom Yeshaya Karelitz, called him the last
Mekubal. And, when the Ben Ish Chai received the works of the Leshem,
he recited the blessing of "Shehecheyonu," not a usual occurrence.
By World War I, the Leshem, already quite old, was part of an expulsion
that eventually forced him to the city of Radinski, deep within Russia.
That is where he remained for seven years, and though he later returned to
Hamla, where he had lived for a while, his mind turned to the idea of
fulfilling his lifelong dream of settling in Eretz Yisroel.
Preparations were made, the journey began, and after a lengthy and often
difficult trip, especially for a man of his age and condition, the family
arrived there in 1925. They made their way to Jerusalem, where he was
received with great honor by the leading rabbis of the city, and some of his
past students who were already living there. For the short time that he was
there, he taught and Volumes of legal responsa from over many
generations shared his wisdom, with many coming to him for advice and a
After receiving his latest effort, Sefer HaKlallim, straight off the press, he
kissed it and thanked God for allowing him to see the publication of
another work. Those around him blessed him, and said that Heaven should
allow more of his work to see the light of day, but he replied, "Thank God
for what I have accomplished until now. It is enough."
>:\D \"nn "po"np trcdk trcd ihc 5
Apparently Heaven, once again, had agreed with the great tzaddik, for
later that night, after making Kiddush, Rabbi Shlomo Elyashiv, zt"l, left
this world, having accomplished tremendously, on behalf of himself, and
the world of Torah. Aside from his works of Kabbalah, the Leshem had
also written on Shas, the Shulchan Aruch, and the Rambam. He wrote
many responsa, both halachic and regarding questions of Kabbalah.
However, what has made the Leshem's works so acceptable is the way he
explains the most complicated of Kabbalistic concepts on a level that is
quite understandable. Furthermore, the Leshem had an uncanny ability to
synthesize many sources, and show how they are related, or to resolve
what previously seemed like a profound contradiction, yielding an elegant
insight into Creation along the way. (http://www.shaarnun.org)
Have a wonderful Shabbos
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Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein
Maharal's Gur Aryeh
Shrunken Inventory
These are the accountings of the Mishkan, the Mishkan of Testimony. (1)
Rashi: The word mishkan/tabernacle appears in our pasuk twice, one
following without any separation from the other. This alludes to another
meaning of the letters MShKN, namely collateral. The pasuk hints that the
Beis HaMikdosh would serve as collateral, and would be twice collected to
satisfy the debts caused by the transgressions of Klal Yisrael. Each
destruction of a Temple was therefore collateral seized for a debt that had
not been paid.
Maharal: The thought is certainly true. But why here? Our parshah offers
an audit of what was done in building the Mishkan. Wouldnt it be more
appropriate to tie in the Mishkan with the larger, fixed versions of the
Mishkan the two Temples in Yerushalayim in an earlier parshah? In
earlier parshios we were introduced to the general concept of providing a
place for the indwelling of the Shechinah. Surely an allusion to the
importance of the future versions of the Mishkan belonged there, not here.
Know that according to Chazal(2) the first luchos failed in their mission
because they were given in public, amidst much fanfare. Berachah does
not attach itself to phenomena that are public and micro-managed. Instead,
the ayin hora attaches itself to those events. Berachah is a dynamic
process of unfettered, unlimited growth. It is the opposite of scrutiny and
observation, where the eye sizes up a situation, and frames it in a discrete
snapshot of an image, limiting it to that perception.
The allusion to the destructions of the two Temples had to wait till this
point in the text. In this parshah, all aspects of the Mishkan are turned into
numbers. The Mishkan is spliced into different components, all of which
are measured and numbered. Whatever is measured this way is vulnerable
to the ayin hora and therefore to ultimate failure and destruction. Our
pasuk alludes to the fact that this limiting of the Miskhan provides a
benefit as well it allows for the expiation of their sin, through the
destruction of the Batei Mikdash.
Testimony of Forgiveness
Rashi: It is called the Mishkan of Testimony because it testified that
Hashem forgave them for the sin of the Golden Calf, for He caused His
presence to dwell among them.
Maharal: Acutally, this is not the way most of us remember the story.
Hashem demonstrated that He forgave them by having Moshe alight the
mountain again, and presenting him with a replacement set of luchos. It
would seem to us that these luchos were the strongest testimony to having
achieved forgiveness.
Rashis point is that the luchos did not indicate forgiveness. Torah is given
to us as a yoke. No matter how well we understand it and appreciate it, the
fact remains that we are supposed to go about our daily halachic lives
telling ourselves, The Ribbno Shel Olam demands something of me at the
moment, and I stand prepared to do His bidding. Elsewhere, we explained
that Hashem held the mountain over their heads in order to impress upon
them even after having so beautifully expressed their love for Him in the
words naaseh vnishma that Torah is not subject to voluntary acceptance
or rejection. It is something we must do.
Presenting Moshe with a second set of luchos, therefore, only indicates
that they were deemed worthy enough to continue to be pressed into
Divine service. By bringing His presence to dwell in their midst, however,
Hashem showed His reinstated approval of them, kivayachol. No one
chooses to dwell among those he despises or dislike. We choose to live
among friends, among those with whom we are emotionally close. The
Shechinahs presence in the Jewish camp showed that Hashem had turned
away from His earlier rejection of them.
Additionally, the position of Klal Yisrael after the eigel was that of a
woman who has been unfaithful to her husband. By straying after another
god, it was as if they had been adulterous towards their mate, HKBH. An
adulterous woman is forbidden halachically to her husband. When Hashem
took up residence, as it were, among them, He restored the marital home.
He indicated thereby that it was only the mixed multitude, the erev rav,
who had descended to the level of willful avodah zarah. They, too, were
the immediate cause of the transgression of the bulk of the people. The sin
of everyone besides the erev rav, as severe as it was, did not amount to the
amorous fling of a straying wife. Hashems return of his presence to them
clearly demonstrated that the allocation of guilt among the people was not
equal, and that the bulk of the nation was not seen as having been
1. Based on Gur Aryeh, Shemos 38:21; Chiddushei Aggados, Bava Metzia
2. Tanchuma, chap. 31
Rabbi Oizer Alport
Parsha Potpourri
Parshas Vayakhel-Pekudei Vol. 8, Issue 22
" " '
In honor of the marriage of Moshe Rosenberg and Surie Lowenthal
) 36:7 (
There seems to be an internal inconsistency in our verse with which a
number of commentators grapple. The Torah says simultaneously that the
communal work for the Mishkan was both sufficient, which would seem to
imply that it was exactly enough, and that there remained leftovers. How
can these two apparently contradictory statements be resolved?
Rav Mordechai Kamenetzky relates that a small town once held a tightly-
contested election for mayor. After all of the ballots were counted, a victor
emerged by a narrow margin of one vote. His initial joy over winning the
election quickly dissipated when every person he encountered claimed that
the vote which represented the winning margin was his, and demanded that
the new mayor remain indebted to him throughout his term in office.
Similarly, the Sichos Tzaddikim suggests that if the donations for the
Mishkan had been precisely sufficient, every contributor would claim that
the success of the Mishkan was dependent upon his personal contribution,
without which the entire project would have failed. This would result in
tremendous communal conceit, and the Gemora in Sotah (5a) teaches that
arrogant people prevent the presence of the Shechinah. As the entire
purpose of the Mishkan was to create a place for Hashems Presence to
rest, it was necessary that the donations be slightly more than required in
order to be considered sufficient.
) 37:2 (
Rav Chaim Volozhiner once asked his teacher, the Vilna Gaon, to help
him understand a difficult passage in the Zohar HaKadosh. The Gaon
responded by noting that with regard to the Aron, which was made of
wood, the Torah writes that it should be covered with gold on the inside
and on the outside.
However, Rashi explains (25:11) that first the wooden box was placed
inside the larger golden box, and the smaller golden box was then placed
inside of both of them. According to Rashi, the Aron was first covered on
the outside (by the larger golden box) and only afterward on the inside (by
the smaller golden box). If so, why did the Torah reverse the order,
instructing that it should be covered first on the inside?
Rather, we must reinterpret our verse as referring not to the wooden Aron
but to the golden coverings. With respect to the golden boxes, the covering
occurred in the order prescribed by the Torah, as the wooden Aron first
covered the inner walls of the larger outer box and subsequently covered
the outer walls of smaller inner box. However, we now must understand
why the Torah chose to write the instructions in such a convoluted manner.
The Gaon proceeded to explain that the wooden Aron symbolizes man,
who is compared to a tree ( ), and the two golden boxes
represent the Torah ( ), the outer one corresponding to the
revealed Torah and the inner one to the mystical secrets of Kabbalah. The
Torah wrote our verse in this confusing way to hint to us that just as the
revealed Torah is covered by the Aron (representing man) on its inside, so
too are we able and expected to penetrate to its deepest depths of
However, when it comes to the hidden areas of the Torah, the Aron only
covers the external side to teach that it is impossible to completely plumb
its innermost secrets, and we sometimes must content ourselves with
whatever superficial understanding we are able to attain. With that, the
Vilna Gaon dismissed his surprised student to reflect upon this unexpected
answer to his question regarding the esoteric Kabbalistic passage.
) ' 38:22 (
In discussing the construction and assembly of the Mishkan and its vessels
with Betzalel, Rashi writes that Moshe initially suggested that the vessels
should be built before the Mishkan itself. Betzalel disagreed and
maintained that the structure should be constructed before its contents so
6 >:\D \"nn "po"np trcdk trcd ihc
that the utensils would have a place to rest upon their completion, a
position to which Moshe subsequently acquiesced.
Rav Nachman Shmuel Yaakov Miodoser wrote a commentary on the
Torah called Amudei Shmuel and published it together with a sefer called
Amudei Yehonason by Rav Yonason Eibeshutz, from whom Rav
Miodoser was descended. The work contains a letter of approbation from
Rav Chaim Soloveitchik, but interestingly, the author writes that after Rav
Chaim reviewed the manuscript, he requested that the first piece in the
sefer, be removed from the work.
In the piece in question, Rav Miodoser suggested that the dispute between
Moshe and Betzalel is connected to the argument between Beis Hillel and
Beis Shammai (Chagigah 12a) about which was created first, the earth or
the heavens, and used this concept to explain a perplexing Medrash. Rav
Chaim maintained that this interpretation is problematic, as it would mean
that there are legitimate opinions that disagree with Moshe, but no human
being has the ability to argue with him.
Rav Miodoser attempted to defend himself by noting that the renowned
Panim Yafos gives a similar explanation, but even so, Rav Chaim
requested that it not be included. The author promised that he would do his
utmost to remove the controversial piece, but when he arrived at the
printer in Warsaw, he discovered that it had already been printed. As
nothing could be done at that point to remove the section from the sefer,
the author instead appended a note recording this exchange in order to
make Rav Chaim's opinion known.
Similarly, two of the Baalei Tosefos, Rabbeinu Tam and Rav Eliyahu of
Paris, disagreed whether the correct interpretation of the Torah's command
(Devorim 6:8) regarding tefillin - you shall bind them - is that a
person must tie anew the knot on his tefillin each day, or whether it is
sufficient to bind the tefillin to one's arm via its straps (see Tosefos Chullin
9a d.h. v'idach). The Seder HaDoros (4930) cites the sefer Shalsheles
HaKabbalah, which records that Moshe was mystically asked to clarify the
issue. Moshe responded that there is indeed an obligation to tie a new knot
in one's tefillin each day, in accordance with the opinion of Rav Eliyahu,
at which point Rabbeinu Tam rejected Moshe's opinion by bringing proofs
to his position that a new knot is not required, and he said that Moshe was
in error.
Rav Chaim commented that this story is considered heretical and it is
forbidden to believe it. He explained that the Torah is referred to as "Toras
Moshe," and if in fact Moshe said that the true understanding of the word
is that one must tie a new knot daily, there is no way to disagree
with him and it is therefore impossible that this story is accurate, as
Rabbeinu Tam never would have said that Moshe was mistaken.
Parsha Points to Ponder (and sources which discuss them):
1) Rashi explains (35:2) that the Torah preceded the commandment to
keep Shabbos to the requirement to build the Mishkan to teach us that its
construction doesnt take precedence over observing Shabbos, and it may
only be built during the six days of the week. If the primary focus of this
section is the laws of the Mishkan, why did the Torah repeat the mitzvah
of Shabbos at such length to teach this lesson in such a roundabout manner
instead of succinctly and directly commanding, You shall not build the
Mishkan on Shabbos? (Yishmru Daas)
2) The Torah emphasizes (35:21) that the artisans who assisted in the
construction of the Mishkan were those whose hearts inspired them. Why
was this necessary for their success, and what lesson is it coming to teach
us? (Ramban, Daas Torah)
3) The Gemora in Menachos (99a) derives from 40:18 that
it is permitted to increase an items level of holiness, but not to
decrease it. Is it permissible to transfer an object in a manner that
preserves it in its original level of holiness, such as selling one Sefer Torah
in order to purchase another one, or is it forbidden to do anything to it
which doesnt result in an actual increase in its holiness? (Ran and Meiri
Megillah 25b, Bach Orach Chaim 153, Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim
153:4, Magen Avrohom 153:4)
4) Parshas HaChodesh contains the mitzvah of sanctifying the new moon
(12:2). We cannot do this mitzvah today, but we commemorate it by
saying Kiddush Levanah. Why is no blessing said when reciting
Kiddush Levanah? (Eliyah Rabbah O. C. 426:1, Shut Ksav Sofer O. C.
Answers to Points to Ponder:
1) Rav Dovid Povarsky suggests that had the Torah begun with the laws
of the Mishkan and only mentioned the fact that it may not be built on
Shabbos at the end, the listener would have briefly thought that the
Mishkan may in fact be built on Shabbos until he reached the verse which
states otherwise. Even though at that point he would recognize that his
assumption was incorrect, every thought leaves an impression, and his
temporary view of the lack of severity of working on Shabbos would still
leave a psychological impression which could negatively impact his
observance of Shabbos in the future.
2) The Ramban explains that due to the enslavement in Egypt, there were
no experienced Jewish craftsmen, as they hadnt been offered the time to
learn these skills. Nevertheless, there were Jews who recognized their
innate talents and through the inspiration of their hearts volunteered to
assist in building the Mishkan, trusting that Hashem would enable them to
properly perform His will. Rav Yerucham Levovitz derives from here
that in any endeavor for the sake of Hashem, one who becomes inspired
and dedicates himself to a project for the purpose of increasing Hashems
glory, even if he doesnt possess the talents and skills necessary for the
task, will be blessed with Heavenly assistance and success that he never
dreamed possible something to which this author can certainly attest!
3) The Ran points out that the expression of the Gemora seems
contradictory, as it initially implies that one may only increase an items
level of holiness, which implies that transferring it to an equal level of
holiness would be forbidden, but it then states that it is only forbidden to
decrease its level of holiness, implying that keeping it equal would be
permissible. However, he notes that another Gemora (Megillah 27a) seems
to clearly imply that transferring to an equal level of holiness would be
forbidden, and this is also the opinion of the Meiri. In discussing this
issue, the Shulchan Aruch doesnt rule decisively, simply noting that
some opinions permit an equal transfer while others forbid it. The Bach
maintains that all opinions forbid one to initially sell an item with the
intention of using the money to purchase an object of equal holiness, and
he suggests that the dispute is only in a case where one has already
improperly sold the object, in which case some opinions permit him to buy
something of equal holiness. However, the Magen Avrohom notes that
the Rambam seems to permit even the initial sale in certain cases.
4) The Knesses HaGedolah answers that no blessing is recited because
less than 30 days have passed from the last time that the mitzvah was
performed. The Eliyah Rabbah quotes the Sefer Tanya, who suggests
that there is no need to say the blessing since the essence of
Kiddush Levana is thanking Hashem for the renewal of the moon. The
Ksav Sofer explains that the moon was originally intended to be the same
size as the sun, but was shrunk to its present size. In the Messianic era, it
will return to its original glory (Yeshaya 30:26). Because our sins prevent
that from happening, we dont say the blessing when performing a
mitzvah that invokes our pain and suffering. He adds that a legal
ramification of the different explanations is whether one should make this
blessing when reciting Birkas HaChama this year. According to the
Knesses HaGedolah, one would make this blessing, as 28 years have
passed since it was last said. It would not be said according to the Tanya,
as Birkas HaChama thanks Hashem for the return of the sun to its original
location, nor according to his explanation, as the aforementioned verse in
Yeshaya teaches that in the Messianic era, the sun will be seven times
larger than it is at present.
Aish.Com - Rabbi Stephen Baars
Brainstorming With Baars
Don't Worry America
Have you ever been in a store and thought to yourself, "A few simple
changes would make this place so much more pleasant and probably even
more profitable?"
Recently, I had to compare two hospitals, as the father of the patient. One
hospital was world class, Johns Hopkins, while the other, unfortunately,
was not. Not even close.
The differences between the two really had to do with little things along
the way. How the doctors listened and responded, nurses, pillows and
simple courtesies. Lots of small differences, which in of themselves could
easily be dismissed, but when put all together would either make the whole
experience very pleasant or very distasteful. While in the "not close"
hospital, I kept thinking to myself, I have to call up the CEO and explain
why their hospital is so second rate. However, I knew it would be a waste
of time.
People find it hard to make those small little changes that make all the
difference in the world, even if they want to. Like a building, once the
foundations are set there is a real limit to how much a person can grow.
This concept explains the longevity of America and I believe explains why
it has nothing to worry about.
The integrity, nobility and the impressive commitment to the concepts
upon which America was founded elevate it above every other country in
the world. Others may appear to come close, and even seem to be serious
contenders, but they only shine for a moment and eventually fade away.
The only country that is in America's league is the modern State of Israel.
And to be accurate, it's America that is in the same class as Israel.
Countries founded on meaningful principles, true ideals and grounded
dreams are in a very small class. Only two in fact. But considering it used
to be only one, we have had a very good last quarter epoch.
In a very similar way, families, marriages and even a single person can
create their own dream and vision. When people make a full commitment
>:\D \"nn "po"np trcdk trcd ihc 7
to great and meaningful concepts, they themselves become imbued with a
fabric of values that makes success almost inevitable. Almost every small
decision will be the right one.
However, without such a commitment it's impossible to detail how
someone should behave so that they can get to the top. In other words, you
can't script someone on a daily basis for success, if they don't have the
personal commitment.
It is for this reason our Sages tell us that the Western Wall to The Holy
Temple will never fall. Because it was constructed by the poor people, and
their commitment, focus of purpose and self sacrifice was so deep, it
imbued the wall with such intense meaning, guaranteeing itself eternity.
The Tabernacle, the forerunner to the permanent Temple, was a
magnificent construction of many donated items, none of which does the
Torah tell us what they were used for previously.
Except one...
The washstand through which the Priests purified themselves before they
engaged in the holy service. The only item in the entire Tabernacle where
the Torah tells us what it was made from was this washstand. The Torah
explains it was made from the womens' mirrors that they themselves
To be honest, I was a little hesitant to discuss such a sensitive subject, and
maybe would have just glossed over it if not for the fact that Moses
similarly felt these mirrors did not belong in the Home of God.
Why not?
Because these mirrors were used by the women in Egypt to make
themselves attractive to their husbands, who were exhausted from the
slavery. Moses felt such items did not belong in the Tabernacle even
though they were instrumental in bringing the next generation of Jews.
God however disagreed. Moses sought to exclude them and God
intervened and tells him, "These are dearer to Me than all the other
contributions..." (Rashi, Exodus 38:8).
And not only were they used, but they were used to "Purify."
Mirrors were considered quite a luxury, reserved only for the wealthy.
Before modern China was invented, a mirror was no cheap item. Slaves,
by definition, don't spend what little money they have on mirrors. One of
the last things a slave has to worry about is what they look like.
Think about how important these women viewed their connection to their
spouses. For them to own a mirror, imagine how many other "necessities"
they had to give up. They didn't do this for vanity. They did it for
Spirituality doesn't begin with God. It ends with God.
To be spiritual, you must first appreciate there is life outside yourself just
as real as you. These mirrors represented their real spiritual awareness
which despite the bitter, harsh and brutal slavery, was never lost.
"To love God, one must first love man. If anyone tells you that he loves
God but does not love his fellow man, he is lying." (Divrei Chassidim)
These women understood that even though we may be slaves, we are still
wives. We are not objects. We, and our husbands, are people.
What is crucial to understand is that real spirituality doesn't fade even
when the physical realm seems daunting. Real spirituality is not a luxury,
sort of like a pastime or hobby of the rich and famous. That is not
spirituality, it's phony self indulgence.
Understanding The Temple
A house is a place where you merely exist, but a home is a place where
you find the meaning. It's easy to build a house. It takes real commitment
to ultimate values to build a home.
The same is true for a country. Given a big enough battleship, it's
relatively easy to plant a flag on a small continent. It's nowhere near as
easy to imbue its inhabitants with values such as free speech, human rights
and dignity, to name but a few. From a satellite in space, both places may
seem the same, but here on earth those two countries are worlds apart.
From this, you can understand what The Temple was all about. It wasn't
just a building. It stood for and embodied the ultimate purpose of life. This
was the goal of everyone engaged in its construction. They understood,
just like people who are building a home, or the founders of America
building a country, that if we dedicate this physical space with absolute
commitment to the ultimate purpose and value of life, then it will be.
People cannot make homes more meaningful than who they are. The home
is a reflection of the people living in it. Homes, countries and The Holy
Temple are the places that bring out our best values.
America is here because of the people who founded it. Their commitment
carries on today, not through their buildings and not even through their
writings, but through their citizens. Buildings are an expression of what we
believe, and it's what we believe that make us who we are.
This chasm of understanding between the Jewish people and America on
one side, and the rest of the world on the other, is possibly best epitomized
with the tragedy of 9/11. For us, it was a tragedy of the death of so many
innocent people. No one in America considered it would end the country
because the country is not a building. But that is exactly what the
perpetrators thought it to be. They just cannot grasp that America is bigger
than its buildings. They don't understand that the buildings represent the
people, not the other way around. Other than Israel and America, no other
country exists like this, nor do they comprehend.
The builders of The Temple had a deep and enduring commitment to
meaning and spirituality. It expressed itself in The Temple, but all that
they stood for continues in the people, and that doesn't die when the
building is no longer here. We, the descendents of those women, embody
their commitment.
It is for this reason, that we Jews know, without a doubt, that such a
building, dedicated for such a noble purpose, by such a people, will
eventually be rebuilt.
Brainstorming Questions To Ponder
Question 1: Do you consider yourself a spiritual person?
Question 2: Are spiritual people better than others?
Question 3: Is being spiritual a choice or are you born that way?
The Journey of Life
"Journeys" is the last word of this week's Parsha, which being the last
Parsha, makes it the last word in the entire book of Exodus. What does this
I have been involved in marriage counseling for many years now, and
despite what you may have seen in the day time soaps, very few couples
are unhappily married.
You might say, "How can that be?"
Every couple who comes to see me for counseling has a home, eats three
meals a day and has healthy children. They have many of the benefits of
living at the epitome of human civilization. At no other time since the
Garden of Eden has such a high percentage of the world's population
enjoyed so many of the good things of life.
Can anyone possibly be unhappy while sipping on a Starbucks special
grande latte living in the lap of luxury?
Actually yes, but those are the people with serious problems. Most married
people who complain about their marriage, even though they claim to be
unhappy are misdiagnosing themselves. They are not unhappy at all. They
are really disappointed.
Jane is married to Burt. Burt beats Jane regularly. He also has no job and is
drunk constantly. Jane has two jobs on top of looking after the kids and
keeping the house in order. I could give you more details but I think you
have the picture.
Jane eventually leaves Burt and marries someone just like your husband,
his name is Mike.
Jane is in bliss. And even though Mike has all your husband's "issues" and
maybe some extras, he doesn't communicate, he doesn't seem to care about
Jane, he doesn't make joint decisions. Plus he snores loudly, leaves his
socks on the floor, and doesn't shave regularly. None of which phases Jane
- she isn't disappointed because she was expecting worse (Burt).
"Expectations can enable or destroy a relationship."
I have a friend who volunteered for the army. He wanted to join the
paratroopers but they put him in with the foot soldiers - he was
disappointed and complained. He wanted to be pushed out of an airplane.
As long as you get what you expect, you can be happy, even though what
you expect is difficult. If I don't get my peanuts during a flight I get all
tifffy, let alone being pushed out at 10,000 feet, because it's not what I
That doesn't mean you need to live with what you expected. For example,
a healthy parent expects their new born child to NOT be potty trained. And
he/she expects to deal with all the accompanying gory details. They are
not upset, because they expected it. Yet even though it meets their
expectations, they don't accept it as the status quo and they work at toilet
The reason you can tolerate so much abuse from your children, most of
which is natural - such as when they burp on your new dress or scratch
your new flat screen TV - is because you expected it. The reason we have
a hard time living with just 10% of what our children dish out, when it is
coming from our spouse, is because we are not expecting it.
You can live and be happy with anything in life, as long as it's what you
were expecting.
All Of Life Is Really Just A Journey
The story is told of the Chafetz Chaim, one of the greatest sages of the
20th century. The Chafetz Chaim lived in an extremely modest house in a
Polish village, with sparse and simple furnishings.
A reporter came to interview the eminent Rabbi. After conversing together
for some time, the reporter posed the question he'd been waiting to ask:
"For such a great and important Rabbi as yourself, where's all your fancy
"Let me ask you a question," the Chafetz Chaim replied. "For such an
important reporter as yourself, where's all your furniture?"
"Well," the reporter said confusedly, "I'm only travelling through."
8 >:\D \"nn "po"np trcdk trcd ihc
"I too, am only travelling through," the Chafetz Chaim replied.
The Rabbi was trying to illustrate that we are all just travelling through.
We have yet to arrive at our permanent destination. This world is
extremely temporary.
You wouldn't take a crystal chandelier on a camping trip. Life is ultimately
a journey. And your chandelier is not going with you.
Rabbi Warren Goldstein (the chief Rabbi of South Africa) tells the story of
a very wealthy man who dies and left two wills, one to be opened on his
death and one to be opened thirty days after the funeral.
In the first will he commands his family only one thing, to be buried with
his socks on. Of all the things to ask or to put in a will, this was most out
of character. Nevertheless, the family felt obligated to fulfill his wish and
they asked the Jewish burial society to leave him with his socks on.
Unfortunately, they were met with tremendous resistance. Being against
Jewish law, which requires the deceased to be buried simply, without any
fineries or clothes, the funeral center would not acquiesce. And no matter
who or high up in the community they spoke to, their request was
repeatedly denied.
The funeral happened and the thirty days was up and there was
tremendous trepidation at the opening of the second will knowing they did
not fulfill the first and only request. What would happen? Would they be
written out of any inheritance?
None of their fears could have prepared them for what they heard that day.
The will read something like this:
"By now you have realized that it was not possible to bury me with my
socks on. Therefore, I now bequeath to you all my substantial worldly
fortune. Take this as a lesson though, you can't even take your socks with
you let alone your wealth. Make sure you use this money wisely because
the money will stay here but what you do with it will accompany you on to
the next world."
Life is a journey, so make it a pleasant one for you and all the people you
are traveling with. Because, even though the train will one day stop, you
will continue on with your fellow travelers.
The problem people have with marriage is not that they are unhappy, it's
that they are disappointed. They thought marriage was a destination as in:
"And they lived happily ever after."
"Journeys" is the last word and it describes so much of life. Here in the
parsha it's used to describe all that happened to the Jewish people over the
40 years in the desert (Exodus 40:38). For even though most of the 40
years the Jewish people were actually stationary, nevertheless the Torah
tells they experienced it as a journey.
When you are just travelling through it's easy to not get caught up in the
petty nonsense of daily life.
Marriage is not a destination, it's a journey. It won't make you feel
comfortable, journeys never do. But with all great journeys, they
eventually come to an end. Whatever issues you are having, they are not
the end, just a pebble on the journey. Those little small things that couples
often squabble about won't bother you once you realize that one day, at the
end of your journey, you will reminisce about your many long happily
married years together, and today is just part of the journey to then.
Brainstorming Questions To Ponder
Question 1: What one small thing can you do every day for your spouse,
that in twenty years you will be glad you did?
Question 2: How has married life made your spouse a better person?
Question 3: How has married life made you a better person?
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Lakewood, NJ 08701 Copyright 1995 - 2013 Aish.com - http://www.aish.com

HaRav Eliezer Chrysler
Midei Shabbos
Vol. 20 No. 22
This issue is sponsored anonymously
Parshas Vayakhel-Pikudei (ha'Chodesh)
'Ein Kategor Na'aseh Sanegor'
(Adapted from the Beis Yisaschar)
"And this is how you shall eat it: your loins girded, shoes on your feet,
staff in hand. And you shall eat it in haste; it is the Pesach (offering) for
Hashem" (12:11).
Rashi, after commenting on the final phrase that the Korban is called
'Pesach' on account of G-d having jumped over the houses of Yisrael, adds
- 'And as for you, do all the Avodos connected with it for the sake of G-d!'
The B'nei Yisaschar wonders what Rashi wants to tell us with this
To explain its significance, he offers the following idea ('tongue in cheek'),
with reference to what he himself explains in Parshas Shemini. The Pasuk
writes there (9:6) "And Moshe said, 'this is the thing (zeh ha'dovor) that G-
d commanded you to do, for the Kavod of Hashem to appear to you!' "
The Pasuk does not actually explain what it is referring to (See Targum
Yonasan), thereby giving the appearance of being superfluous.
In introducing his solution to the problem, the author first presents a major
problem: We know that, based on the principle 'Ein Kategor na'aseh
sanegor' (a prosecutor cannot act as a defendant), the Kohen Gadol cannot
serve in the Kodesh Kodshim with the regular Bigdei Kehunah, which
contain gold; nor may one blow a Shofar of a calf on Rosh Hashanah
(seeing as both of these serve as prosecutors before Hashem (as they
remind Him of the sin of the Golden Calf).
In that case, he asks, how, on the eighth day of the Milu'im (the
inauguration of the Mishkan that the Torah is discussing in Shemini) could
G-d order Aharon to take a calf as a sin-offering - to atone for the sin of
the Golden Calf, to boot? To the contrary, seeing the calf would only act
as a prosecutor and anger Hashem even more? So how could it possibly
act as Aharon's defense-counsel?
To answer the Kashya, he cites a Gemara in Kidushin (5a). After
explaining that a man cannot divorce his wife with money, since the same
money that brought her into the marriage cannot take her out! ('Ein
Kategor na'aseh sanegor), the Gemara asks why she can be divorced with a
Sh'tar (a document) seeing as she can also be betrothed with one?
And the Gemara refutes this question on the grounds that (unlike the
money, which would be the same as the money that brought her in) the
words that are written on the Sh'tar that takes her out, differ from the
words that are written on the Sh'tar that brought her in.
With this idea, we can now answer the problem of the superfluous Pasuk
in Shemini 'this is the thing that G-d commanded you to do " . The
words "zeh ha'dovor" can also be translated as 'These are the words'. In
any case, whenever the Torah uses this expression, Chazal tend to find a
connection with 'words'.
What the Torah is therefore saying is that Yisrael should make a point of
stating that the sacrifices that they are bringing conform to those that G-d
commanded them to bring. These words are quite different than the words
"These are your gods, Yisrael!" that they uttered when worshipping the
Golden Calf. And the fact that the two sets of words differ radically from
one another, eliminates the problem of 'Ein Kategor na'aseh sanegor!'
Here too, G-d instructed Yisrael to 'Withdraw from idolatry and take a
lamb of Mitzvah'. He was referring to relinquishing the Egyptian god
'Lamb' that they had hitherto worshipped, and exchanging it for the lamb
of the Korban Pesach. There too, the question arises 'Ein kategor na'aseh
sanegor!' How can the same lamb that they worshipped now defend them
against G-d's wrath when He turned against the Egyptians? And here too,
the Torah gives us the answer, when a few Pesukim later (Pasuk 27), it
writes "And you shall say 'This is the Pesach offering' ". These are hardly
the same words that they uttered when worshipping the Egyptian god. And
because 'these words are not the same as those words', the argument of 'Ein
kategor na'aseh sanegor!' falls away.
And that is precisely what Rashi meant when he added 'And as for you, do
all the Avodos connected with it for the sake of G-d!' - by stating verbally
in whose Name they are bringing the Korban Pesach, they are
transforming the abhorrent accuser into the sweet defendant, rendering
their Korban acceptable before the Eyes of G-d.
Parshah Pearls
(Adapted from Rabeinu Bachye)
The Day after Yom Kipur
"And Moshe gathered the entire congregation of Yisrael (35:1)
Rabeinu Bachye, in his introduction, explains that this Parshah was said
the day after he descended Har Sinai (on Yom Kipur).
On the eve of Rosh Chodesh Elul G-d told him that in the morning he
would ascend Har Sinai for the third time. He remained there for forty
days before receiving the second Luchos and he came down on Yom
Kipur. On that day, G-d pardoned Yisrael on the sin of the Golden Calf,
and because he went up on Monday and descended on Thursday (Tosfos in
Bava Kama, Daf 82a says the opposite - See footnote), the Chachamim
fixed these two days as days of judgement, on which Beis-Din sit and on
which it is easy to obtain forgiveness.
And this is hinted in the Pasuk in Yeshayah (55:6) "Seek Hashem when He
is to be found (be'himotz'o)". The word "be'himotz'o" is the acronym of "
'Beis' 'Hey' motz'o", as if to say 'On Mondays and Thursdays He is easily
The Holy Vessels
"And Betzalel manufactured the Aron " (37:1).
The Torah describes the Aron, the Shulchan, the Menorah and the
Mizbei'ach ha'Ketores, in that order. This was the order in which they
stood in the Mishkan - (beginning from the inside): the Aron inside the
>:\D \"nn "po"np trcdk trcd ihc 9
Kodesh Kodshim, the Shulchan outside in the Kodesh on north, the
Menorah opposite it on the south and the Mizbei'ach ha'Ketores in the
middle, but drawn a little towards the Chatzer.
And it was in this order that the Kohanim performed the Avodah each day.
A Kohen would enter to clean out the Menorah, but, due to the principle
"Ein ma'avirin al ha'Mitzvos' (never to pass by a Mitzvah), he would first
clear the ashes from the Mizbei'ach, since he had to pass it before arriving
at the Menorah.
Hence the B'raysa states that 'clearing the inner Mizbeiach preceded
cleaning out the Menorah'.
Moreover, says R, Bachye, the above four Vessels represent the four
letters of Hashem's Holy Name ('Yud', 'Hey', 'Vav' and 'Hey').
The Aron, which was ten tefachim tall, represented the 'Yud', the
Shulchan, which stood in the north, represented Malchus, which receives
its influence from the first 'Hey' of G-d's Name, the Menorah, with its six
branches, the 'Vav' and the Mizbe'ach ha'Zahav, on which the Ketores was
brought to appease the Midas ha'Din, the last 'Hey' of G-d's Name.
That explains why, says the author, the Torah places the Shulchan before
the Menorah.
And this also helps us to understand what Chazal mean when they say that
Betzalel knew how to combine the letters with which Hakadosh-Baruch-
Hu created the world. Indeed, he explains, the 'Yud' stands for Chochmah,
the 'Hey', for 'Atzilus' - the power with which all the other draw from
Chochmah, the 'Vav' stands for 'Binah' and the last 'Hey' for Da'as'. Hence
the Pasuk writes 'And I filled him with a Divine Spirit, with Chochmah,
with Tevunah, with Da'as " (31:3).
Parshas Pikudei
The Me'il
The Ramban in Parshas Tetzaveh disagrees with Rashi's description of the
Whereas Rashi describes it as an overshirt with an opening at the neck and
with sleeves, the Ramban defines it as a cape, permanently closed at the
neck, with no sleeves but open in front.
The Ramban supports his explanation with the Gemara in Zevachim (85b),
which writes that the golden bells, that were affixed to it at intervals round
its hem, numbered seventy-two, thirty-six on one side, and thirty-six on
the other. This makes sense, says the Ramban, if the Me'il was a cape open
in front with a flap on either side. But if it was entirely closed at the hem,
then how can the Gemara refer to two sides?
The Bells and the Pomegranates
The Ramban also disagrees with Rashi's interpretation of the wool and
linen pomegranates and the golden bells that were attached to the hem of
the Me'il. According to Rashi (and the Rambam), they were affixed to the
hem alternately - bell, pomegranate, bell, pomegranate. The Ramban
maintains however, that the bells were affixed to the hem at intervals
around the hem, and the pomegranates encased them.
Simply put, when, in chapter 39, Pasuk 25, (I am quoting the Pesukim
here, rather than those in Tetzaveh, because the point I am about to make
is more marked here), the Torah writes that they placed the bells "be'soch"
the pomegranates, Rashi translates "b'soch" as 'among', whereas the
Ramban translates it as 'inside'.
If we examine the three current Pesukim (24-26), we will find Rashi's
explanation very difficult to understand: After recording that, on the hem
of the Me'il, they made pomegranates of Techeiles , the Torah informs
us that they made bells of pure gold, and that they placed them among the
pomegranates on the hem of the Me'il, adding "among the pomegranates".
Finally, the Torah concludes "A bell and a pomegranate, a bell and a
pomegranate on the hem of the Me'il ".
These Pesukim pose two problems with Rashi's explanation.
1. Why does the Torah say that they placed 'the bells among the
pomegranates'? Bearing in mind that according to Rashi, the hem was
circular and unbroken, it could just as well have said the reverse, that they
placed 'the pomegranates among the bells'. In fact, neither would appear to
be appropriate?
2. Why does the Pasuk repeat itself not once, but twice? Having informed
us that they placed the bells among the pomegranates on the hem of the
Me'il, the remaining one and a half Pesukim appear to be redundant?
According to the Ramban however, the Pesukim are clear.
After informing us that they affixed the woolen pomegranates to the hem
of the Me'il, the Torah informs us that they manufactured golden bells,
which they placed inside the pomegranates (repeating the words "inside
the pomegranates") to teach us that "b'soch" means, not 'among the
pomegranates', but "inside them".
And the Pasuk concludes that the entire circumference of the hem was
surrounded with bells inside pomegranates.
Perhaps the Torah first gives the pomegranates precedence, because they
were visible, whereas the bells were not, and then switches the order, since
the bells, which rung whenever the Kohen Gadol entered the Heichal,
served a more prominent role.
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Aish.Com - Rabbi Moshe Erlbaum
Torah Teasers
Torah Teasers Parshat Vayahkel
1. This parsha begins with Moshe assembling the entire congregation
together (Exodus 35:1). What are two other places in the Torah where
someone gathers together a congregation?
In parshas Korach, Korach gathers a rebellious congregation around
Moshe and Aharon (Numbers 16:19). In parshas Chukas, Moshe and
Aharon gather together the congregation before bringing forth water from
the rock (Numbers 20:10).
2. In this parsha, what four types of jewelry do the Jews donate to the
The people bring "bracelets, nose rings, rings, and body jewelry" (Exodus
3. In this parsha, what is done "every morning" (baboker baboker)? What
else in the Torah is done "every morning"? (3 answers)
Bnei Yisrael continue to bring gifts to Moshe for the Tabernacle, "every
morning" (baboker baboker) (Exodus 36:3). The same expression is used
in the following three places: (1) In parshas Beshalach, describing when
the Manna is collected (Exodus 16:21). (2) In parshas Tezaveh, when the
Torah describes how Aharon burns the incense every morning (Exodus
30:7). (3) In parshas Tzav when the Torah describes how Aharon kindled
wood every morning to keep a fire burning on the altar (Leviticus 6:5).
4. Where in this parsha are wings mentioned?
The cherubs had wings that spread over the Holy Ark (Exodus 37:9).
5. Which two items in the Tabernacle are made of one solid piece of gold?
What other item, used in the desert, was fashioned from one solid piece of
The cover and cherubs on top of the Holy Ark is made "of one banged out
solid piece of gold" (Exodus 37:7), as is the Menorah (37:17) In parshas
Beha'aolscha, Moshe is commanded to fashion two trumpets, each out of
"one solid piece of banged out silver" (Numbers 10:1).
6. Which three items found in the Tabernacle are a perfect square?
The following items are shaped as squares: the Golden Altar (Exodus
37:25), the Copper Altar (38:1), and the breastplate (choshen) of the High
Priest (39:9)
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Rabbi Zvi Akiva Fleisher
Chamishoh Mi Yodei'a
5 Questions On The Weekly Sedrah - Parshios Va'yakheil-Pikudei
5773 - Bs"D
Please send your answers and comments to: Sholom613@Rogers.Com
1) Ch. 35, v. 2: "Sheishes yomim" - Six days - Rashi says that Moshe
gave the mitzvoh of Shabbos BEFORE the mitzvoh of erecting the
Mishkon, to teach that the building of the Mishkon does not push aside
Shabbos. Rashi on Shmos 31:13 d.h. "ach" says that from that verse we
derive this ruling, and there Shabbos is mentioned AFTER the building of
the Mishkon. We see that we derive this point from Shabbos being
mentioned AFTER the Mishkon. Likewise, we find the verse "Ish imo
v'oviv tiro'u v'es Shabsosai tishmoru" (Vayikra 19:3), from which we
similarly derive that although there is a mitzvoh to fear one's parents,
nevertheless, if a parent commands his child to do an act that involves
desecration of Shabbos, the child may not comply, and there too, Shabbos
is mentioned after fearing one's parents. (Placing Shabbos afterwards to
bring out this point of information seems to be the logical order. Do this or
that mitzvoh, BUT keep the laws of Shabbos.)
2) Ch. 39, v. 30: "Va'yich't'vu olov" - And they wrote upon it - If just
one person etched the two words "kodesh laShem" into the golden
forehead plate, why does the verse say "va'yich't'vu," in the plural form?
3) Ch. 39, v. 32: "Vatheichel kol avodas haMishkon" - And all the
work of the Mishkon was complete - The work was completed near the
end of the month Kislev. However, the assembly took place on the 1st day
of Nison. Why the 3 month wait?
4) Ch. 39, v. 40: "Es meisorOV vi'seidoseHOH" - And HIS cables and
HER pegs - Why the change in gender?
5) Ch. 40, v. 20: "Va'yikach va'yi'tein es ho'eidus" - And he took and
he placed the testimonial tablets - Every item was taken and placed, yet
this is the only time we have "va'yikach."
10 >:\D \"nn "po"np trcdk trcd ihc
#1 This difficulty is raised by Rishonim, among them, Rabbeinu Chaim
Paltiel. A careful reading of our Rashi yields a most interesting answer
offered by the B'eir Yitzchok. Rashi does not say that Moshe taught the
parsha of Shabbos ahead of building the Mishkon. Rather he says "hikdim
LO'HEM," he taught it earlier to THEM. Note the name of our parsha,
"Va'yakheil." This is one of the very special occasions where Moshe
deviated from the norm, of teaching a law first to Aharon and his sons,
then to the tribal heads, and finally, to all the bnei Yisroel (gemara Eiruvin
55). Here he taught it immediately to all in a public assemblage. The
reason for this is simple. The building of the Mishkon was not a mitzvoh
that each person could do on his own, such as tefillin. Rather, it was a
communal mitzvoh, and as such, it was taught to all, even the women, and
in one go. However, there was no need to relate the mitzvoh of Shabbos in
the same assemblage. Why did Moshe first give THEM, "hikdim lo'hem,"
IN ASSEMBLAGE, the mitzvoh of Shabbos? It must be to teach them to
not build the Mishkon at the expense of Shabbos. This is derived not from
the positioning of these two mitzvos one to another, but from the fact that
Shabbos was taught in "hakheil." This teaches that Shabbos plays a role in
the building of the Mishkon. However, we are left with a problem.
According to this explanation the ruling is not derived from HIKDIM, but
only from the fact that Shabbos was also taught in this assemblage. Why
does Rashi mention which mitzvoh came first?
Lekach Tov, an Acharone, answers this. Had Moshe taught them the
mitzvoh of building the Mishkon first, some of the people would have
been so enthused that they would have immediately run out and begun the
task. They would not have realized that Moshe was about to continue with
the laws of Shabbos. This is why "HIKDIM lo'hem."
Why this ruling is taught twice remains to be explained. Although the
building of the Mishkon being mentioned both in parshas Trumoh and here
is explained by Rishonim (Some commentators say that it is a continuation
of the parsha in Ki Siso, and other matters mentioned in between were a
tangent), the need to repeat that Shabbos is not to be desecrated for the
building of the Mishkon, remains to be clarified.
According to the opinion that the command to build the Mishkon took
place chronologically ahead of the sin of the golden calf, we might have an
answer. In the interim some of the bnei Yisroel had sinned with the golden
calf. M.R. says that the building of the Mishkon brings exoneration for this
sin. The need for this "kaporoh" was so terribly important that I might
mistakenly believe that it must be done post haste, now even at the
expense of Shabbos Kodesh. This requires a repetition of this ruling.
(Nirreh li)
#2 Rabbeinu Avigdor says that although only one person formed the
letters, since Hashem's Holy Name was being created, it required special
intention to sanctify His Name, "lishmoh." There were therefore 10 people
standing next to the one who etched this word to remind him to do it with
the proper intention. Since numerous people were involved a plural term is
used. He adds that the same should be done when one writes a Torah
scroll. He should leave out every Holy Name and when the Torah is
complete, 10 people should be present when all the Holy Names are filled
in. Since the need for other's involvement is only for "lishmoh," some
question the need for 10 people to be present, as just one or two others
would suffice.
Rabbi Yehudoh Chosid brings the original question in the name of his
father, and similarly answers that there is a need for others to remind the
creator of the "tzitz" to etch the Holy Name with the proper intention. He
adds that the same applies to the writing of Torah, tefillin, and mezuzos.
Likewise, the sofer should immerse himself in a proper mikveh to add
sanctity to the actual writing. The requirement of 10 people and no less is
because the writing of the Holy Name is an act that is called "dovor
shebikdushoh," which requires a quorum of 10, just like our prayers.
He also offers that "va'yich't'vu" refers to just 2 people, one who etched the
word "kodesh," and one who etched the word "laShem."
Note that halacha does not require, and the prevalent custom is not to have
anyone present when the sofer writes a Holy Name in a Torah, tefillin, or
There is an opinion brought in the R'sha"sh on the gemara Yoma 38a that
it is advantageous to write all the letters of the Holy Name in one go.
Perhaps according to this opinion four people each etched one letter of the
four-letter Holy Name at the same time, hence "va'yich't'vu." (Nirreh li)
#3 Hashem wanted to have the Mishkon dedicated on the 1st of Nison, the
day that our Patriarch Yitzchok was born. He was a sanctified human
offering to Hashem, and the Mishkon likewise serves as the holy location
where sacrifices are brought. (Rabbeinu Zecharioh)
#4 The curtain's (male) cables, and the courtyard's (female) pegs
#5 This is because the tablets were already housed in a wooden ark. No
other items had a special storage receptacle made for them. (Ro'isi)
Rabbi Moshe Midner of Slonim offers that the tablets symbolize the Holy
Torah. It is not enough for a person to TAKE the Torah, to learn it for
himself only. He must also teach it to others, "va'yikach" and "va'yi'tein."
A Gutten Shabbos Kodesh.
Rabbi Zvi Akiva Fleisher
Chasidic Insights
Chasidic Insights Parshas Va'yakheil-P'kudei From 5762 Bs"D
For sponsorships and advertising opportunities, send e-mail to:Sholom613@Rogers.Com
Ch. 35, v. 1,2: "Asher tzivoh Hashem laasose osom, Sheishes yomim
tei'o'seh m'lochoh" - If for six days your work is done solely, "asher
tzivoh Hashem laasose osom," because Hashem has commanded to do so,
then you are assured that when Shabbos comes you will have a double
level of sanctity, "y'h'yeh lochem kodesh Shabbas Shabboson laShem," as
your mind will surely not wander to weekday work thoughts. (Rabbi
Yisroel of Tchortkov in Ginzei Yisroel)
Ch. 35, v. 4: "Leimore zeh hadovor asher tzivoh Hashem" - Moshe told
the bnei Yisroel that before doing a mitzvoh they should verbalize that this
is what Hashem commanded me to do. This is an allusion for saying the
text of "l'shem Yichud .." before doing a mitzvoh. (Rabbi Yechezkel of
Radomsk in Knesses Yechezkel)
Ch. 35, v. 4: "Zeh hadovor asher tzivoh Hashem" - Rashi explains: "Li
leimore lochem," - for me to tell you. Moshe, in his great modesty, is
saying that the only reason he merited to receive a message from Hashem
was because it was to be transmitted to the bnei Yisroel. (Rabbi Yisroel of
Modzitz in Divrei Yisroel)
Ch. 35, v. 5: "Kole n'div libo y'vi'ehoh eis trumas Hashem" - Through
the generosity of their hearts, "kole n'div libo," there will be aroused a
spirit from above, "y'vi'ehoh," to shower upon them a Divine endowment
from above, "eis trumas Hashem." (Rabbi Ben Zion of Bobov in K'dushas
Ch. 35, v. 29: "Asher nodav libom OSOM" - The donation of their heart
is that they are ready to give themselves, OSOM, "m'siras nefesh" for
Hashem. (Rabbi Yechezkel of Radomsk in Knesses Yechezkel)
Ch. 35, v. 29: "Heivi'u vnei Yisroel n'dovoh laShem" - They brought
their children, the bnei Yisroel. The most meaningful donation is to
guarantee that future generations will be loyal to Hashem. (Rabbi
Yerachamiel of Parshis'cha in Divrei Binoh)
Ch. 35, v. 32: "Machashovose laasose" - B'tzal'eil's thoughts of how to
assemble the Mishkon were considered an action, as if it were already
done. (Rabbi Shlomo of Radomsk in Tiferes Shlomo)
Ch. 35, v. 33: "Evven l'malose" - B'tza'leil invested the Mishkon with
such a level of sanctity that it even filled those whose hearts were of stone,
"evven l'malose." (Chidushei Hori"m)
Ch. 36, v. 1: "V'ossoh V'tzal'eil" - The Ibn Ezra and Rashi (on the
gemara Makos 12a), translate "v'ossoh" as "and he shall make." However,
Targum Onkeles, Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh, and the Sha"ch translate it as
"and he has made." This is most difficult, since he did not receive the
materials until verse 3. According to the insight of the Holy Admor of
Radomsk on 35:32 it is easily understood.
Parshas P'kudei
Ch. 38, v. 21: "Ei'leh f'kudei haMishkon" - Rashi on Shmos 21:1 says
that "ei'leh" negates the previous. He who negates his previous acts, by
realizing that he could have served Hashem in a more enhanced manner,
"f'kudei haMishkon," is appointed to the Mishkon, is deserving of having
the Divine Spirit rest in him. (Rabbi Yaakov Yitzchok of Blendov in Emes
Ch. 38, v. 24: "Va'y'hi z'hav hatnufoh" - "Va'y'hi" phonetically alludes
to WOE. WOE to the person who waves his gold, shows off his wealth.
(Rabbi Isomor of Konskivalli in Mishmerres Isomor)
Ch. 38, v. 27: "M'as adonim" - This is an allusion to the 100 blessings
one should recite daily. Just as the foundation blocks are the basis for the
Mishkon, so too, making 100 blessings to the Master, the Odone, the
Foundation of the world, is the basis of the sanctity of the bnei Yisroel.
(Chidushei Hori"m)
Ch. 39, v. 3: "Maa'sei chosheiv" - When one has a thought to do a
mitzvoh, "chosheiv," he should immediately bring it into action, "maa'sei."
(Rabbi Avrohom Yisochor of Radomsk in Chesed l'Avrohom) This concept
is clearly stated in the Medrash Shir Hashirim on the words "ad
shetechpotz" (3:5), which is interpreted as "ad she'tei'o'seh l'chei'fetz."
Ch. 39, v. 32: "Va'tei'CHEL kol avodas Mishkan ohel mo'eid" - All of
the work to build the Mishkon was done with the emotion of "kalose
nefesh." Those involved were ready to give their lives for it. (Rabbi
Pinchos Menachem of Piltz in Sifsei Tzadik)
A Gutten Shabbos Kodesh.
>:\D \"nn "po"np trcdk trcd ihc 11
Rabbi Zvi Akiva Fleisher
Oroh V'Simchoh
Oroh V'simchoh - Meshech Chochmoh On Parshas Va'yakheil - Bs"D
Ch. 35, v. 11: "Brichov" - This word is read (kri) "brichov," meaning "its
poleS," but is spelled (ksiv) without a letter Yud between the Ches and the
Vov, thus allowing for reading of "bricho," meaning "its pole," in the
singular. The Meshech Chochmoh suggests that based on the two opinions,
that of the gemara Shabbos 98 and Targum Yonoson ben Uziel, that the
"briach hatichon, central pole that was placed into the actual beams, was a
single pole, which upon insertion miraculously bent at the corners and
continued on, spanning all three walls, and the opinion of Breisa M'leches
Hamishkon, that they were three separate poles, we have the KSIV of a
single pole, and the KRI of a plurality of poles.
Ch. 35, v. 22: "V'chol ish asher HEINIF T'NUFAS zohov laShem" -
Why is the word HEINIF used specifically by the donation of gold and by
no other material? The Imrei Shefer answers that the M.R. chapter 51 and
the Medrash Tanchumoh chapter 9 say that the donations of gold for the
Mishkon are an atonement for the gold given for the making of the golden
calf. The word form HANOFOH is used by sacrifices which are an
atonement. Therefore, specifically by the gold donations this word is used
to indicate that the donations of gold afford atonement similar to a
There is a difficulty with this explanation. We find the expression
"U'n'choshes haT'NUFOH" in Shmos 38:29.
The Meshech Chochmoh explains the reason for the word form
HANOFOH used by gold and copper specifically because there is a law
that items created for mundane purposes may not be used for building the
Mishkon or for its vessels. We only find two materials that were personal
items of the donours. They are jewellery and the copper mirrors used for
the laver (kior). If an item that was created for a mundane use was changed
in form it is considered a new item and may be used for the Mishkon. The
golden jewellery was melted and recast. The copper mirrors were soldered
together to form the laver. Each of these acts was an ELEVATION from
its previous use, hence the use of the word form HANOFOH specifically
by gold and copper.
Ch. 36, v. 13: "Va'yaas chamishim karsei zohov" The Meshech
Chochmoh points out a difference in the order of words in our verse, which
discusses the making of the golden hooks, where the number appears
before the items, and verse 18, which discusses the making of the copper
hooks, where the item appears before the number, "va'yaas karsei
n'choshes chamishim." He adds that we find this same difference in
parshas Trumoh by the command to create these items (26:6 and 26:11).
He explains that when the number is mentioned earlier, the amount is not
fixed, as even more may be created. When the number is mentioned
afterwards, the Torah is telling us to make exactly that amount and no
more. He does not explain why the order indicates this. Perhaps, although
unlikely, this goes under the ruling of "klal ufrat ein bichlal ela mah
shebifrat." More likely, this can be understood with the words of the
Chizkuni. He says that when an earlier part of a verse contains a thought
that is not self understood, then the continuation stands by itself. Thus our
verse by saying "va'yaas chamishim" is still not understood. When it
continues with "karsei zohov" it stands alone, meaning that there may be
as many as you wish to create. In verse 18 where it says "va'yaas karsei
n'choshes," a self contained idea, the word "chamishim" that follows limits
it to only 50. Thus more than 50 golden hooks may be made, while only 50
copper hooks should be made.
Why this should be so can be understood with the words of the Meshech
Chochmoh on verse 18.
<< Ch. 36, v. 18: "Va'yaas karsei n'choshes chamishim L'CHA'BER
ES HO'OHEL" - In verse 13 where it discusses the golden connecting
hooks for the Mishkon coverings, the words "l'cha'ber es ho'ohel" are not
mentioned. The Meshech Chochmoh answers that halacha required that all
items used for the Mishkon and its vessels be created specifically for the
sanctity of the Mishkon, etc. The dwellings people lived in also had sheets
of material used as roof coverings. It is very likely that to connect the
sheets of material, inexpensive copper hooks were also used, similar to
those required for the upper Mishkon covering. Therefore the Torah
stresses, "l'chaber es ho'ohel," to emphasize that the hooks used to join the
sections of the Sanctuary covering had to be created specifically for that
purpose. For the bottom level, the Mishkon covering, which would be
visible, the Torah required that the hooks be made of gold (verse 13).
Since people would not use gold to make hooks for the roof coverings of
their own homes, it was therefore not necessary to mention "l'cha'ber es
ho'ohel" in verse 13.>>
It is now well understood that if extra golden hooks were to be made, there
would be no fear that they would accidentally be used for one's personal
needs, as gold would never be used for hooks that attach sections of roof
coverings. However, the Torah was concerned that if extra copper hooks
that were sanctified were left in storage, there might be the possibility that
they might accidentally be confused with other copper unsanctified hooks,
and be used in one's personal tent, hence the restriction to only create 50 of
Oroh V'simchoh - Meshech Chochmoh On Parshas P'kudei
Ch. 39, v. 5: "Kaas'sher tzivoh Hashem es Moshe" - This expression
appears no less than 18 times in our parsha as pointed out by the Baal
Haturim. However, it appears only by the creation of the Kohanim's
apparel. Why was this expression not used by the building of the Mishkon
and the crafting of its vessels in parshas Va'yakheil?
1) Even though a prophet is believed that he received a prophecy to
transgress a negative command of the Torah, this is only true if it is a short
term exception, such as with Eliyohu on Mount Carmel. If the prophet
says that he received a prophecy from Hashem that a mitzvoh should be
transgressed on a regular basis, this may not be believed. Since the
materials for the priestly garments contained both linen and wool threads
which constitute shaatnez, the Torah points out that the garments were
made "kaa'sher tzivoh Hashem es Moshe," specifically because Hashem
gave this command through Moshe who was trusted to transmit mitzvos
even when they contradict one another, did the bnei Yisroel follow
through and create the garments as commanded, even though they
contained shaatnez. (Meshech Chochmoh)
2) All components of the Mishkon, its vessels, and the priestly garments
had to be created for the intention of being used for the Mishkon and its
services. For example, one could not donate an already made sheet of
material that happened to fit the requirements for a section of the roof
covering. If one created a Shulchon or altar without any specific intention,
we assume that it was made for the Mishkon, since there is a prohibition to
make a duplicate for mundane use as per the gemara M'nochos 28b.
Therefore, one need not state that he is crafting it for the Mishkon, as this
is self-understood, as otherwise he would transgress. However, there is no
prohibition to duplicate the priestly garments. One must therefore have
specific intention to make the garments for the use of the Kohanim.
We now understand why the Torah mentioned "Kaas'sher tzivoh Hashem
es Moshe" specifically by the creation of the priestly garments, to show
that they were specifically created as a fulfillment of Hashem's command
to Moshe. (Meshech Chochmoh) 3) The GRI"Z, Rabbi Yitzchok Zeiv
haLevi Soloveitchik zt"l raises a question on the term "V'atoh T'ZA'VEH"
(27:20). Why is the term "tzivuy" not used in parshas Trumoh regarding
the building of the Mishkon and its vessels? Actually this is already raised
by the Rashbam who answers that the term "tzivuy" means to command
regarding a matter that will apply for further generations, as Rashi points
out in the first verse of parshas Tzav. It is mentioned in the gemara
Kidushin 29a. He says that the command to build a Mishkon and its
vessels only applies as long as there was a Mishkon, but the command to
prepare oil for lighting the menorah is permanent. However, the GRI"Z
says that this concept should be applied to a different aspect of the
Mishkon. This is the fact that the details of the Mishkon and its vessels are
not for all further generations, as the dimensions of the Beis Hamikdosh
and its vessels and their numbers changed later. This is in keeping with the
interpretation of the Ramban on the words "v'chein taasu" (25:9) meaning
to be done with alacrity, and not with Rashi who explains that it means
that the Mishkon and its vessels should be copied (to an extent) for all
This is not the case with the priestly garments. All the details given by the
Torah in their construction are to be adhered to for all generations.
Therefore the Torah uses the term "tzivuy" for the creation of the garments
in parshas T'za'veh and uses no such term in parshas Trumoh since all
matters discussed are not for all further generations.
This explains why the words "Kaas'sher tzivoh Hashem es Moshe" is used
throughout our parsha since it deals with the priestly garments, and is not
used in parshas Va'yakheil which deals with the Mishkon and its vessels.
The GRI"Z answers a difficulty in 39:1 with this concept. The verse says
"...... ossu vigdei srod ...... va'yaasu es bigdei hakodesh asher l'Aharon
kaasher tzivoh Hashem es Moshe." He asks why the term "asioh" is used
twice. Would it not have sufficed to say "ossu vigdei srod ...... v'es bigdei
......"? He answers that the "bigdei srod" were the cloth covers for the
Mishkon components, used to house them when travelling. These were
only needed in the desert when the bnei Yisroel traveled. In later
generations the Mishkon did not travel from place to place, so there was no
need for bigdei hasrod. The priestly garments mentioned in the second half
of the verse were to be made in all future generations as well. The Torah
therefore has to mention an "asioh" of the bigdei hasrod without the term
"kaasher tzivoh Hashem es Moshe," to indicate that it is not for all future
generations, and a separate "asioh" for the garments of the Kohanim with
the addendum "kaasher tzivoh Hashem es Moshe," for the making of the
priestly apparel.
4) Possibly, another approach can answer this question. In parshas T'za'veh
the explanation of the Paa'nei'ach Rozo was given for the omission of
12 >:\D \"nn "po"np trcdk trcd ihc
Moshe's name from the parsha. He says that Moshe lost the opportunity to
become a Kohein when he declined to do Hashem's bidding of being the
agent to bring the bnei Yisroel out of Egypt. Since he lost the K'hunoh,
Hashem left his name out of the parshas which deals in the main with the
garments of the Kohanim.
We know that when a person is slighted by a concept he often does not
deal with it in its proper capacity. An example is that a mamzeir should not
write the verse "Lo yovo mamzeir bikhal Hashem" (Dvorim 23:3). We fear
that a mamzeir would not write these words which are so detrimental to
him with the fully required intention, "lishmoh."
In spite of Moshe's lofty character development there is a possibility that
the bnei Yisroel would fear that when it came to the priestly garments,
Moshe might not give over all details and minutiae properly, since he had
lost the opportunity to wear them and that his name was omitted from the
parsha detailing them. In this particular circumstance the bnei Yisroel had
a way of checking on Moshe's accuracy. This was through B'tzal'eil. He
was picked to build the Mishkon, its vessels, and craft the priestly
garments because he was knowledgeable enough of the powers of the
letters of the Alef Beis to be able to recreate the world. The Mishkon was a
microcosm of the world, as mentioned in M.R. Breishis 3:9 and in Yalkut
Shimoni Shmos remez 419. He was able to use the world as a blueprint
from which to craft all that was required for the Mishkon. The bnei Yisroel
had open to themselves the option of checking on Moshe by asking
B'tzal'eil the details of making the bigdei K'hunoh.
This is what the verse tells us 18 times with the words "kaasher tzivoh
Hashem es Moshe" regarding the making of the priestly garments. The
bnei Yisroel implicitly trusted Moshe and did not check up on him. Instead
they crafted the priestly garments "kaasher tzivoh Hashem es Moshe."
The point raised by the GRI"Z in 39:1 is actually answered by the three
other offerings as well. According to the first insight of the Meshech
Chochmoh that the Torah stressed that a command from Hashem to Moshe
was needed to override the prohibition of shaatnez, this was not necessary
for the bigdei hasrod, which contained no linen. Therefore the Torah
mentions an "asioh" without "kaasher tzivoh Hashem es Moshe, and for
the crafting of the bigdei K'hunoh which contained shaatnez an "asioh"
with "kaasher tzivoh Hashem es Moshe."
The second explanation of the Meshech Chochmoh was that the crafting of
the bigdei K'hunoh needed a specific intention, "lishmoh." Again, the
bigdei hasrod did not need this, hence no "kaasher tzivoh Hashem es
Moshe," and the bigdei K'hunoh did need this intention, hence a separate
"asioh" with "kaasher tzivoh Hashem es Moshe."
The final offering answers this as well. The bigdei hasrod did not
encompass a failing of Moshe, hence there was no need to check up on
him for accuracy and no need to mention "kaasher tzivoh Hashem es
Moshe." Regarding the crafting of the bigdei K'hunoh where there was a
fear that the bnei Yisroel would not fully trust Moshe the Torah mentions a
separate "asioh" that was "kaasher tzivoh Hashem es Moshe."
Ch. 40, v. 30: "Va'yi'tein SHOMOH mayim" - We find in parshas Ki
Siso 30:18 "V'nosato SHOMOH moyim." Why does our verse not say
"Va'yi'tein BO mayim," and in Ki Siso why does the verse not say
"v'nosato BO moyim?" The Meshech Chochmoh answers that the gemara
Z'vochim 22a says that one is not required to sanctify his hands and feet
specifically from the laver. One may use any sanctified vessel. The
Yerushalmi Yoma 4:5 says that although any sanctified vessel may be
used, the location of the washing of the Kohein's hands and feet must take
place in the LOCATION of the laver given by the Torah, between the
Ohel Mo'eid and the outer altar, off to the south side slightly, so that it is
not in front of the eastern opening of the Mikdosh. This explains why the
term SHOMOH is used. The water need not come from within the laver, as
another vessel may be used, but SHOMOH, washing must take place at the
location of the laver.
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Rabbi Zvi Akiva Fleisher
Sedrah Selections
Sedrah Selections Parshios Va'yakheil-Pikudei 5773 Bs"D
Ch. 35, v. 1: "Va'yakheil Moshe es kol adas bnei Yisroel" - And
Moshe assembled all the congregation of bnei Yisroel - We find by no
other mitzvoh the preface "va'yakheil." Rashi comments that this took
place on the day following Yom Kippur. "B'derech tzachus" we might say
that since all the bnei Yisroel were living in the desert and had all their
physical needs attended to, they were full time Torah learners. Since it was
the day after Yom Kippur everyone was about to go his merry way for
"bein hazmanim," vacation/holidays. Moshe therefore had to assemble
them before teaching them the next lesson.
Ch. 35, v. 2: "Sheishes yomim tei'oseh m'lochoh" - Six days work shall
be done - Why is the word for "asioh" expressed in the "nifal" verb-form
and not in the simple "kal" form, "taa'seh?" When a person is told to
refrain from labour one day a week he might feel that this would cost him
significant income, a reduction of one seventh of potential income. The
Torah therefore expresses the active doing work during the six days as
"tei'o'seh," to look at his work as if it is "done" not "he does it." The
financial outcome of all efforts is in Hashem's hands. By having this
mindset it is much easier to accept the restriction against labour on
Shabbos. This also is a wonderful preface to donating for the Mishkon.
One might be reluctant to give generously, but when he realizes that the
resultant funds that he has come from "tei'o'seh" he gives with a greater
"n'divus lev."
This is stressed even more when one reads the words of the Holy Zohar
(preface to "Kiddush" Friday night) that the blessing of the six weekdays
comes from Shabbos, "D'mi'nei misborchin shisa yomin." (Aperion)
Ch. 35, v. 3: "Lo s'vaaru aish b'chole moshvoseichem b'yom
haShabbos" - Do not ignite fire in any of your residences on the day of
Shabbos - The gemara Shabbos 119 says that destructive fire is not found
unless there is Shabbos desecration. We can thus interpret these words of
our verse to mean, "Do not cause fire to destructively burn in any of your
residences through the day of Shabbos (not being kept properly).
(Rabbeinu Efrayim, Rabbi Vidal Tzrofosi)
Based on this insight the following story is very much in place. In
Yerushalayim when Rabbi Yoseif Chaim Sonnenfeld was its Rav he was
told of one family that desecrated the Shabbos, albeit only in the confines
of their home. They were very rough nasty people. Against the protests of
his family members that he might be roughed up or even worse, he went
straight to their home on Shabbos, and unannounced pushed open the door.
He immediately saw much blatant Shabbos desecration. The people
heaped great scorn on him, notwithstanding thast he was the
Yerusholayimer Rav. Amongst their many loud insults was that it is a
gross transgression of basic human behaviour to just barge into someone's
house. He calmly responded that he came to save them from an impending
fire. When there is an issue of fire burning down a home all etiquette rules
are suspended. One knocks down doors to save the inhabitants.
Ch. 39, v. 3: "Va'y'raku es pachei hazohov" - And they flattened the
plates of gold thin - The Ramban takes notice of the Torah detailing how
the threads of gold were made while nowhere else does the Torah detail
the way the craftsmen made things. He explains that all the other crafts
were done by craftsmen worldwide, while the thinning of gold to the point
that it could be cut into narrow flexible threads had never before been done
by anyone.
The medrash says that because Hashem required gold as a component of
the Mishkon and its vessels He gave the world an abundance of gold so
that it could also be used for non-sacred matters as well. Gold has the
unique property of being extremely malleable. I personally have seen
plates of gold so thin that they were much thinner than even onion skin. It
is used for gold leaf and the like in artistry. Perhaps Hashem imbued gold
with this unique property because it had to be flattened extremely thin for
the gold thread needed in the priestly garments. (n.l.)
Ch. 39, v. 43: "Va'y'voreich osom Moshe" - And Moshe blessed them -
Rashi says that he said, "Yh"r shetishreh sh'chinoh b'maa'seh y'deichem,"
and "the verse "Vihi noam " (T'hilim 90). Although Betzaleil imbued
many spiritual meanings into what he crafted the masses were not on his
level. Nevertheless they did their utmost. Moshe thus blessed them that
their work should likewise be imbued by Hashem with great sanctity.
(Based on the Holy Zohar on the verse in T'hilim) The Ralba"g says that a
great lesson can be derived from Moshe's behaviour. The leader of the
generation should not take for granted that his underlings will follow all
his dictates. When they fulfill his wishes he should clearly verbalize his
satisfaction and bestow a blessing upon them. This will surely spur them
on to continue doing good work.
Ch. 40, v. 17: "Hukam haMishkon" - The Mishkon was set up - The
setting up of the Mishkon is mentioned three times. Besides in our verse in
the next verse it says "Va'yokem Moshe" and earlier in verse 2 it says,
"Tokim es haMishkon." In those two verses the verb form is transitive,
while here it is "was done to it" form. These three places refer to the three
future Botei Mikdosh, two of which were built by people, and our verse,
where it is in "was done to it" form refers to the third and final Beis
Hamikdosh shbb"o, which will come to us completed. (Kli Yokor)
Ch. 40, v. 24: "Va'yosem es ha'menorah nochach hashulchon" -
And he placed the candelabrum across from the table - The
menorah represents the light of the Torah. This is alludes to the halacha of
saying divrei Torah at each meal. (M'kome Mikdosh)
Alternatively, the gemara says that one eats much more when he does not
see the food he is consuming. By placing a source of light near his table
one sees the food and does not eat too much. (n.l.)
Ch. 40, v. 35: "V'lo yochol Moshe lovo el Ohel Mo'eid ki shochein olov
he'onon" - And Moshe could not come to the Tent of Convocation
because the cloud rested upon it - Moshe's spirituality was so elevated
>:\D \"nn "po"np trcdk trcd ihc 13
that his physical body was a barrier to reach such a high level. It was only
when Hashem called him that a path was struck through the physicality
and he was able to reach the highest levels in communicating with
Hashem. (Olilos Efrayim)
Ch. 40, v. 38: "Ki anan Hashem al haMishkon l'einei kol beis
Yisroel" - Because Hashem's cloud is upon the Mishkon visible to
the eyes of all the house Yisroel - Even though there were clouds that
accompanied them upon their exodus from Egypt, that only lasted until
they were at Yam Suf, and then the masses did not see the clouds. Only the
prophets among them saw it from then on. Once Moshe prayed "V'niflinu
ani v'a'mecho" Hashem responded, "Neged kol amcho e'e'seh niflo'os."
The "nif'lo'os" were the "pelle" of the clouds of glory being visible to all,
"neged kol amcho." (GR"A as cited by Haksav V'hakaboloh)
A Gutten Shabbos Kodesh.
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Rabbi Yissocher Frand
Parshas Vayakhel and Pekudei
These divrei Torah were adapted from the hashkafa portion of Rabbi YissocherFrand's
Commuter Chavrusah Tapes on the weekly portion: Tape # 805, BarchSh'omar, Ashrei and
Yishtabach. Good Shabbos!
Why Did Moshe Save His Blessing For Parshas Pekudei?
Parshas Pekudei is the last of 5 Parshiyos in the second half of Sefer
Shmos that contains the details of how the Mishkan was built. If we feel a
sense of accomplishment at having learned these 5 parshas, we can
imagine the joy the people experienced at the momentous occasion in
Parshas Pekudei, when the Mishkan was finally assembled for the first
time. We read in the parsha that "Moshe saw all the work, and behold!
They had done it as Hashem had commanded; so had they done; and
Moshe blessed them. [Shmos 39:43]"
Rashi quotes Chazal that the blessing Moshe gave them was "May the
Divine Presence of G-d rest in the work of your hands". Now that all is
said and done, the blessing was that the L-rd should rest His Presence on
the people and on the building.
Rav Simcha Schepps, who was a Rosh Yeshiva in Torah VoDaas, shared
an interesting insight. Rav Schepps says that a more logical place to have
given the Jewish people this Bracha [blessing] would have bee n at the
outset of the building of the Mishkan. The pasuk near the beginning of
Parshas Terumah says: "They shall make Me a Sanctuary so that I may
dwell among them" [Shmos 25:8]. This Bracha of "May the Divine
Presence of Gd rest in the work of your hands" would have been a very
appropriate blessing to say at that moment. Why does Moshe save it for
the end of the process?
Rav Schepps answers based on a pasuk in Tehillim, with which most of us
are familiar: "Who will go up upon the Mountain of Hashem and who will
rise up to His holy place?" [Tehillim 24:3]. All the commentaries say that
this pasuk alludes to the fact that there are two different challenges in life.
There is the "Who will go up upon the Mountain of Hashem?" This means
who has the strength of character and the drive to go up to the Mountain of
G-d? This is one challenge. But there is an even greater challenge than
getting up there. The greater challenge is once you are already at the top of
the mountai n, to be able to stay up there.
In fact, it is easier to climb to the top of the Mountain of Hashem than it is
to remain there. Repetition and boredom set in. The day in, day out,
monotony sets in. Remaining on the Mountain of the L-rd is a much more
difficult task than going up there in the first place.
In August / September, during Elul Zeman in Yeshivos everyone is
enthusiastic. By the time we reach the end of Adar, only the elite are still
standing at the peak of the Mountain of Hashem. It is like that in many
areas of life.
When we were Bar Mitzvah boys and we started putting on Tefillin, the
ritual involved great excitement. When one has been putting on Tefillin for
40 or 50 years, some of that enthusiasm is lost. The truth of the matter is
that this is the way it is in most marriages as well. "The first year" is great.
It is the honeymoon period. But when one has been married 10, 20, or 30
years, the excitement of that first year does not seem t o persist.
We cannot let that happen. The challenge is not only "Who will climb up
the Mountain of G-d?" to reach the peak of the mountain. The challenge is
even more so, "who will remain standing on His holy place?"
So, at the beginning of the building of the Mishkan, everyone was
enthused. Remember the context. They had committed the sin of the
Golden Calf. The Almighty threatened to wipe them out. Moshe Rabbeinu
prayed on their behalf and finally on Yom Kippur, he descended again
from Mt. Sinai with the second Luchos. They started building the Mishkan
on the day after Yom Kippur. Everyone participated with adrenalin and
emotion. That is the phase of "Who will climb up the Mountain of G-d?"
However, now that the Mishkan is built, the excitement dissipates. Now
starts the day in, day out, repetitive routine. Morning, evening, morning,
evening... We bring the same Korban Tamid, day in and day out.
Therefore, Moshe Rabbeinu's Bracha to them is "May it be His will that
His Divine Presence abide in the handicraft of your hands." In other
words, may the initial enthusiasm be maintained throughout the ongoing
phase of the Mishkan's daily operation.
Using the Term "House of Israel" Instead of the Term "Children of
I heard the following thought in the name of Rav Nochum Lansky, one of
the Roshei Yeshiva in Yeshivas Ner Yisroel.
Parshas Pekudei marks the end of the Book of Shmos. The last pasuk in
the Book of Shmos reads as follows: "For the cloud of Hashem would be
on the Mishkan by day, and fire would be on it at night, before the eyes of
all the House of Israel in all their journeys." [Shmos 40:38]
Let us contrast the use of the wording "House of Israel" with the last pasuk
at the end of the Book of Vayikra: "These are the commandments that
Hashem commanded Moshe to the Children of Israel on Mount Sinai."
[Vayikra 27:34] Similarly, the last pasuk at the end of the book of
Bamidbar says: "These are the commandments and the ordinances that
Hashem commanded through Moshe to the Children of Israel in the Plains
of Moav, at the Jordan, by Jericho." [Bamidbar 36:13]
Both the book of Vayikra and the book of Bamidbar end with the more
commonly used expressio n Children of Israel (Bnei Yisrael), while the
book of Shmos ends with the less commonly used designation "House of
Israel" (Beis Yisrael). What is the nuance here? What is the Torah hinting
Rav Lansky suggests that there is a tremendous symmetry here. How does
the Book of Shmos begin? The opening pasuk reads: "And these are the
names of the Children of Israel who came to Egypt with Yaakov, each man
AND HIS HOUSEHOLD (u'beiso) came." [Shmos 1:1] This book is about
the genesis of the Jewish people. This is where we became a nation. But a
nation is not a conglomeration of millions of people. A nation at least the
Jewish nation is a nation of families. That is what makes us into an "am"
[nation]. It is the BAYIS [household] that makes us into a nation. If we
think back to the narrative of the Book of Shmos, we will see this
emphasis on the BAYIS over and over again. "They should take a lamb for
the HOUSEHOLDs of the fathers; a lamb per HOUSEHOLD" [Shmos
12:3]. Th e Korban Pessach was brought together with one's family. "Thus
shall you say to the HOUSE (beis) of Yaakov..." [Shmos 19:3]. The
formation of the Jewish nation is family by family. This is our strength.
We hear so much about the dissolution of American society and how we
are losing the structure of our society because the nuclear family is
breaking up. Just as a chain is only as strong as its links, so too a nation is
only as strong as its families. That is why the book of Shmos places such
an emphasis on the building of 'Bayis' faithful households.
Rav Shimshon Raphael Hirsch notes that the halacha exempts a groom
from going off to war during the first year of marriage. The rule of thumb
is that whenever there is a clash between a mitzvah incumbent on the
public (mitzvah d'rabim) and a private mitzvah (mitzvah d'yachid), the
public mitzvah takes precedence. In light of this principle, Rav Hirsch asks
why the personal mitzvah to rejoice with one's wife the fi rst year of
marriage trumps the public mitzvah to go out to battle with the nation. Rav
Hirsch answers that building and cementing the relationship that is the
foundation of a Jewish household IS a mitzvah d'rabbim (a mitzvah
affecting the nation). This is a contribution to the entire community. We
are only a nation by virtue of the fact that we are a nation of strong
For this reason, the book of Shmos begins with the pasuk that emphasizes
that the Jewish people came down to Egypt "each man with his
HOUSEHOLD" and ends with the pasuk which emphasizes "the entire
HOUSE of Israel."
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358-0416 or e-mail tapes@yadyechiel.org or visit http://www.yadyechiel.org/ for further information. Transcribed by David Twersky Seattle, WA;
Technical Assistance by Dovid Hoffman, Baltimore, MD RavFrand, Copyright 2007 by Rabbi Yissocher Frand and Torah.org. Join the Jewish
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Aish.Com - Rabbi Yehonasan Gefen
The Guiding Light
Vayakhel-One Deed Reflects On Another
The Torah describes how the people eagerly came to donate their prized
possessions towards the building of the Mishkan (Tabernacle). "The men
came with the women; everyone whose heart motivated him brought
bracelets, nose-rings, body ornaments - all sorts of gold ornaments - every
man who raised up an offering of gold to God." (1) The commentaries
discuss the meaning of the phrase, "the men came with the women".
Rabbeinu Bechaye explains that the women in fact came first to donate
their jewelry, and the men only came after them. This, he explains,
demonstrates their righteousness in and of itself but it also reflects
positively on an earlier incident involving jewelry - that of the Golden
14 >:\D \"nn "po"np trcdk trcd ihc
Calf. When the men demanded that Aaron make for them a statue, he told
them to remove the women's jewelry. However, the women refused to give
over their jewelry so the men took their own gold and gave that towards
the building of the Calf. From the incident of the Golden Calf alone, it is
unclear why the women refused to give their jewelry. It was possible that
their main motivation was their natural attachment to their jewelry, as
opposed to the pure motivation of refusal to be involved with the sin of the
Golden Calf. However, in Vayakhel we see that the women were very
willing to donate their jewelry towards the elevated purpose of the
building of the Mishkan. This retroactively teaches us about the reason
that they did not give their jewelry at the Golden Calf. It was not because
of their attachment to gold and silver, because that did not prevent the
women from parting with them for the sake of the Mishkan. Rather, their
refusal to give towards the Golden Calf emanated from leshem Shamayim
(pure) motives - they wanted no part in that terrible sin.(2)
Rav Avraham Pam derives a very important concept from this explanation.
It is known in Hebrew as 'Maasim shel adam mochichim zeh et zeh'. This
means that the actions of a person in one area can reveal something about
his actions in another area. In this case, the women's willingness to part
with their jewelry for the Mishkan revealed their pure intentions when
refusing to do so for the Golden Calf.
We see another example of this concept with regards to one of the names
given to the Third meal that is eaten on Shabbos: Shalosh Seudas - this
literally means, 'three meals'. This is a very strange name to give the third
meal, it would be more appropriate to only use its other name - seudah
shelishis. Why is this meal also known as 'three meals'? The answer is that
the way a person conducts himself at the third meal reflects retroactively
on his intentions during the first two Shabbat meals. There are two
possible reasons as to why a person would eat well at the first two Shabbat
meals: It could be because of his pure desire to honor the Shabbat by
eating delicious food, or it could emanate from his hunger and desire to eat
well, because both those meals come at a time when a person is normally
hungry and ready to eat well. However, the third meal comes quite soon
after Shabbat lunch, therefore a person's natural hunger will not be high. If
he refrains from eating at the third meal despite the fact that it is a mitzvah
to eat then, he retroactively shows that his main kavannah (intention) for
the first two meals was to fill his stomach more than honor the Shabbat! If,
however, he does partake in a delicious meal he demonstrates that his
intentions are for the honor of Shabbat, for if it were not Shabbat he would
otherwise eat far less or nothing at all. Accordingly, by eating the third
meal he retroactively demonstrates his intent for the first two, and at this
point it is clear that he ate ALL THREE MEALS with pure intentions.
Therefore, the third meal merits the name, 'three meals' because, for one
who eats the third meal, it is considered as if he ate all three meals with
pure intent.(3)
This concept of 'Maasim shel adam mochichim zeh es zeh' is of great
importance because it is a very effective mechanism in judging the
consistency of people's actions. This idea is brought out by the Beis
HaLevi, Rabbi Yosef Dov Soloveitchik,(4) on Vayigash. When Joseph
revealed himself to his brothers he asked them the question; "is my father
still alive?" (5) When the brothers heard this, they were completely
speechless and disconcerted. The Midrash compares Joseph's revelation to
his brothers to that of the Day of Judgment. It says that if the brothers
could not answer Joseph who was younger than them, then all the more so
when God (so to speak) comes and rebukes us, we will be left
speechless.(6) The commentaries ask; what exactly is the comparison
between Joseph's revelation to the brothers and the Day of Judgment.
The Beis HaLevi answers by first explaining Joseph's question about
whether his father was alive - it was very clear from the events up to this
time that Jacob was still alive! He answers that Joseph was in truth giving
them a veiled rebuke. Yehuda had just spent a great deal of time arguing
that Joseph should not take Benjamin as a slave because it would destroy
Jacob. By bringing up the well-being of Jacob, Joseph was alluding to
them that their purported concern for their father did not seem to be
consistent with their actions in selling Joseph so many years earlier. At
that time, they had shown no concern for the pain that their father would
feel al the loss of his beloved son. In this way, the brothers had
contradicted their own arguments through their very actions!
The Beis HaLevi then explains the similarity of Joseph's 'rebuke' to that of
the Day of Judgment. On that awesome day each person will be asked
about his various actions, including his sins and failure to keep mitzvot
properly. He may have excuses however, these excuses will then be
scrutinized by his other actions in that same area. For example, a person
might justify his failure to give sufficient money to charity on the basis
that he was lacking in his own livelihood. However, his spending in other
areas will then be examined - if it becomes clear that in other areas he was
all too willing and able to spend large amounts of money, then he himself
has ruined his own justification for failing to give charity! In this vein, his
actions in spending money for his own enjoyment reflects badly on his
spending of money for the mitzvah of giving charity.
In this vein, the Chaftez Chaim once berated a wealthy man for giving
insufficient funds to charity. The man answered that he did indeed give
away a significant amount. The Chafetz Chaim then worked out the
amount of money he gave to charity and compared it to his expenses on
his own luxuries. It came out that the man spent more money on his
drapery alone than on all the charity that he gave!
We have discussed the concept of 'Maasim shel adam mochichim zeh et
zeh' and seen its great significance in the process of judgment. The
obvious lesson to be derived from this concept, is that it is essential that a
person analyze the consistency of his actions. For example, a person who
claims that he does not have enough time to learn will have to justify his
failure to learn on the Day of Judgment. If it becomes clear that he did
have enough time for many other types of activities then his claim that he
did not have enough time to learn will be put in serious jeopardy. His
actions in other areas show that in truth it wasn't because he did not have
enough time to learn rather that it was a very low priority in his list of
importance. It would be much less disconcerting if we can make our own
self-analysis of such inconsistencies and fix them before the Day of
Judgment. May we all merit to achieve consistency in all our actions.
1. Shemot, 35:22.
2. Rabbeinu Bechaye, Shemot, 35:22.
3. Heard from Rav Yisroel Reisman.
4. He was the father of Reb Chaim Soloveitchik, and grandfather of the
Brisker Rav, Rav Yitzchak Zev Soloveitchik.
5. Bereishit, 45:3.
6. Bereishit Rabbah, 93:10.
Pekudei-The Value of the Tabernacle
"These are the reckonings of the Tabernacle, the Tabernacle of Testimony,
which was reckoned at Moses's bidding. The labor of the Levites was
under the authority of Issamar, son of Aaron the Kohen. Betzalel, son of
Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, did everything that HaShem
commanded Moses." (1)
The Portion begins with a brief description of the Mishkan (Tabernacle)
and the people who were involved in its construction and service. The
Seforno writes that the Torah is teaching us a significant point with this
introduction. The Mishkan and its accessories were never destroyed,
captured or desecrated. In contrast, both the Temples were subject to
desecration and destruction. The Seforno explains that the first two verses
in the Portion are giving four reasons behind the elevated nature of the
Mishkan. The first is in the words; "'the Tabernacle of Testimony". This,
the Seforno explains refers to the two Tablets that Moshe received on
Mount Sinai.(2) These are indicative of the incredible spirituality that
dwelt in the Tabernacle. The verse continues; "which was reckoned at
Moshe's bidding." Since Moses arranged the building of the Mishkan, it
benefitted from his personal majesty. The third aspect contributing to the
holiness of the Mishkan was that, "the labor of the Levites was under the
authority of Itamar". Itamar was also a man of great stature. And finally,
the second verse informs us that Betzalel, also a great man, with great
lineage, built the Mishkan.
The Seforno then contrasts this with the people involved in the building of
the Temples. The first Temple was arranged by the righteous King
Solomon, however, the workers were non-Jews from Tsur. Since the
Temple was not built by righteous people, it was subject to corrosion and
therefore needed to be maintained, unlike the Tabernacle. Moreover,
because of its lower level of holiness it did ultimately fall into the hands of
our enemies and was destroyed. The second Temple was of an even lower
level of holiness; the Tablets were not there, and it was arranged by Cyrus,
the Persian King. Accordingly, it too fell foul of our enemies and was
Three verses later, the Torah tells us the total value of all the jewelry that
was given for the building of the Tabernacle. The Seforno on this verse,
continuing in his theme from the earlier verses, notes that the total material
value of the Tabernacle was far less than that of both Temples, both of
which were incredibly beautiful and expensive buildings. And yet, unlike
the Temples, the humble Tabernacle continually had the Divine Presence
within it. The Seforno concludes that this teaches us that the holiness of a
building is not defined by its material value and beauty, rather by the
spiritual level of the people who were involved it its construction.(3) In a
similar vein, the explanation of the Seforno teaches us that the Torah
>:\D \"nn "po"np trcdk trcd ihc 15
outlook attributes true value towards physical objects or buildings in a
very different way to that of the secular outlook. In the secular world, the
external beauty or material value of the item define its 'value'. In contrast,
the Torah pays little heed to the external qualities rather the internal
spirituality that was invested into the item determines its true value. Thus,
the Tabernacle may have been far less physically impressive than the two
Temples but its true value was far greater because of the intentions of the
people who made it.
This concept is demonstrated by an interesting incident with regard to the
Tabernacle that is described in Terumah and Vayakhel. God instructs
Moses to tell the people to bring the raw materials necessary in order to
build the Mishkan. "This is the portion that you shall take from them: gold,
silver, and copper; and turquoise, purple and scarlet wool; linen and goat
hair; red-dyed ram skins; tachash skins, acacia wood; oil for illumination,
spices for the anointment oil and the aromatic incense; shoham stones and
stones for the settings, for the Ephod and Breastplate." (4)
The Ohr HaChaim HaKadosh points out that the order of the materials
mentioned is difficult to understand; the shoham stones and the 'stones of
the settings' are the most valuable of all the items in the list, therefore
logically they should have been mentioned first. He offers an answer based
on the Gemara that informs us how the people attained the shoham stones.
The Gemara says that a great miracle occurred and shoham stones came
down along with the manna.(5) The Nesi'im (Princes) then donated these
precious stones to the Mishkan. One may think that the supernatural
manner in which the stones came down would only add to their inherent
material value.
However, the Ohr HaChaim writes the exact opposite; since the stones
came without any effort or financial loss, they are placed at the end of the
list of items donated to the Mishkan.(6) When the people gave all the other
items, they were parting with their property and willingly undergoing
financial loss for the sake of doing God's will. This places those items,
including such mundane material as goat hair, on a higher level than the
precious shoham stones which came through a miracle. This starkly
demonstrates the Torah's value system with regard to the physical world.
External factors are completely subjugated to the internal - the intentions
that went into the item determine its true value.
This concept has applications in Jewish law. The authorities discuss the
status of an etrog that has been bruised by over-use. The Chatam Sofer
rules that if the bruises came about because many people fulfilled the
mitzvah of shaking the four species with this etrog, then it is kosher. He
writes further that the fact that the bruises came about through mitzvot
actually enhances its status, and constitutes a kind of hiddur
(beautification) in and of itself.(7) This Chatam Sofer teaches us a very
telling lesson. When a person would see a beautiful, clean etrog that had
never been used, and compares it to a bruised etrog that had been shaken
by hundreds of people, he would consider the clean etrog to be of greater
value. However, the Torah focuses far more on the internal value behind
the etrog, than on its external beauty.
In a similar vein, a man's hat once became very dirty on Shabbat. He asked
the Chazon Ish if he could clean it on Shabbat. The Chazon Ish answered
that it was forbidden, but he man argued that it is not Kavod Shabbat (the
honor of Shabbat) to go around with a dirty hat. The Chazon Ish answered
that since the hat is left dirty in honor of the sanctity of Shabbat, in this
case, keeping it dirty constitutes honoring the Shabbat itself. Again, one
may think that a dirty hat cheapens Shabbat due to its unkempt
appearance, however, in truth the intentions that lay behind the dirt can
turn this into a way of greatly honoring Shabbat!
We have seen how the Torah's criterion for defining the true 'value' of the
physical world is very different from that of the secular world. The effort,
kavannah (intentions) and spiritual input into that item are the true
determinants of its objective value, as opposed to its superficial
appearance or monetary value. There is a very natural tendency for a
person brought up in the secular world to focus on the externalities of the
physical world, including the size of a house, the appearance of a car, etc.
The sources above teach us that it is incumbent on each person to adjust
his value system in line with the Torah outlook.
1. Shemos, 38:21-22.
2. See Rashi, Shemos, 38:21 who explains the term, 'The Tabernacle of
Testimony' differently from the Seforno.
3. Seforno, Shemos, 88:21,24.
4. Teruma, 25:3-7. Vayakhel, 35:5-9.
5. Yoma, 75a.
6. Ohr HaChaim, Terumah, 25:7, dh: Od nireh.
7. Chiddushei Chasam Sofer, Sukkah, 36a.
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Rabbi J. Gewirtz
Migdal Ohr
Volume 15 Issue 21 Parshas Vayakhel-Pekudei-HaChodesh 5773
A publication dedicated to Harbotzas Torah
Every man with whom was found greenish-blue wool, dark red wool,
crimson wool, fine linen, goat's hair, red-dyed rams' skins, or tachash
skins brought them. (35:23)
No one person brought all of these things. Rather, whoever had one of
these items brought it and it was put together with the other donations until
all the material needs of the Mishkans construction were met. Rashi
specifically points out that the posuk does not mean all of these things
were brought together, but rather that whoever found this OR that OR the
other item in his possession brought that item to Moshe.
The Sifsei Chachomim points out that Rashi omits certain items which
could be used on their own. He says it was obvious that just because one
did not have all the items in his possession it would not stop him from
bringing what he did have. However, regarding certain of these fibers
which had to be woven together, I might have thought that they had to be
brought as a unit. Therefore, Rashi specifies that even in such a case, one
could bring whatever he found in his possession regardless of whether he
had its complementary component.
The words with whom was found are very important to the underlying
message of the Parsha. When the items needed were mentioned, people
realized that they had some of the things needed even though they may not
have had a particular use for them before. They may not have had a reason
for acquiring the item, but somehow it landed in their possession. For
example, why did one have goats hair that was specifically dyed red? Yet,
it was in his possession. When that happened, he understood that HaShem
had given him this item in order to participate in the building of the
Mishkan, so he followed through and brought the item.
In Parshas Pekudei, Moshe will give a reckoning of every specific item
and amount that was donated and identify where it was used in the
Mishkan. This underscored the necessity of each of them to bring what he
had been blessed with for the completion of G-ds home.
The work of the Mishkan is a microcosm of the work of the world. Just as
different people had different materials to offer for the Mishkan, so do
different people have different experiences, abilities, and talents to share
with the world. If you find yourself blessed with a talent, do not be proud
of yourself, because this was a gift from G-d. Recognize that just as He
gave people items to be used in the Mishkan, so does He give us abilities
to use for society and Mankind, and we are to step forward and share these
gifts with others.
Like the reckoning of the construction donations and expenditures, each of
us fits into the master blueprint and is necessary to make the world
complete. We must never underestimate our own value, but at the same
time we must remember that our value lies not in simply having the
ability, but in putting it to work for good.
A class was learning the story of Yosef and his brothers. When they
appeared before the Viceroy of Egypt, Yaakovs sons did not realize it was
Yosef, their flesh and blood. When he revealed himself, he said, I am
Yosef, is my father still alive?
Why, asked the Rebbi of the class, did he ask if Yaakov was still alive?
He clearly knew from their previous discussions that Yaakov was alive in
Canaan. They had even said they feared he would die should Binyamin not
return home. One boy in the class, a quiet somber child who never
opened his mouth, raised his hand. The surprised Rebbi looked at the boy,
whose father had passed away some time before, and asked if he had a
Yosef knew that Yaakov was still alive, said the boy, obviously very
emotional. But what he wanted to know was Haod AVI chai, is MY
father still alive? Does he still think of ME, even though I have been
separated from him for so many years?!
The teacher was touched by this incisive answer, and realized it was born
of the singular experiences of this child. It was an answer that only he,
who shared Yosefs pain of separation from his father, could have come up
with. This was his contribution - and no one else could make it.
Did You Know?
This week we read Parshas HaChodesh, when HaShem showed Moshe and
Aharon the form of the new moon, and explained how to sanctify the new
month. It goes on to discuss that Nissan should be the first month of our
16 >:\D \"nn "po"np trcdk trcd ihc
year, and that on the fourteenth day of that first month we are to celebrate
This is the first Mitzva of the Jewish People, to be in control of time, and
designate it according to our schedules, not the other way around. It is
only after this that we are commanded to observe Pesach, the symbol and
celebration of Freedom.
If we put these ideas together, we understand that time is not supposed to
rule us, forcing us into last-minute decisions and deadline-induced choices.
Rather, we must control our time, make decisions with forethought and
peace of mind, and that will enable us to be free.
Just as the Jews who left Egypt were finally able to make their own
decisions about what to do with their time, no longer subject to their
taskmasters and Pharaoh, so are all Jews commanded to be in control of
their time and choose to use it constructively and for the glory of Heaven.
That was not only our first Mitzvah, for that time, but one that we are to
continually fulfill, every day of our lives.
Thought of the week:
When you have an ability, you must respond to it. Thats called
2013 J. Gewirtz Think of the possibilities! Print, e-mail, and share
Migdal Ohr with friends and family. Youll be glad you did. E-mail
Subscribe to info@JewishSpeechWriter.com
This weeks issue sponsored in honor of the birth of Avraham Shmuel ben
Reuven Aryeh son of Ari & Sari Weber, Jerusalem, Israel. Mazel Tov to
proud grandparents Lisa & Harold Weber - Pomona, NY May you have
much nachas dkedusha from your entire family!
2013 J. Gewirtz

Rabbi Nosson Greenberg
Khal Machzikei Torah
Vayakhail - Permanent Press
In this weeks parsha (Vayakhail) the Torah lists all the items of the
Mishkan. When mentioning the courtyard and its accessories the possuk
says (Shmos,35,17), Es kalai hechatzair, es amudov ves adoneho -
The curtains of the courtyard, its pillars, and its sockets. Rashi picks up
on a grammatical discrepancy in these words, because the suffixes used for
the courtyards accessories switch from masculine to feminine. He
therefore concludes that the noun chatzair (courtyard) can be referred to
in either gender. We find several other nouns that have this phenomenon
such as shemesh-sun, ruach-wind, and machaneh-camp (See Rashi to
Beraishis, 32,9). [These nouns obviously have reasons why they merit this
grammatical license. For example, the Divrei Dovid posits that the
courtyard of the Mishkan had male and female qualities about it and thus
has the ability to switch genders.]
The question is, now that we know that loshon hakodesh is comfortable
switching genders of certain nouns, why then does Rashi (Dvarim 29,20),
when confronted with a similar discrepancy with the noun Torah, not
take a similar tack? [After all, it would not be too difficult to explain how
the Torah too has masculine and feminine qualities.]
I believe the answer is simple. Our Torah is deep, broad, and wider than
the wild blue yonder. The Torah is also perfect because it is written by
Hashem. Its essence and character which defines who we are as a nation
does not advocate corner-cutting, ambiguity and equivocation. Thats not
what Yiddishkeit is about. I once asked a non-religious taxi driver in Eretz
Yisroel why he was irreligious. He responded Ani Daati Balev. - I am
religious at heart. Thats a nice start but not the endgame Hashem is
looking for. You cant really be a three-day-a-year practicing jew. Its
oxymoronic. There is one Torah, with 613 mitzvos. Do not add nor
subtract. Keeping this Torah is the goal for which we strive, even though it
may take a lifetime to get there.
Now we can understand why even in the technical world of grammar the
noun Torah cannot be of dual gender. It would suggest uncertainty and
dilution and is thus not a word on which one should practice parisology.
The Yerushalmi (Shekalim, Perek 6) tells us that Rav Simai was of the
opinion that each side of each of the luchos had the ten commandments
written on it twice; once from the top going down and again from the
bottom going up. Why? Perhaps to teach us that the Torah will embrace
any person no matter from which direction he may choose to approach.
But at the same time one must know that the instruction booklet of life
known as the Torah must stay the same. There is no reform, no liberal, no
reconstructionist, and no humanistic denominations. Yes, youre my
brother, and yes, Ill love you, but please do not meddle with my Torah.
Dont put my religion on spin cycle.
Have a great Shabbos, Rabbi Nosson Greenberg
Rav, Khal Machzikei Torah, Far Rockaway, N.Y. ravgreenbergkmt@gmail.com

Rabbi Avraham Kahn
Torah Attitude
Parashas Vayakhel/Pekudei-Parashas HaChodesh: We Are All
Musicians In G-ds Orchestra.
Moses assembles every member of the Jewish people and instructs them to
participate in the building of the Tabernacle. From every repetition we
learn new lessons and teachings. When everyone gave a half shekel
towards the building of the Tabernacle, they each had an equal share in the
Tabernacle. The Tabernacle was a miniature replica of the entire universe.
If the microcosm of the Tabernacle needed the participation of every
member of the Jewish people, we can well understand the importance of
every single Jew participating in the study and observance of the Torah
and its laws. Rabbi Paysach Krohn told a story that illustrates the
importance of every single musician playing their instrument. The famous
symphony conductor, Arturo Toscanini, heard that one violin was missing.
To the Conductor of the World Symphony, every word of Torah that is
studied, every prayer that is uttered, and every mitzvah that is fulfilled,
makes a difference. We are all musicians in G-ds Orchestra.
Building the Tabernacle
In the first of this weeks two parshios, Parashas Vayakhel, Moses
assembles every member of the Jewish people and instructs them to
participate in the building of the Tabernacle, according to the directions
mentioned in the three previous parshios. In the second parasha, Parashas
Pekudei, we find a detailed account of all the materials used for the
Tabernacle. Afterwards, the Torah describes how they made the special
garments for Aaron and his children. Finally, the Torah relates how they
erected the Tabernacle and all the holy vessels that were needed for the
daily service.
The fact that the Torah repeats several times the instructions to build the
Tabernacle, and how everyone should be involved, shows G-ds love for
every Jew and the importance of the construction of a place of worship,
where everyone can feel that this is his place to connect with G-d. The Ohr
HaChaim compares this to the several repetitions when Eliezer, the servant
of Abraham, went to find a wife for Isaac. There Rashi (Bereishis 24:42)
quotes from the Midrash Rabbah (ibid 60:8) that explains that the
repetitions are an indication of the importance of what happened then.
Rabbi Chaim Shmulevits elaborates on this and discusses how from every
repetition we learn new lessons and teachings.
Equal Share
In the beginning of last weeks parasha, G-d instructed Moses to count the
Jewish people. The counting took place by everyone having to give half a
shekel towards the building of the Tabernacle. In this way, everyone knew
that they had an equal share in the Tabernacle. On top of that, there were
other opportunities to donate, each one according to their generosity. And
whoever wanted to participate in the actual work to produce the various
vessels and garments, as well as the Tabernacle itself, were welcome to do
so, as it says (Shemos 35:22): And the men came together with the
women, all who were generous at heart
Replica Of The Universe
The Midrash Tanchuma (Pekudei 2) explains that the Tabernacle was a
miniature replica of the entire universe. In order to build such a microcosm
of the universe, Bezalel was blessed with a Divine spirit, as it says in last
weeks parasha (Shemos 31:1-3): And G-d said to Moses see I have
appointed Bezalel and I have filled him with a spirit of G-d with
wisdom, understanding and knowledge. The Talmud (Berachos 55a)
learns that this teaches us that Bezalel was Divinely inspired to understand
how to combine the letters of the alphabet as G-d had used them to create
Heaven and Earth. This, says the Talmud, is alluded to in his name, as
Bezalel can be read as Bezeil Keil which means in the shadow of G-d.
G-d allowed Bezalel to shadow Him so that he should be able to build
the Tabernacle in its physical form with the proper spiritual dimension, so
that it could be a true miniature of the world.
Importance Of Every Single Jew
Last week we compared the creation of the world to a beautiful piece of
music. We spoke about the importance of every musician playing their
part in order that the full orchestra can do justice to the beauty of the
music. If the microcosm of the Tabernacle needed the participation of
every member of the Jewish people, we can well understand the
importance of every single Jew participating in the study and observance
of the Torah and its laws, as this is the only way we can produce the
sound of the Creators beautiful composition.
Rabbi Krohn
A few years ago I heard the famous author and beloved speaker, Rabbi
Paysach Krohn, speak at a parlour meeting. He told a story and brought
out a beautiful point that illustrates the importance of every single
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musician playing their instrument (the story has recently been printed by
Artscroll in Rabbi Krohns book In the Splendour of the Maggid).
One Missing
An accomplished writer was working on a biography of the famous
symphony conductor, Arturo Toscanini. One day the writer called
Toscanini and asked if he could visit him the following night. The great
maestro told him that he could not meet that night, as he was planning to
listen to a concert on the radio of an orchestra that he had conducted
himself the previous year. The writer asked if he could join him and
discuss the concert after it was over. Toscanini agreed on condition that he
would not be disturbed during the concert, as he did not want to be
distracted. The next night they listened together to the orchestras
performance, and when it was finished the writer said, Wasnt that
magnificent? No it wasnt, Toscanini answered sternly. There were
supposed to be 120 musicians, among them 15 violinists, but only 14 were
present. The writer could not believe his ears, but did not dare question
the great maestro. However, he wanted to investigate to verify if Toscanini
was right. The next morning he called the director of the orchestra and
asked him how many musicians were supposed to be in the orchestra, and
how many had actually shown up. The director told him that there were
supposed to be 120 musicians, but one of the 15 violinists called in sick.
The writer was in awe and could not understand how Toscanini could have
noticed the missing sound of one violin. That night he returned to
Toscanini and asked him how he was able to discern the missing violin in
an orchestra of 120 musicians. Toscanini answered with authority and said,
There is a great difference between you and me. As part of the audience
everything sounds great to you. But I, being a conductor, must know every
sound that comes forth from the orchestra. When I heard the concert, I
noticed that some notes were missing, and I knew immediately that one
violinist was missing.
Every Note Makes A Difference
Rabbi Krohn told this story in the name of Rabbi Moshe Plutchok from
Yeshiva Derech Chaim in Brooklyn, who had heard it on a Jewish radio
station. Rabbi Plutchok used this story to teach an amazing insight. It may
not make any difference to us whether another person is studying Torah or
observing a commandment, for we are all part of the audience. But to the
Conductor of the World Symphony, Who knows every note of music that
can come forth, to Him every word of Torah that is studied, every prayer
that is uttered, and every mitzvah that is fulfilled, makes a difference.
G-ds Orchestra
Rabbi Krohn concluded and said, We are all musicians in G-ds
Orchestra. The drummer cannot play the cello, the cellist cannot play the
flute, and the flutist cannot play the violin. Each must play his instrument
to the best of his ability. We are all different and we must perform with the
talents, mindset and personalities we were given. We must always focus
on the best we can be and perform on the highest level of our capability for
the Conductor of the World Symphony.
These words were based on a talk given by Rabbi Avraham Kahn, the Rosh Yeshiva
and Founder of Yeshivas Keser Torah in Toronto.
Shalom. Michael Deverett
P.S. If you have any questions or enjoyed reading this e-mail, we would appreciate
hearing from you. If you know of others who may be interested in receiving e-mails
similar to this please let us know at Michael@deverettlaw.com .

Rabbi Yosef Kalatzky
Beyond Pshat
1. Remorse, A Key Component of Repentance
Chazal tell us that the building of the Mishkan was an atonement for the
sin of the Golden Calf. Just as they had generously and zealously given
gold towards the forging of the Golden Calf, so too should they give the
gold with zeal and generosity of heart for the building of the Mishkan. As
it states in the Midrash, Let the gold that was given towards the building
of the Mishkan atone for the gold that was given for the Golden Calf. In
order to be worthy of atonement, one must repent. A fundamental
component of repentance is to have a deep sense of remorse. In addition to
remorse, one must make a commitment to the future to never repeat again
the sin. It is not sufficient to simply perform a perfunctory act to bring
about atonement.
The Torah states in the Portion of Ki Sisa, Moshe turned and descended
the mountain, with two Tablets of the Testimony in his hand Sforno
explains, Moshe had thought that when he will return and the Jewish
people will see him with the Tablets in his hand, they will repent
immediately. If however, they do not repent, he was prepared to smash the
Tablets before their eyes so that they will be moved to repentance. Thus,
the objective of Moshe breaking the Tablets was to cause the Jewish
people to appreciate the wrong that they had done and repent.
The Torah states, He (Moshe) threw down the Tablets from his hands and
shattered them at the foot of the mountain. The Gemara in Tractate
Shabbos tells us that G-d thanked Moshe for smashing the Tablets because
it was the equivalent of an annulment of the marriage contract between G-
d and the Jewish people. If the relationship would not be annulled it would
have been the sin of the Golden Calf would have been the equivalent of
committing adultery under the chupah. In order to prevent G-d from
destroying the Jewish people, Moshe destroyed the Tablets. However, why
was important for the Torah to tell us the location where Moshe shattered
the Tablets (at the foot of the mountain)?
The Torah tells us that the Jewish people stood at the foot of the mountain
(Sinai) and declared unequivocally Naaseh Vnishma (we will do and we
will listen. The foot of the mountain was the location in which the Jewish
people accepted the Torah upon themselves without first knowing the
extent of their obligation. When G-d heard their declaration a heavenly
voice said, Who revealed this secret to My children? The Jewish people
had reached such a level of negation to His Will that they utilized the same
expression of subservience that the angels use in heaven. The Gemara in
Tractate Shabbos tells us that each Jew had merited two special crowns for
the declaration of Naaseh and Nishma which were forfeited and
relinquished after the sin of the Golden Calf. Moshe shattered the Tablets
at the foot of the mountain, which was the location that the Jewish people
had reached the pinnacle of their spiritual ascent, in order to bring about
their correction through penitence.
In order for one to repent sufficiently one must feel totally devastated as a
result of his sin. If one were to have a sense of worthiness at the time of
repentance, albeit miniscule, it will interfere with the depth of remorse.
When Moshe descended from the mountain he had anticipated that the
Jewish people would repent when they saw the Tablets in his hands.
However, since they did not he needed to shatter them before their eyes. In
order to illicit from them the greatest level of remorse he smashed them at
the foot of the mountain which was the location of their declaration of
Naaseh Vnishma. He chose that particular place to shatter them because
he wanted to communicate to them that their past level of achievement had
been annulled. They had no degree of worthiness from their past behavior
whatsoever. This provided for them a context to be able to the most
profound level of repentance could they be atoned.
2. Moshes Position as G-ds Spokesman is in Question
Chazal tell us that when the Jewish people declared, Naaseh Vnishma
(we will do and we will listen each Jew merited two spiritual crowns (one
for each word of their declaration). However, after Moshe returned and
broke the first set of Tablets because of the sin of the Golden Calf, they
had to relinquish their spiritual adornments. They thus reverted back to
their lesser spiritual state. The Torah tells us that the Jewish people
mourned the loss of their special spiritual status. After Moshes final
ascent to heaven he returned with the second set of Tablets on the tenth
day of the month of Tishrei, which is the day of atonement of the Jewish
people, Yom Kippur. The second set of Tablets were an indication that G-
d had forgiven the Jewish people for the sin of the Golden Calf and they
were reinstated once again to be His people. Thus, that day was
established until the end of time as the day of atonement. Moshe then
instructed the Jewish people in the Name of G-d to build the Mishkan for
G-d to be able to dwell in their midst.
The Midrash states, When G-d communicated the building of the
Mishkan to Moshe he showed him how every vessel was to be
developedMoshe believed that since he was being instructed that he
would be the one to oversee its building. As it states, You (Moshe) shall
make the curtains You shall make the altar After everything was
set in place in a specific order Moshe asked G-d, Who will oversee all of
this? G-d responded, See, I have proclaimed by name, Bezalel Moshe
upon his return communicated all that was told to him to the Jewish
peopleThey asked him, Who will oversee all of this? Moshe
responded, Bezalel will be the one. The Jewish people began murmuring,
saying, G-d did not instruct Moshe to appoint Bezalel to oversee the
building of the Mishkan, but rather it was Moshe himself who decided to
appoint him because he is a relative. Moshe is the king, his brother Aaron
is the High Priest..etc. Moshe wants to dominate all of the building of the
Mishkan. He is seeking for himself all of the glory by appointing only
members of his family. Moshe responded to them, There is nothing that I
do that is my own initiative, but rather G-d said, See I have called in the
name of Bezalel This is the meaning of the verse in Proverbs He will
find favor and good understanding in the eyes of G-d and man. In the
eyes of G-d is referring to Bezalel. In the eyes of man is referring to the
Jewish people.
The Jewish people clearly understood because of Bezalels spiritual
qualifications that he was truly chosen by G-d to oversee the building of
the Mishkan. They understood he possessed a Divine endowment that
qualified him for this task. Being told by Moshe that he was the one
chosen by G-d to oversee the building of the Mishkan was not sufficient
for the Jewish people, they needed to see and understand for themselves
that Bezalel was truly the most qualified for the position and the
appointment was not due to nepotism.
When the entire Jewish people stood at Sinai they witnessed G-d openly
speaking with Moshe face to face saying, Tell them such and such It
was clear that G-d had chosen Moshe to be His spokesman to transmit His
Word. In addition, the Torah states, G-d said to Moshe, They will
believe in you forever After the Jewish people engaged in the sin of the
Golden Calf, G-d wanted to destroy them. Had it not been for Moshes
intense supplications on their behalf, they would have been destroyed.
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When Moshe returned with the second set of Tablets, they understood that
it was only because of Moshes intervention that they were spared. If this
is so how could they question Moshes integrity regarding Bezalels
appointment? If the Jewish people questioned Moshe regarding Bezalel,
why did they not put into question the entire Torah as being the word of
Moshe and not the word of G-d? It was only because the Jewish people
questioned the area in which they felt that they were being infringed upon.
They had believed that there were others who were qualified for the
position and they did not understand why Moshe chose a member from his
family and not any of the other candidates. It seemed to be a case of
It would seem that the position of the Jewish people regarding the
appointment of Bezalel, Moshes nephew (the great grandson of Miriam
his sister) was identical to the position of Korach when he had attempted
to usurp the authority of Moshe. He had claimed that the appointment of
Aaron as the high priest was a case of nepotism. He claimed that since the
entire Jewish people stood at Sinai they all had the status of being holy. If
this is so why did Moshe chose his own brother? It was only because it
was the word of Moshe and not the Word of G-d. Moshe was only able to
dispel the position of the Jewish people regarding Bezalel because he
demonstrated that he was truly qualified. Regardless, Moshes credibility
as G-ds spokesman was breeched and tarnished by the incident of Bezalel.
Korachs attempt to usurp Moshes authority was not a new concept but
rather it reawaked the feelings of the Jewish people that they had during
the appointment of Bezalel. The proper position of the Jewish people after
Sinai should have been that they were completely negated to Moshe, G-ds
spokesman, regardless if what he says conforms with their understanding
or not.
If one questions the position of Torah sages and is only satisfied with their
perspective and position after comprehending their view and agreeing with
it, it is considered a serious flaw. It is clear that this individual does not a
sufficient level of subordination to the Torah sage. He does not regard him
as one with authority but rather he merely agrees with his position. At
Sinai, the Jewish people embraced G-ds Word unequivocally with the
declaration of Naaseh vnishma we will do and we will listen.
However, after it was transmitted through Moshe they did not fully accept
the fact that whatever Moshe was communicating to them was necessarily
what G-d truly wanted. We see this regarding the appointment of Bezalel.
3. To Be Worthy Of G-ds Endowment
The Torah states regarding the building of the Mishkan, G-d said to
Moshe, I will fill him with the Spirit of G-d with wisdom The
Midrash states, G-d filled Bezalel with wisdom because he already
possessed wisdom. This is to teach us that G-d gives wisdom only to those
who already possess wisdom. A matronly woman asked Reb Yosi Bar
Chalafta , What is the meaning of the verse (from Daniel): G-d gives
wisdom to those who are wise? It should have stated: G-d gives wisdom to
those who are fools. Why would G-d need to give wisdom to someone
who already possesses it? Reb Yosi Bar Chalafta asked her, If two
individuals approached you for a loan one of them being wealthy and the
other needy, to whom would you lend the money? The matronly woman
answered, To the wealthy one. Reb Yosi Ben Chalafta asked, Why?
She replied, If the wealthy man were to somehow lose the money that I
leant him, he would be able to repay me because of his wealthy. However,
if the needy man were to lose my money, he would have no means to
repay the loan. Reb Yosi Ben Chalafta said, Your ears should hear what
your mouth is saying. If G-d endowed the fools with wisdom they would
sit in unclean locations and bathhouses. They would desecrate the wisdom
that G-d had given them. However, if G-d endows the wise person with
wisdom, he will sit in the study hall and in the synagogue and engage in
Torah dialogue. He would not only preserve the pristine quality of the
wisdom that G-d gave him, he would actually develop and advance it by
interfacing with the elders
The Midrash continues, If one were to go to a storekeeper to purchase
wine, honey, olive oil, or fish brine, if the storekeeper was wise he would
first smell the vessel before filling it. If he would smell the fragrance of
wine in the vessel, he would fill it with wine. If he would smell the scent
of honey, he would fill it with honeySimilarly, if G-d sees that one
possesses wisdom, He will fill him with more wisdom. (Because if a vessel
contains something other than what is being put into it, it will cause what
is being put into it to become putrid).
The Gemara in Tractate Yomah states, The storage location for ones
Torah is ones fear of heaven. As it is stated in the verse, The fear of G-
d is its storage location. If one does not have sufficient fear of G-d , then
he will not merit the Divine Assistance that is necessary to retain it. Reb
Chaim of Volozhin asks, If one is not born with wisdom and G-d only
gives wisdom to those who already possess it, how does one initially
acquire wisdom? King David writes in Psalms, The beginning of
wisdom is the fear of heaven If one has the fear of heaven, he will be
able to appreciate and esteem the wisdom of the Torah that he comes upon,
understanding that it is an endowment from G-d. He will appreciate the
infinite value of what he possesses because it is G-ds wisdom.
If however, one does not have the fear of heaven, then his Torah study is
no different from any other intellectual pursuit because he believes that
what he understands is as a result of the greatness of his own abilities.
Since this individual does not sufficiently understand the significance and
essence of the Torah, he will disgrace it. This is similar to pouring quality
wine into a vessel that had contained fish oil. Therefore, G-d does not
allow this individual to acquire Torah or retain it.
The Mishna in Ethics of our Fathers states, Who is the wise man? The
one who can learn from every person. Rabbeinu Yonah explains that if
there is an individual who possesses a great amount of knowledge, but he
does not feel that he can learn from others, he is considered to be a fool.
However, if an individual knows nothing but feels he can learn from
everyone, then he is considered to be wise. It is because the second
individual ultimately has the potential to attain an unlimited amount of
knowledge and wisdom. Thus, the simple person will be able to come
upon many vistas of knowledge and his potential of growth is unlimited
because he has an appreciation for wisdom. It is the one how possesses the
fear of heaven that has the unlimited capacity to merit G-ds Wisdom
because he is its proper repository.
4. Clarity is Synonymous with Wisdom
The Torah states, Moshe said to the Children of Israel, See Hashem has
proclaimed by name, Bezalel son of Uri, son of Chur, of the tribe of
Yehudah. He filled him with G-dly spirit, with wisdom, insight, and
knowledge, and with every craft Why did Bezalel merit such a
profound level of wisdom? The Midrash explains, It states in the Torah
regarding the Jewish midwives in Egypt, But the midwives feared G-d
and they did not do as the king of Egypt spoke to them Pharaoh had
commanded the Jewish midwives, Yocheved and Miriam, to kill the
newborn Jewish male children during the birthing process. They defied his
order because They feared G-d. As a reward Yocheved and Miriam
merited that Hashem made for them houses. What were these houses?
Yocheved received the houses of Priesthood and Kingship. This reward
was realized through Aaron, who was the High Priest and Moshe, who was
the king of the Jewish people. And what did Miriam receive? Miriams
reward was wisdom. As it states in Eyov, The fear of heaven is wisdom.
Thus, Bezalel, a descendent of Miriam, was endowed with the most
advanced level of wisdom because Miriam feared G-d. as it states, He
filled him with G-dly spirit, with wisdom
Reb Chaim of Volozhin ztl in his work Nefesh HaChaim explains that the
word yiras in the expression yiras shemayim (fear of heaven) is
derived from the word roeh (to see). When one understands
something, it is not tangible but rather it is abstract; however, when one
sees something it is a tangible reality. The one who fears G-d is the one
who internalizes G-ds Presence in his life and therefore he sees G-d as a
reality. It is similar to what is stated in the Mishna in Ethics of our Fathers,
Who is the wise man? It is the one who sees what is born from his
actions. The Mishna does not state that the wise man is one who
understands the consequences of his actions, but rather, one who is truly
wise internalizes the result of his behavior as a reality that can be seen.
One who has a fear of heaven internalizes and sees that G-d is the Master
of all and he is thus bound by His Will.
The reward that Miriam had received, which was wisdom, was within the
context of measure for measure. Miriam disobeyed Pharaohs order to
kill the Jewish male children because she feared G-d. Her understanding
of G-ds Presence in her life was so profound that the concept of Pharaoh
as the monarch was completely negated. She thus disobeyed. She was
rewarded with wisdom, which is the basis for understanding and having
clarity. Her grandson Bezalel was thus endowed with a unique level of
wisdom and understanding to be able to oversee the building of the
Mishkan. This is the meaning of the verse in Eyov, The fear of heaven is
wisdom. The Gemara tells us in Tractate Berachos that G-d sees but
cannot be seen. When one has fear (reverence) of G-d, despite the fact that
he cannot see Him, because the individual sees what cannot be seen, G-d
rewards him with wisdom, which is the ability to see spiritual matters as
a reality.
One would think that Chazal would have cited the verse from Psalms,
The beginning of wisdom is the fear of G-d. Why did the Midrash
choose to cite the verse from Eyov, The fear of G-d is wisdom?
Rabbeinu Bachya explains that there are two possible interpretations for
the verse in Psalms. One could understand the verse, The beginning of
wisdom is the fear of G-d to mean that the prerequisite of wisdom is fear
of G-d. Thus, in this instance, the consequence of the fear of G-d is not
wisdom in itself, but rather, the one who has fear of G-d is a vessel that has
the capacity to contain wisdom. Rabbeinu Bachyas second interpretation
of the verse is that the first stage of wisdom is the fear of G-d. However,
the Midrash chooses to cite the verse in Eyov to communicate that fear of
G-d is not a prerequisite but rather wisdom itself.
5. Taking Sufficient Initiative
The Torah states, All of the work of the Tabernacle (Mishkan), the Tent
of the Meeting, was completedThey brought the Tabernacle to Moshe,
the Tent and all its utensils Rashi cites the Midrash, Why did the
Jewish people bring the Tabernacle to Moshe to erect? It was because of
the weight of the beams that they were not able to erect it. Moshe had not
participated at all in the building (development) of the Mishkan. G-d,
therefore, reserved the erecting of the Mishkan for him so that he should
complete its building. It was humanly impossible to erect the Mishkan
because of the weight of the beams. Even Moshe initially did not
>:\D \"nn "po"np trcdk trcd ihc 19
understand how he would be able to lift the beams. He asked G-d How is
it possible for me to lift the beams? It is beyond my capacity. G-d
responded, You take the initiative to lift the beams so that it will appear
that you are erecting the Mishkan and then they will erect themselves
(through a miracle). This is the reason the verse states, the Tabernacle
was completed indicating that it was completed on its own.
We find that regarding the tablets, Chazal tell us that it was humanly
impossible to lift and transport the tablets because of their enormous
weight. Nevertheless, Moshe was able to do so. In fact, the tablets
transported him. If this is so, then why was Moshe confounded when he
was told to complete the Mishkan? What was the basis for his concern if
he had already understood that what relates to spirituality is not bound by
the natural order?
The Mishkan was intended to be the location for the Divine Presence to
dwell in the midst of the Jewish people. Physical existence itself was
initially intended to be the location of the Divine Presence. It was only
because of the sin of Adam that it became tainted and thus not qualified to
be the location for G-d. Every aspect of the Mishkan alludes to and reflects
the creation of existence. It was a microcosm of existence. Moshe
understood that although the Jewish people were able to build the
individual aspects and components of the Mishkan, its erection and
completion needed to be done by G-d Himself. Just as He had created the
world in six days and entered into it on the seventh (Shabbos), so too
would He need to complete the Mishkan to accommodate His Presence. If
the beams were humanly impossible to lift, it was an indication that G-d
was the One to erect them. G-d said to Moshe, You take the initiative and
the beams will raise themselves.
The world was initially created through the Attribute of Kindness. As the
verse states in Psalms, Olam chesed Yibaneh Through kindness the
world was created. In order for man be a beneficiary of that kindness and
opportunity, he needs to take initiative, as prescribed by G-d. In order for
G-d to enter into the midst of the Jewish people, Moshe needed to take the
initiative in order to be worthy of Divine Assistance to bring about the
completion of the Mishkan, although it was beyond human capacity. We
find, regarding the Menorah, which represents the Oral Law, which is G-
ds elucidation of His Written Law, was cast by G-d Himself. Initially
Moshe was not able to make the Menorah, which encompassed the
spirituality of G-ds Infinite Wisdom. G-d told him to take the gold and put
it into the kiln and the Menorah immerged fully formed. Moshe needed to
take the initiative in order to activate Divine Assistance. It is only through
the Jews initiative and toiling that he is able to come upon the truth of
Torah. As the Gemara in Tractate Megillah states that if a one says that he
had toiled in his pursuit of Torah and had come upon it (its truth) he
should be believed. However, if one claims that he did not toil and did
come upon it, he should not be believed. Because he did not toil, he does
not merit Divine Assistance.
The Gemara in Tractate Kiddushin tells us that one is not able to repent
unless G-d assists him. However, if one takes the initiative to advance his
spirituality, he will merit G-ds Assistance. As the Gemara in Tractate
Shabbos states, One who comes to purify himself will be assisted
Rabbi Shlomo Katz
Parshas Vayakhel and Pekudei
Shabbat: Just in Time
Volume 27, No. 22
Sponsored by Mr. and Mrs. Jules Meisler in memory of Jules father
Irving Meisler ah
Gilla and Harold Saltzman on the yahrtzeit of his father Yosef Noach ben
Yitzchak Isaac ah
Elaine and Jerry Taragin in memory of Asriel Taragin ah
Daf Yomi (Bavli): Shabbat 157
Begin Masechet Eruvin on Sunday
Our parashah ends with the verse (40:38), For the cloud of Hashem would
be on the Mishkan by day, and fire would be on it at night, before the eyes
of all of Bnei Yisrael throughout their journeys. Earlier we read (13:22),
He did not remove the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night
from before the people.
The Gemara (Shabbat 23b) relates: The wife of the sage Rav Yosef would
light Shabbat candles late. Rav Yosef told her, We have been taught that
the pillar of fire complemented the pillar of smoke, i.e., it appeared before
the pillar of smoke departed, and the pillar of smoke complemented the
pillar of fire. [So, too, one should bring in Shabbat while it is still day.]
Thereafter, she started to light very early, until an old man [some say,
Eliyahu Hanavi] told her, We have been taught that one should not light
too early or too late. [Until here from the Gemara]
R Avraham Yitzchak Hakohen Kook zl (1865-1935; Ashkenazic Chief
Rabbi of Eretz Yisrael) comments: Everything has its time. When the
world is ready for a particular source of illumination, it is a wonderful
thing and brings man closer to G-d. But, if someone strains to bring down
a particular light before its time, it will not be a source of blessing;
rather, it will be harmful.
But, one also needs to know that all opposites in the world are really
working toward the same goal--the revelation of the light that Hashem has
prepared, in order that it be revealed in its proper time. Do not think that
the era before the light has no connection with the era of the light. To
the contrary, the era before the light is the preparation for the light itself.
Accordingly, one should not light Shabbat candles too late, as if Shabbat is
divorced from the days of preparation. On the other hand, however, the
light of Shabbat cannot be revealed before its time either. (Ein Ayah)
Moshe assembled the entire assembly of Bnei Yisrael and said to them,
These are the things that Hashem commanded, to do them. On six days,
work may be done, but the seventh day shall be holy for you, a day of
complete rest for Hashem; whoever does work on it shall be put to
death. (35:1-2)
R Eliyahu Guttmacher zl (1796-1874; Polish rabbi; early advocate of
resettlement of Eretz Yisrael) asks: The phrase, These are the things that
Hashem commanded, to do them, would seem to refer to the construction
of the mishkan, which occupies the majority of our parashah. Why, then,
does Moshe interrupt with a reminder to observe Shabbat? Indeed, in last
weeks parashah, the command to observe Shabbat is mentioned at the end
of the command to build the mishkan and its implements! Why not wait
until the end here also?
R Guttmacher explains: After the sin of the Golden Calf, Hashem
declared (Shmot 33:2-3), I shall send an angel ahead of you . . . because I
shall not ascend among you . . . The Torah continues (33:4), The people
heard this bad tiding and they became grief-stricken, and no one donned
his jewelry. Bnei Yisrael were devastated by their loss of the opportunity
to be close to Hashem.
Then, Hashem announced that He had forgiven Bnei Yisrael. He said
(Shmot 25:8), They shall make a Sanctuary for Me and I will dwell
among them. [Though this verse appears in the Torah before the sin of the
golden calf, we are taught, Ain mukdam umeuchar baTorah / the
Torah is not written in historical order.] Now, Bnei Yisrael were ecstatic at
regaining the lost opportunity to be close to Hashem--so much so that they
had to be restrained from bringing more donations after the builders had
enough material.
However, Hashem limited this opportunity to become close to Him, saying
(see Rashi to Shmot 31:13): Do not build the mishkan on Shabbat.
With this, our initial question is answered. Moshe saw how excited Bnei
Yisrael were to build the mishkan, and he feared that they would be unable
to restrain themselves from finishing it as soon as possible. Therefore, he
interrupted the command to build with a warning to observe Shabbat.
(Derashot Vchiddushei R Eliyahu Guttmacher Al HaTorah)
Moshe saw the entire work, and behold! they had done it -- as Hashem
had commanded, so had they done! . . . (39:43)
R Yitzchak Karo zl (Spain; 1458-approx. 1520) notes that forms of the
verb laasot / to do appear 248 times between the verse (Shmot 25:8),
They shall make a Sanctuary for Me and I will dwell among them, and
here--not including between Shmot 32:1 and 33:5, which discusses the
making of the golden calf. These 248 occurrences parallel the 248 mitzvot
asei / affirmative commandments. (Toldot Yitzchak)
Ha lachma anya / This is the bread of affliction that our fathers ate in the
land of Egypt. Whoever is hungry--let him come and eat! Whoever is
needy--let him come and share Pesach! Now, we are here; next year may
we be in Eretz Yisrael! Now, we are slaves; next year may we be free
men! (From the Pesach Haggadah)
Commentaries ask many questions about this invitation, among them: (1)
Why do we invite guests now, after kiddush? (2) What good is this
invitation if we recite it sitting in our dining rooms behind a closed front
door? (3) How can we say Whoever is needy--let him come and share
Pesach when, according to halachah, the korban Pesach may be shared
only with those who made such arrangements before the lamb was
R Eliezer Ashkenazi zl (1513-1583; rabbi in Egypt, Cyprus, Italy and
Poland) offers a novel explanation of Ha lachma anya which answers
these and some of the other commonly asked questions. He writes that this
paragraph is not an invitation at all, but rather a lamentation composed on
the first Pesach night after the destruction of the Bet Hamikdash. Sitting at
their Seder tables, the Jewish People remembered the glory of the Seder
when the table was graced by the korban Pesach and surrounded by family
and friends who had joined together in advance as halachah requires.
Remembering this, they said, Our fare at this Seder is reminiscent of the
lachma anya / poor mans bread which our ancestors ate in Egypt, not the
sumptuous feasts that we had when the Temple stood. Now, anyone who is
hungry can come and eat, and anyone who needs to can come and
remember the korban Pesach, unlike last year when advance reservations
were required by halachah. This year, we are her e, but next year, may we
20 >:\D \"nn "po"np trcdk trcd ihc
be back in Yerushalayim as we were before the Destruction. (Maasei
R Yaakov Lorberbaum zl (Poland; 1760-1832; the Nesivos) explains
this passage similarly, except for the ending, Now we are here . . . He
writes: Given that now, after the Temples destruction, we are eating the
same lachma anya that our ancestors ate in Egypt, one might wonder why
we are celebrating! Does a prisoner in jail celebrate the anniversary of his
release from a prior incarceration?
The answer is that the Exodus was not like any other release from
imprisonment. Rather, because of the bond that we formed with Hashem
through the Exodus and the Giving of the Torah, we are confident that,
although now, we are here; next year we will be in Eretz Yisrael!
(Maaseh Nissim)
Letters from Our Sages
This letter was written by R Moshe ben Maimon (Rambam or
Maimonides; 1135-1204). It is printed in the appendix to Kol Sifrei R
Yosef Yaavetz.
I have placed Hashem before me always!
We received the letter of the elder, who is honorable and dear, the student,
R Yosef son of Abu Alfimir, who is known as ibn Jabr. He writes that he
is an am haaretz/ unlearned, but it is clear from his letter that he works
hard on Torah study, that he occupies himself with our [Arabic]
commentary on the Mishnah, but that he does not understand our
composition, i.e., the Mishneh Torah, because it is in Hebrew. He also
mentioned that he heard from my students, may their Creator protect them,
that there are those in Baghdad who have raised questions about certain
matters, and he wishes to answer them. He asks that I assist him by writing
to him in my own handwriting; therefore, I am doing so.
First, you must know that Hashem will always value you and increase your
success because you are not an am haaretz. You are our student and our
beloved. Anyone who wants to attach himself to the study of Torah, even
if he understands only one verse or one halachah--it makes no difference
whether he understands it in the Holy Tongue, Arabic, or Aramaic--the
main thing is that you busy yourself with Torah study. But, if one sets
aside Torah study, if he has never learned anything in his life, we will
apply to him the verse, He has despised the word of G-d. Even one who
merely refrains from adding knowledge, even if he is a great scholar, he
neglects the affirmative commandment to study Torah, which is equal to
all other mitzvot. In general, I would say to you: Do not put yourself down
and do not despair of achieving completeness.
Copyright &copy 2013 by Shlomo Katz and Torah.org. The editors hope these brief 'snippets' will engender further study and discussion of Torah
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Rabbi Dov Kramer
Taking A Closer Look
And [Moshe] placed the Testimony into the ark (Shmos 40:20). Rashi
tells us that the Testimony refers to the Luchos, the stone tablets into
which G-d had carved the text of the Ten Commandments. However, when
G-d commanded Moshe to build the ark and instructed him to put the
Testimony that I will give to you in it (25:16), Rashi says the
Testimony refers to the Torah, which is a testimonial between Me and
you (plural) that I commanded you the commandments that are written in
it. How could Rashi explain the Testimony to be one thing (the Torah)
when Moshe was given the commandment and another (the Luchos) when
he fulfilled that same commandment?
Mizarachi asks this question, as well as how the Testimony could refer
to the Torah if the building of the Mishkan took place in the first year after
the exodus and the Torah wasnt written down until the end of the 40th
year (see Dvarim 31:24-26). Although Mizrachi doesn't suggest any
answer to his questions, other commentators do.
Maharal (Gur Aryeh) says that the Testimony Moshe was commanded to
put in the ark cannot mean the Luchos, as Moshe was told that G-d will be
(future tense) giving him the Testimony;" it therefore cant refer to
something that was already given to him. Since Rashi is of the opinion that
the Mishkan wasnt commanded until long after the sin of the golden calf
(see his comments on 31:18), the first set of Luchos couldnt be what
Moshe was being told to put in the ark, as Moshe had shattered them upon
seeing the golden calf. Besides, since they were shattered, they couldnt be
a testimony to anything. Moshe hewed the stone for the second Luchos
and brought them to G-d (see 34:1), so it cant be said that G-d gave those
Luchos to Moshe either. Therefore, the Testimony that G-d will give
to Moshe must refer to the Torah, which was given to him years later. In
other words, included in the instructions to build the ark for the Mishkan
was the commandment to (eventually) put the Torah into it. When the
Mishkan was built, however, the Torah wasnt written yet, so the
Testimony must be referring to the Luchos.
There are several issues with Maharals approach. First and foremost, even
if it explains how logistically each Testimony has to refer to what Rashi
says it referred to, how could the same word (Testimony) used in the
same context (building the Mishkan), in the same manner (what should
be/was put in the ark) refer to two different things? The Torah uses the
word Luchos numerous times; why use the same word that refers to the
Torah instead of saying explicitly that it was the Luchos that were put in
the ark? Additionally, Moshe providing the raw materials for the second
Luchos doesnt prevent his receiving the finished product from being
described as given to him. Finally, I am not convinced that when Rashi
says the commandment to build the Mishkan was given long after the sin
of the golden calf he means the specifics described in 25:1-30:38 rather
than the commandment to appoint Betzalel and Ahaliav and share the
instructions with them (31:1-11). If so, the original instructions could have
been given during the first set of 40 days Moshe spent on Mt Sinai, and
the Testimony that I will give you could refer to the first Luchos. As a
matter of fact, Midrash Lekach Tov, who also explains the Testimony
Moshe was told to put in the ark as the Torah, says explicitly that the time
frame for G-d giving it to him was after 40 days. Obviously, explaining
the Testimony to be the Torah is not based on it being given to him
years later.
Midrash Lekach Tovs approach raises difficulties as well. Like Rashi, he
explains the Testimony that Moshe was commanded to put in the ark as
the Torah, which is forever a testimony that G-d chose [the Children of]
Israel and gave them His Torah, and the Testimony that was actually
put in the ark as the Luchos. Yet, he applies the same verse (Mishlay 4:2,
which explicitly refers to the Torah) to both. Why mention a verse that
refers to the Torah if he really meant the Luchos, and/or why describe it as
the Luchos if he really meant the Torah?
Maskil LDovid (25:16) says that when Rashi explains the Testimony as
the Torah, he doesnt mean the Torah scroll that Moshe wrote at the end of
the 40 years in the desert, but the Luchos, as Rashi says explicitly when
explaining what Moshe actually put in the ark. However, he doesnt
explain why Rashi calls it the Torah in one place and the Luchos in
another. Additionally, as Maharal points out, when the Yerushalmi
(Shkalim 6:1) discusses the dispute as to whether the Torah scroll was
placed inside the ark or at its side, the commandment to put the
Testimony that I will give you in the ark (25:16) is quoted as a proof-text,
clearly indicating that this verse refers to the Torah scroll. [It should be
noted, though, that Tosfos (HaShaleim 7) says it's the word es that
teaches us that the Torah scroll should also be put in the ark, so this verse
being used as a proof-text doesnt mean putting the Torah scroll in the ark
decades later is the main focus of the verse.]
The Talmud (Shabbos 87a) says Moshe broke the Luchos based on G-d
forbidding someone who did not maintain His covenant from participating
in the Passover offering; if one commandment is off-limits for such a
person, certainly the whole Torah should be. Putting aside what the logic
of this argument is, some (see Torah Shlaima 25:123) use this comparison
(and other similar Midrashim) to suggest that the term Luchos refers to
the whole Torah, and that Rashi means the same thing in both places.
Besides sharing the same drawbacks as Maskil LDovids approach
(including why Rashi uses different terms), basing the comparison on
Moshe breaking the Luchos has an additional issue. The Luchos
represented the covenant that was first being entered into, so breaking it
represented the covenant not being in effect; this is not the same as saying
the Luchos represented the commandments that result from the covenant
being in effect. Moshe was preventing the commandments from applying
to those who had rejected the covenant, he wasnt nullifying the
commandments themselves. It is therefore difficult to equate the Luchos
with the Torah (as opposed to with the covenant necessary for the Torah to
be given) based on how the Talmud explains why Moshe broke the
Shmos Rabbah (33:1) uses a parable to explain why G-d commanded us
to build the Mishkan, comparing the Torah to a kings only daughter who
married the king of another country. As difficult as it was to be separated
from his beloved daughter, the king couldnt tell her that she couldnt
leave. He therefore asked his new son-in-law to build small guest quarters
for him, so that he can visit her anytime he wants. Similarly, G-d didnt
want to part with the Torah, but wanted us to have it, so asked us to build
Him a dwelling place whereby He could still be near the Torah. Our
connection with G-d comes through the Torah ("Yisroel v'Oraysa
v'Kudsha B'rich Hu chad hu," Israel and the Torah and the Holy One--
blessed is He-- are one), which was the centerpiece of the Mishkan. The
Luchos may represent our covenant with G-d (Luchos HaBris), but they
also represent G-d giving us the Torah (Luchos HaEidus), and contained
(at the very least) the Ten Commandments.
The Testimony (Eidus) that was placed in the ark was put there
because of it being Torah, the essence of our relationship with G-d. It
testified that G-d chose us because He gave it to us (and only us). This is
>:\D \"nn "po"np trcdk trcd ihc 21
what Midrash Lekach Tov says explicitly, and what Rashi is saying as
well (that I commanded you the commandments that are written in it;
Rashi isnt saying that the Torah proves it was G-d who gave us the
commandments, but that G-d chose us by giving it to us and no one else).
Therefore, whatever was considered the Torah was placed in the ark. By
using the future tense (that I will give you), G-d included putting the
Torah scroll, when its written, into the ark. At the time of the building of
the Mishkan, though, the only thing tangible that was Torah were the
Luchos, because they had Torah carved into them. Therefore, when
Rashi explains what was physically put in the ark that was considered
Torah (the Testimony), he tells us that it was the Luchos.

Rabbi Moshe Krieger
Bircas HaTorah Parsha Sheet

In this weeks parsha the Jewish People are commanded to contribute to
the Mishkan. It is very interesting that Hashem only demanded those who
were generous of heart to donate. In other words, Hashem commanded
only those who felt like giving to give to the Mishkan. Besides the
inherent oddity of this optional mitzvah, it almost seems that Hashem is
acting in a counter-productive manner by asking only those who feel
charitable to give. The Midrash Tanchuma (Nasso 16) teaches that the
building of the Mishkan was so important that the main purpose of taking
the Jewish People out of slavery and giving them the Torah was in order to
dwell among them. Since giving to the Mishkan was optional, it was
possible that the necessary funds wouldnt be raised. Why is Hashem
asking for donations for such an important task in such a leisurely way?
Why does Hashem allow giving to the Mishkan to be voluntary?
The Alter of Kelm answers that the only way the Mishkan could be built
was with sincerity of heart. The Jewish People had to really want closeness
to G-d if Hashem was to deem it fitting that He dwell among them. To
make the Mishkan into a House of G-d, the process of building it would
have to reflect the loftiness of its builders. Such a project couldnt be an
obligation. Only those who really cared about Hashem and founding the
Mishkan were invited to participate. It is this giving and nobility of heart
that Hashem wants and this is what enabled Hashems Presence to dwell
amongst the Jewish people. The Sfas Emes even says that the Mishkan
itself is testimony that every Jew can break through and connect to
Hashem if, in his heart, he aspires to do so. The building of the Mishkan
demonstrates that no matter where a Jew is in life, he is capable of
reaching the highest levels of spirituality, even after chait haegel.
Genuineness of heart does not go unappreciated and every step a Jew
makes to get closer to G-d and give more and more of himself is deeply
cherished by Hashem. Earnest giving of the heart is what the Mishkan is
all about.
In Sanhedrin 106b Rava, an amora, laments his lack of heartfelt sincerity.
Rava remarks that in the years of Rav Yehuda, the yeshiva world was only
well-versed in seder nezikin. In Ravas era, the yeshivas were much more
knowledgeable in Torah and even knew tractates like Uktzin, which is
about miscellaneous laws of tuma and tahara. Nevertheless, Rava
bemoans, when there was a drought in the days of Rav Yehuda, all Rav
Yehuda had to do to end the calamity was to take off his shoe, as if
declaring that he was afflicting himself on account of the situation. Rava,
noting that his power of prayer was weaker than Rav Yehudas, says that
this lacking was due to a deficiency in his own sincerity of heart. It is
incredible that even Rava, an amora, felt an inadequacy in his own
dedication to Hashem! All the more so do we need to work on our
dedication. How much does Hashem mean to us? Are we really giving
Him our full hearts?
The Hovos HaLevavos was written with the hope of inspiring the entire
Jewish People to a powerful love of Hashem. According to the books
author, Rabbeinu Bachaye, the heart is the basis for all the mitzvos. In a
certain respect, a mitzvah is only valuable because of the heart we put into
it. The concept that in order to fulfill a mitzvah, one must be aware that he
is performing it, illustrates this idea beautifully. Hashem doesnt want us
to fulfill the Torah only with mere external actions. He wants us to cherish
our mitzvos, utilizing them to grow in our love of G-d and coming close to
Him. Rabbeinu Bachaye, observing that his generation desperately needed
to be reminded of this fundamental principle, compiled Hovos HaLevavos
for this very purpose. Rabbeinu Bachaye emphasizes that in truth, all
Hashem wants is for us to love Him. This is the essence of what it means
to keep the Torah and actualize Hashems will.
Rav Izel Harif was searching for a talmid chacham of the highest caliber to
marry his daughter. He walked into a local beis midrash and slammed his
hand down on the bima, announcing that he was looking for a talmid
chacham for his daughter. A very sharp and hot-blooded talmid chacham
himself, Rav Harif declared before the entire yeshiva that anyone who
could answer his kasha could marry his daughter. All the yeshiva boys
listened carefully as Rav Harif presented his problem. However, his
difficulty was so powerful that the entire beis midrash was stupefied. Rav
Harif, seeing that there was no one wise enough to answer his question,
left the yeshiva very disappointed. However, when he was well on his
way, a bucher came chasing after him. The bucher, panting from the run,
apologized to Rav Harif saying, Sorry, Rabbi. I couldnt find the answer.
But if the Rabbi finds an answer, can I please find out about it? Rav Izel
Harif, seeing this young mans love of Torah and his deep desire to get
closer to Hashem, said to him, Ill definitely tell you if I discover the
solution, but only if you marry my daughter!!!
May we all be zoche to give Hashem our whole hearts!!!
National Council of Young Israel
Weekly Dvar Torah
Parshat Vayakhel-Pekudei - Shabbat Hachodesh
Daf Yomi: Shabbos 157
Guest Rabbi: Rabbi Perry Schafler, Associate Member, Young I srael
Council of Rabbis
The Meaning of the Month and the Mishkan
If you havent noticed yet, watch out Pesach is coming really early this
year! Among the unusual aspects of the way the Jewish calendar turns out,
we find that the reading of Vayakhel-Pekudei coincides this year with
Parshat HaChodesh. This brings to mind the Torahs point of noting that
the Mishkan, whose construction is described in our parshiot, was
established by Moshe specifically on Rosh Chodesh Nissan. What might
be the meaning and message of the connection between Rosh Chodesh
Nissan and the Mishkan?
In a certain way, the connection is obvious and logical: The very first Rosh
Chodesh Nissan, the month of redemption, is a necessary prerequisite for
the Nissan that follows, when service of HaShem in the Mishkan is
inaugurated. If we recall, Moshes demand that Pharaoh release the
Children of Israel is expressed in the context of freedom to worship
HaShem. We can truly join the service of HaShem only if we are freed
from bondage.
Another striking commonality between Rosh Chodesh Nissan and the
Mishkan is the special role of women in each. Pirkei DRabi Eliezer states:
Women merited the simcha of Rosh Chodesh and freedom from work on
that day because they did not give their rings to the Eigel (golden calf).
The women were rewarded with Rosh Chodesh for not contributing to the
Eigel. But how do we know what motivated them to refuse to give?
Perhaps chassu al tachshiteihem they were protective of their jewelry?
The prominent role of women in the construction of the Mishkan is
particularly instructive here. The women did not just join, they were eager,
early and generous contributors. The Torah states Vayavou ha'anashim al
ha'nashim which can be translated: The men followed the women. The
women were also artisans, active in weaving, and were actually
performing the remarkable feat of weaving wool strands while the wool
was still on the goats, both to produce the very highest quality wool as
well as to enable even the ritually impure to participate.
In hindsight, the contribution by women to the Mishkan contrasts with
their absent role in the Chet HaEigel, for which the Mishkan is an
atonement. The reticence and reluctance of the women to contribute to the
Eigel cannot be attributed to a desire to conserve their jewelry, since in our
reading, the very same women who delayed and declined at the Eigel,
eagerly rushed ahead and jumped at the opportunity to contribute
generously to the Mishkan. This is what the Daas Zekeinim Balei
HaTosfos tells us: The women merited (Rosh Chodesh) because they did
not give to the Eigel but they gave enthusiastically to the Mishkan! If
there was any doubt before, it now becomes obvious that it was
conscience, not kamtzanus (stinginess); it was the fidelity of the women of
Israels true belief in HaShem that impeded their participation in the Eigel.
Their faith and devotion to HaShem drove both their refusal to give to the
Eigel and their eager donations to the Mishkan. And that is the reason for
which they were rewarded with special honor and leave on Rosh Chodesh.
But what is the lesson of the Rosh Chodesh connection between the
Mishkan and the Eigel? How is the Mishkan atonement for the Eigel, and
what do women in particular have to do with it? Among the myriad design
and construction specifications in Vayakhel-Pekudei, a prominent refrain
is Kaasher Tzivah HaShem as HaShem commanded. Why is this
phrase repeated again and again?
What is often missed is that the essential pitfall of those who failed in Chet
HaEigel actually began with rationalizing and justifying the Golden Calf.
To paraphrase a secular expression: The path to Gehinom is paved with
good intentions. In reality, the path from holiness to depravity is almost
always smoothed with justifications, with psychological, rhetorical,
logical, and intellectual smarts applied to normalizing what at its base is
ugly, low and disloyal. In contrast, all true wisdom stems from Yirat
HaShem. The women, who had Yir'at Shamayim, were given binah
y'teirah the natural wisdom to discern and not lose sight of right and
wrong, the wisdom to instinctually reject attempts to normalize the
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abnormal, to trivialize the difference between holy and profane; the
uncommon sense not to accept the unacceptable.
One late night during the Korean War, two Jewish chaplains were flying in
a military helicopter in the war zone, with an Army General on board. As
dawn approached, one of the chaplains began to put on tefillin. When the
General inquired, the chaplain explained the meaning and obligation in
Jewish law. The General noticed that the other chaplain was not putting on
tefillin. The other chaplain began to explain that, even though the Bible
does speak about phylacteries (tefillin), this was not really mandatory or
practiced literally anymore, and so on The General, who apparently had
little stomach for rationalizations for disregarding orders, said to the
chaplain: Are you Jewish, are you a Rabbi? The chaplain said yes, sir.
To which the General replied: Then you put on those tefillin right now
and thats an order!
The Mishkan needed to be done Kaasher Tzivah HaShem as Hashem
ordered. Though the construction was replete with minute details, the
lesson is very clear. It is not excellence in design, attention to detail or the
importance of careful execution. There are people who are naturally driven
to precision this is not it. The Nazis were attentive to detail too. It is said
about the Germans that they made no mistakes except the very greatest.
There are many people who are compulsive about perfection, about
following orders. This is not what is sought. The kavanah necessary to
properly build the Mishkan is to do HaShems will, bli chochmot, as the
Meshech Chochmah tells us: The architect of the Mishkan was Bezalel
son of Chur of the Tribe of Yehuda to teach us true mesiras nefesh
(self-sacrifice) is only kshemanichim et kol hachochmos vhachakiros
when we set aside all the rationalization and analysis, (and) therefore a
person merits (true) knowledge and understanding because this is midah
k'neged midah for abandoning hachochmah, bli chochmos. The Pardes
Yosef concurs: Ha'chochmah ha'gedolah hi she'lo, le'hitchakem yeter al
ha'midah ki im l'keyaim et asher tziva Hashem l'lo kol chochmos. The
greatest wisdom is not to be overly smart but to do what HaShem
commands without any tricks or justifications.
To build a Mishkan rather than an Eigel, to serve HaShem rather than
serve ourselves, we need to follow HaShems directives, just because they
are HaShems order to serve HaShem, HaShems way. It is not because
we like to follow orders, not because we agree with them or understand
them either. And its not about being generous, a perfectionist, or being
exact. The antidote to the Eigel is not building a temple. Rather, it is
overcoming, subjugating, suppressing contrary desire, thoughts, feelings,
justifications and rationalizations. It is about bringing oneself to the state
of doing HaShems will, simply because that is His command whether
or not we understand it, fathom it, like it, are in sync with it. To properly
build a Mishkan, to lift up each aspect of the created world to serve as a
vehicle of hashraat haShechinah the dwelling of the Divine Presence
depends upon Kaasher dibber Hashem.
This is a good year to remind ourselves that the nexus of Mishkan and
Rosh Chodesh Nissan was by no means happenstance. Through the
Mishkan, Rosh Chodesh, and Shabbos, we are enabled to reside within a
consecrated dwelling in space and time. When the Jewish People do
kaasher dibber Hashem we return to the genius of Naase V'nishmah
(we will do and we will listen) and to the wisdom of the righteous women
of Israel of whom it can rightly be said: Chochmas Nashim, banta beitah
The wisdom of women builds the house.
Shabbat Shalom
The Weekly Sidra- Vayakhel-Pekudei
By Rabbi Moshe Greebel
So essential is honesty in all things, that the Gemarah in Shabbos 31a
describes it as the first question put to a man, after the shedding of this
mortal coil:
Rava said, When man is led in for Judgment, he is asked, Did you deal
faithfully (i.e., with integrity), did you fix times for learning (Torah), did
you engage in procreation.?
Even among the insect world, the simple ant, in the words of Shlomo
HaMelech, is praised for its sense of honesty:
Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise! (Mishlei
On this Passuk (verse), the Gemarah in Ayruvin 100b has this to say:
Rabbi Yochanan observed, If the Torah had not been given, we could
have learned modesty from the cat, (the prohibition of) thievery from the
ant, chastity from the dove, and (the prohibition of) illicit sexuality from
the rooster, who first coaxes and then mates.
On this Gemarah, Rashi learns as follows:
Thievery from the ant.. Not one (ant) steals the food of another.
Continuing this theme of the honesty of ants, the Midrash Dvarim Rabbah
5-2 has this to say:
..Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai said, Once in the hole of one of them
(ants) were found three hundred Kor of wheat, which she gathered in the
summer for the winter. Therefore, Shlomo said, Go to the ant, you
sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. So do you, too (Yisroel),
prepare for yourselves religious deeds in this world for the World to
The Midrash continues:
.. And what is the meaning of, Consider her (the ants) ways, and be
wise? The Rabbis say, Consider her good conduct, how she flees away
from thievery..
The Midrash concludes with a story:
..Rabbi Shimon Ben Chalafta said, Once, it happened that an ant
dropped one grain of wheat, and all the ants came and sniffed at it. And
yet, not one of them took it, until the one to whom it belonged came and
took it..
It would stand to reason then, that a man should at least have the dignity of
an insect when it comes to personal honesty. For, without such dignity of
honesty, little else would matter; that, being the subject of this weeks
mailing. The first of our coupled Sidros begins:
And Moshe gathered all the congregation of the Bnai Yisroel together,
and said to them, These are the words which HaShem has commanded,
that you should do them! (Shmos 35:1)
Now, Rashi on this Passuk, informs us of the following:
And Moshe gathered.. On the day after Yom Kippur, when he
descended from the mountain.
That is, on the Yom Kippur of the first year from the Exodus, Moshe heard
from the mouth of HaKadosh Baruch Hu, metaphorically speaking, that
the Bnai Yisroel were forgiven for the Aigel HaZahav (golden calf). On
the day after that Yom Kippur, he gathered them with regard to the needs
of the Mishkan (Tabernacle).
Was this gathering the only noteworthy event of that particular day?
Apparently not, if we look earlier in the Torah, with regard to Moshe
attempting to judge the entire nation himself:
And it came to pass on the next day, that Moshe sat to judge the people
(monetary matters), and the people stood by Moshe from the morning to
the evening. (Shmos 18:13)
On this Passuk, Rashi cites the Sifri (actually the Mchilta Yisro Parsha 2):
And it came to pass on the next day.. It was on the morrow of Yom
On this very same day then, Moshe not only gathered the Bnai Yisroel
together, he judged them as well. Hence, we may very well ask, what is
the possible connection between judgment and Mishkan? For an answer to
this query, we go to the commentary of the Pninei HaTorah of Rav
Chayim Yosef Dovid Azulai (1724- 1806), of blessed memory.
The Chida (Chayim Yosef Dovid Azulai) instructs that the Bnai Yisroel
were aflame with the love of HaShem, Who had fully pardoned them for
the Aigel HaZahav on that first Yom Kippur, with the words spoken to
Moshe, I have pardoned according to your word! (Bamidbar 14:20)
Now, Moshe desired that this unbound love for HaShem by the people,
take some physical form, so as to memorialize such a love for posterity.
This is why HaKadosh Baruch Hu now gave the Bnai Yisroel the Mitzvah
of constructing the Mishkan.
Yet, Moshe had a very deep concern regarding this process. For, if the
love of HaShem must be pure and un-blemished by any mar, so too must
be the memorializing of that love. What if, he feared, someone would
contribute ill gotten gains? Would the Mishkan then be unfit, G-d forbid?
According to the Chida, Moshe reasoned even further, by considering
something even worse being donated- Safek Gezel, or, money upon which
there is a doubt of thievery.
And, why is Safek Gezel worse than straight Gezel (thievery)? The simple
answer is that for the sin of Gezel, Tshuva (repentance) can be
accomplished in part, by returning the ill gotten gains. This is not true of
Safek Gezel, which, due to its doubtful nature, the rightful owner of the
money can never be known. What if, imagined Moshe, Safek Gezel would
be donated to the Mishkan?
Therefore, concluded the Chida, on the day after Yom Kippur, prior to
collecting the donations from the nation for the Mishkan, Moshe made
certain to judge all the monetary litigations, squabbles, disagreements,
financial doubts, and the like, in order that whatever funds were left to the
Bnai Yisroel, would only be honestly earned clean money, which could
be donated to the Mishkan.
Here then, is the relationship between judgment and the Mishkan, which,
in the scheme of things, is true of everything. For, all of our endeavors on
this mortal plain must be LShaim Shamayim, unsullied and unblemished
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by the taint of that which is dishonest. Only when that is fully determined,
may we go on MChayil El Chayil (from strength to strength).
May we soon see the Gulah Shlaimah in its complete resplendence-
speedily, and in our times. Good Shabbos.
Confidential matters may be sent to Rabbi Greebel at: belmar.rabbi@yahoo.com Also appearing on the website: The National Council of Young Israel
Dvar Torah Vayakhel-Pedudei
By Rabbi Dovid Sochet
When Two Heads are Better than One
The Pasuk (1) says in regard to the builders of the Mishkan (Tabernacle)
"Moshe said to the Children of Israel, Behold! Hashem has called by
name , Betzalel the son of Uri the son of Chur of the Tribe Yehudah, ......,
and he has put in his heart that he may teach, both he (might teach) and
Oholiav (might teach as well) the son of Achisamach, of the Tribe Dan. "
Rashi quotes the Medrash (2) on this week's parsha which contains the
following teaching: The building of the Mishkan and its furnishings was
supervised jointly by leaders of two selected tribes. The tribe of Yehudah
was represented by Betzalel and the tribe of Dan was represented by
Oholiav the son of Achisamach. The Torah gives them both equal status in
spite of the fact that Betzalel was from the tribe of Yehudah, one of the
greater Shevatim (tribes), and Oholiav was descended from the tribe of
Dan, one of the tribes of lesser status whose ancestry was not from Rochel
or Leah, Yaakov's chief wives.
What purpose was served by selecting representatives of these two tribes
specifically to oversee the construction of the Mishkan? It certainly would
have been sufficient for just one tribe to be in charge. Betzalel could have
done the job all alone. With his G-d given talents, he most definitely did
not need a colleague. Nonetheless, the Midrash emphasizes that the
Mishkan had to be built by two tribes.
Perhaps the Torah is conveying a twofold message: Our Rabbis (3) teach
us that the tribe of Dan was so unworthy that the Cloud of Glory which
surrounded and protected all of the tribes of Bnei Yisroel, nonetheless
excluded the tribe of Dan. Dan was ejected from Hashem's aegis as were
the "great multitude of nations" that accompanied Yisroel in the exodus
from Egypt. The Pasuk states (4) in reference to Amaleks war against
Bnei Yisroel and he smote the rearmost of you, all that were stumbling
after you. The Rabbis explain that this refers to the Tribe of Dan who was
in the rearmost section of the camp. They were rejected and expelled from
under the Clouds of Glory, because there were idol worshippers among
them. Obviously the entire Tribe was not guilty of idolatry, however, there
is the well known concept mentioned by Chazal (5) - Woe to the wicked
and woe to his neighbor. A righteous person might suffer along with his
wicked neighbors when they receive their punishment. Even if only a few
individuals were sinful, that is sufficient for the entire tribe to lose their
Divine protection.
A similar notion might help explain a difficulty at the beginning of this
weeks Parsha. The Parsha begins (6), "and Moshe assembled the entire
assembly of the Children of Israel and said to them...". Some twenty verses
later the chapter concludes with the words (7): - "the entire assembly of
Israel departed from the presence of Moshe". Why does the Torah tell us
that the entire assembly left Moshe after he ended his address. It goes
without saying that if Moshe Rabbeinu summoned them to deliver a
message then when he was through delivering that message they would all
walk out. Why does the Torah, which is always so meticulous and concise,
need to include this pasuk at the conclusion of the narration?
The Baalei Musar (8) explain that the pasuk is teaching us that when the
Jews walked away from Moshe Rabbeinu, it was evident that they had
been in the presence of someone as great as Moshe Rabbeinu. One does
not spend time in the presence of a great Jewish leader without having an
indelible impression left upon him. Certainly this is true immediately after
the encounter. Often the impression lasts a lifetime.
The pasuk, "The entire assembly of Israel left Moshe's presence" teaches
that the impression was "evident on their faces" and they were a changed
people because they spent time with Moshe Rabbeinu.
Such can be the power of various societal influences. When one is in a
holy environment, when one is in the presence of a holy congregation,
when one associates with spiritually great individuals, they too are
elevated and spiritually uplifted. Unfortunately the opposite is true as well.
This was the case with the greater part of the Tribe of Dan. Although they
were not guilty of actual idolatry, nevertheless just by being in proximity
with idolaters they found themselves on a lesser spiritual plane.
The Mishkan was a testimony of Hashems forgiveness of the dreadful sin
of the golden calf (9). Had Oholiav been even minutely affected negatively
by his fellow tribe mates idolatrous ways, he most definitely would have
been disqualified from being a partner in the construction of the edifice
that commemorates Hashems forgiveness of the entire nation's
succumbing to idolatry. On the contrary, the lesson the Torah teaches us is
that Oholiav was not affected by his surroundings and was still spiritually
unscathed. Therefore Hashem specifically chose him to be in charge to
teach us that every person no matter how bad the circumstances are, or
how negative his surroundings, or whatever generation he is living in,
nonetheless he can still prevail and not be affected by the entire world if he
truly wishes it to be so.
The second message is that there are many people who are interested in
getting involved in communal work as long as they will have the spotlight
for themselves. They are in it so that when the job gets done, they will be
able to say: "Look, what I have accomplished!" Therefore, if you ask them
to share the job and responsibilities and that they must also share the credit
and the glory, under those circumstances they are not interested in doing
the job.
The Gemarah (10) teaches us that any person who possesses a haughtiness
of spirit Hashem says to him I and he cannot dwell together on this
world. The Mishkan was a place for the Divine presence to dwell
(figuratively) on this world (11). If any self-importance would have been
found amongst the designers and builders of the Tabernacle this would
have been in direct conflict with the purpose of the Mishkan.
Further, not only are we to learn that Oholiav was untainted and therefore
eminently qualified to join Betzalel as mentioned before, we can also
comprehend that his participation in the construction of the Mishkan was
in fact crucial. Had Betzalel been the sole supervisor in charge, he might
have succumbed to sinful pride. The Gemarah (12) teaches us that
whoever possesses haughtiness of spirit is regarded as though he were an
idolater. Had Betzalel taken pride in his role as sole administrator and
planner, that alone would have disqualified him for that position, for how
can a testimony of Hashem's forgiveness for the sin of the golden calf be
constructed by someone guilty of pride which is equated with idolatry? It
was therefore vital that Betzalel be joined by Oholiov, so that Betzalel
would be aware that someone else was as qualified for his position as he
was, and would serve as a co-administrator. This would insure that
Betzalel remain humble and thus worthy of his task. Finally, when a
person has a partner of lesser stature his motives are evidenced by whether
he can tolerate that partner. By assigning Betzalel a co-chairman from the
tribe of Dan, Hashem was teaching him even greater humility. "I want you
to work with someone who is not even from the prestigious tribe of
Yehudah, but from the "lowly" Tribe of Dan. In accepting this partner
Betzalel showed us how he was indeed worthy of being chosen by Hashem
for this lofty position. Please feel free to forward this Torah thought to
anyone you feel will take pleasure in reading it. Feel free to contact me at
Rabbisochet@gmail.comwith any questions and comments.
Good Shabbos, Rabbi Dovid Sochet
1. Shemos 35:30
2. Tanchuma: 13
3. See Yalkut Shemoni Parshas Ki Setzei :938
4. Devarim/Deuteronomy 25:18
5. See Tractate Negayim 12:6
6. Shmos 35:1.
7. Shmos 35:20
8. The Musar movement was developed in 19th century Eastern Europe, It
was particularly predominant among the Lithuanian Jews and was founded
by Rabbi Yisroel Lipkin (Yisroel Salanter) 1810-1883.
9. See Rashi 38:21
10. Tractate Sotah 5A
11. See Medrash Tanchuma Parshas Naso: 16
12. Tractate Sotah 4B
Please feel free to forward this Torah thought to anyone you feel will take pleasure in reading it. Feel free to contact me at Rabbisochet@gmail.com
with any questions and comments. Rabbi Dovid Sochet is the son of the Stoliner Rebbe of Yerushalayim; he spent a considerable amount of his
formative years in Los Angeles CA, and the 5 Towns in New York. He studied in the following Yeshivas: The Mesivtah of San Diego, Yeshiva
Harbotzas Torah in Flatbush NY, and Yeshiva Gedola of Passaic. He currently is a Rabbi in Spring Valley New York where he resides with his wife
and children. Rabbi Sochet is also certified Mohel. Confidential matters may be sent to Rabbi Greebel at: belmar.rabbi@yahoo.com Also appearing
on the website: The National Council of Young Israel http://www.youngisrael.org

Aish.Com - Rabbi Kalman Packouz
Shabbat Shalom
Vayakhel-Pekudei 5773
GOOD MORNING! Pesach is coming! Monday night, March 25th is the
first Seder. What kind of Seder will you have for your family and friends?
Will it be "Let's hurry up and get to the food" -- or something more
meaningful, uplifting, impactful? There are 3 types of people: Those who
make things happen, those who watch things happen ... and those who ask,
"What happened?" The kind of Seder you have is up to you and depends
on what you do starting NOW! Make it more than -- "They wanted to kill
us. We won. Let's eat."
The Seder should help your children to feel positively about being Jewish.
You cannot transfer feelings, but you can create the atmosphere and the
experience which will engender positive feelings. Many people who love
being Jewish, fondly reminisced about their Zaideh (grandfather) presiding
over the Shabbat table and the Seder or their Bubbie (grandmother)
lighting Shabbat candles ... and their Seder! You are a link in that chain!
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Q & A: How Do I Make My Seder Enjoyable, Creative And
Remember that the Seder is for the kids, to transmit our history and
understanding of life. You've got to make it interesting and intrigue them
to ask questions. If a person asks a question, he'll be inclined to hear the
answer! The only way to transmit your love and feeling for Judaism is
through shared, positive experiences. You need to be excited about the
Seder! Some ideas from Rabbi Shimon Apisdorf:
1. Invest time before the Seder. Trade in your Maxwell House Hagaddah
for one with commentary. Then read it! Visit a Jewish book store and see
what intrigues you. Look at a commentary to get interesting insights to
share with your family and guests. A few suggestions: Judaism in a
Nutshell: Passover, Artscroll Haggadahs and Book of Our Heritage by
Eliyahu Kitov. Available at local Jewish bookstores or by calling toll-free
877-758-3242 ... or via JudaicaEnterprises.com. Also, excellent materials
including an audio guide "How to Conduct the Passover Seder" are
available at ChadishMedia.com!
2. Get Passover story books for the kids now! Read to them the stories
before Pesach. Have them or help them make a little play to present at the
Seder. Buy them Artscroll Children's Hagaddah!
3. Have quizzes and prizes. Ask questions and give 20 points for a right
answer. 100 points and they get a prize! Start with the youngest and work
up through the ages. If a child answers a question that's not his, he loses 20
points! Name: the plagues, the 4 sons, the number of years in slavery --
make your list of questions before the Seder. (You can even prep the kids
before the Seder with the answers!)
4. Plan out the Seder with little surprises and props. During the section on
the plagues throw into the air plastic animals when you get to the Wild
Beasts; use ping pong balls for the plague of Hail. Be creative. Give each
child a brown paper bag filled with his props. Have fun! (You can also
order the "Bag of Plagues" props available at your local Jewish bookstore -
- or Amazon.com or plaguesbag.com -- or assemble your own!)
5. Delegate. Give your kids or guests a small part of the Haggadah to
prepare. They can look at a Haggadah with commentary -- or go to
Aish.com and search. It involves them and makes them a part of the Seder
rather than being an observer.
6. Have questions for discussion at the table! Passover marks the birth of
the Jewish people. It's a time to reflect on the meaning, value and
implications of being Jewish. Here are some questions to discuss:
On a scale of 1-10, how important is being Jewish to you? Please explain.
If your son, daughter, brother, sister, or best friend told you that they
planned to raise their children without any Jewish education or identity,
how would you react?
If you thought the existence of Israel was in danger, would you risk your
life to help save it?
What do you like about being Jewish? What don't you like?
Is it important to you or for your children to have mostly Jewish friends?
7. Spend time at Aish.com/pesach and AishAudio.com ... and for more on
Pesach! And be sure to see the Aish video "The Google Exodus" -- What
would the Exodus have looked like if Moses had the internet?
Torah Portion of the Week: Vayakhel-Pekudei
Moshe relays the Almighty's commands to refrain from building the
Mishkan (the Tabernacle or Portable Sanctuary) on the Shabbat, to
contribute items needed to build the Mishkan, to construct the components
of the Mishkan and the appurtenances of the Cohanim. The craftsmen are
selected, the work begins. The craftsmen report that there are too many
donations, and for the first and probably the only time in fundraising
history, the Jewish people are told to refrain from bringing additional
Pekudey includes an accounting of all the materials that went into the
making of the Mishkan and details of the construction of the clothing of
the Cohanim. The Tabernacle is completed, Moses examines all of the
components and gives his approval to the quality and exactness of
construction, the Almighty commands to erect the Tabernacle, it's erected
and the various vessels are placed in their proper place.
Dvar Torah
based on Growth Through Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin
The Torah states with regard to Betzalel, the artisan in charge of creating
the Mishkan (Portable Sanctuary), that the Almighty filled him with
wisdom, insight and knowledge ... "and to think thoughts to make with
gold and with silver and with brass (Exodus 35:32). What can this verse
teach us about our own lives?
There are two types of skillful artisans. The first type of craftsman is one
who is able to picture new designs in his mind. His fertile imagination
enables him to create original works of art. This, wrote Rabbi Shlomo
Kluger, is what the present verse is expressing. "And to think thoughts,"
that is, Betzalel had the ability to visualize entirely new artistic creations.
The second type is an expert in making fancy vessels with intricate designs
though he may not be creative or original. After he sees what someone else
has done, he learns to make similar things -- perhaps even better than the
original designer.
Our lesson: Whatever abilities the Almighty has blessed you with can be
utilized for the honor of the Almighty. One does not need to be a Betzalel
to serve the Almighty -- or to make a creative Pesach Seder!
Feed The Poor Of Jerusalem!
Hundreds of families in Israel are unable to afford groceries for Yom Tov
(the holiday). This group gives them coupons redeemable only for food.
They arrange with the supermarket to get an extra 10% on every dollar
you give them. I know they are legitimate and I give them money! Send
your tax-deductible contribution to:
Keren Y&Y
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Rabbi Eliezer Parkoff
Weekly Chizuk
Vayakhel Pikudei: Kedusha is the Prerequisite
Lev Shalom, Shalom Schwadron, v. II, p. 354
Six days shall you do work and the seventh shall be to you holy. (Shemos
Rashi: Six days: He [Moshe] prefaced [the discussion of the details of] the
work of the Mishkan with the warning to keep the Shabbos, denoting that
it [i.e., the work of the Mishkan] does not supersede the Shabbos. -[from
This is the simple pshat. Perhaps we can learn out from this possuk a hint
at something else. It states in the Midrash Tanchuma:
"I love you." - Hakadosh Baruch Hu said, See how much I endear you.
From the earth until the first Heaven is a 500 year journey. From the first
Heaven to the second, a 500 year journey, etc. And the Holy Throne is
above all of these Heavens. See how much I hold you dear. I left all this
and I said, "Make curtains of goat hair" and I I will come and dwell among
It doesn't stop here. "Make for Me a Mikdash, a Holy Place (Shemos
25:8). It should have read, "and I will dwell within it." Instead it states,
"and I will dwell within them" - within each and every one of us.
Hakadosh Baruch, so to speak, condensed and concentrated His Shechina
to such an extent that it was able to dwell in a flesh and blood heart. How?
By devotion of one's heart. If a person prepares himself with proper holy
thought towards Hashem Yisborach, then his heart becomes a Mishkan to
On Shabbos there is a mitzvah of Oneg Shabbos. This mitzvah requires
that one have holy thoughts in the honor of Shabbos. This is explicit in the
possuk, "And on the seventh day it shall be to you Holy," you yourself
must be holy on the seventh day. However Chazal darshan the word "to
you" as meaning "all your needs." Shabbos shall be "to you," it's yours.
How do we put the two drashos together? It means that your oneg Shabbos
should be "holy!"
This is a very appropriate introduction to the parsha of the building of the
Mishkan. It teaches us how to bring Hakadosh Baruch Hu to dwell within
each and every one of us - by sanctifying ourselves and becoming "Holy to
Heart or Brain?
And every wise hearted among you shall come, and make all that the Lord
has commanded. (Shemos 35:10)
The possuk accents "wise in the heart", and not "wise in the brain."
Chazal tells us (Vayikra Rabba 24:6) "where ever you find a fence against
lewdness, there you find kedusha." In whom do you find lewdness? The
Rambam answers: Lewd thoughts overpower one whose heart is empty of
thoughts of wisdom." (Issurei Bi'ah, 22:21) So we see the rule that
whoever is wiser in the heart is more guarded against lewdness.
The building of the Mishkan required all the builders to be wise of the
heart. This was so, because they had to create an edifice in which the
shechinah would rest.
>:\D \"nn "po"np trcdk trcd ihc 25
We find the opposite also. Chazal tell us (Yoma 39a) "A transgression
deadens the heart of a person." Meaning: If a person transgresses a sin, his
heart becomes thick. This is the opposite of if he would have been careful
of sins, then he would become "wise hearted."
With this we can correct a mistake people have made in the explanation of
the above Rambam. "Lewdness is found in one whose heart is empty of
wisdom." There are those who correlate this to secular wisdom also. Isn't it
true that at that moment when one's mind is occupied with the sciences of
astronomy, it is not interested in lust? However, that's only because a
person cannot think two thoughts at the same time. Nonetheless, as soon as
he stops being occupied with his science, understandably his heart will be
dragged into all sorts of immodest mischief. This has taken place with
numerous philosophers. When they found Aristotle in a compromising
situation, he answered, "Now I am not Aristotle!" This is because he only
had wisdom of the brain, not of the heart.
The wisdom of Torah, however, pushes out all treif thoughts and sanctifies
the person to be free only and specifically for Hashem and His Torah.
Therefore he is able to bring down the Shechinah to his accomplishments.
Rabbenu Yona writes (Shaare Teshuva, 3:3) (Mishle 1:2) "'To know
wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding;' This
means that talents of accomplishment and forsaking of aveiros is called
wisdom, as it says (Devorim 4: 'for this is your wisdom and your
understanding in the sight of the nations, who, when they shall hear all
these statutes, shall say, Surely this great nation is a wise and
understanding people.'" Rabbenu Yona accents talents that bring to actual
accomplishments, not a talented brain. That's considered wisdom in the
eyes of the nations. That's the difference between Torah and other
The Dubno Magid once spoke in a town and a few maskilim (members of
the enlightenment movement) attended. After the talk one of the cynics,
who was totally unaffected by the warm and inspiring message,
approached the famed Magid. "The sages tell us," began the skeptic, "'that
words from the heart, penetrate the heart.' Rabbi," he snickered, "I assume
that you spoke from your heart. Your words, however, have had no impact
on me whatsoever! How can that be? Why didn't your words penetrate my
Rabbi Kranz smiled. In his usual fashion, he began with a parable. "A
simpleton once went by the workplace of a blacksmith, who was holding a
large bellows. After a few squeezes, the flames of the smith's fire danced
with a rage. The man, who always found it difficult to start a fire in his
own fireplace, marveled at the contraption. He immediately went and
purchased the amazing invention. Entering his home, he smugly
announced, "I just discovered how to make a raging fire with the simple
squeeze of a lever!"
He set a few logs in the cold fireplace and began to push the two ends of
the bellows together. Nothing happened. The logs lay cold and lifeless.
Embarrassed, the man returned to the blacksmith and explained his
predicament. "I want a refund!" he shouted. This blower doesn't work!"
"You yokel," laughed the experienced blacksmith. "You were blowing on
cold logs! You must start a small fire on your own! If you don't start with a
spark, a fire will never erupt!"
The Magid turned toward the maskil and sadly shook his head sadly. "If
there is no spark, the largest bellows will not make a fire."
Wishing everyone a Gut Shabbos
Rabbi Eliezer Parkoff 4 Panim Meirot, Jerusalem 94423 Israel Tel: 732-858-1257 Rabbi Parkoff is author of "Chizuk!" and "Trust Me!" (Feldheim
Publishers), and "Mission Possible!" (Israel Book Shop Lakewood). If you would like to correspond with Rabbi Parkoff, or change your subscription,
please contact: rabbi.e.parkoff@gmail.com Shema Yisrael Torah Network info@shemayisrael.co.il http://www.shemayisrael.co.il Jerusalem, Israel

Rabbi Ben-Zion Rand
Likutei Peshatim
Volume 27 Number 22 March 9, 2013
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A Day To Connect
And Moshe assembled the entire assembly of Bnei Yisrael and said to
them: These are the things that God commanded to do them - For six
days work may be done, but on the seventh day it shall be holy for you, a
day of complete rest for God. Whoever does work on it shall be put to
death. Shemos 35:1-2
Shabbos provides us the opportunity to make up for all those times during
the week when we were unable to devote enough time to study Torah.
Chazal teach us that the Torah itself was given on Shabbos. Perhaps this is
to teach us the importance of using this day for the maximum amount of
Torah study. Shabbos is not just a day to take a break from our work
routine but rather must be utilized to achieve a greater closeness to the
The Dubno Magid offers a parable. There was once a man who had to
take leave of his home and go to a faraway island, where he had no means
of communication with his home and family. Whenever a stranger would
come to the island, the man would inquire as to whether he had any
information about his town or family. One day, an old beggar came to the
island who had information. The man was anxious for news but the beggar
refused to take the time to sit and chat, pointing out his need to go out
collecting for funds. The man offered the beggar, on the spot, enough
money for a full days meals if he would devote a day to sit and talk with
him. The poor man agreed. When the day arrived, the beggar had hardly
begun to talk when he fell asleep. Upon awakening, he told the man that
he was hungry and would need to eat before being able to continue. His
request was granted and he was served a delicious meal. After finishing his
food, the beggar said that he again felt tired and would need to nap. At this
point, the mans patience grew thin and he exclaimed, I have provided
you with everything and only asked that the day be reserved for speaking
with me. Instead, all you have done is eat, drink and sleep. You seem to
have forgotten that, for this day, I am your master and I have a right to
your attention.
Similarly, Hashem has provided us with our needs and given us a day of
rest, the Shabbos, for us to be more attentive towards Him on this
Eliyahu Will Let Them Know
Take from yourselves a portion for God; everyone who is generous of
heart shall bring it, as the gift for God: gold and silver and brass.
Shemos 35:5
During the years of World War I, in 1916, the Chafetz Chaim was in a
certain city in Russia, and Pesach was quickly approaching. Several
women whose husbands had been drafted into the Russian army came to
the sainted Rabbi and complained about their plight. Their houses were
completely empty of any provisions, and they had no means by which to
prepare Pesach for their children. With their husbands away, there was no
one who could provide even for their basic needs.
The Chafetz Chaim spoke to the community leaders, each of whom gave a
different excuse as to why they could not help to remedy the situation.
That Shabbos, the community gathered in the shul to daven, and the
Chafetz Chaim was honored with the aliyah of Kohen. As he approached
for his aliyah, he turned to those gathered and announced that he had
something to say before he would begin his bracha on the Torah. He
briefly described the desperate need to support the families of the men
who were serving in the army, and then he proclaimed a decree. I am
officially reacting so that, after one hundred and twenty years, no one can
later say that I was present and remained silent at a moment of crisis. I
hereby proclaim that we cannot suffice with a simple donation to remedy
this situation. The rule is that the wealthier members of the community
will each give twenty-five rubles for the Pesach fund. Those who are
capable of giving fifteen rubles will do so, and the average family will
give five rubles. We will not accept any donations in any category from
those who wish to give less than these amounts.
Our Sages tell us, he continued, that when a person refused to donate to
the Mishkan, the prophet publicized his name (see Midrash Ruth Rabba
5:6). Now, as we stand here, Eliyahu the Prophet is recording our deeds in
the Heavens, and the Holy One, blessed be He, is confirming his records.
Does anyone here want to be included in the list of those who did not
respond to the cries of these destitute families? In either case, let it be
known that no one is to claim that I was present and that I did not protest!
After the Chafetz Chaim concluded his dramatic and inspiring words, his
message, which came from the heart, penetrated into the hearts of his
community, and the necessary funds were raised to provide for the needs
of the poor.
Parashas Hachodesh
We can suggest a metaphor to describe the relationship of God with us,
His chosen people. As we were about to depart from Egypt, Hashem
enriched us by offering to take us as His very own. We accepted. Pesach
therefore represents the moment of betrothal between Hashem, the groom,
and us, His beloved bride. God instructed Moshe to inform the Jewish
people (Shemos 6:7) that He wanted to take them for Himself as a
people. The verb used (nnp9) is identical to that which is classically
used when the Torah describes the betrothal of a maiden to her husband,
for example, in Devarim 24:1 (np a). In addition, as described in this
weeks Maftir, the first mitzvah which the nation as a whole was given
was to sanctify time (to establish a calendar), and is known as kiddush
hachodesh. This is the concept of becoming holy - parallel to the
ceremony of kiddushin, where a woman is betrothed to her husband.
When we approached Har Sinai, the marriage between the Jews and God
took place. The Torah served as the kesuba, the marriage document, and
we entered under the mountain which served as the canopy. Finally, the
special moment when the bride and groom are allowed to be alone with
each other had arrived. This special moment during which the marriage
was consummated is represented by the festival of Sukkos, by our entering
26 >:\D \"nn "po"np trcdk trcd ihc
into the temporary shelters, where the Shechina resides. Our ritual huts
commemorate our having been provided the heavenly clouds as personal
escorts during our traverse through the wilderness. This was a unique and
intimate encounter with the Shechina. Thus, the cycle of Pesach - Shavuos
- Sukkos parallels the betrothal - marriage ceremony - seclusion process
which validated the marriage of the Jews with Hashem.
The Month Of Nissan
This month shall be for you the beginning of the months, it shall be for
you the first of the months of the year. Shemos 12:2
In Michtav MeEliyahu, Rabbi Eliyahu Dessler cites Rambam, who
explains that This month shall be for you the beginning of the months
means that the Jewish people should recognize Nissan as the first month
and should count the other months from it. For example, we should call the
following months the second month (from Nissan), the third month (from
Nissan), etc., so that it should be a constant reminder of the great miracle
of the departure from Egypt. Thus, whenever we mention the months, we
will remember the miracle. Therefore, the months have no names in the
Torah but are simply referred to by numbers, for example, in the third
month or And it was in the second year, in the second month that the
cloud was lifted or in the seventh month on the first of the month, and
many similar instances.
Just as there is a reminder of Shabbos whenever we mention the days of
the week, Which also have no names but are known as the first day
towards Shabbos, the second day towards Shabbos, etc., so too is there a
reminder of the departure from Egypt whenever we mention the months,
because we count them from the month of our deliverance. We dont
reckon the months according to where they come in the year, for in reality
the year begins in Tishrei -And in the feast of the ingathering at the turn
of the year, when the year ends- but when we call the month of Nissan
the 1st, and the monthofTishreithe7th,we mean that the former is the first
month of our deliverance.
Halachic Corner Parashas HaChodesh
Anyone who seeks to avoid the sin of noo - deceit - must constantly be
cognizant of how terrible is the sin of speaking falsehood. By avoiding
falsehood, one will naturally avoid deceit. To speak untruths is an
extremely shameful trait, even when there is no deceit concealed in ones
words. Furthermore, by uttering untruths, the speaker profanes his mouth,
the precious vessel which has been granted to him by Hashem to utter His
praises and study His holy Torah. This thought alone should be enough to
deter anyone from speaking falsehood.
Questions for Thought and Study
1. According to Ramban, who gave jewelry first to the Mishkan? See
Ramban 35:22
2. How did the goats hair come directly from the goats to the Mishkan?
See Rashi 35:26
3. Why in connection with the Ark does the Torah specifically say that
Betzalel made it? See Meshech Chochma 37:1
4. What was unusual about the two Kohanim who served in the Mishkan
on the eighth day of the dedication of the Mishkan? See Rashi 40:31
1. According to Ramban the women gave first then the men gave, because
the Torah says (35:22), And the men came with the women. This could
be translated as because of the women.
2. The hair was spun directly off the backs of the goats.
3. Of all the utensils made for the Mishkan, only the Aron will never be
reproduced by anyone else, even for the first and second Temples.
4. Moshe and Aharon served together as Kohanim only on this day.
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Rabbi Naftali Reich
Parshas Vayakhel and Pekudei
Men First - Ladies First - Everyone First!
I came across an idea on Purim that seemed not only to capture the
underlying theme of that festival, but also sheds light on the opening lines
of this week's Torah portion.
We read in the Megillah how Mordechai bids Esther to appear before
Achashverosh and plead with him on behalf of the Jewish people who
were slated to be annihilated. Mordechai encourages her with the poignant
question, "Who knows? Perhaps it was precisely and only for this critical
occasion that you attained your royal position?"
Esther immediately replied, "Go assemble all the Jews in Shushan and fast
for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day; I with my
attendants will fast as well. Esther then uttered a seemingly superfluous
word: "U'vchen."
And thus (or consequently), I will enter the king's presence against the law
of the land." What is hinted at by this extra word, "u'vchen?"
Let us consider what is the most efficacious prayer that our sages tell us is
guaranteed to elicit a favorable answer from above. It is when someone
sincerely entreats Hashem on behalf of his disadvantaged fellow Jew even
though he too desperately needs the very thing that he requests for his
friend. Such an entreaty is considered the quintessential selfless prayer,
for, rather than being preoccupied with ones own travails, he has focused
instead on his friend's plight.
Hashem responds first to the needs of such a caring, unselfish person for in
recognition of his selflessness and total bonding with another Jew's needs,
Hashem ensures that he becomes the conduit of His divine blessing, and
will therefore be the first to receive His bounty and goodness.
This is what Esther was alluding to when she told Mordechai, "The Jewish
people face a life-threatening decree from Haman, just as do I when I enter
unlawfully into the king's presence. We both are in mortal danger. Let the
Jews fast for my welfare and I and my attendants will fast similarly for the
salvation of the nation. 'U'vchen', and consequently, armed with this great
merit that we are begging for Divine favor and mercy for one another, I
will enter the king's presence.
We similarly mention this identical declaration 'U'vchen' numerous times
in our Rosh Hashana prayers as a prelude to each major appeal for
salvation. The commentaries explain that it is placed before each prayer as
a reference to Queen Esther's prayer to Hashem before she interceded with
the king on behalf of her people. By omitting any personal requests from
our Rosh Hashana supplications and directing our pleas on behalf of the
entire nation we too trust and anticipate meriting Divine assistance and
deliverance .
This thought kept buzzing in my mind throughout Purim for it crystallizes
the key theme of the day: by caring for one another, sending gifts and
mending frayed relationships, caring for the poor and reaching out to one
another in friendship, we demonstrate the inner unity that lies at the core
of our people. With that demonstration of brotherhood and solidarity, we
merit a unique outpouring of Divine favor and closeness.
This perhaps, is why Moshe deemed it necessary to assemble the entire
people after the sin of the Golden Calf, before introducing them to the
mitzvah of the building of the Mishkan. By bringing together the entire
Jewish people, he paved the way for them to be reunited with the Divine,
for only when we are united down here in this world, can we be connected
at the most exalted Source in heaven. The building of the Mishkan fused
together the entire people in the transcendent mission of its construction,
and it was the unity of the people that secured Hashem's presence in this
May this theme of our oneness as a people and our readiness to put others
first that makes Purim such a joyous and spiritual day, continue throughout
the year. For only when we uncover that wonderful unity and discover the
genuine caring and sharing for one another, can true joy prevail.
Wishing you a wonderful Shabbos, Rabbi Naftali Reich
Legacy, Copyright &copy 2013 by Rabbi Naftali Reich and Torah.org. Rabbi Reich is on the faculty of the Ohr Somayach Tanenbaum Education
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Rabbi Mordechai Rhine
Rabbi's Message
The Ambulance That Wasn't Needed
The fundraising efforts for the Mishkan were going quite well. In general
it would be gauged as a massive success. Yet there was one group of
people that did not donate right away and were censured for their delay.
This group was none other than the princes of each tribe. The same people
who were so dedicated in Egypt in times of crisis were now the last to
give. These were great, wonderful people. How could it be that they
almost lost the chance to participate in this mitzvah?
The commentaries tell us that the reason that the princes were delayed was
because of a calculation. They said, "Let everyone else give their
donations. Then whatever is missing we will fill in." What actually
happened is that the people were so generous that there was very little left
to give. The princes ended up able to give certain precious stones which
had not yet been given. But because of their delay they were almost left
out and were censured for their calculation. What indeed was wrong with
their calculation?
Rav Hirsch explains that the princes were people who thrived in situations
of crisis. In the words of one contemporary leader, "They were like tea
bags. You only saw their strength when the people were stuck in hot
water." The princes thrived in times of crisis. In such times they reached
out, they helped; they showed they cared.
But the Mishkan was not built on a foundation of crisis. Like the Bais
Hamikdash later, the Mishkan was built on a foundation of peace, stability,
and love. The princes reaction was not in sync with what the Mishkan was.
The donations to the Mishkan were, "More than enough." But the princes
perception was to anticipate a crisis, "Whatever is missing..." because that
is what they were familiar with and responded best to. They did not
>:\D \"nn "po"np trcdk trcd ihc 27
properly transition to the new age of serving Hashem, not from crisis, but
from peace, stability, and love.
Even today we find that many people thrive on crisis. They almost crave
crisis because it is exciting and enables them to respond to challenge and
thrive. A great analogy is the proverbial conversation between the cat and
the homeowner, where the cat prides himself that there are no mice. The
homeowner replies, "You pride yourself that there are no mice; and I am
proud of you that there are no mice. But there is a difference between me
and you. You hope that there will be more mice, so that you can get rid of
them, while I would be most happy if the problem wouldn't exist in the
first place."
The Mishkan experience and the mistake of the princes teaches us that we
are not supposed to need crisis to grow. Instead we are supposed to be able
to grow and achieve even when there is no crisis. Even without an exciting
threat to respond to, we are supposed to be able to thrive. In fact, ideally
we should be able to function in an effective manner so that crisis mode
should not be necessary.
A number of years ago I spent a Shabbos in Boro Park and was davening
in a prominent shul where my father in law davened. Suddenly, in the
midst of the service, I noticed an older man looking frail and weak. The
man sitting across from him also noticed, and being a Hatzolah paramedic,
he slipped out quietly to his vehicle parked in front and came back
discreetly with a supplies bag. With the older gentleman still sitting
weakly in his seat at the table, the paramedic confirmed the medical
condition, and promptly got an IV drip going with appropriate medication.
I did not fully understand the known medical history and the situation that
was being treated until it was explained to me later. But at the time it was
quite clear to me that anyone of lesser training would have promptly
placed the older man in an ambulance and headed for the hospital.
About an hour later, once services were over, I ventured outside and began
walking home. On the corner was a Hatzolah ambulance, parked in place,
unused. I thought to myself how close we had come to a situation where
emergency personnel might have rushed the patient to the hospital in this
very ambulance, lights flashing, sirens blaring, down 16th avenue. Some
people indeed thrive on crisis. But for me I was quite glad for the
proficiency and training that averted crisis. And so I walked by that
Shabbos marveling at the ambulance that wasn't needed.
With best wishes for a wonderful Shabbos!
Rabbi Elyakim Rosenblatt
Yeshiva Kesser Torah
A Commentary Published by Yeshiva Kesser Torah of Queens
Vayakhel Pikudei The Awesome Power Of Toiling In Torah
"Betzalel the son of Uri, the son of Chur of the tribe of Yehuda made all that
Hashemhad commanded Moshe.." (Shmos 38:22)"
The Midrash Rabbah(Bereshis 1:14) comments that the above posuk does not
state that Betzalel made the Mishkan in the manner that Moshe had
commanded him; rather, the posuk states, "Betzalel made the Mishkan in the
manner that Hashem commanded Moshe." This teaches us that even things
that Betzalel did not hear from Moshe, his opinion turned out to be in accord
with what was actually said to Moshe by Hashem on Har Sinai.
This Midrash seems to be saying that when Moshe descended from Har Sinai
and taught Betzalel the laws of building the Mishkan, he apparently omitted
some of these laws in his teachings. Betzalel, attentively listening to his
Rebbe, Moshe, expound upon the laws detailing how the Mishkan should be
built, had difficulty understanding Moshe's teachings as enunciated: he
perceived that Moshe must have omitted some of these laws. Betzalel's
comprehension turned out to be exactly as Hashem had taught Moshe. The
posuk, therefore does not state that Betzalel did all that Moshe had
commanded him, for, in reality, he did beyond that. He made the Mishkan as
Hashem Himself had commanded Moshe.
Let us envision this scenario. Moshe Rabbeinu descends from Har Sinai after
being taught by Hashem himself the laws pertaining to the construction of the
Mishkan. Betzalel, the faithful disciple of Moshe Rabbeinu, entrusted with the
holy task of building the Mishkan, the sanctuary of Hashem, stands in awe,
listening attentively and intently to every single word uttered by his revered
Rebbe. Betzalel has questions on his Rebbe's teachings, and concludes that his
Rebbe, Moshe, must surely have omitted some information from his
This is mystifying. How could Betzalel possibly come to such an incredible
conclusion- Moshe Rabbeinu, the great Rebbe of Klal Yisroel, omitted
something from his teachings? Surely this awesome setting whereby Moshe
Rabbeinu teaches Betzalel in the name of Hashem what he had just heard at
maamad har Sinai from Hashem Himself, should produce within Betzalels
psyche an inner drive and impetus to want to readily accept wholeheartedly
whatever Moshe Rabbeinu was saying. For example, if we study a difficult
Rambam which seems to contradict a Gemorah, how much toil and effort do
we exert to try to reconcile the Rambam with the Gemorah? Why do we do
this? For we know that the holy Rambam certainly knew the Gemorah, and
nevertheless, paskened something which seems to contradict the Gemorah.
This confidence in the Rambams correctness gives us the impetus and drive
to accept his words and to toil and reconcile them with the words of the
Gemorah. If this is true with the Rambam, then surely it is true in the case of
the great Rebbe of Klal Yisroel, Moshe Rabbeinu, who taught Betzalel in the
name of Hashem the laws of the Mishkan, what he had just heard from
Hashem Himself, Shouldn't Betzalel have within him the certitude and inner
drive to readily accept every word emanating from Moshe Rabbeinu's holy
mouth. Surely what Moshe Rabbeinu had taught was the halacha, and what he
did not teach was not the halacha. How, in all logic, could Betzalel possibly
conclude that his revered Rebbe omitted some information from his
Furthermore, we find that, not only did Betzalel deduce that Moshe Rabbeinu
omitted something from his teachings, but he detected something even more
incredible. Rashi(1), in Parshas Pekudei, on our very Posuk, understands our
Midrash to be saying that Betzalel concluded the exact opposite of what
Moshe Rabbeinu had taught him. Moshe taught Betzalel to first make the
vessels of the Mishkan and then build the Mishkan itself, while Betzalel
understood that the Mishkan should be built before the vessels.
This is mystifying. Surely Betzalel must have had a strong urge and inner
desire to readily accept every holy word uttered by Moshe Rabbeinu in the
name of Hashem as halacha psuka - the absolute truth. How could Betzalel
possibly conclude that the truth was the opposite of what Moshe Rabbeinu
had taught him?
Perhaps the only manner in which we may fathom Betzalel's perception,
detecting what Moshe omitted, and even concluding the truth to be the
opposite of what Moshe had taught, is to assume that Betzalel was zoche to a
special Ruach HaKodesh and syata diShmaya. This enabled him to perceive
matters even beyond the teachings of his Rebbe, attaining knowledge directly
from the Creator Himself. This, in truth, might be implied in our Rashi which
states that Moshe remarked to Betzalel, "Betzel kel hayisa - in the shadow of
G-D have you been." If this is true, however, than there is absolutely nothing
that we can learn from this Shmuess to apply to ourselves, since we are not
anywhere near the level of Betzalel, and we do not have Ruach HaKodesh.
However, the Yefe Toar (a commentary on the Midrash Rabbah), has a rather
novel approach to our Midrash, from which much can be learned and applied
directly to our very own lives. He proves that the true meaning of our Midrash
is that Betzalel achieved his incredible abilities not through Ruach HaKodesh,
but rather through a natural process of reasoning, with iyun and yegiyah,
toiling and exerting efforts in order to comprehend the depth of his Rebbe's
teachings. Perhaps this interpretation too, may be implied in Moshe's words
"Betzel kel hayisa" - exerting yourself and toiling in the study of Torah has
elevated you and given you the insight and perception to be in total accord
with the commandment of the Creator, as if you were actually there together
with me, Moshe, in the shadow of G-D, both of us being taught by Hashem
Thus, according to the Yefeh Toar, we see the awesome power that exists
within ameylus baTorah - toiling in Torah. Betzalel, stood in awe, listening to
the greatest Rebbe Klal Yisroel ever had, who taught him in the name of
Hashem the laws of the construction of the Mishkan. These laws Moshe
Rabainu had just heard from Hashem at Maamad Har Sinai; therefore he,
Betzalel, should surely have the impetus and inner certitude within him to
readily accept every word exactly as it was being taught. Surely within this
setting there existed within Betzalel a great psychological barrier to thinking
even one iota beyond his Rebbe's teachings. Nevertheless, through toiling to
grasp and comprehend the truth of his Rebbe's teachings, he saw that
difficulties and questions still remained. These questions brought about
different and opposite conclusions, which, indeed, were the ultimate truth.
Betzalel toiling in the holy words of his Rebbe's teachings, had the incredible
power to pierce through this great psychological barrier and to elevate
Himself beyond his Rebbe's teachings. Thus he was in total accord with what
Hashem had commanded Moshe at maamad har Sinai. This was not through
the medium of Ruach HaKodesh, but through the natural processes of
reasoning, with Iyun and yegiah baTorah, toiling and exerting efforts to
comprehend the depths of his Rebbe's teachings.
May we realize the tremendous opportunities that are available to us through
toiling and exerting all our efforts in comprehending the holy words of
Hashem's Torah. Literally, the Heavens are open to us. We are able to rise
above and beyond the teachings of our revered Rebbeim. We can attain the
ultimate knowledge of maamad har Sinai itself.
May we be zoche to dedicate and devote ourselves to the study of Hashem's
holy Torah. May we delve into its secrets and its beauties. May we be zocheh
to attain the highest and holiest of all levels - maamad har Sinai itself. Amen.
1. Rashi's source is the Gemorah Brachos 55a.
These weekly Parsha sheets are based on Shmuessin delivered at Yeshiva Kesser Torah by HaRav ElyakimG. Rosenblatt, Shlita, Rosh HaYeshiva. This Shmuess is
adapted from a Shmuess of Maran HaGaon HaRav Henach Leibowitz, ZTL. Yeshiva Kesser Torah, 72-11 Vleigh Place, Flushing, NY 11367. (718) 793-2890.
YeshivaKesserTorah@gmail.com. For other Shiurimby Harav Rosenblatt Shlita, login to YeshivaKesserTorah.org For telephone shiurimcall Kol Halashon at 718-
395-2440. press 1 1 30 for Shiruimand 1 4 32 for Chassidic Gems

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Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks
Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth
Covenant & Conversation
Vayakhel-Pekudei 5773 Two Types of Community
Mar 04, 2013
A long drama had taken place. Moses had led the people from slavery to
the beginning of the road to freedom. The people themselves had
witnessed G-d at Mount Sinai, the only time in all history when an entire
people became the recipients of revelation. Then came the disappearance
of Moses for his long sojourn at the top of the mountain, an absence which
led to the Israelites greatest collective sin, the making of the Golden Calf.
Moses returned to the mountain to plead for forgiveness, which was
Its symbol was the second set of tablets. Now life must begin again. A
shattered people must be rebuilt. How does Moses proceed? The verse
with which the sedra begins contains the clue:
Moses assembled the whole Israelite community and said to them: These
are the things G-d has commanded you to do. (35:1)
The verb vayakhel which gives the sedra its name is crucial to an
understanding of the task in which Moses is engaged. At its simplest level
it serves as a motiv-word, recalling a previous verse. In this case the verse
is obvious:
When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the
mountain, they assembled around Aaron and said, Come, make us gods
who will go before us. (32:1)
Moses act is what the kabbalists called a tikkun: a restoration, a making-
good-again, the redemption of a past misdemeanour. Just as the sin was
committed by the people acting as a kahal or kehillah, so atonement was to
be achieved by their again acting as a kehillah, this time by making a
home for the Divine presence as they earlier sought to make a substitute
for it. Moses orchestrates the people for good, as they had once been
assembled for bad (The difference lies not only in the purpose but in the
form of the verb, from passive in the case of the calf to active in the case
of Moses. Passivity allows bad things to happen Wherever it says and
it came to pass it is a sign of impending tragedy. (Megillah 10b)
Proactivity is the defeat of tragedy: Wherever is says, And there will be
is a sign of impending joy. (Bemidbar Rabbah 13)
At a deeper level, though, the opening verse of the sedra alerts us to the
nature of community in Judaism.
In classical Hebrew there are three different words for community: edah,
tsibbur and kehillah, and they signify different kinds of association.
Edah comes from the word ed, meaning witness. The verb yaad carries
the meaning of to appoint, fix, assign, destine, set apart, designate or
determine. The modern Hebrew noun teudah means certificate,
document, attestation, aim, object, purpose or mission. The people who
constitute an edah have a strong sense of collective identity. They have
witnessed the same things. They are bent on the same purpose. The Jewish
people become an edah a community of shared faith only on receiving
the first command:
Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month
each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household
(Shemot 12:3).
An edah can be a gathering for bad as well as good. The Israelites, on
hearing the report of the spies, lose heart and say they want to return to
Egypt. Throughout, they are referred to as the edah (as in How long will
this wicked community grumble against Me? Bemidbar 14: 27). The
people agitated by Korach in his rebellion against Moses and Aarons
authority is likewise called an edah (If one man sins, will You be angry
with the whole community ? Bemidbar 16: 22). Nowadays the word is
generally used for an ethnic or religious subgroup. An edah is a
community of the like-minded. The word emphasises strong identity. It is
a group whose members have much in common.
By contrast the word tsibbur it belongs to Mishnaic rather than biblical
Hebrew comes from the root tz-b-r meaning to heap or pile up.
(Bereishith 41:49) To understand the concept of tsibbur, think of a group
of people praying at the Kotel. They may not know each other. They may
never meet again. But for the moment, they happen to be ten people in the
same place at the same time, and thus constitute a quorum for prayer. A
tsibbur is a community in the minimalist sense, a mere aggregate, formed
by numbers rather than any sense of identity. A tsibbur is a group whose
members may have nothing in common except that, at a certain point, they
find themselves together and thus constitute a public for prayer or any
other command which requires a minyan.
A kehillah is different from the other two kinds of community. Its
members are different from one another. In that sense it is like a tsibbur.
But they are orchestrated together for a collective undertaking one that
involves in making a distinctive contribution. The danger of a kehillah is
that it can become a mass, a rabble, a crowd.
That is the meaning of the phrase in which Moses, descending the
mountain, sees the people dancing around the calf:
Moses saw that the people were running wild, and that Aaron had let them
get out of control and so become a laughing-stock to their enemies. (32:
The beauty of a kehillah, however, is that when it is driven by constructive
purpose, it gathers together the distinct and separate contributions of many
individuals, so that each can say, I helped to make this. That is why,
assembling the people on this occasion, Moses emphasises that each has
something different to give: Take from what you have, an offering to G-d.
Everyone who is willing to bring to G-d an offering of gold, silver and
bronze . . . All you who are skilled among you are to come and make
everything the Lord has commanded . . .
Moses was able to turn the kehillah with its diversity into an edah with its
singleness of purpose, while preserving the diversity of the gifts they
brought to G-d:
Then the whole Israelite community withdrew from Moses presence, and
everyone who was willing and whose heart moved him came and brought
an offering to G-d for the work on the Tent of Meeting, for all its service,
and for the sacred garments. All who were willing men and women
came and brought gold jewellery of all kinds: brooches, ear-rings, rings
and ornaments . . . Everyone who had blue, purple or scarlet yarn . . .
Those presenting an offering of silver or bronze . . . Every skilled woman
spun with her hands and brought what she had spun . . . The leaders
brought onyx stones and other gems . . . All the Israelite men and women
who were willing brought to G-d freewill offerings for all the work G-d,
through Moses, had commanded them to do. (35:20-29)
The greatness of the Tabernacle was that it was a collective achievement
one in which not everyone did the same thing. Each gave a different thing.
Each contribution was valued and therefore each participant felt valued.
Vayakhel Moses ability to forge out of the dissolution of the people a
new and genuine kehillah was one of his greatest achievements.
Many years later, Moses, according to the sages, returned to the theme.
Knowing that his career as a leader was drawing to an end, he prayed to G-
d to appoint a successor: May G-d, Lord of the spirits of all flesh, appoint
a man over the community. (Bemidbar 27:16) Rashi, following the sages,
explains the unusual phrase Lord of the spirits of all flesh as follows:
He said to Him: Lord of the universe, the character of each person is
revealed and known to You and You know that each is different.
Therefore appoint for them a leader who is able to bear with each person
as his or her temperament requires. (Rashi on Bemidbar 27:16)
To preserve the diversity of a tsibbur with the unity of purpose of an edah
that is the challenge of kehillah-formation, community-building, itself
the greatest task of a great leader.
Rabbi A. Leib Scheinbaum
Peninim on the Torah
Parshas Vayakhel/Pekudei
And Moshe assembled the entire assembly of Bnei Yisrael and said to
them. (35:1)
Rashi observes that this assembly took place on the day after Yom Kippur,
after Moshe Rabbeinu had descended from the mountain. The Sifsei
Chachamim notes that Parashas Ki Sisa concludes with Moshe's descent
from the mountain. The narrative here continues from that point. The fact
that Rashi emphasizes that the Assembly occurred on the day after Yom
Kippur is notable. Is the date really that significant? If the gathering would
have taken place on another day - would it have been different?
Horav Moshe zl, m'Kubrin offers a practical exposition - something to
which we can probably all relate. Yom Kippur is central to Jewish belief
as the Day of Atonement, the holiest day of the year. It is a day when we
all go to shul and pray with fervor, supplicating the Almighty for
forgiveness and entreating Him to grant us another year of good health,
success and welfare. It is not a time for bearing a grudge or maintaining a
bad relationship with anyone. People "tend" to get along at this time of the
year, because they are frightened. We understand that if we cannot forgive
the fellow who hurt us during the year, we can hardly ask Hashem to do
the same for us. It is a simple quid pro quo.
Yom Kippur goes by and, lo and behold, the amicable relationships that
had prevailed "yesterday" are gone "today." The friendships begin to
wane, the forgiveness deteriorates, life returns to pre-Yom Kippur status.
Indeed, as the days go by, as we distance ourselves from Yom Kippur, we
begin to do likewise with our "friends." Yom Kippur is over and, often,
with it go some of the resolutions we made regarding our social
relationships. The peace and unity which had reigned just a few days
earlier no longer seems to be applicable to today. It is almost as if one is
no longer able to discern that a Yom Kippur had occurred.
This, says the Kobriner, was what Moshe was alluding to in addressing the
nation: "Rabosai, we are gathered together today as one, as a unified Klal
Yisrael. After all, it is the day after Yom Kippur. The mood that was
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infused in our nation should not wane the day after. Hakhel, 'assemble
together', on the 'day after Yom Kippur,' as you did 'on Yom Kippur.' Let
peace and harmony reign among our people. It is not only for Yom
Kippur. It is also to be continued the 'day after'."
On six days work may be done, but the seventh shall be holy for you.
The Torah introduces the commandments concerning the Mishkan with an
enjoinment to guard/observe the Shabbos. On a simple level, the Torah is
intimating that, while the construction of the Mishkan is a lofty endeavor
with clearly transcendent significance, it does not supersede Shabbos. In
other words, the construction of the Mishkan, regardless of its magnitude,
is halted for Shabbos. Veritably, one detects an affinity between Shabbos
and the Mishkan. Chazal declare that the Lamed-tes Melachos, Thirty-nine
classifications of work prohibited on Shabbos, are derived from the nature
of work involved in the construction of the Mishkan. What is the
connection between Shabbos and Mishkan?
Horav Aharon Soloveitchik, zl, distinguishes between two forms of
Creation: briah and yetzirah. He quotes Radak who explains that briah is
related to destruction. Although briah in the total sense of creation is the
antithesis of destruction, briah involves destructive elements as well.
Chazal teach that prior to creating the world in which we live, Hashem
created many other worlds and destroyed them. Through this perspective,
we see that the creation of this world involved the destruction of many
others. Hence, the creation of this world entailed the process of briah.
Yetzirah is a process of creation which does not involve any element of
destruction. It is the process through which Hashem continually recreates
this world and governs it. We now may understand how Shabbos fits into
the equation. We may wonder: What is so special about our world that it,
too, was not destroyed like its many predecessors? The Rosh Yeshivah
explains that the principle of causation distinguishes our world from the
rest. This world, unlike the others, survives because its operation is based
on causation, the principle which ensures harmony and order, "the
principle of rest," the principle of Shabbos Kodesh. The other worlds did
not survive, because they did not contain the element of Shabbos.
When the Torah writes that Hashem rested on the seventh day, it implies
that until Shabbos there had been no causality, there had been no order.
True, there was creation, but it was a process whereby worlds were
created, rearranged, destroyed - and then new ones created. So much
energy was expended via creation and destruction, but there had been no
cause and effect. On the seventh day, Hashem completed the process of
briah. The process had been in effect for the six days of Creation. On
Shabbos, the principle of rest was introduced and, with it, harmony and
causality. The yetzirah mode now began. Thus, Shabbos is the day on
which man is to dedicate himself to the pursuit of yetzirah, creation
without destruction.
In the construction of the Mishkan, all forms of work involved the
principle of briah in one way or another. All thirty-nine melachos, even
that of boneh, building, involved some sort of destructive effort, even if
only to rearrange the elements of nature. Rearranging nature means
altering an object, which is like destroying its original form. Hotzaah,
carrying, is one exception; therefore, it is called a melachah geruah,
inferior type of work. On Shabbos, the day when one is to dedicate himself
almost exclusively to yetzirah, these melachos are prohibited.
Shabbos celebrates the point of the culmination of briah and the initiation
of yetzirah. This moment represents the basis of creation. Rav
Soloveitchik makes a play on words when he points out that on Shabbos
one must focus on his tzurah, image, realizing his individuality and
conforming to the image of G-d, the Tzelem Elokim, inherent in him. By
studying Torah, he brings himself closer to achieving this goal and
elevating the world to a higher spiritual plateau.
During the construction of the Mishkan the categories of work involved
the principle of briah, such that its completion was the place for the
Shechinah to repose among the Jewish People, thus transforming the
Mishkan into an edifice dedicated to yetzirah. Until Hashem rested His
Divine Presence on the Mishkan, until the spirit of His Glory was not
manifest, the Sanctuary was not the Sanctuary. It was a body without a
soul, an edifice of briah. Only when the Mishkan was elevated to the realm
of yetzirah did it receive its soul. At that point, the Mishkan was complete.
The kedushah, holiness, of Shabbos and the kedushah of the Mishkan are
of a similar nature, in that they both embody the principle of yetzirah.
Until the Mishkan became the place where Hashem would repose His
Divine Presence, it was yet another edifice - whose construction did not
supersede the kedushah of Shabbos.
The following story is about Shabbos and the deep bond that a Torah giant
had with this holy day. A number of years ago, a rabbi visiting Miami
gave a lecture about the life and character of the saintly Chafetz Chaim.
He held the group spellbound with vignettes about the Chafetz Chaim's
righteousness. He was about to relate one last story, but he hesitated.
Apparently, he knew only part of the story. Then he changed his mind,
deciding that even an unfinished story about the Chafetz Chaim was
worthy of relating.
A young teenager in the Chafetz Chaim's town was caught smoking a
cigarette on Shabbos. The sacred day of rest had been marred. The Chafetz
Chaim was notified, and the student was called to report to his "office." No
one knew what would happen to the student. The Chafetz Chaim took his
religion very seriously. The boy entered the office and exited a few
minutes later. The rabbi then said that this was all he knew about the
incident. He had no idea what had taken place in the office, what the
Chafetz Chaim had said to him. He did know one thing: "That boy never
desecrated Shabbos again." He concluded his lecture with the addendum
that he would give anything to know what had transpired in the office of
the Chafetz Chaim.
The hall emptied, as everyone except for one elderly man dispersed. This
man sat in his seat, deep in thought. He began to tremble, and his eyes
became moist and began to tear. The rabbi approached him and asked, "Is
anything wrong?"
"Where did you hear that story?" the man asked.
The rabbi replied, "I really do not remember. On one of my trips, someone
related the incident to me."
The man looked up at the rabbi and said, "I was that boy." He then
continued with the rest of the story.
"The incident took place in the 1920's, when the Chafetz Chaim was
already in his eighties. I trembled to go in to face him, but I had no
alternative. I was wrong, and now I would have to face the music. The
office was in the Chafetz Chaim's house - if you could even call it a house.
It was nothing more than a ramshackle hut with broken furniture. The
poverty was evident throughout. Yet, here was the gadol ha'dor, the Torah
leader of the generation, the pulse of the Jewish People.
"I entered the room, and there he was. He was a tiny man. He hardly
reached up to my shoulders. He said nothing, but took my hand and
clasped it tenderly in both of his hands. He then brought my hand up to his
face. His eyes were closed. When he opened them, they were filled with
tears - burning, hot tears. He looked at me. In a hushed voice filled with
pain and disbelief, he cried out, "Shabbos, Shabbos, the holy Shabbos."
That was it. He looked deep into my eyes, as his hot tears rolled down his
cheeks, landing on my hand. I thought the tears would burn a hole through
my hand. Indeed, I can still feel the heat. That was his rebuke. I felt that he
was not angry, just sad and disappointed. I never forgot that moment. I
have observed Shabbos ever since."
Imagine - no rebuke, no discourse - just sincere pain over another Jew's
error. Here was a man who loved each Jew as much as he loved each
mitzvah. When he heard that a brother had desecrated Shabbos, he did not
call him names. He cried. Can we say that?
And the work (of bringing materials for the building) was just enough, to
make all the works (of the Mishkan), and there was left over. (36:7)
When we read this pasuk we are struck with an anomaly in its
interpretation. The Ohr HaChaim HaKadosh asks: Are these two
expressions - dayom, "just enough;" and v'hoseir, "left over" - actually
exclusive of one another? If there was "just enough," then there could not
have been anything "left over"; and if there is something "left over," then
clearly there was more than "just enough." The Sfas Emes approaches this
from a number of perspectives. We will select one which teaches a
valuable lesson in avodas Hashem, service to the Almighty.
In the Midrash Tanchuma, Chazal state that the building of the Mishkan
paralleled Brias Ha'Olam, the Creation of the world. Vayar Moshe es kol
ha'melachah, "And Moshe saw all of the work." The pasuk does not say
that Moshe saw, "all of the meleches ha'Mishkan, all of the work
(associated with the building) of the Mishkan," but rather, "all of the
work." (Apparently, this is a reference to another "work" that was
completed.) For everything was (exactly) like the work of creation. In
short, Chazal teach that the creation of the Mishkan corresponded with the
creation of the world.
The Sfas Emes notes that when Klal Yisrael sinned with the Golden Calf,
their infraction impacted not only themselves and their relationship with
Hashem. They also damaged the spiritual structure of the entire world.
Hence, the Mishkan, which served as a kaparah, atonement, for their sin
was meant to repair the spiritual breach which they engendered. Thus,
every step of the Mishkan's construction had to parallel the original
creation of the world.
Let us compare the "endings" of these two "constructions." At the
culmination of Maaseh Bereishis, the Act of Creating the World, the Torah
writes, Vayar Elokim es kol asher asah v'hinei tov me'od, "And G-d saw
all that He had made, and behold, it was very good"; V'yechal
Elokimmelachto asher asah, "And G-d completed His work which He
had done"; Vayivarech Elokim, "And Hashem blessed." (1:31, 2:1, 6)
Concerning the completion of the Mishkan, the Torah writes, Vayar
Moshe es kol ha'melachah va'yevarech osam Moshe, "And Moshe saw
all the workand Moshe blessed them" (Shemos 39:43).
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Hashem created the world with the power of Torah. The tzaddikim,
righteous, of every ensuing generation maintain the world via the Torah,
which they so diligently study. Moshe sensed this awesome reality. He
understood that the Mishkan was much more than a temporal structure, an
edifice made for the Jews traveling in the wilderness. He understood that,
with the creation of the Mishkan, Maasei Bereishis had reached its
completion as well.
There is yet another similarity between the creation of the world and the
construction of the Mishkan. The Sfas Emes quotes the Talmud Chagigah
12a, where Chazal state that, at the beginning of Creation, the Heavens and
the earth expanded and continued to burgeon until Hashem said, Dai!
"Enough!" The Midrash states that by dusk at the end of the sixth day (in
other words, Erev Shabbos), the physical forms for certain spirits had not
yet been created; thus, they have remained spiritual entities without
corporeal bodies. Certainly, Hashem knew that Shabbos was coming; yet,
even so, He did not complete all of His work. This was on purpose. There
was "left over." As the Maharal m'Prague writes, "This world was made
with a lack of perfection." The only way to achieve perfection, the Sfas
Emes explains, is by drawing Hashem into this world by means of our
Torah study and mitzvah observance.
Let us return to the original question presented by the Ohr HaChaim. Klal
Yisrael wanted to give more and more for the construction of the Mishkan,
but were forcibly stopped. Hashem said "no more". The imperfection of
the Mishkan and this world itself, tells us that, despite our efforts and with
all our work, we still depend on Hashem to achieve final completion.
Man's contribution is dai, his input "just enough." The hoseir, "extra flow"
of blessing that completes the Mishkan, is derived from a supernatural
source. Indeed, the Sfas Emes adds that this is quite like the neshamah
yeseirah, extra soul, that enters the world on Shabbos and elevates the
entire creation.
Parashas Pekudei
These are the reckonings of the Mishkan, the Mishkan of Testimony.
Rashi notes the juxtaposition of Mishkan/Mishkan, which he explains
refers to the two Temples which were taken from us. In a play on words,
the word Mishkan is pronounced Mashkon, which is a pledge, collateral,
security. This suggests that the two Temples/Mishkanos were taken as
collateral for Klal Yisrael's sins. At the time in which we will sincerely
repent, they will be returned to their former glory. It seems strange that the
destruction of the Batei Mikdash is alluded to specifically at the juncture
that the Torah addresses the completion of the Mishkan's construction.
Surely, there could be another, more appropriate, place to make note of the
destruction of the Batei Mikdash.
Horav Aizik Ausband, zl, derives from here that the hashroas
ha'Shechinah, the fact that the Divine Presence rests among us, was a
complete and irrevocable gift to the Jewish People. Thus, even when they
sin and warrant an end to this glorious relationship, Hashem does not "rip
up" the contract and leave us hanging. No, it is very much like a mashkon,
whereby Hashem takes the Mishkan as collateral until that time that we
reverse ourselves and repent. A mashkon can be seized only by the lender
from the individual who rightfully owns it. He does not take a mashkon
from just anyone, only from its owner.
The Torah is teaching us that, as the Mishkan is completed and Hashem is
about to rest His Divine Presence among us, the Mishkan becomes our
possession unilaterally. When Hashem destroyed it, He was only using it
as collateral. When we repay our "debt," we will get it back. One
frightening lesson can be derived from this concept. After all the years of
misery, bloodshed, pogroms and holocausts; after we have soaked the soil
of Europe with our blood and our tears have created a river, it seems that
we have not yet repaid the debt.
He erected up the courtyard all around the Mishkan and the
Mizbayach And Moshe completed the work. The cloud covered the
Ohel Moed, and the glory of Hashem filled the Mishkan. (40:33, 34)
Ramban addresses the reason Sefer Shemos concludes with the subject of
the Mishkan, when, in fact, it is addressed earlier in Parshios Terumah and
Tetzaveh. He explains that Sefer Shemos is referred to as the Sefer
HaGeulah, Book of Redemption. It is the book that relates how Hashem
came to His close nation and redeemed them from the pain and misery of
the Egyptian bondage. Although they were no longer under the
thumbscrews of their Egyptian masters, they were still in exile, in the
sense that, until they would return to their place and come back to the level
of their ancestors, their redemption would not be complete. When they left
Egypt, they were still exiles, because they had not entered into their
Promised Land. Wandering in the wilderness, not knowing what tomorrow
would bring, hardly engendered a sense of freedom. When the nation
arrived at Har Sinai and made the Mishkan, thereby setting the stage for
the Shechinah, Divine Presence, to reside among them, they had returned
to the level of their forefathers. Then, they were considered geulim,
redeemed. Thus, Sefer Shemos concludes, "The glory of Hashem filled the
Let us attempt to grapple with the above statement. Following their release
from Egypt, Klal Yisrael were wandering in the harsh wilderness - without
a stable home, source of livelihood and sustenance, lacking everything that
is part of a settled life. They lived from day to day, sustained by the
Heavenly manna. Yet, it was specifically this set of circumstances which
defined their freedom. How are we to understand this?
Horav Arye Leib Bakst, zl, explains that the underlying purpose of the
briah, the creation of this world, is that Klal Yisrael achieves perfection.
Hashem chose us as His emissaries to the world, as His nation. We must
be worthy of this distinction. This can only come about through
commitment, obedience, devotion, and self-sacrifice. Then, after reaching
this pinnacle, we have arrived. We are free! This is the ultimate geulah,
liberation. We derive from the Ramban that this plateau can be achieved
when Klal Yisrael lives with the Shechinah, as it was when Hashem's
glory filled the Mishkan. This is the perfection which connotes true
freedom. The only way Klal YIsrael can replicate this perfection, which is
the result of Hashem's glory being among us, is through the medium of
limud haTorah, Torah study. Everything else mundane is merely vacuous
and foolish. We either have it - or we do not. When Hashem reposes
among us, we are not in exile - regardless of the physical conditions in
which we find ourselves. One can be in a ghetto or a concentration camp
and be free; alternatively, one can be outfitted from head to toe in luxury,
his days and nights filled with honor and power, but still remain a slave in
exile. It all depends on his degree of perfection, his relationship with
The cloud covered the Ohel Moed , and the glory of Hashem filled the
MishkanFor the cloud of Hashem would be on the Mishkan by day,
and the fire would be on it at night, before the eyes of all the House of
Yisrael. (40:34,38)
The Mishkan served a unique function. As the Sanctuary in the wilderness
and the forerunner of the Bais HaMikdash, it served as the focal point of
Jewish life in the wilderness and, later, in the Promised Land. The
Mishkan announced to the world that Hashem had forgiven Klal Yisrael
for their participation in the sin of the Golden Calf. It declared that His
Divine Presence rested among us. It was the spiritual, inspirational hub
around which the life of the Jew was bound up. It was the place where the
Divine Service was carried out, and it was a tent of gathering where all
Jews were united in one large Bais Yisrael, House of Yisrael, where the
entire Jewish communal family united together as one unit.
It is no wonder that David Hamelech's dream was to build the House of G-
d. It would be his greatest legacy, the achievement of a lifetime of service
to G-d and the nation. He was not, however, allowed to fulfill his dream.
As his son, Shlomo Hamelech, the one who actually built the Bais
HaMikdash said, "Hashem said to my father, David, 'Regarding your
heart's desire to build a House for My sake, you did well to have it in your
heart. However, you shall not build the House, but your son who will
emerge from your loins, he shall build the House for My sake.'"
Something seems to be wrong here. The Almighty praises David for his
incredible desire to build for Him a Sanctuary. Yet, despite his all-
consuming desire, his boundless love for Hashem, he is rejected for the
"job." Instead, he is told that his son, Shlomo, was to receive the coveted
position. Is this how a loyal servant is rewarded? David put in his time, his
effort, his love - only to be told, "Thanks, your son will take over and
carry out your dream." When one reads the words as stated in the Navi
(Melachim I:8, 18, 19) it almost seems as if Hashem is telling David -
specifically because of his overriding desire to build the Bais HaMikdash,
Shlomo would be the one to complete the dream. One would think the
opposite, that due to David's burning desire - he would build it, not his son.
Menachem Tzion explains that Hashem was actually giving David the
ultimate blessing: he would be worthy of being the progenitor of the one
who would build the Bais HaMikdash. Because his goals were so lofty;
because his lifelong dream was so that Hashem's Name be glorified to the
world; because he devoted his life to the fulfillment of this dream, he
would receive the ultimate blessing: his son would build the Sanctuary.
This is a parent's greatest blessing, to know that his legacy will endure; his
offspring will carry on even after he has departed from this world.
What a powerful statement! What an insightful exposition of Hashem's
words to David. It was not a rejection, a denouncement of his ability to
carry out his dream; rather, it was the ultimate praise: your mission will
survive; it will be completed by your son. Life does not go on forever. We
are here for a short visit during which we endeavor to realize our potential,
to fulfill our dreams, to provide a legacy for the next generation. Our
dreams are expansive, but our tenure is limited. We can hope that we have
inspired our children well, so that they will carry on the banner which we
have raised. If we are fortunate, if we have succeeded in planting the seeds
of inspiration, then we will be worthy of the ultimate nachas, pleasure, of
knowing that these seeds will germinate, grow tall and erect and produce
>:\D \"nn "po"np trcdk trcd ihc 31
luscious fruit. This is what Hashem told David. You worked for it. Your
sensitivity, your self-sacrifice and love, paid off in that you can be assured
that your effort will bear fruit. Shlomo, your son, will build the Bais
HaMikdash. Can a father ask for a greater blessing than to know that his
work will continue, that his legacy will endure?
The values we impart to our children are the ones which they will carry
on. The Jewish home is the most significant and most crucial unit in
Judaism: Ahavas Olam Bais Yisrael amcha ahavta, "A love for the House
of Yisrael, Your nation, which You love." Horav Simchah Wasserman, zl,
observes a special relationship between Hashem and the Jewish home, as
expressed by this prayer which we recite daily. There is no other unit
whatsoever like the Jewish home. The relationship between husband and
wife, parent and child, the Mesorah, tradition that is imbued within the
family unit throughout the generations, is unlike any other unit. No nation
- no religion or culture- can boast such a relationship which transcends and
connects the generations of the past with those of the future. Every Jewish
family is a link in the chain of Jewish life that heralds back to Sinai and
will endure until the advent of Moshiach Tzidkeinu. As in all chains,
however, it takes only one weak or broken link to sever the chain and
render it unfit.
Va'ani Tefillah
U'vanu vacharta mikol am v'lashon. And us You have chosen from every
people and language.
That Hashem chose us from among the many nations of the world is a
given. He offered them all the Torah, but they rejected it. This tells us
something about them. We, however, chose to be chosen. By accepting the
Torah, we were granted Hashem's greatest treasure, thereby elevating and
enhancing our relationship with Him. Where does the word, lashon,
language, fit into the equation? Horav Avigdor Miller, zl, translates lashon
as language. The greatest mark of our distinction in the eyes of Hashem is
the fact that we accepted the Torah. Our national language is the
vernacular in which the Torah is written. It is the holy tongue. A nation's
language plays a role in defining its character. Our national language is
Divinely created, each letter, spelling, sound and depth of meaning -
Divinely ordained. The fact that lashon hakodesh is our national language
is telling about the nature of our People. The words, nuances, are all holy.
So, Hashem chose us. Horav Shimon Schwab, zl, translates lashon in this
instance as culture. Our culture rises above the rest, since our culture is
intertwined with our religion. That says something about us. We are a
religious culture, one with a unique purpose, meaning and set of values.
That is why Hashem chose us.
Sponsored by Yaakov and Karen Nisenbaum and Family in memory of our Father and
Grandfather Martin Nisenbaum R' Mordechai ben R' Ephraim z"l niftar Rosh Chodesh Nissan
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Rabbi Dovid Seigel
Parshas Vayakhel Pekudei
Parshas Hachodesh: Yechezkel 45:16
This week's haftorah which we read in conjunction with Parshas
Hachodesh portrays the upcoming month of Nissan in a brilliant light. It
begins with an elaborate description of the special sacrifices which will
introduce the Messianic era. The prophet Yechezkel focuses on the
dedication of the third Bais Hamikdash and says, "On the first day of the
first month(Nissan) take a perfect bullock and purify the Bais Hamikdash."
(45:18)The Radak (ad loc.) notes that the Jewish nation will return to Eretz
Yisroel long before this. During that time most of the construction of the
Bais Hamikdash will be completed leaving only final stages for the month
of Nissan. Radak suggests that the inaugural services will begin seven days
prior to the month of Nissan and will conclude on Rosh Chodesh itself. He
offers with this an interpretation to the classic saying of Chazal "In Nissan
we were redeemed and in Nissan we are destined to be redeemed. " These
words, in his opinion, refer to the events of our Haftorah wherein we are
informed that the service in the Bais Hamikdash will begin in the month of
As we follow these dates closely, we discover a striking similarity between
the dedication of the final Bais Hamikdash and of the Mishkan.
Historically speaking, each of them revolves around the month of Nissan.
In fact, as we have discovered, they are both completed on the exact same
date, Rosh Chodesh Nissan. But this specific date reveals a more
meaningful dimension to these dedications. The month of Nissan, as we
know, has special significance to the Jewish people; it marks our
redemption from Egyptian bondage. In truth, this redemption process
began on the first day of Nissan. Because, as we discover in this week's
Maftir reading, Hashem began preparing the Jewish people for their
redemption on Rosh Chodesh Nissan. All of this indicates a direct
corollary between the Jewish people's redemption and the erection of the
Sanctuary and the final Bais Hamikdash. Rosh Chodesh Nissan, the date
which introduced our redemption and afterwards our service in the
Mishkan will ult imately introduce the service of the final Bais
In search for an understanding of this, we refer to Nachmanides' insightful
overview to Sefer Shmos. In essence, the Sefer of Shmos spans the Jewish
people's exile and redemption. It begins with the descent of Yaakov and
his household to Egypt and concludes with the exodus of our entire nation.
Yet, almost half of the sefer is devoted to the intricacies of the Sanctuary,
something seemingly unrelated to redemption! Nachmanides explains that
the Jewish redemption extended far beyond the physical boundaries of
Egypt. Before they left the land of Israel, Yaakov and his sons enjoyed a
close relationship with Hashem. The devotion of the Patriarchs had
produced such an intense level of sanctity that Hashem's presence was
commonplace amongst them. However with their descent to Egypt, this
experience faded away and, to some degree, distance developed between
themselves and Hashem. Over the hundreds of years in Egypt, this
distance grew and they eventually lost all association wit h Him.
Nachmanides explains that even after their liberation from Egyptian
bondage, scars of exile remained deeply imprinted on them. Having left
Egypt, they began rebuilding their relationship with Hashem and prepared
for a long journey homeward to Him. Finally, with the erection of the
Sanctuary, they reached their ultimate destiny and reunited with Hashem.
The Sanctuary created a tangible experience of Hashem's presence
amongst them, the clearest indication of His reunification with them. With
this final development, the Jewish people's redemption was complete.
They now returned to the status of the Patriarchs, and were totally bound
to their Creator. All scars of their exile disappeared and they could now,
enjoy the closest relationship with their beloved, Hashem.
This perspective is best reflected in the words of Chazal in P'sikta Rabsi.
Our Chazal inform us that, in reality, all the segments of the Sanctuary
were already completed in the month of Kislev. However, Hashem waited
until Nissan which is called "the month of the Patriarchs", for the erection
and inauguration of the Mishkan. With the insight of Nachmanides we can
appreciate the message of this P'sikta. As stated, the erection of the
Sanctuary represented the completion of our Jewish redemption,their
reunification with Hashem. In fact, this unification was so intense that it
was tantamount to the glorious relationship of the Patriarchs and Hashem.
In essence this present Jewish status reflected that of the Patriarchs in
whose merit this relationship had been reinstated. It was therefore only
proper to wait until Nissan for the dedication of the Sanctuary. Nissan
which was the month of the Patriarchs was reserved for this dedication,
because it reflected the Jewish people 's parallel level to the Patriarchs
In this week's Haftorah, we discover that this concept will continue into
the Messianic era and the inauguration of the final Bais Hamikdash. Our
ultimate redemption, as in our previous ones, will not be considered
complete until we merit the Divine Presence in our midst. Even after our
return to Eretz Yisroel, which will transpire long before Nissan, we will
continue to bear the scar tissue of thousands of years of exile. Only after
Hashem returns to us resting His presence amongst us will we truly be
redeemed. This magnificent revelation will, quite obviously, occur in the
month of Nissan. Our final redemption which reflects Hashem's return to
His people will join the ranks of our redemptions and be introduced on that
glorious day, Rosh Chodesh Nissan.
May we learn from them to totally subjugate ourselves to our Creator,
thereby meriting the final and total destruction of Amalek and his
Haftorah, Copyright &copy 2013 by Rabbi Dovid Siegel and Torah.org. The author is Rosh Kollel of Kollel Toras Chaim of Kiryat Sefer, Israel.
Kollel Toras Chesed 3732 West Dempster Skokie, Illinois 600 76 Phone: 847-674-7959Fax: 847-674-4023 kollel@arlin.net Questions or comments?
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Rabbi Yaakov Asher Sinclair
Ohr Somayach Torah Weekly
Moshe Rabbeinu exhorts Bnei Yisrael to keep Shabbat, and requests
donations for the materials for making the Mishkan. He collects gold,
silver, precious stones, skins and yarn, as well as incense and olive oil for
themenorah and for anointing. The princes of each tribe bring the precious
stones for the Kohen Gadol's breastplate and ephod. G-d appoints Bezalel
and Oholiav as the master craftsmen. Bnei Yisrael contribute so much that
Moshe begins to refuse donations. Special curtains with two different
covers were designed for the Mishkan's roof and door. Gold-covered
boards in silver bases were connected, forming the Mishkan's walls.
Bezalel made the Holy Ark (which contained the Tablets) from wood
covered with gold. On the Ark's cover were two figures facing each other.
The menorah and the table with the showbreads were also of gold. Two
altars were made:a small incense altar of wood overlaid with gold, and a
larger altar for sacrifices made of wood covered with copper.
The Book of Shmot concludes with this Parsha. After finishing all the
different parts, vessels and garments used in the Mishkan, Moshe gives a
complete accounting and enumeration of all the contributions and of the
32 >:\D \"nn "po"np trcdk trcd ihc
various clothing and vessels which had been fashioned. Bnei Yisrael bring
everything to Moshe. He inspects the handiwork and notes that everything
was made according to G-ds specifications. Moshe blesses the people. G-
d speaks to Moshe and tells him that the Mishkan should be set up on the
first day of the first month, i.e., Nissan. He also tells Moshe the order of
assembly for the Mishkan and its vessels. Moshe does everything in the
prescribed manner. When the Mishkan is finally complete with every
vessel in its place, a cloud descends upon it, indicating that G-d's glory
was resting there. Whenever the cloud moved away from the Mishkan,
Bnei Yisrael would follow it. At night the cloud was replaced by a pillar of
The Ultimate Labor Saver
Six days shall labor be done, and the seventh day will be for you
holy (35:2)
For as long as I can remember, one of societys most cherished dreams has
been a robot that gets all your work done for you.
In the late fifties we were regaled with fanciful concoctions of tin cans that
looked like Tin-Man-rejects from The Wizard of Oz, complete with the
apron and a happy mechanical smile. In the sixties, wacky inventors
produced little motorized home-puppies that scooted around cleaning the
carpet and swept the floors. Nowadays robotics has reached amazing
levels. Watching a car being assembled today is an eerie experience with
nary a human in sight. (Except of course to execute the mandatory strike
for shorter hours and better working conditions.)
I want to let you into a secret. The Ultimate Labor Savor has been in
existence for over three thousand years. The trouble is that many people
dont know how to operate it.
Six days shall labor be done, and the seventh day will be for you holy
The grammar of this verse is unusual. The Torah doesnt say you can do
labor for six days, rather it expresses itself in the passive, labor shall be
When we keep Shabbat, G-ds blessings rest on all our workday efforts. If
youre a creative writer for an ad agency, suddenly youll find a brilliant
new concept that just wafts into your consciousness from out of nowhere
on Tuesday morning. If youre a cabinetmaker, all the mortises that you
cut are a perfect fit. If youre a pilot, youll find that theres a break in the
weather allowing you a landing-window at your destination, avoiding a
three-hour delay and a few hundred irate passengers. The list is as endless
as the activities of man. When we keep Shabbat properly, even if you
dont overly exert ourselves, we will find that things just seem to get done,
that little bit quicker and better.
Shabbat is the Ultimate Labor Saver.
Rabbi Doniel Staum
Stam Torah
Parshios Vayakhel-Pekudei/Hachodesh 5773
All For One & One For All
It was the final day of the semester. The proctor placed an exam on every
desk, facing downward. The nervous students fidgeted quietly in their
seats. The proctor completed her round and returned to the front of the
room, You will have exactly one hour to complete the exam. At that time,
you must hand in your test. Any student failing to do so, will automatically
fail. You may begin now.
Well before the hour was over, most of the students had completed their
exams and left. When the hour was up, the remaining few handed in their
tests and exited. The proctor was preparing to leave when she noticed one
student still working feverishly on his test, oblivious to his surroundings.
The proctor sat down and patiently waited. Another forty-five minutes
went by before the student finally put down his pencil and made his way to
the front of the room.
By now the proctor was quite agitated, Young man, I hope you realize
that you will be receiving an F on the exam. The student looked at her
nonchalantly, Maam do you know who I am? The proctor shook her
head. Do you know who my father is? The proctor began to gather her
belongings. I dont know who your father is, and frankly I dont care.
The young boy edged toward the pile of exams, Youre sure you dont
know who I am? The proctor firmly shook her head. Good! he replied,
as he shoved his paper in the middle of the pile of tests and ran out of the
These are the reckonings of the Mishkan, the Mishkan of Testimony,
which were reckoned at Moses bidding Bezalel, son of Uri son of Chur,
of the tribe of Yehuda, did everything that Hashem commanded
Why does the Torah make it a point to repeatedly note Bezalels extended
Rashi explains that the Mishkan is called the Mishkan of Testimony, for
the fact that G-ds Presence rested there, served as testimony that G-d had
forgiven Klal Yisroel for the sin with the golden calf.
If anyone had reason to want to abstain from assisting with the
construction of the Mishkan, it was Bezalel. The Mishkan served as a
testimony that G-d had pardoned Klal Yisroel for the heinous sin that
included the murder of his righteous grandfather, Chur. The blood of his
Zayde cried out from the walls of the Mishkan(3).
Meshech Chochma(4) explains that it was specifically Bezalel who was
commissioned to construct the Keruvim above the Aron. After the nation
had constructed and served the Golden Calf, how could G-d instruct them
to place golden Keruvim in the Holy of Holies? Perhaps they would end
up deifying them as well. It was only Bezalel, who was so manifestly
pained by the sin of the Golden Calf, who could be trusted to create the
Keruvim with pure intentions.
By overcoming his personal feelings, Bezalel demonstrated an incredible
dedication to the unity of Klal Yisroel. Bezalel understood that if Klal
Yisroel required atonement than he did as well. As a nation, Klal Yisroel
rises and falls together.
Haman, the instigator of the Purim miracle, understood this idea well.
When he approached King Achashveirosh to proposition him to eradicate
the Jews, he offered him ten thousand silver talents to compensate for any
loss the destruction of the Jews would incur.
Tosafos(5) notes that Haman gave precisely ten thousand silver talents to
counter-balance the half-shekalim given by the six hundred thousand Jews
in the desert(6).
Rabbi Shlomo Alkabetz ztl explains that the reason G-d commanded
every Jew in the desert to contribute a half shekel - no more and no less(7)
- was to symbolize that every individual Jew is a part of a bigger whole.
The Gemara(8) records that when Haman went to seek Mordechai in order
to parade him through the streets of Shushan, as per Achashveiroshs
instruction, Mordechai was learning with his students. Mordechai was sure
Haman had come to kill him, and he urged his students to flee. They
insisted on staying at his side, and Mordechai continued his Talmudic
Haman waited respectfully until Mordechai finished, and then asked him
what he was studying. Mordechai explained that that day was the sixteenth
day of Nissan and the second day of Pesach. When the Bais Hamikdash
stood, the Kohanim would offer the Korbon Omer that day(9). The
designated Kohain would remove a fistful from the Mincha offering to be
burnt on the altar, and what remained in the bowl was eaten by the
Kohanim. Haman replied that Mordechais fistful of flour had outweighed
the ten thousand silver talents he had offered Achashveirosh to destroy the
What did Haman mean?
Chazal explain that one of the chief motivations of Achashveiroshs seven
day feast for all of the inhabitants of Shushan was to lure the Jews into sin,
so that they would be worthy of punishment. This was actually Hamans
plan, which he convinced Achashveirosh was flawless. When the vast
majority of the Jewish inhabitants defied Mordechais explicit instruction
that they not attend the feast, they were indeed held culpable in the
celestial court.
Alshich explains that when Haman heard Mordechais explanation about
the Minchah, he saw in it the symbolic undermining of his arguments to
Achashveirosh. The rule is that as a collective people, the Jews are held
accountable for individual sins only if no one protested the sin. If the
leaders protested however, the rest of the nation is not held accountable.
While only a small fistful of the Minchah was offered on the altar, that
fistful was sufficient to permit the remaining majority for consumption by
the Kohanim. Haman understood that because Mordechai and the other
sages had protested Klal Yisroels attending the party of Achashveirosh
the nation could not be completely liable for attending.
The Purim miracle and its salvation came about because of the unification
of the Jewish people in their darkest hour.
The Kotzker Rebbe notes that Haman told Achashveirosh that the Jews
were, A scattered and diverse nation.(10) The rectification for their flaw
of disunity lay in Esthers clarion call to Mordechai to, Gather all of the
Jews together(11).
Klal Yisroel had not heeded Mordechais warning to keep their distance
from Achashveiroshs party. They rectified that sin by surrendering
themselves to his instruction to fast and repent.
Tanna Dvei Eliyahu(12) writes that during the Egyptian exile, the hapless,
persecuted Jews made a treaty to do kindness with each other(13).
When the nation stood at Sinai they surrounded the mountain like one
man with one heart. The key to redemption, and the perquisite for
receiving the Torah, is unity.
The Mishna(14) quotes Hillel who stated, Do not separate yourself from
the public. One who distances himself from the public risks individual
scrutiny. But one who slips his paper in the middle of the pile by
negating himself to the Klal will merit salvation along with all of his
The holiday of Pesach is a national celebration. In the time of the Bais
Hamikdash the nation would gather together in Yerushalayim, and offer
their Pesach sacrifices together. Then, on the eve of the Seder, after they
had completed their meals, every family would ascend to the flat rooftops
of the Holy City, and they would sing hallel in unison. The gemara records
that the melodious hallel was so powerful that it would metaphorically
break the rooftops(15).
The reading of Parshas Hachodesh recounts all of the laws pertaining to
the offering of the Korbon Pesach on the eve of their redemption. We hope
>:\D \"nn "po"np trcdk trcd ihc 33
and pray that this very year we will yet merit to sing hallel together with
all of our brethren in Yerushalayim, praising G-d not only for the miracles
of then, but also for the miracles of now!
Bezalel son of Chur did everything Hashem commanded Moshe
Like one man with one heart
1. Shemos 38:21-22
2. see Shemos 31:2 and 35:30
3. The gemara (Sanhedrin 7a) relates that when the Eiruv Rav came to the
conclusion that Moshe was not returning from Sinai, they aggregated
around Chur demanding that he do something. Chur vociferously
countered that Moshe would return and they should disperse. They
responded with a mass upheaval that resulted in Chur getting stoned to
death. It was only when Aharon saw his nephew murdered in front of him
that he fearfully sought to detain the evil aggregate by telling them to
amass all the gold and jewelry they could find, which ultimately led to the
emergence of the Golden Calf.
4. Shemos 37:1
5. Megillah 16a
6. See Hagahos haBach who explains how Tosafos understood Hamans
7. see Shemos 30:11-16
8. Megilla 16a
9. Its base ingredients were flour and oil, like any Korban Mincha
10. Esther 3:8
11. 4:16
12. T.D.E. Rabbah, end of perek 23
13. They didnt just pledge it; they forged a treaty with each other!
14. Avos 2:5
15. In America we would say it raised the roofs.
Parsha Growth Spurts
Parshas Vayakhel-Pekudei/Hachodesh 5773
These are the reckonings of the Mishkan, the Mishkan of
testimony (Shemos 38:21)
Rashi notes that because the Shechina rested in the Mishkan it testified
that Hashem forgave Klal Yisroel for cheit haegel.
Chazal (see Rashi, Bamidbar 19:9) say in every generation when Klal
Yisroel is punished, there is an added modicum of punishment because of
cheit haegel. If so, how could Rashi say the Mishkan served as atonement
for the sin?
Rav Yitzchok Hutner ztl (quoted in Darash Mordechai) explained that
there were two distinct achievements at Matan Torah: On the second day
of Sivan the nation was informed that they were becoming a treasure
among the nations (Shemos 19:5). On that day Hashem informed them
that they were attaining elite status among the nations. Then, on the sixth
of Sivan they received the Torah itself.
When one commits a sin he taints both of these achievements. He has
disregarded a commandment in the Torah, thus transgressing the Torah
itself. In addition, he has tainted his spiritual standing as a member of the
treasured nation. Hashem chose him to live an elevated life, and he did not
live up to that lofty encomium.
In regards to the sin itself Chazal (Bava Kamma 50a) warn that one dare
not think Hashem merely disregards it. To rectify a sin one must engage in
true repentance before he can achieve atonement. In that vein, the actual
sin of the golden calf was not fully rectified, and becomes joined with
future sins. However, in regards to the rebelliousness that the sin
represented, out of His great love for His nation Hashem pardoned them.
Rashi doesnt say that the Mishkan served as atonement for the cheit
haeigel the sin of the calf, but for maaseh haeigel. When they
constructed the Mishkan, Hashem forgave them for disregarding His
honor which occurred when they constructed the eigel. Although they
were not granted forgiveness for the detriment of the sin itself, they were
forgiven for the very fact that they desecrated the Name of Hashem by
committing the sin.
The Mishkan and its Avodah allowed Klal Yisroel to feel connected with
Hashem and revel in His Glory. Today our shuls and Batei Medrashim
serve that purpose. Desecrating the honor of such places is not only a sin
itself, but a disregard for the sanctity of Hashems Presence. How careful
must we be to treat our Shuls and Batei Medrashim accordingly!
It was in the first month of the second year on the first of the month
that the Mishkan was erected. (Shemos 40:17)
Medrash (Bamidbar Rabbah, parsha 13) relates that although the
construction of the Mishkan was completed on the twenty-fifth of Kislev,
the Mishkan was not actually erected until Nissan. Throughout that time
the nation was excitedly and apprehensively wondering when the Shechina
would rest upon their handiwork. It was only on Rosh Chodesh Nissan that
Moshe calmed the nation and replied, Why do you fear? Hashem has
already come to your garden (the Mishkan), my sister and bride (Shir
Hashirim 5:1).
What was the point of waiting more than three months after the
construction was completed?
Darash Mordechai explains that the root of the sin of the eigel was
impetuousness. When the nation mistakenly concluded that Moshe was not
returning from Sinai, they panicked. When they approached Aharon in a
frenzied huff, he recognized that they were acting out of unbridled
emotion. He told them to gather their jewelry and valuables, in the hope
that doing so would deter them long enough until Moshe returned. But the
nations fear propelled them so much that when they hastily returned with
their jewelry Aharon could no longer deter them.
The Mishkan, which served as atonement and rectification for the eigel,
had to be built and erected with patience and calmness. The Avodah could
not begin in a whim. Every step had to be based on the command of
Hashem. The nation had to learn to wait and curb their passion until
Hashem instructed them to proceed.
Meshech Chochma (Shemos 12:3) explains that the detailed laws
regarding the Korbon Pesach which Klal Yisroel offered on the eve of the
exodus, served a similar purpose. When liberated from Egyptian servitude
Hashem wanted them to become a disciplined nation, with a sense of duty
and responsibility. In addition to all the details regarding the Korbon itself,
Hashem instructed them not to leave until morning. Despite the fact the
Egypt was in an uproar that night and no one wouldve stopped them,
Hashem was teaching Klal Yisroel that a Jew must have self control to
curb his emotions. He must only act as Hashem expects of Him. That was
their introduction to freedom.
Rabbis Musings (& Amusings)
Erev Shabbos Kodesh Parshios Vayekhel-Pekudei/Hachodesh
26 Adar 5773/March 8, 2013
How many Dani Staums does it take to change a light bulb?
Although I have been blessed with certain talents and capabilities,
construction and home improvement are not on that list. In that regard, the
good Lord has endowed me with two left hands. While I have some friends
who absolutely love stores like Home Depot and Lowes, I have anxiety
attacks when I have to go into one of those stores. I have a tool box at
home that I received as a housewarming gift from a friend, but I am not
really sure what to do with it (a wrench is a decent paperweight).
I also have a very hard time picturing things. When we were looking at
houses a few years ago, and even now whenever we are doing any home
improvement which requires some imagination of what the finished
product will look like, I have a very hard time. I just cant picture things
that dont yet exist.
It becomes a point of frustration whenever Chani excitedly tells me about
her plans for something and I have the look on my face of a third grader
sitting in a college level calculus class. Still, I do my best to try to pay
attention (sometimes).
For example, iyh in the near future we plan to redo our kitchen. I try to
listen to the plans and picture what it will look like. I must admit that from
my mental images, I have a hard time understanding why we are putting
the dishwasher on top of the fridge, or why we are placing the milichig
sink next to the fleishig oven, with plenty of place for storage. But I just
nod my head and try not to interfere.
Even though its a challenge, since its important to her I try to make it
important to me.
The parshios at the end of Chumash Shemos are particularly challenging.
Its not easy to follow the depictions and descriptions of the Mishkan, or
its vessels and vestments, from a cursory reading of the verses. Even with
the wonderful resources available today, including pictures and interactive
CD-ROMs, its still a challenge to follow the pesukim.
In a certain sense, investing effort to understand these parshios is a greater
testament of our love and loyalty to Hashem, than other parshios which
contain intriguing stories, or contemporary lessons.
Why should I bother to try to understand what the mizbeiach (altar) looked
like, how the eiphod (Kohain Gadols apron) looked, or how the
kerashim (boards) were placed in the sockets surrounding the Mishkan?
Only because it is the House of Hashem, and therefore I make it important
to me!
So while I dont know how many Dani Staums it will take to change a
light bulb, I will say this: Dont try to describe to me where the bulb is that
needs changing, or you might just end up with a bulb affixed inside your
garbage can.
Home Depot says you can do it we can help. I say if you can help why
should I do it?
Shabbat Shalom & Good Shabbos, R Dani and Chani Staum
Rabbi Mayer Twersky
Shabbos: The Source of Sacred Creativity
Parshas Vayakhel provides the foundation for hilchos Shabbos. The
Torah's re-enforcement of issur Shabbos in conjunction with the tzivui of
meleches hamishkan teaches that the melachos forbidden on Shabbos are
those necessary for the mishkan.
At first glance this correlation between meleches hamishkan and meleches
Shabbos is counter intuitive. After all, the lamed tes melachos are all forms
of profaning and desecrating. How ironic that these melachos are
identified because of their association with the creation of kedusha, i.e. the
34 >:\D \"nn "po"np trcdk trcd ihc
Upon reflection however the Shabbos - mishkan nexus needs to be
understood and configured differently. When properly configured, it
imparts a fundamental lesson.
The lamed teis melachos during the six week days are potentially a source
of kedusha. Engaging in these mleachos, man can create kedusha, an
abode for the Shechina. The source or spring-well for scared creativity
during the week isShabbos. By abstaining from the lamed tes melachos on
Shabbos as a testament to malchus Hashem we empower these selfsame
melachos to serve as sources of kedusha during the week. This is the
correct perspective on the Shabbos-mishkan connection. The lamed tes
melachos are categorically forbidden on Shabbos not because they are
inherently forms of profanation and desecration. On the contrary,
abstention from these melachos elevates them to potentially serve as
sources of kedusha during the week.
The initial irony recedes. How beautiful and sublime that meleches
Shabbos and meleches hamishkan are one and the same. But a totally
different irony surfaces. How ironic that we compromise the quality of our
Shabbos by rushing in at the last possible moment and rushing out at the
first possible moment. We erroneously think that by so doing we are
maximizing our mundane accomplishments. The Shabbos-mishkan
connection teaches differently. The more we savor and enhance Shabbos,
the greater our genuine productivity will be during the week.
Copyright 2013 by The TorahWeb Foundation. All rights reserved.

Rabbi Berel Wein
The Torah Is For All
There are numerous instances in the Talmud when the rabbis state that if a
certain behavior is permissible to some Jews then why is it not permissible
to all? The Talmud and the Torah itself recognizes exceptional
circumstances, unusual pressures, and differing opinions that need be
taken into account, but the Talmud never advocates differing standards of
halachic behavior.
It does recognize that there are different personality needs and differing
societal mores. But the Torah was always the same Torah for all Jews.
What was expressly forbidden in the Torah was forbidden to all and what
was permitted was also permitted to all. Much of the problems that exist in
the Jewish world today have less to do with halacha and more do with
political and societal norms.
Elevating these societal and political issues to the realm of Torah law and
halacha, only sharpens our differences and creates unnecessary friction -
which eventually casts a very negative light upon all religious Jews and
the Torah generally.
In the haftorah from Yirmiyahu that was read for parshiot Matei Maasei
the prophet strikingly says that those who hold the Torah tightly knew
Me not. Those who hold the Torah tightly unto themselves, who see no
one else but themselves and their society, and who are completely
separated from the rest of the Jewish people, truly know Me not. The
Torah is for everyone and not merely the self-anointed few. Everyone has
the right to create their own grouping and society but no one has the right
to create a halachic basis that does not truly exist and to claim the Torah
exclusively for themselves.
Over the ages of Jewish history there have always been differences over
rabbinic power and identity, differing societal norms and customs and
general attitudes towards the outside non-Jewish world and culture. The
societal norms of the Jews in the Middle Ages in Spain were not those of
the Jews in Germany and Central Europe, and the norms of Jewish society
in Renaissance Italy certainly did not resemble those of the Eastern
European shtetel.
Torah and halacha, with all of its allowances for differing nuances, unified
all of the diverse parts of Jewry while preserving the basic whole of
traditional Jewish law and life. With the advent of Chasidus in the
eighteenth century, new and differing societal norms were introduced into
Eastern European Jewish life. But again, these new mores were, in the
main, restricted to societal behavior. And since groups of Jews lived far
removed from one another in the Exile, these societal differences were
tolerated and rarely were they the cause of continuing friction amongst the
different societies of Jews.
Currently, this luxury of being able to be separate has been seriously
reduced here in the Land of Israel. Here we are all thrown together so that
the societal mores of one group clash daily and regularly with those of
other groups. The only way to justify ones societal mores over those of
others is to elevate them to the status of halacha. This is a terribly
damaging process for all concerned.
The struggle for turf, political and economic power, influence and
direction of the Jewish world has been the hallmark of internal Jewish life
for the past two centuries. The erroneous hopes and unfulfilled
expectations of secularism, the Enlightenment, nationalism, Marxism,
humanism, etc. all of which captured much Jewish support over the past
centuries have, as a result, created a climate of separatism, an us-against
them-attitude, in much of the observant religious society.
Feeling threatened and constantly on the defensive, much of religious
society has wrapped the Torah about itself, unwilling and unable to share it
intelligently with others. Walling out the outside world to the best of its
ability, this grouping allows its societal norms not to be seen as that but
rather as halacha from Moshe on Sinai.
This only serves to further the frictions and deepen the differences
between Jews. Thinking that ones societal norms are those that are best
for everyone smacks of arrogance and weakness at one and the same time.
A system of education that teaches that ones societal norms are
paramount even to halacha, only reinforces the difficulties that our
religious society already faces in a world of instant communication and
Once we agree that the Torah is for everyone and that it operates very
effectively in different places and in differing societies, we will be on the
way to the balanced view of life that the Torah truly demands from us.
Shabat shalom, Berel Wein
Rabbi Berel Wein
Weekly Parsha
Vayakhel Pekudei
The book of Shemot that began with such high drama just a few months
ago ends this week on a rather bland and apparently purely technical note.
The Torah once more reviews and recounts for us the details of the
construction of the Mishkan and an exact accounting of the material goods
that were used in its construction.
Through the ages, the commentators have dwelt long and hard on these
parshiyot in the holy Torah, where every letter and word is eternal, in an
attempt to justify this seemingly superfluous repetition. I will not attempt
to review all of the different approaches to explain this issue. They are all
satisfactory and yet all are somehow short of the mark as well.
I certainly have no great or brilliant insight into the matter myself. But,
there is an obvious teaching that all of the commentators agree with that
does derive from this review and repetition regarding the construction of
the Mishkan.
The Mishkan had the miraculous quality of being built exactly and
unwaveringly according to its original plan. Many times in life people and
institutions set out to create structures, organizations and policies that will
be of great benefit to society upon completion. Rarely if ever does the
finished product match exactly the plans and true intentions of those who
planned and initiated the project.
All human plans and blueprints are subject to change, alterations and even
to cancellation. The plans for the Mishkan, shrouded in the spirituality of
Gods commandments, were not subject to such changes. Therefore
Bezalel and Ahaliav and the Jewish people were complimented for their
strict adherence to the original plans given to Moshe for the construction
of the Mishkan.
Every detail of the construction of the Mishkan is reviewed in the
parshiyot of this week. All builders are aware of the importance of detail
in their work. A missing screw or nail or hook can lead to later disaster.
This is true in the physical mundane life of people. It is doubly true
regarding the spiritual and moral character of a person and a community.
Only in the completion of the details is the whole person or project seen.
The measure of an artist, whether in pictures or music, is always in the
nuances - in the details. The avoidance of shortcuts that invariably lead to
shabbiness is the true hallmark of the gifted performer. Moshe lovingly
records for us every piece of material goods that came together as the holy
Mishkan. In kabbalistic thought, every nuance of the construction of the
Mishkan is truly an influence on the general world at large.
This only serves to reemphasize the importance of detail in dealing with
the Mishkan. The Mishkan is no longer physically present with us but its
lessons and greatness still abide within the Torah we study and in the value
systems of the Jewish people. By reading the Torahs description of it and
studying the underlying principles that it represents, the Mishkan gains life
and influence within us individually and collectively. May we be
strengthened by this eternal knowledge.
Chazak chazak vnitchazek, Shabat shalom, Rabbi Berel Wein
U.S. Office 386 Route 59 Monsey, NY 10952 845-368-1425 | 800-499-WEIN (9346) Fax: 845-368-1528 Questions? info@jewishdestiny.com Israel
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Destiny Foundation

Rabbi Dr. Tzvi Hersh Weinreb-OU
Person in the Parsha
Vayakhel-Pekudei - "Words of Fire"
"Words, words, words!", he shouted at me. He was a young man, raised as
an observant Jew, but now in rebellion against his traditional upbringing.
His parents had asked me to meet with him for several sessions to see if I
could at least temper his rebellious spirit, and perhaps even convince him
to return to the path they desired him to follow.
To put it mildly, he was reluctant to meet with me. But he agreed to do so,
and in fact was a bit more cooperative than other youngsters, of a similar
mind, with whom I have had such discussions. He spoke, argued, debated,
questioned, and expressed himself quite articulately. Occasionally, he even
I well recall his major concern with traditional Judaism. He felt that our
religion insisted that we limit our experience of the world to the verbal
modality. "There is so much to see and hear, to touch and feel, to taste and
>:\D \"nn "po"np trcdk trcd ihc 35
smell, in this world. But all our religion tells us to do is to use words.
Read, study, pray. Words, words, words. I want a richer life, a more robust
experience!" he exclaimed.
The attitude expressed by my young friend is not at all limited to
rebellious youth. Many of our adult coreligionists have similar objections,
although they are often too ashamed to articulate them. But, when they let
their guard down, many Jews, including some who are regular participants
in synagogue services, admit to finding our religion overly focused upon
thought and language.
It is interesting to note in this regard that one of the most profound Jewish
thinkers of the 20th century characterized our religion as one of "shmiah",
listening and hearing, and not as a religion of "riyah", seeing. I refer to
Rabbi Dovid HaCohen, a close disciple of Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook, the
first Chief Rabbi of the Land of Israel.
Rabbi HaCohen's personal lifestyle was an extremely ascetic one, having
committed himself to the role of a Nazirite and thus renouncing the
pleasures of the products of the vine. It is thus no surprise that he wrote a
book called "The Voice of Prophecy", in which he maintained that our
religion relies upon the ear, and not the eye, the auditory sense to the
exclusion of the visual sense. Hence, the single most popular phrase in the
Jewish religious language is "Shema Yisrael", "Hear O Israel".
As for me, I am quite confident that neither my young friend, nor those
adults who find our religion excessively verbal, nor even the pious and
philosophical Rabbi HaCohen, are correct. For me the Jewish religion is
much more full-bodied, and allows for the entire panoply of the human
senses: visual, certainly, but also our senses of touch, taste, and smell.
Historically, in the days of the ancient Temple, there were many glorious
examples of ceremonies and rituals which employed a wide range of
activities besides the mere recitation of words. Granted, nowadays such
examples are fewer, but they are readily and regularly accessible to every
The most powerful of these rituals has its source in this week's Torah
portion, VaYakhel-Pekudei (Exodus 35:1-40:38). I refer to the verse near
the beginning of the Parsha which reads:
"You shall kindle no fire throughout your habitations on the Sabbath day."
(Exodus 35:3)
It is instructive that although we are forbidden to kindle a fire during the
Sabbath, it is fire which symbolically ushers in the Sabbath and it is fire
which accompanies it at its conclusion. Sabbath begins when, traditionally,
the woman of the house lights the Sabbath candles. It ends when the
family, and sometimes the entire congregation, gathers around a torch of
fire and participates in the Havdalah service.
The use of fire to bracket the Sabbath experience is a dramatic example of
a nonverbal experience which involves the sense of touch, with the
experience of heat and warmth, as well as the visual experience, of seeing.
The view of the modest candles heralding the approach of the Sabbath is
what sets the tone of tranquility and serenity which defines that holy day.
The fiery image of the Havdalah candle, which halachically must be torch
like, symbolizes the return to the activity and productivity of the coming
But Havdalah does not only incorporate the senses of vision and touch; it
also includes the sense of smell--the spices--and, of course, the sense of
taste--the cup of wine. A multi-sensory experience if there ever was one.
The fire of Havdalah is its dominant image (see accompanying photo of
Havdalah at an Israeli Air Force base) and which contains such rich
symbolic meaning. This meaning is best conveyed by the following
passage in the Midrash, which describes Adam's emotions at the
conclusion of the first Sabbath of creation:
"The sun set at the conclusion of the first Sabbath. Darkness began to
descend. Adam was terrified... What did the Holy One Blessed Be He do?
He prepared for him two flint stones. Adam rubbed them together. A fire
was ignited, and all was illuminated. Adam blessed the fire, and thus it is
written 'and the night will be light for me' (Psalms 139:11). What blessing
did he recite? 'Blessed are You, Lord our God Who creates the lights of
fire. (Bereshit Rabba 11:2)
The message here is clear. Fire was given to man. Man is to use it to
continue the work of God's creation. Just as God worked during the first
six days of creation, so too must man be productive during the six days of
his work week. The Almighty gave Adam fire so that after his restful
Sabbath, he could return to the world of action.
How different is this Midrash from the Greek myth of Prometheus.
Prometheus stole fire from the gods of Mount Olympus, from Zeus. In
contrast to the Greek tradition, in which the gods are protective of fire and
wish to keep it from man, the Torah insists that it was God who enabled
man to create fire so that he could continue the process of creation using
his own resources.
We can readily conclude, then, that there is much more to our religion than
words. There is a place, and a prominent one, for visual imagery, for
delicious tastes, and for fragrant scents. And above all, there is a demand
that we move from our essentially passive Sabbath stance to one of
creative and constructive action.
Our faith contains much more than "words, words, words".
Rabbi Pinchas Winston
Parshas Vayakhel and Pekudei
A Light Onto the Nations: The Golden Calf vs the Red Heifer
This week is a double portion, and even though Pekudai is written in
smaller print above, it is not to indicate that it is less important than any of
the other parshios. It was a Graphics decision.
These are also the last two parshios of Sefer Shemos, so, Chazak! It is hard
to believe, but we have already finished two books of the Torah, and are
about to begin Sefer Vayikra, which means Pesach is not too far behind,
bH. But Im sure you were already well aware of that, especially now that
Purim is behind us.
The Mishkan is a good lead-in to Pesach, just as is the mitzvah of Shabbos,
both of which are discussed in this weeks parshios. They come to help us
achieve the same thing that we make on the first night of Pesach: seder, or
order. There is very little that is more orderly than the Mishkan was, both
with respect to its construction and to the service that performed in it.
Shabbos is all about creating and maintaining order in Creation.
History is the ongoing movement between two points of a very specific
continuum. At one end is tohuchaos, and all the destruction to which it
leads, and at the other end is seder, and all of the positive realities in which
it results. With free-will, we can choose the direction we wish to take,
towards chaos or towards order, and with Divine help, we achieve the
Creation began at the tohu end of the continuum, as the Torah states:
The earth was tohunulland void, and there was darkness upon the face
of the deep. (Bereishis 1:2)
Though the English translation of tohu is usually null, it refers to pre-
Creation chaos out of which God made everything in Creation. First God
created light, which dispelled much of the darkness, and therefore, the
chaos. And, with each subsequent act of Divine creating, more chaos was
banished from Creation until a small amount remained for man to finish
As history testifies, however, Adam HaRishon not rid Creation of the
remaining tohu (which would ushered in the Messianic Era). Rather,
instead, by eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil without
permission, he undid much of what God had already rectified.
Since then, we have been doing whatever we can to remove the chaos from
Creation, but clearly it has been an uphill battle. Given all the wars,
destruction, and evil perpetrated over the millennia, it would appear that
man has never gotten a handle on the situation, but instead, has been a
victim of it.
This is why a nation had to be created that could be a light unto the
nations, and the Torah had to be given for them to fight back tohu, as the
Talmud states:
And it was evening and it was morning, the sixth dayHEH-Shin-Shin-
Yud. (Bereishis 1:31)
The letter Heh (preceding the word shishisixth) is extra . . . to say that
God made a condition with them (Creation): If the Jewish people accept
the Five Books of the Torah, then it is good; if not, then you will resort
back to null and void. (Shabbos 88a)
This is the role of the Jewish people in history, to be a light unto the
nations of the world and to dispel the darkness and chaos from Creation.
And, if we dont live up to our responsibility, then no one will do it for us.
As much as the Western world considers the Greeks to be a source of light,
in the end, their way of life has often resulted in just the opposite. Indeed,
some of the worst wars have been waged by their descendants.
To yearly remind us of our God-given mission, and that the Jewish people
were miraculously redeemed from Egypt specifically for this purpose, we
make a seder every Pesach. As if to emphasize the need for seder, we go
so far as to sing the table of contents of the Haggadah.
The rest of the year, though, to create and maintain seder, we learn Torah
and perform mitzvos. But how does this help accomplish this holy goal?
Its like driving a car. Each car is made a certain way, and the more
expensive the car, the better designed it will be. As a result, part of
maintaining the car is not just taking it in for regular service checks, but
also driving it as per the manufacturers instructions. There are rules of the
road for each car, worked out by the manufacturer, which should be
followed to ensure a longer life and higher level of performance for the
Likewise, Creation was made a certain way, according to certain rules and
principles. It is relatively user-friendly, but if it is not used according to
the Manufacturers ManualTorahthen Creation, like any vehicle
that is abused, starts to break down and can even become dangerous to
drive. Learning Torah and keeping the mitzvos make that we have a
smooth ride through history.
Shabbos itself is built-in Creation appreciation time. It is an opportunity to
reflect on what God created and has given to man. It is the day when we
abstain from certain creative activities, derived from the building of the
Mishkan, and take stock of where we are holding with respect to banishing
the tohu from Creation. Without Shabbos, man loses touch with Creation,
becomes desensitized to its needs, and eventually, destroys it.
36 >:\D \"nn "po"np trcdk trcd ihc
The Mishkan was a special opportunity to experience, on some level,
Divine order. For, as the Nazis, ysvz, proved with the Holocaust, not all
order is good for man or Creation. Some order can have the exact opposite
impact, as was the case with the Holocaust that eliminated 6,000,000
lights from the universe of man.
Thus we start our Seder with Kiddush, and then move on to Urchatz, the
ritual washing of our hands. This is to remind us that, unless seder results
in holiness and purity, it is not Divine seder. Seder should facilitate
holiness and spiritual purity, as was the case in the Mishkan, and make it
possible for the Divine Presence to dwell amongst us.
This is also another way to look at the fundamental difference between the
golden calf and the red heifer, both of which were the subject of last
weeks parshah and maftir. The first thing the Erev Rav did after making
the golden calf was act licentiously, or more accurately, chaotically. The
golden calf represented the worship of tohu, because it makes life random
and man, free of moral responsibility.
The red heifer, on the other hand, represented the exact opposite. It was a
sobering look at life, being red like blood and grown up and mature. It
symbolized a commitment to moral behavior, and the responsibility of
banishing chaos and restoring order.
We no longer have a red heifer today, but unfortunately, we do have
plenty of golden calves, in various different forms. And, as society
continues to break through boundaries set by the Torah, even the most
sacred of boundaries, chaos leaks back into Creation and wreaks havoc.
Destruction? We havent even seen the half of it yet.
Never before has history needed a light amongst the nations. As we sit
down to make a seder, we should renew our commitments to make seder.
Hopefully there is still enough time to turn the tide on chaos, before it
turns the tide on us.
Perceptions, Copyright &copy 2013 by Rabbi Pinchas Winston and Torah.org. Questions or comments? Email feedback@torah.org. Join the Jewish
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HaRav Shlomo Wolbe Ztl
Bais Hamussar
Vayakhel Pekudei
This week's Dvar Torah is sponsored L'iluy Nishmas Avrohom Moshe ben
Naftali Aryeh.
Despite the fact that the Parsha of Vayakhel deals entirely with the
Mishkan, interestingly enough the Parsha begins by cautioning Bnei
Yisrael to heed the mitzvah of Shabbos and not to perform any of the
forbidden melachos. Rashi explains the reason behind the Torah's
juxtaposition of this warning to the portion that describes the building of
the Mishkan, as follows: Although Hashem commanded Bnei Yisrael to
build the Bais HaMikdosh, nevertheless, they were to be careful not to
build it on Shabbos for that would be a desecration of the holy day.
Rav Wolbe (Shiurei Chumash) comments that it is difficult to understand
why Bnei Yisrael would have even entertained such a thought that the
building of the Mishkan should override the prohibition of performing
melachah on Shabbos - that the Torah was compelled to negate this
possibility. We don't find the Torah warning us that even though there is a
mitzvah to write a sefer Torah, bear in mind that it is forbidden to write it
on Shabbos. Moreover, we know that a special pasuk is always required to
allow any mitzvah to override the prohibition of performing melachah on
Shabbos. Why would Bnei Yisrael think that the mitzvah of building the
Mishkan is any different?
He continues that although he doesn't have a clear cut answer to this
question, nevertheless, he wishes to offer an insight that contains a lesson
for life. We just read last week in Parshas Ki Sisa how Bnei Yisrael sinned
by making the golden calf. The Ramban explains that their transgression
was a result of a mistake. Moshe Rabbeinu was the leader and guiding
light of Bnei Yisrael. When forty days passed and Moshe had not returned,
they were thrown into a panic: who would guide them and connect them
with their Creator? They created the golden calf to fulfill that role. Their
intentions were noble, but that did not justify their actions which could be
termed a mitzvah haba'ah b'aveirah - a mitzvah that came through a sin.
Therefore, the Torah warns Bnei Yisrael: Even though I am commanding
you to build a Mishkan which is to act as an abode for Hashem and a
means of connecting to Him, it should not be built on Shabbos for this
would constitute a mitzvah haba'ah b'aveirah.
This concept formed one of the focal points of Reb Yisrael Salanter's
teachings. A person must ensure that his mitzvos not be performed by way
of aveiros. He would depict a scene where a Maggid came to town to
deliver a mussar shmuess (discourse). Everyone in the town was interested
in hearing his words of wisdom, and they rushed to the shul where the
shmuess would be held. Due to the rush and bedlam, one person knocked
over a passerby, and another got angry because someone cut him off, and
so on. Yes, they were running to perform a mitzvah - to hear words that
will help them improve their avodas Hashem - but at what expense? There
is another well known story of Reb Yisrael Salanter that illustrates this
point. One morning before Shachris, a man put on his tallis and wrapped
his face in its folds. However, as he threw the tzitzis over his shoulder the
strings slapped Reb Yisrael in his face! Here too, the man's mitzvah came
about through a flaw in his bein adom l'chaveiro.
A practical application of Reb Yisrael Salanter's moshel, would include
double parking to enable one to come on time to Mincha or some other
mitzvah. One of the benefits of regular mussar study is that it gives one the
ability to perceive his actions in a different, more objective light. Even
without opening a mussar sefer, it behooves us to take a few minutes to
contemplate our actions to ensure that out mitzvos are just mitzvos, and
not chas v'shalom tainted with "small" transgressions.
Maaseh Rav
Rabbi Wolbe said in a Vaad, "We have a Kabbalah from our Rebbeim that
before the coming of Moshiach our greatest Nisayon (test) will be in
Such a statement shouldn't make us feel helpless. This should bring us to
make a special effort to fortify and integrate the foundation of our
Emunah. To clarify in our minds why we do all that we do, and bring that
clarity to a level where our heart can feel the connection to the Ribono
Shel Olam. This could be felt most tangibly during Tefillah, when one can
feel his relationship with Hashem.
Aish.Com - Rabbi Ken Spiro
Jewish History Crash Course
Crash Course in Jewish History Part 39 - Talmud
At various times during the Hadrian persecutions, the sages were forced into
hiding, though they managed to reconvene at Usha in 122 CE, and then in a
time of quiet managed to re-establish again at Yavneh in 158 CE.
With so much persecution and unrest, with the Jewish people fleeing the land
of Israel, the rabbis knew that they would not be able to keep a central seat of
rabbinic power alive for long.
Yet, during these great periods of chaos, some of the finest rabbinic minds
made their mark. Among them:
Rabbi Akiva (whom we discussed in Part 38)
Rabbi Akiva's chief disciple, Rabbi Meir, also the husband of the
legendary Bruriah
Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, the author of the Zohar, the central text of the
Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai's son, Rabbi Eliezer
Rabbi Shimon Ben Gamliel II, the descendant of the House of Hillel and a
direct descendant of King David
Yehudah Ha Nasi
Now, another man was to emerge and make his mark -- the son of Rabbi
Shimon Ben Gamliel II -- Rabbi Yehudah HaNasi (in English "Judah, the
In a time of chaos, the rabbis decide that they must do the unprecedented --
write down the Oral Law.
He is one personality who is absolutely fundamental to understanding this
period of time, and one of the greatest personalities of Jewish history.
So great was he that he is now affectionately referred to in Jewish scholarship
as only Rebbe.
He had a unique combination of attributes -- being both a great Torah scholar
and a strong leader -- that gave him the power to lead the Jewish people at this
chaotic time. He was also a man of tremendous personal wealth, which put him
in a position to wheel and deal and do what needed to get done, not just with
the Jews in the Land of Israel but with the Roman authorities as well.
During a period of relative quiet, Rabbi Yehudah HaNasi managed to befriend
the Roman emperors who succeeded Hadrian, particularly Marcus Aurelius.
Writes historian Rabbi Berel Wein in his Echoes of Glory (p. 224):
"Providentially, in the course of the Parthian war, Marcus Aurelius met Rabbi
[Yehudah HaNasi], and they became friends and eventually confidants ...
Marcus Aurelius consulted with his friend in Judah on matters of state policy as
well as on personal questions ...
"The years of Marcus Aurelius' reign, ending in his death in 180, was the high-
water mark in the intercourse between Rome and the Jews. The Jews, under the
leadership of Rabbi [Yehudah HaNasi], would use this period of blissful respite
to prepare themselves for the struggle of darker days surely lurking around the
At this time -- circa 170-200 CE -- the Mishnah was born.
What is the Mishnah?
In past installments we discussed the fact that at Mount Sinai the Jewish people
received the Written Torah and the Oral Torah. (See Part 11.) The Oral Torah
was the oral explanation of how the written laws should be executed and
The Oral Torah passed from generation to generation and was never written
down. (See Part 26 and Part 32) Why? Because the Oral Torah was meant to be
fluid. The principles stayed the same, but the application of those principles
was meant to be adapted to all types of new circumstances.
This worked exceptionally well as long as the central authority -- the Sanhedrin
-- remained intact, and the chain of transmission was not interrupted. (That is,
teachers were able to freely pass on their wisdom to the next generation of
students.) But in the days since the destruction of the Beis HaMikdash, the
Sanhedrin had been repeatedly uprooted and teachers had to go into hiding.
Rabbi Yehudah HaNasi realized that things would not get better any time soon.
He saw that the Beis HaMikdash would not be rebuilt in his generation and
possibly in many generations to come. He saw the Jews fleeing the land as a
result of the constant persecutions and impossible living conditions. He saw
that the central authority was weaker than ever and might cease altogether
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(which is what happened in the 4
century as we will discuss in future
To make sure that the chain of transmission would never be broken, he decided
that the time had come to write down the Oral Torah.
This was a mammoth undertaking. Rabbi Yehudah HaNasi had to go to as
many rabbis as possible in order to extract from them their entire memories. He
asked them to tell him all they knew about the legal traditions they received
that could be traced back all the way down to Moses at Mount Sinai. He put all
those recollections together, edited them, and the end result was the Mishnah.
(Incidentally, the word Mishnah means "repetition" because it was studied by
repeating; Mishnah then, by extension, means "learning.")
Six Categories Of Jewish Law
The Mishnah was divided into six basic segments dealing with six basic areas
of Jewish law:
Zeraim, literally "seeds," covering all agricultural rules and laws for
foods as well as all blessings
Moed, literally, "holiday," dealing with the rituals of Shabbos and
other Jewish holidays
Nashim, literally "women," examining all the issues between men
and women such as marriage, divorce, etc.
Nezikin, literally
"damages," covering
civil and criminal law
Kodshim, literally
"holy things,"
concerning laws of
the Beis HaMikdash
Taharos, literally
"pure things,"
concerning laws of
spiritual purity and
Rabbi Yehudah HaNasi finished
the Mishnah in 219 CE in the
town of Tzipori in the Galilee.
You can visit the site today
which is very interesting from an
archeological perspective. At a
place called Beis She'arim,
archeologists found a series of
catacombs at the side of a
mountain. And they actually
found his tomb, with his name on
it, along with many other great
scholars of that time.
Writing The Talmud
No sooner had Rabbi Yehudah
HaNasi finished the Mishnah, did
the rabbis realize that the
Mishnah was not enough. It was
written in shorthand fashion and in places was cryptic. This is because it was
very concise, written on the assumption that the person reading it was already
well-acquainted with the subject matter.
So they began to have discussions about it and to write down the substance of
these discussions.
Since at this time a significant portion of the Jewish population was living in
Babylon, which was outside the bounds of the Roman Empire, the rabbis there
put together their discussions, the end product of which was called Talmud
Bavli or the Babylonian Talmud. In the land of Israel, another set of
discussions took place and the end result was Talmud Yerushalmi or the
Jerusalem Talmud. (Incidentally, the Jerusalem Talmud was not written in
Jerusalem; it was written in Tiberias, the last place where the Sanhedrin sat, but
was called the Jerusalem Talmud in deference to the Sanhedrin's rightful
The Jerusalem Talmud is much shorter and much harder to understand than the
Babylonian Talmud because the editing had to be much more rushed. The
situation in Israel was much worse, while in Babylon it was much more stable.
(Today, Jewish students pouring over the Talmud in yeshiva are using chiefly
the Babylonian Talmud.)
The Talmud is more than just an application of the details of the Jewish law as
expounded in the Mishnah. It's the encyclopedia of all Jewish existence.
The Talmud also contains a lot of agadata -- these are stories that are meant to
illustrate important points in the Jewish worldview. These stories contain a
wealth of information on a huge range of topics. you name it, it's in there.
This information was vital to the Jewish people because Jewish law was never
applied by reading a sentence in the Torah and executing it to the letter. Take
for example, "eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth." It was never Jewish law that if
someone blinded you, that you should go and blind him. What is the good of
having two blind people? It was always understood on two levels: 1) that
justice must be proportional (it's not a life for an eye) and 2) that it means the
value of an eye for the value of the eye, referring to monetary damages. Thus,
the Talmud presented the written and oral tradition together.
To read the Talmud is to read a lot of arguments. On every page it seems that
the rabbis are arguing. This kind of argument -- the purpose of which was to
arrive at the kernel of truth -- is called pilpul. This word has a negative
connotation outside the yeshiva world, as people read these arguments and it
seems to the uneducated eye that the rabbis are merely splitting hairs, and that
some of the arguments have absolutely no basis in everyday life. But this is not
The reason why the rabbis argued about things that may not have any
application to everyday life was to try to get to truth in an abstract way -- to
extract the principle. These rabbis were interested in knowing what reality is
and in doing the right thing. Reality is what Judaism is all about -- the ultimate
reality being HaShem.
Another important point that must be made about these arguments is that they
never argued about the big things. You don't see a single argument as to
whether or not you eat pork, or whether or not you can light a fire on the
Sabbath. These things were a given, they were totally agreed upon. Only small
points were subject to discussion. And these rabbis were wise enough to know
that a day would come when the principles established by getting to the core
kernel of truth would have far reaching implications.
When you look at the page of the Talmud today, you will find the Hebrew text
of the Mishnah is featured in the middle of the page. Interspersed between the
Hebrew of the Mishnah are explanations in Aramaic which are called the
The Aramaic word Gemara means "tradition." In Hebrew, the word Gemara
means "completion." Indeed, the Gemara is a compilation of the various
rabbinic discussions on the Mishnah, and as such completes the understanding
of the Mishnah.
The texts of the Mishnah and Gemara are then surrounded by other layers of
text and commentaries from a later period.
The text of the Mishnah is quoting rabbis who lived from about 100 BCE to
200 CE. These rabbi are called the Tannaim, "teachers." In this group are
included such greats as Rabbi Yochanan Ben Zakkai, Rabbi Shimon Bar
Yochai, Rabbi Akiva, and of course Rabbi Yehudah HaNasi. (In the Gemara,
they all have the title Rebbe before their first name.)
The text of the Gemara is quoting the rabbis who lived from about 200 CE to
about 500 CE. These rabbis are called, Amoraim, "explainers" or
"interpreters." In this group are included Rav Ashi, Rav Yochanan, etc. (Names
of the Amoraim are not so famous, but they all begin with Rav.)
The surrounding text of today's Talmud also quotes Rishonim, literally "the
first ones," rabbinic authorities who predated Rabbi Yoseph Caro, the 16

century author of the code of Jewish law known as the Shulchan Aruch.
Among the most prominent Rishonim are Rashi, his students and descendants
who were the chief authors of the Tosfos, Rambam and Ramban. We will
discuss the contributions of these rabbis in future installments.
Just how important was the work of Rabbi Yehudah HaNasi and those that
followed him would become very clear in the next hundred years when the
Jewish people face another threat to their religion. This is when the Roman
Empire decides to convert its entire population to Christianity.
Next: Seeds Of Christianity
Author Biography: Rabbi Ken Spiro is originally from New Rochelle,NY. He graduated from Vasser College with a BA in Russian
Language and Literature and did graduate studies at the Pushkin Institute in Moscow. He has Rabbinical ordination from Yeshiva Aish
HaTorah in Jerusalem and a Masters Degree in History from The Vermont College of Norwich University. Rabbi Spiro is also a licensed
tour guide by the Israel Ministry of Tourism. He lives in Jerusalem with his wife and five children where he works as a senior lecturer
and researcher on Aish HaTorah outreach programs. This article can also be read at:
http://www.aish.com/literacy/jewishhistory/Crash_Course_in_Jewish_History_Part_38_-_Exile.asp Copyright 2001 Aish.com -

Aish.Com - Rabbi Noach Weinberg ZTL
48 Ways to Wisdom
Way #22 Conquer Frustration
Imagine you've just bought a brand-new sports car, and are taking it out
for your first drive. As you approach a traffic light, it turns yellow, so you
slow down carefully and stop. Suddenly someone bumps you from behind.
As if this was not angering enough, the same driver backs up and bumps
you again. Now, you're furious! Your beautiful, shiny sports car that cost a
year's salary!
You jump out in a rage, ready to let the guy really have it ... when all of a
sudden, a 6-foot-10 linebacker steps out of the car.
"Gee, sir," you begin in a much softer tone than originally intended. "It
seems that you've hit my car. Are you okay? Do you have insurance?"
How did you shut off your anger so quickly?
On an intellectual level, we understand that anger is counterproductive.
We possess the power to control our emotions. No matter how infuriating a
situation is, we can put the anger aside and act civilly. Especially when
standing up against a 6-foot-10 linebacker.
Erech apayim literally means "long nostrils." Do you see how someone's
nostrils flare up when he gets angry? A tool for healthy living is to
conquer that frustration.
An angry person is acting like a wild animal. He's given up all restraint.
He may slam the door and shout obscenities. He is blind to the
consequences of his actions; hence the expression, "blind rage." He has
given into frustration.
A first step in controlling anger is to recognize how counterproductive it
is. When you feel frustration building, and a little voice inside of you says,
"Let's yell that guy off the face of the earth," ask yourself, "What benefit
will there be in embarrassing myself? I'll only come to regret it."
If we could see a videotape of ourselves getting angry, the humiliation
might well cure us of anger for the rest of our lives!
Never Quit Out Of Frustration
Did you ever undertake to learn a new skill -- like a foreign language or
musical instrument -- and then quit?
"Quitting" is another form of giving in to frustration. Appreciate that this
is a tough world and we have to be persistent in order to accomplish.
Never turn back in midstream. Follow it through to the end.
38 >:\D \"nn "po"np trcdk trcd ihc
Consider how many projects you began -- and then gave up -- because you
became frustrated and lost patience. Make a list of things you started and
quit because they seemed too difficult. Now calculate the disappointment
and loss you suffered by not accepting the frustration.
How do we repair this fault? Look at the list of things you've quit. Choose
one and resolve to see it through. And for the rest of your life, once you
undertake something, resolve never to quit. (Unless you are objectively
sure that it's "not worth it" -- i.e. you initially misjudged the amount of
effort required relative to the final payoff.)
Every night before going to sleep, check yourself: Where did I gain and
where did I lose?
Loss Of Confidence
Beside the obvious result of quitting (i.e. not fulfilling your goal), there is
a terrible side effect: A loss of self-confidence. If we quit once, then the
next time we plan a project, we won't trust our ability to carry it out.
To see how destructive this pattern can be, make a list of the projects that
you have thought about, but never even started, because you didn't believe
you could accomplish them. See how little credibility you have in your
own eyes. After a few failures, you expect that more will keep happening!
When someone stops trusting himself, he's hit a critical impasse. He begins
to accept the idea that it's okay to be "mediocre." That's a self-destructive
Resolve that from now on, whenever you consider a project, you will sit
down and figure out how much time, energy and effort it will take. Then
decide whether or not it's worth it. If you conclude that it is, then begin
with confidence -- and don't allow yourself to quit unless something
happens beyond your control.
When the going gets tough, and a little voice says, "It's not worth it!" tell
yourself "It is worth it!"
When you follow through, it not only gets the job done, but it builds self-
confidence -- which is reason enough to stick with the task.
Just Five Minutes More
Frustration can result from not making progress as fast as you'd like. At
times like that, it's important to monitor your success, even if it's only in
microscopic increments. Accomplishment will make you feel good about
To overcome quitting, trick yourself. A 3-hour marathon may be nearly
impossible to run, but 10 runs of 18 minutes each is more reasonable.
Break things into small, achievable goals. Then, when you're in the heat of
a project and feel yourself coming undone, just tell yourself, "Another 5
minutes, and then I'll quit!"
When the 5 minutes are up, you can bargain for another 5.
Frustration is much easier to bear in small doses. If you're struggling with
a diet, decide that for "today" you're going to stick with orange juice and
granola; tomorrow you can treat yourself to a greasy steak with fries! This
will help convince your body to hang in there until the job is complete.
In spirituality, the Sages say; "If you work and don't succeed, it means you
didn't work hard enough." Even though there is no guarantee of success in
any other area, there is a guarantee of spiritual success. And that
knowledge helps build confidence.
And no matter what the outcome, each successful step undoubtedly
improves your self-confidence and keeps you on the road to success.
The Frustration Of Wasting Time
People may say: "All I want to do is to take a vacation and soak up the
sun." But what happens after a few hours of lying on the beach, thinking
blissfully, "Ahh ... this is the life..." You start to feel restless and
uncomfortable. You start looking to do something constructive. After two
days on the beach, you're going out of your mind!
The greatest form of frustration is wasting time. When you're standing in
line at a bank, watching your day tick by when you've got so much to do,
that's one big frustration.
Quitting is also a major source of wasted time. If we invest in a project,
and then don't see it through to completion, we've wasted a lot of time.
HaShem created frustration in order to motivate us to accomplish
something with our lives.
Life Is A Challenge
Is it reasonable to assume that your life will always be frustration-free and
a smooth ride? No way.
In the Book of Mishlei, Shlomo HaMelech said: "The righteous person
falls seven times and gets up. The evil person falls just once." We see that
the righteous person is not defined as someone who never makes a
mistake. Rather, the person who achieves greatness is one who keeps
trying again and again. He sees frustration as only a passing nuisance, and
therefore never gives up. In fact, his falling seven times may be precisely
how he became great!
You have to distinguish between what you "hope will happen," and what
"will probably happen." Life inevitably has its ups and downs -- its
moments of relaxation and times of tension. When you learn to accept this
reality, you come one step closer to being able to deal with frustration in a
healthy way.
The next time frustration pops up, just remind yourself, "That's life!"
Taking Things In Stride
Joy is one of the greatest tools for eliminating anger and frustration. If
we're sad, then we have less patience and tolerance for everything and
Yesterday when someone stepped on your toe, you may have snapped at
him, "Watch where you're going!" But let's say that today you won the
lottery and someone steps on your toe. "No problem, friend," you say with
a big smile. "Have a nice day!"
Why the difference? Feeling relaxed, confident and upbeat keeps
frustration and anger in check. Plus your physical health will benefit as
well -- less ulcers, high blood pressure, etc.
But don't wait until you win the lottery to do this!
Enjoying Frustration
Being able to bear frustration is one level of dealing with it. A higher level
-- often characteristic of those who achieve greatness -- is the resolve to
love frustration and work with it!
If you think about it, you'll see that deep down you really do "love
frustration." Imagine going out to buy a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle. You
bring it home, open the box and discover that all the pieces are in
numbered order! It's infuriating! Why? Because you paid good money for
a box of frustration and they've taken away the challenge!
Life is like a jigsaw puzzle. When you have a complex problem, first try to
build the framework, an overall sense of how you want this to ultimately
resolve. Then set about solving the puzzle ... one piece at a time.
In everyday life, too, derive enjoyment from the resolution of frustrations.
So many things only get accomplished through struggle. Whether
childbirth or career advancement, we accept certain pains as a worthwhile
price to pay for pleasure.
In truth, the greater the challenge, the taller we can rise to meet it.
Consider a very sick person whose suffering is unbearable. He can decide
not to let the suffering rob them of any more quality of life than it must.
He can resolve to work with the pain, rather than against it. At that
moment of decision, he greatly reduces the suffering -- if not physically, at
least emotionally.
Believing You Can Do It
There are two types of problems: Those which you know can be solved,
and those which you're not sure if they can be solved or not.
The first type is obviously much easier to handle. When you know it can
be done, you have greater willingness to fight the frustration.
Always try to move your problems into the "known" category of
frustration. When you first rode a bicycle, you probably feared you'd fall
off and break your head! But you looked around and saw the other kids
staying balanced. Seeing others succeed gave you the confidence to plunge
in. (And if you'd never seen anyone ride a unicycle, you'd think that was
totally impossible!)
Get rid of the attitude of "It can't be done." That's defeatist and an excuse
for not even trying.
Wisdom is one of the hardest skills to achieve, and is thus subject to the
greatest frustrations. Next time you get stuck, look around at all the others
who've succeeded. We know if they can do it, so can we. And believing we
can get there is half the battle.
HaShem Provides The Challenge
There is a deeper metaphysical aspect to frustration: HaShem never gives a
person a challenge he cannot handle. This effectively puts every challenge
into the category of the "achievable." Like a good track coach, HaShem
will not raise the hurdle higher than we can jump, because that would
doom us to failure. And HaShem desperately wants us to succeed.
Similarly, for those who believe that HaShem spoke to mankind at Mount
Sinai, and gave the Jewish people the Torah, all problems automatically
move into the "known" category of frustration. If HaShem told us that we
are obligated to help humanity, to work together and to love one another,
that means it can be done. HaShem is not a sadist. If it couldn't be done,
He would not have told us to do so.
That's why Judaism says that frustration and anger is the equivalent of idol
worship. Because saying "I can't do it" is like saying that HaShem is not
involved in guiding our lives. "I can't" means I don't believe HaShem can
help me. That's idolatry.
Life has no problems, only opportunities.
Why Is "Conquering Frustration" An Ingredient In Wisdom?
Quitters never win, and winners never quit. Losing your temper
means you're a quitter.
When you quit because of frustration, you lose credibility and
self-confidence. Adopt the motto: "I will overcome frustration."
The best way of dealing with frustration is to accept it as a
challenge -- and love it.
Focus on your progress and take pleasure every step of the way -
- even if it's only a small amount.
Anger is called idol worship -- because we're taking marching
orders from the wrong boss.
Life is difficult and the path to greatness is paved with
frustration. You can't get to heaven on roller skates.
When we know that HaShem provides the challenge, then we
know we can succeed.
>:\D \"nn "po"np trcdk trcd ihc 39

The following columns on last weeks parsha were received after publication
1. Chicago Kollel Parsha Encounters page 39
2. Chicago Kollel Halacha Encounters page 39
3. Rabbi Yaacov Haber TorahLab page 40
4. Rabbi Shlomo Katz Hamayan page 40
5. Rabbi Moshe Krieger Bircas HaTorah Parsha Sheet page 41
6. Rabbi Label Lam Dvar Torah page 42
7. HaRav Avigdor Nebenzahl Netiv Aryeh page 42

Community Kollel
Parsha Encounters
Parshas Ki Sissa: The Luchos
By Rabbi Doniel Deutsch
In this weeks Parsha the Torah tells us about the final step of the giving
of the Torah:
When He finished speaking to him on Mount Sinai, He gave Moshe the
two Tablets of Testimony (31:18).
The Hebrew word used for the Tablets, luchos, is a plural word (luach
being the singular). It is noteworthy that it is spelled here in an unusual
manner, with the letter vav missing from the plural suffix of the word.
Rashi comments that this teaches us that they were both equal. In other
words, although there were two Tablets, in a certain way they were like
one. And so, to indicate that, the plural form is written incompletely.
There is a very important message in this.
We often speak of two categories of mitzvos - bain adam laMakom
between man and G-d, and bain adam lchavairo between man and man.
And in fact, if we look at the two luchos, we will notice that the first
Tablet deals primarily with the mitzvos between man and G-d. (As to why
honoring parents is on the first Tablet, see Maayan Bais Hashoaiva on
Parshas Yisro.) The second Tablet on the other hand, deals primarily with
the laws between man and man - theft, murder etc.
Unfortunately, people sometimes tend to emphasize one category of
mitzvos over the other. On one hand, some people are very careful about
their performance of mitzvos bain adam lchavairo, but they do not
observe the mitzvos bain adam laMakom with the same care. And on the
other hand, there are people who focus very strongly on their performance
of mitzvos bain adam laMakom, but are not as careful as they should be
about mitzvos bain adam lchavairo. And while perhaps most of us dont
go that far off track as to focus exclusively on one over the other, we
probably all err in not assigning equal importance to both categories. And
that perhaps, is Rashis point: Yes there were two Tablets. But they were
equal. Neither one is more important than the other. To be a Torah true
Jew and live up to the mission Hashem has given us, means to recognize
the centrality of both luchos. To be equally committed to both mitzvos
bain adam laMakom and mitzvos bain adam lchavairo.
And it goes even further.
If we look further in the Parsha, we see how when Moshe sees the Jews
dancing around the golden calf, he throws down the Tablets and shatters
It happened as he drew near to the camp he threw down the Tablets
from his hands. (32:19)
And there too, there is something unusual about how a plural word is
While the word is to be read yadav / hands, that is not how it is written.
This is an example of a kree uchsiv, where the oral tradition says that
it should be written yado in the singular, but that it be read yadav, in the
We can understand the message of this kree uchsiv as follows: (The
underlying thought is based on the words of Rav Yisrael Salanter ztl,
cited in Rav Moshe Shternbuchs Taam Vodaas).
When Moshe saw them sinning, he determined that they should not
receive the luchos.
But at first thought, that makes sense in regard to the first Tablet, the one
that speaks about belief in Hashem and about not having idols, etc. After
all, those were the types of laws they were violating - mitzvos bain adam
laMakom. However there was no reason, it might seem, for them to lose
the second Tablet.
After all, there was no indication of their having violated mitzvos bain
adam lchavairo.
And that is why it is written yado. To reflect this initial thought of
throwing down and shattering just one luach.
But thats not how its read because thats not what Moshe did.
Because he knows that is the wrong way to look at it.
Because while we may categorize mitvos into two types, that isnt as
meaningful a division as it seems.
Because without either type of mitzvah, the other is meaningless.
On one hand, without a deep connection and commitment to Hashem
strengthened through mitzvos bain adam laMakom there really is no
place for mitzvos bain adam lchavairo.
Take the most extreme example - murder. Why is it such a severe sin?
The Torah tells us why: Ki btzelem Elokim asah es haadam. Because G-
d created man in the Divine Image. (Genesis 9:6)
That is what separates men from animals. Take away a deep and real
belief of Hashem, and you no longer have the idea of tzelem Elokim. And
without tzelem Elokim, all mitzvos bain adam lchavairo are reduced to
nothing more than social conventions. If I hurt you, youll hurt me and
before we know it society falls apart. But that has nothing to do with
right and wrong! Thats just a pragmatic arrangement to make life livable.
The only explanation that is truly a reason to treat other humans with
respect and rights, is that each and every human being was created in the
Image of G-d.
And so without the man-G-d laws, you dont have the man-man laws.
And this is true in the other direction as well.
When the non Jew came before Hillel (Shabbos, 31a) and asked him to
reduce all of Torah to one line, Hillel told him: That which is hateful to
you, do not do to others.
And Rav Elchononn Wasserman Hyd asks (Kovaitz Maamorim, Biur
Agados al Derech Pshat), how is that the entire Torah? That just takes care
of the mitzvos bain adam lchavairo! But what about the mitzvos bain
adam laMakom? How are they included in that?
And Rav Elchonon explains that if I truly care about others I want to make
the world the best place possible for them. And we need to realize that
every mitzvah we do, including the mitzvos bain adam laMakom, brings
kedusha into the world, and makes it a better, holier place. And every sin
we do, including the mitzvos bain adam laMakom, makes the world a
worse, less holy place. Which is truly damaging to others.
Which is why if we are committed to bain adam lchavairo, we will by
definition, observe to the best of our ability the mitzvos bain adam
laMakom as well.
And that is why its written yado but read yadav.
Because when Moshe sees them forfeiting the first Tablet, he throws
down both Tablets.
Because without one you dont have the other.
Rabbi Deutsch, an alumnus of the kollel, is co-founder of Chicago Torah
Chicago Community Kollel
Halacha Encounters
Walking in Chicagoland
By Rabbi Moshe Revah
Heres a paradoxical fact about the city of Chicago. Chicago is known for
its high crime rate (even though the truth is that it is only number 75 on
the list of most dangerous US cities), but can also boast of the most
extensive surveillance camera system. You can spot these cameras affixed
to the tops of light poles, each sporting a flashing blue light above a white
box with the distinctive markings of the Chicago police department. (Im
not going to drive over there now, but I seem to remember that theres one
at the intersection of Peterson and California.) These video systems
present serious problems for the Shabbos observant pedestrian. While
walking by, a person effectively causes his image to be displayed on the
screen in the observation post of the police department, which may be a
problem of writing on Shabbos (one of the 39 melachos)!
To deal with this question effectively one has to first address the question
of whether the prohibition against this sort of writing is doraisah
(biblical) or merely drabbanan. In his ruling on the issue, Harav Shlomo
Zalman Auerbach zatzal says that this writing is a melachah drabbanan
(Nishmas Avraham, O.C. 340). He explains that since this type of writing
doesnt leave any permanent impression, it does not qualify as biblically
prohibited writing. Harav Y. S. Elyashiv zatzal concurs that the
prohibition is drabbanan albeit for different reasons. He explains that
since this is not the proper method of writing, and the writing is being
done in an unusual manner, it is therefore drabbanan (Orchos Shabbos
15, note 55). Now that we have determined that the melachah is
drabbanan, and furthermore is being transgressed in a drabbanan
40 >:\D \"nn "po"np trcdk trcd ihc
(unusual) fashion, we can perhaps allow ourselves to walk on the street as
per the following halachos.
The halachah is that a person may not perform an act on Shabbos which
has the guaranteed side effect of causing a melachah. For example, one
may not open a refrigerator door if doing so will cause the interior light to
go on. Even though ones intent is not to turn on the light but rather to
merely open the refrigerator, the guarantee that the light will go on when
he opens the door renders the action forbidden. This concept is known as
psik reishah. If, however, he does not care for that incidental melachah,
then we can rely on a leniency. An example would involve a light in the
fridge which is blocked and thus offers no benefit to him. In that situation,
there are grounds to allow one to do the act if the side melachah is only
drabbanan. In our situation, the main action the person is performing is
walking down the street. As a side effect, he is also generating his image
on a computer screen. Since we have already explained that this melachah
is a double drabbanan (it is temporary writing, written in an unusual
fashion), it would thus seem clear that it would be permitted to walk
outside. There is a machlokes if you may rely on the heter of psik reishah
dloh nichah lei involving one or two issurei drabbanan; see Beer
Yitzchak 15 who rules leniently even if only one issur drabbanan is
involved. I have also heard that Harav Moshe Feinstein zatzal ruled
leniently based on similar reasoning. See Shaar Hatziyon [316:18] who is
lenient for a double drabbanan, and Chazon Ish 61, who categorically
forbids it. Additionally, there is room for leniency because it would be
very difficult to order people to avoid certain streets; therefore, in such a
situation everyone would agree that one drabbanan suffices (see Mishnah
Berurah, 316:5).
Furthermore, R. Elyashiv offers a heter for a person who is walking into a
hospital while being monitored by a closed circuit television, or for one
who is walking while being videoed by someone else. In those instances,
he need not worry about being filmed; since he is just walking on the
street and has absolutely nothing to do with the filming, walking is
considered even less than psik reishah and is fully permitted (Orchos
Shabbos 15, note 55). In fact, this heter would apply even if the melachah
was doraisah.
These leniencies would apply even for closed circuit TV security cameras
in place on public buildings or private homes.
However, one may argue that this action does not fall under the category
of not desiring the incidental (side effect) melachah, or under R.
Elyashivs heter. Because a person feels safer when he walks next to the
cameras, he is happy that they are recording the street, as doing so is a
deterrent to crime. One cannot claim that these cameras are not benefitting
him or that he doesnt care about them, because during the week he is
happy that they are there. (After all, thats 60 million dollars of tax
money!) In contrast, one doesnt necessarily care that there are cameras
running on a public building. If one indeed feels safer when walking next
to the camera, and is happy it is operating, then one would not be able to
rely on the above leniencies at all.
Instead, the heter will involve the complex topic of psik reishah
lesheavar. The scenario is one in which one may do an act, even if it is
guaranteed to cause a side effect melachah, if he is unsure of the
circumstances surrounding the act. For example, on Shabbos one may not
drag a heavy bench on soft soil because it will cause a furrow to be
plowed in the soil. What happens, however, if it is dark and one is not sure
if the soil is soft? Since it is possible that the soil isnt soft and a furrow
will not be dug, then it is permitted to drag the bench because there is no
guaranteed side effect. Even in the event that the soil is soft and the
plowing of a furrow is inevitable, dragging the bench is nevertheless
permitted because the digger was unaware of the inevitable side effect.
(See Biur Halachah 316:3, that in a case of drabbanan one can certainly
rely on the above heter.)
We can finally understand why it is permitted to walk the streets on
Shabbos! The way these cameras work (as far as I understand) is that they
are not always broadcasting images to a monitor that is on. Rather, a
police officer is able to view each camera from any computer, zooming up
or scanning around as he pleases. These cameras are always recording, but
not necessarily to a live monitor. Therefore, although there are times when
walking in the cameras range will cause the side effect of a persons
image being transmitted to a monitor, there is no guarantee that every time
he walks there it will have this effect, because it is possible that the
monitor is off. Therefore, walking near these cameras would be permitted.
In addition to the above, there is a teshuvah from the Betzel Hachochmah
(6:65) and R. M. Shternbuch (2:189) that concludes that any projection
onto a monitor is not writing at all! He believes that just as a person who
has looked into a mirror has not written on the mirror, a person whose
image has been displayed on the monitor has not written at all.
If a person has a private video security system in his house, however, it
should be turned off before Shabbos to avoid these issues. One cannot
claim that he has no use for these cameras, as he is clearly happy that they
are on. Have a good Shabbos walk!
Rabbi Revah is a full-time member of the kollel.
Rabbi Yaacov Haber
Make Yourself Count!
As the band played and the spirits were high on Purim I looked around at
the many friends that joined me and realized that perhaps one of the main
messages of Purim may be getting lost on all of us.
The Jewish people were in trouble. A woman by the name of Ester and a
man by the name of Mordechai decided that they have to do something to
save the Jews of Persia. They put themselves out, they put their lives on
the line and we were miraculously saved.
The message of Purim: In every age some one has had the individuality
enough and courage enough to stand by his or her own convictions to
deliver, rescue emancipate and redeem our people. What are you doing for
the Jewish people?
Moshe was commanded by G-d to count the Jewish people. Why? First G-
d promised Abraham that we would be an uncountable people. We would
be like the stars in the Heaven that no one can count; now G-d tells Moshe
to count the Jewish people!
The answer is that G-d did not mean for Moshe to count everyone - he
meant for Moshe to make everyone count.
A census occurred but this was no ordinary census. Every single member
of Klal Yisroel appeared before Moshe for a very brief interview. In this
succinct meeting Moshe used his warmth and his prophecy to lift each
Jew to his or her greatest heights. As Moshe counted every Jew he told
them of their potential, of their purpose and how they as an individual can
contribute to the community and the Jewish people. Moshe made every
Jew count. Everyone left Moshe's tent with a mission to participate in the
community of Israel. The Children of Israel went from a group of
descendents of Abraham to two million inspired individuals - every one of
them counted.
Dovid HaMelech sang: He is the Healer of the broken-hearted, and the
One who bandages their sorrows. He counts the number of the stars, to all
of them He assigns names. (Psalm 147)
What is the connection between these two verses?
The stars number in the billions, but G-d is aware of each one and gives it
a name. What is the source of a broken heart? So often it is our lack of
purpose and direction. It is because we don't understand our individuality
and our own power to participate.
King David said; how does G-d heal a broken heart? He gives every star a
name! He declares that every one of His creations has a purpose and a
name. No thing and certainly no person was created for nothing. Unlike
Hollywood -there are no extras! G-d makes the uncountable count.
The Purim message is: find your place amongst our people. Make yourself
Rabbi Shlomo Katz
Parshas Ki Sisa: Washing the Workweek Away Part II
Volume 27, No. 21
Daf Yomi (Bavli): Shabbat 150
Halachic sources state that one should bathe before Shabbat. At a
minimum, one should wash his face, hands and feet before Shabbat.
(Shabbat 25b; Shulchan Aruch O.C. 260:1)
What is the significance of washing ones face, hands and feet? R Itamar
Schwartz shlita (Yerushalayim) explains:
Kabbalists write that the first mention of any object or concept in the
Torah reveals the essence of that entity. The first mention in the Torah of
hand-washing is in our parashah (30:19), From it [the kiyor], Aharon and
his sons shall wash their hands together with their feet before performing
the avodah / Temple service. [Washing ones feet is mentioned for the
first time in Parashat Vayera and was discussed in Hamaayan for that
parashah, as was washing ones face.]
Ramban zl writes that, when a kohen washes his hands before the
avodah, it is not for cleanliness; it is a sign of respect, just as the one who
serves the kings meals washes his hands even if theyre clean. On a
deeper level, Ramban writes, washing ones hands and feet symbolizes
washing ones whole being, since the feet are the lowest part of the body
and the hands are the highest (when extended above the head). Similarly,
R Schwartz writes, washing ones hands and feet for Shabbat cleanses
ones whole being in preparation for Shabbat.
With this understanding, continues R Schwartz, we can understand also
the halachah that a kohen who is preparing for the avodah must wash his
hands and feet simultaneously. Washing the hands and feet is more than
just an act of cleansing the hands and feet separately. Since it symbolizes
>:\D \"nn "po"np trcdk trcd ihc 41
the cleansing of the whole body from top to bottom, the kohen must wash
the highest part of the body--the hands--and the lowest part--the feet--
together. (Blvavi Mishkan Evneh: Shabbat p.85)
The people saw that Moshe had delayed in descending the mountain,
and the people gathered around Aharon and said to him, Rise up, make
an elohim for us that will go before us, for this man Moshe who brought
us up from the land of Egypt -- we do not know what became of him!
R Yosef Bechor Shor zl (France; 12th century) writes: Elohim in this
verse means, judge, leader, and spokesman, as in (Shmot 7:1), I have
made you [Moshe] an elohim to Pharaoh. G-d forbid! Bnei Yisrael did
not intend to make an idol. This verse proves that their only intention was
to find a substitute for Moshe. (Bechor Shor)
The Tablets were G-ds handiwork, and the script was the script of G-d,
charut / engraved on the Tablets. (32:16)
Pirkei Avot (6:2) notes that the word charut can be read cherut /
freedom, and comments: There is no free person except one who
occupies himself with Torah.
What does this mean? R Yitzchak Isaac Chaver zl (1789-1852; rabbi of
Suvalk, Lithuania) explains that a person who occupies himself with
Torah is free because he is not enslaved by his yetzer hara.
He continues: This spiritual freedom is what distinguishes the Exodus
from all other redemptions that the Jewish People have experienced
throughout history. In Egypt, not only were Bnei Yisrael enslaved
physically, they were enslaved spiritually as well. After the Exodus,
which culminated in the Giving of the Torah, the Jewish soul could never
again be enslaved. All later persecutions were of the body only, not the
soul, and all later redemptions were merely physical redemptions.
R Chaver adds: Another aspect of the freedom that resulted from the
Exodus is that we acquired the ability to rise above the laws of nature--to
live on the plane of miracles, where we rule over nature rather than to be
ruled by it. Therefore, the ultimate goal of the Exodus, writes R' Chaver,
was to enter Eretz Yisrael, the land that exists on a miraculous plane
where nature does not hold sway. (Haggadah Shel Pesach Yad Mitzrayim
Hashem, Hashem, Kel, Compassionate and Gracious, Slow to Anger,
and Abundant in Kindness and Truth . . . (34:6)
This verse and the next contain Hashems 13 Attributes of Kindness. The
Gemara (Rosh Hashanah 17b) interprets the first two attributes as follows:
I am Hashem before man sins; I am Hashem after man sins.
R Moshe ben Yosef Trani zl (Mabit; 1505-1585) offers several
explanations for the first phrase, I am Hashem before man sins: (1) I
have mercy on a person before he has sinned, even though he is planning
to sin.
(2) Even before a person sins, I resolve to forgive him when he repents.
This, writes Mabit, is the meaning of the statement that teshuvah was
created before the world. Although G-d knew before Creation that
mankind would sin, He resolved that He would forgive them.
(3) I will accept the penitent back as if he had never sinned. (Bet
Elokim: Shaar Hateshuvah ch.1)
Hashem said, Behold! there is a place iti / with Me; you may stand
on the rock. (33:21)
R Baruch Horowitz zl (died 2011) writes in the name of R Yehuda
Ashlag zl (the Baal Hasulam; 1885-1954): We are taught that we are
supposed to aspire to closeness to G-d. One might ask, however: How are
we supposed to long for something that weve never even tasted? The
answer is contained in our verse: The way to desire a place with Me is
through iti (aleph-tav-yud), which is an acronym for emunah / faith,
tefilah / prayer and yegiah / toil. He explains:
Emunah is the foundation for everything, and its holiness purifies a
persons senses so that he can enjoy Hashems light. To the same degree
that one strengthens his emunah so he will attain understanding of the
Torah, just as Bnei Yisrael received the Torah by declaring naaseh
vnishmah -- first we will do, then we will understand. Indeed, this is the
trait that most distinguishes the Jewish People from all other nations.
What is emunah? It does not mean to believe that there is a Creator who
created the world. Only a fool thinks otherwise. This does not require
faith, since any clear thinking person who observes the wonders of the
universe will recognize the existence of the Creator. Rather, emunah
means believing in the greatness of the King, in particular, that everything
He does is for the best, though we often cannot see that.
Proper tefilah is an expression of longing for G-d. Through tefilah, one
becomes a receptacle capable of receiving what Hashem wants to give.
Our Sages say that Hashem desires the prayers of the righteous. What
this really means is that Hashem desires that the righteous turn themselves
into receptacles capable of receiving from Him.
Yegiah / toil also prepares a person to be able to receive spirituality. And,
when a person has toiled to attain spirituality, he is less likely to let go of
it. (Otiot Dliba p.46)
You will see My back, but My face may not be seen. (33:23)
R Yitzchak of Volozhin zl (1780-1849) explains: G-ds face refers to
His thoughts, while His back refers to His actions, for just as the face
precedes the back, so thoughts precede actions. One can only see G-ds
actions and try his best to understand G-d through them, but no one, not
even Moshe Rabbeinu, can fathom G-ds thoughts.
The same parallel, writes R Yitzchak, is behind the statement of the Sage
Rabbi Yehuda Hanasi, The reason that I am sharper than my friends is
because I saw Rabbi Meirs back. Had I seen his face, I would have been
sharper still. He meant: I grew from seeing Rabbi Meirs actions, but had
I been privy to his thoughts, I would have grown even more. (Introduction
to his fathers Nefesh HaChaim)
Letters from Our Sages
This letter was written by R Tzaddok Hakohen Rabinowitz zl (1823-
1900), chassidic rebbe of Lublin, considered to be one of the greatest
scholars and thinkers of the chassidic movement, to a doctor in
Manchester, England named Asher, described as a childhood friend of the
author. The letter is dated a week after Pesach in 1864 and is printed in
Sifrei R Tzaddok.
Your letter reached me on the 11th of the month [of Nissan], the day on
which the prince of the tribe of Asher brought his offering [to the
dedication of the Mishkan]. This is surely an omen that you are following
in the ways of your ancestors. [R Tzaddok goes on to write that he had
heard incorrectly that his friend had settled in America, where most
people had thrown off the yoke of Torah, and he was happy to read that
his friend was actually in England, where the Jewish community was
more loyal to the ways of Moshe Rabbeinu. He continues:]
Perhaps you remember the days of old, when I was twelve years old--it is
engraved in my memory that I wrote the year [5595 / 1835] in my letter
[to you] as the gematria of the phrase, Shaiv baaretz / Settle in the
land. As the Gemara (Bava Batra 12b) says, Now that there are no
prophets, prophecy was given to children. I was hinting to you then that
you should not wander to the ends of the earth . . . It also hinted to that
which you were destined to ask me 29 years letter. [Ed. note: Although it
is nowhere stated, Asher apparently asked R Tzaddoks advice about
settling in Eretz Yisrael.]
In truth, based on your station in life, there is no question. It is obvious to
any thinking person that leaving England, which is rich in silver and gold,
but poor in Torah and mitzvot, is an absolute obligation upon every loyal
Jew, a believer the son of believers, who fears Hashem and loves Torah
and mitzvot . . .
Even if you will tell me that it is not an obligation, nevertheless, no one
denies that living in Eretz Yisrael is a great thing even nowadays . . .
Go and succeed, and I pray to the Blessed Hashem that He will direct your
heart and the hearts of your family members to fulfill this matter as soon
as possible. . .
[Ed. note: R Tzaddok himself attempted to leave Lublin to settle in Eretz
Yisrael, but his chassidim dissuaded him.]
Copyright &copy 2013 by Shlomo Katz and Torah.org. The editors hope these brief 'snippets' will engender further study and discussion of Torah
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Rabbi Moshe Krieger
Bircas HaTorah Parsha Sheet
Parshas Ki Tisah - 5773
In this parsha, Ki Tisah, we read of the making of the Golden Calf, the
chait haegel. Only a few weeks after the seminal event in world history,
maton Torah, a segment of the Jewish People pointed to this man-made
object and announced: These are your gods, Israel, that took you out of
the land of Egypt. How could Klal Yisroel have sunk so low and come to
such a grave sin? One source of error was a mistaken calculation as to
when Moshe Rabbenu should have descended the mountain; they were
expecting him to come back one day earlier. But that alone would not
have caused this sin. It was mainly the work of the Satan, as Rashi
explains; he made the world appear dark and gloomy, signifying that
something very bad had happened, namely the death of Moshe Rabbenu.
Chazal also say that the Satan caused the figure of a bed to appear in the
Heavens, representing the funeral bier of Moshe Rabbenu. Chazal even
add that the Satan went around whispering into the ears of Klal Yisroel
that Moshe Rabbenu had died. All these statements leave us with a big
question: Why would Hashem give the Satan the strength to change
reality, bringing darkness in summer and creating illusions in the sky, all
for the purpose of causing people to sin? Is this just?
Rav Eliyahu Dessler cites the Mesilas Yesharim that says that the purpose
of this world is to test a person. Only through tests does a man grow and
complete himself. Sometimes a person is tested while still in the early
stages of his spiritual growth. But sometimes a person is given enormous
42 >:\D \"nn "po"np trcdk trcd ihc
assistance from Hashem to grow spiritually, but afterwards is given
nisyonos to see if he is truly fit for what he received. Klal Yisroel
experienced matan Torah and declared naaseh venishmah, but afterwards
Hashem gave the Satan power to see if Klal Yisroel was immovable in
their devotion to Hashem. There is a well-known chazal (Sukkah 52) that
the greater a man, the greater his yetzer horo. This means that when a
person is given tremendous gifts, he has to prove that he is worthy of
them. On one occasion, the Brisker Rov had claims against a great
scholar. People asked the Brisker Rov,Is it right to treat a great man
thusly? The Brisker Rovs answer was short and to-the-point: King
Achav was a tremendous talmid chochom, but he was also one of the
wickedest men in Klal Yisroel. A talmid chochom often undergoes
tremendous tests. The successful completion of these tests brings him to
spiritual completion.
This answer leaves us with a big problem. If the Satan has such strengths,
how can a person survive spiritually when being challenged by such
tremendous tests? Rav Yechezkel Levenstein gives us some practical
advice: run away from nisyonos, and pray to be saved from challenges.
For example, we find that chazal didnt look outside their four amos, and
the gemara relates that Rav Sheshes blinded himself rather than be
exposed to an indecent sight. We also find that Rabbenu HaKadosh, after
his Shmone Esreh, asked to be saved from the yetzer haro. These chazals
serves as a lesson to us: we know own weak spots, and should avoid those
environments that challenge us, and pray that we should not be exposed to
Rav Yechezkel adds that a person doesnt always realize that there is a
yetzer haro that he needs to avoid. Sometimes the Maaseh Satan appears
to the man as normal daily events. For example, things come up in the
middle of seder the person thinks that this is a happenstance, but really
this is the work of the Satan. Alternatively, a person gets a strong desire
for something, thinking that this is a legitimate need of the body, but this
also is a temptation set before him by the Satan. Rav Yechezkel also cites
the Chovos HaLevavos (Shaar HaYichud perek heh), who says that if a
doubt in emunah enters a persons mind, he should not view this as an
innocent thought, but should recognize it as the yetzer haro. The person
should try to push aside the doubt and pray that it leave him. A person
should try to identify all the Satans wiles, and distance himself from
Rav Yeruchem Bordiansky, the Mashgiach of Kol Torah, says that the
best way for a ben Torah to run away from nisyonos is to immerse himself
in the Yeshiva. In the Yeshiva, the Satan is weaker. As the Gemara says in
Kiddushin (30): If this menuval (the Satan) meets you, then pull him to
the beis medrash. We only need to look around to see everything the Satan
has done to keep a person out of Yeshiva: the haskalah movement, videos,
internet, etc. From this we can see how crucial the Yeshiva is in the war
against the Satan. But the Satan never gives up. Perhaps the most
insidious attempt to pull us out of the Yeshiva is the current movement to
draft Yeshiva students into the army. My Rebbe, Rav Meshulam Dovid
Soloveitchik, who almost never involves himself in public affairs, wrote a
public letter stating that drafting Yeshiva students is a gezeirah of shmad.
Rav Meshulam Dovid says that anyone who can do anything to avert this
terrible decree must do it. But for those of us in a Yeshiva environment,
we must firstly pray to be saved from this trap of the yetzer horo. But we
must also show how much we value Torah learning, by increasing our
hasmodoh, and clinging with all our strength to the Torah. To merit this
great gift of Torah protection, we have to demonstrate how precious it is
to us.
On Purim, Klal Yisroel accepted the Torah with love. Lets immerse
ourselves totally in it, and save ourselves from the wiles of the Satan.
Rabbi Label Lam
Dvar Torah
Parshas Ki Sisa - The Birthplace of Idolatry
When the people saw that Moshe was late in coming down from the mountain,
the people gathered against Aaron, and they said to him: "Come on! Make us
gods that will go before us, because this man Moses, who brought us up from
the land of Egypt we don't know what has become of him."
That Moshe was late: Satan (the opposing force) came and brought confusion
into the world and showed a semblance of darkness, [even] pitch darkness, and
confusion, [as if] indicating [that] Moshe had surely died and therefore,
confusion had come upon the world. He [the Satan] said to them, Moshe has
died, for six hours have already passed, and he has not come, etc., (Rashi)
because this man Moshe: Satan showed them something resembling Moses,
being carried in the air, high above in the sky. (Rashi)because this man Moses:
Satan showed them something resembling Moses, being carried in the air, high
above in the sky. -[from Shab. 89a, Midrash Tanchuma 19]
When the people saw that Moshe was delayed in returning the most terrifying
images started to dance in their minds. Can we blame them? Moshe had been
missing for more than forty days! Sure he had led them out of Egypt but they
were now an entire nation stranded in the wilderness. They were lost without
Moshe. So whats the crime?
Imagine an airplane gliding smoothly over the Atlantic Ocean on its way to
Israel and suddenly a rumor spreads that the pilot is dead. It was a grand
misunderstanding and their intentions seemed to be good. They wanted
something like Moshes leadership to take them the rest of the way. It doesnt
sound that outrageous when understood from ground level.
Did you ever wait patiently at an appointed time on a street corner for
someone and that someone is failing to show up!? What does it feel like? What
thoughts run through your mind? Is this the right time? Is this the right place?
Is he or she OK? After a while panic may set in! Whats so terrible that we are
still picking up the pieces from the fallout of the Golden Calf till this very day?
The answer might just be there revealed in the very words they spoke to justify
the making of the Golden Calf. Rashi based on Gemorah Sanhedrin finds the
real intent embedded in their own words:that (they) will go before us:
[The word is in the plural form.] They desired many gods for
themselves. (Rashi)
They did not want only a replacement for Moshe and in search of a creative
means to communicate with HASHEM ended up making a Golden Calf No!
The harsh reality is that deep down inside there was a part was perversely in
search mode for liberation from the pressure of living a consistent life in the
presence of a that will go before us: [The word is in the
plural form.] They desired many deities for themselves. -[from Sanh.
63a]Singular G-d!
Like a group of students who perceive that their Rebbe is late, theres a part of
the class that appeals to a part in each boy that takes a special delight in the
thought, and even begins to hope that perhaps there will be no class that day.
So they already grant themselves premature permission to be dismissed. When
the Rebbe finally arrives they groan with a renewed disappointment, because
their heart was already sold on stupidity! The loss of Moshe then becomes a
cause for celebration and not national mourning. That corrupt process of
thinking is in fact the birthplace of idolatry.
DvarTorah, Copyright 2007 by Rabbi Label Lam and Torah.org. Questions or comments? Email feedback@torah.org. Join the Jewish Learning
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HaRav Avigdor Nebenzahl
Netiv Aryeh
It Is All Relative
We read in this week's parsha about the downfall of the Jewish people
when they constructed the Golden Calf and declared: "this is your god O
Israel which brought you up from the land of Egypt" (Shmos 32:4). Were
they for real? Did they really believe that the calf which was just created
was responsible for their having left Egypt three months earlier? Only one
who was out of his mind could think such a thing? If they were really
madmen then why was Hahem so angry with them? What nonsense!
Furthermore, Rashi teaches us that Satan convinced the people that Moshe
Rabenu had died - he even showed them Moshe lying dead on a bed. Why
is that cause for creating a so-called god? They were told that Moshe was
no longer, they were not told chas v'shalom that Hashem was no longer!
They needed a replacement for Moshe Rabenu!
It appears they did not truly believe that the calf took them out from
Egypt. Some of the commentaries explain that they were searching for a
place in which the Shchina would dwell. This idea in and of itself does not
seem the least bit preposterous and certainly not heretical, after all when
the Jewish people left Egypt they all sang along with Moshe Rabenu: "the
Sanctuary, my L-rd, that Your hands established" (Shmos 15:17) - there
was destined to be a place in which the Shchina will dwell. Until this
point the housing was Moshe Rabenu himself. However, they were now
convinced that Moshe Rabenu was no longer so they constructed a calf as
substitute housing for the Shchina. The Ramban and the Kuzari discuss
why they chose the form of a calf.
What makes the idea of constructing a housing for the Divine Presence
more plausible is that Hashem in fact commanded them to construct a
mishkan containing an aron, keruvim, and more. The main difference,
however, is that they decided on their own that it should take the form of a
calf rather than the way Hashem desired. Hashem is above all rules and no
one can dictate to Him where and how to house His Shchina. This idea in
and of itself, as terrible as it was, was with good intention and perhaps
would not have been deemed serious enough to destroy the entire nation.
There was however another error in their ways:
They had no prophet to guide them so they elected on their own to create
a calf to house the Divine Presence. Were they not told by Moshe Rabenu
prior to his ascent to the top of Har Sinai that in his absence they should
turn to Aharon and Chur with any questions? Did they bother to ask them?
Chur told them not to construct the calf and this cost him his life. Aharon
was afraid to oppose their decision. This was a very severe infraction and
perhaps this was the reason Hashem became so angry with them. Aharon
was almost punished and was saved by the prayers of Moshe Rabenu on
his behalf.
The halacha requires the Beis HaMikdash to be constructed only in
accordance with the way dictated by the prophet from Hashem, no
"innovations" are permitted. The details of the construction of the first
Beis HaMikdash were handed to Dovid HaMelech by the prophet Shmuel.
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Regarding the third Beis HaMikdash, may it be built speedily in our day,
we are told by the prophet Yechezekl how that should be constructed. Our
opinion does not really count. Regarding the second Beis HaMikdash,
they were instructed partially by Yechzekel, whatever they were not told
about they tried their best to emulate the way it was done for the first Beis
Although we are speaking of the construction of the Beis HaMikdash, this
idea applies to the entire Torah. We may not create our own Torah but
must be loyal servants of Hashem. Rabenu Yonah writes that one who
adds his own mitzvah is no longer a servant of Hashem but his own boss.
There are of course mitzvos D'Rabbanan, at times they added and at times
they even detracted. For example, the Torah writes that we must observe
one day of Rosh Hashana yet we observe two. On the other hand, the
Torah commands us to sound the shofar on Rosh Hashana yet when it falls
on Shabbos we are told not to sound it. It is important that we know which
commandments are from the Torah and which are from Chazal - to make a
Rabbinic commandment into a Torah one is a violation of the prohibition
of bal tosif. Knowing what is D'Oraysa and what is D'Rabbanan is not
always so clear - I believe there are six opinions regarding which portions
of Krias Shma are D'Oraysa and which are not. I may treat what is
question as a safek d'Rabbanan or safek D'Oraysa but I cannot decide that
certain things are D'Oraysa when they are not.
Chazal teach us that this was where Adam HaRishon erred - he was
commanded not to eat from Etz HaDaas, he relayed that command over to
Chava but added that it is also forbidden to touch the fruit. There would
have been nothing wrong with Adam HaRishon enacting a Rabbinic
prohibition, after all he was the "Rabbanan" of his time. However, when
he relayed the mitzvah to Chava, he did not explain that M'Doraysa it was
forbidden to eat the fruit while M'd'Rabbanan it was also forbidden to
touch it. Had he explained this to Chava then the serpent would not have
been able to say to Chava: "see you touched it and nothing happened to
you." It is important to understand this distinction.
We must be loyal servants of Hashem and obey His mitzvos whether or
not we understand them and whether or not it pleases us, but it would
certainly be better to keep mitzvos out of love. After all, we are
commanded to fear Hashem, to be in awe of Him, and we are also
commanded to love Him ("ve-ahavta eis Hashem Elokecha"). When we
love Hashem then we want to obey His command.
Pesach is fast approaching and we must realize that the distinction
between different categories of mitzvos applies to our Seder as well.
While we do not offer the Korban Pesach due to our not having the Beis
HaMikdash and Marror today is D'Rabbanan, the mitzvah of matzah
remains on a Torah level. Which eating of the matzah? That is the subject
of a dispute among the authorities - is it the first kezayis on which we
recite the bracha of "al achilas matzah" or is it the final one which we
refer to as the afikoman. We are unsure and therefore should have in mind
in both instances that we may be fulfilling a Torah commandment -
Hashem certainly knows which one is correct.
The Torah commands us to relate the story of the exodus - sippur yetzias
Mitzrayim. WE must not only relate that we were slaves and Hashem took
us out from Egypt, not only do we read the entire Haggadah, but "kol
hamarbe lesaper biyetzias Mitzrayim harei zeh meshubach" - the more
one relates the story of the exodus the more praiseworthy is he.
Furthermore, elaborating on the mitzvos of Pesach, matzah, and marror is
also a fulfillment of this mitzvah, after all the Torah says that we must tell
our children ("vehigadeta levincha") that because of this Hashem took us
out from Egypt - because of what? In order that we fulfill these mitzvos -
referring to Pesach, matzah, and marror.
We are all aware that Hashem commanded us regarding Pesach? What is
Pesach, is it simply a fun time when we eat special food and wear nice
clothing? It is imperative that we also understand that there was a Korban
Pesach with many halachos. Chazal command us in fact to explain the
above three mitzvos - as we mentioned, we do not offer the Korban
Pesach, Marror is D'Rabbanan, while Matzah remains a Mitzvah
While the four cups of wine are a Rabbinic mitzvah, simchas Yom Tov
according to most authorities remains a Torah commandment (Tosafos
rules that it is D'Rabbanan). As mentioned, Korech today is D'Rabbanan
while during the period of the Beis HaMikdash, Hillel ruled that it is
Regarding knowing how to distinguish between Torah commandments
and Rabbinic ones, I once read the following story about HaRav Sholom
Schwadron zt"l. Like many, he would make sure to eat his afikoman
before midnight. One year he spent his seder at the home of a widow. She
had a few children, a son in Yeshiva and others. She was hungry to hear
what they had learned in school and Yeshiva about yetzias Mitzrayim.
She received such joy from hearing her children relate the Torah they had
learned. Given that each child elaborated, the time was approaching
midnight. One of the other participants whispered to R' Sholom that
perhaps he should ask the hostess that her children should each speak for
less time in order to be able to eat the afikoman at the best possible time.
R' Sholom answered: "look at the joy on this woman's face, afikoman
according to many is D'Rabbanan, the requirement to eat it before
midnight is questionable, however bringing joy to a widow is a Torah
commandment. Are you trying to tell me that an act which may possibly
be a better fulfillment of what may be a mitzvah d'Rabbanan takes
precedence over the Torah commandment of bringing joy to this widow?"
This is a clear example of the need to understand what is from the Torah
and what is D'Rabbanan.
HaRav Yisrael Salanter zt"l used to go every year to bake his own matzos,
as many do. One year he was ill and unable to make the trip to the matzah
bakery. His disciples reassured him that he could rest assured that the
matzah-baking was in good hands. They asked him what special hiddurim
they should make sure to fulfill. He said, firstly, one of the women
working in this bakery is a widow and in past years many have urged her
to work faster both out of concern for the matzah not becoming chametz
and because they wish to get home earlier. R' Yisrael ask that they go easy
on her, this takes precedence over any hiddurim and chumros. Clearly
everything must be Kosher for Pesach in the most mehudar manner
possible, but this comes first.
A story is told of a Rebbe who each year would bake his own special
matzos which he used at his seder. One year, he came home from Ma'ariv
and noticed that the matzos were gone. What had transpired was that the
woman who worked in his house saw a poor man begging for matzos and
she gave him these matzos. While the other matzos in the house were
Shmura matzos, they were not the Rebbe's special matzos. Rather than get
angry at the woman whose only intent was to help a poor man, he simply
elected to forego his special matzos without any incident.
There is a chapter of the Messilas Yesharim devoted to relative weight of
mitzvos where he points out that the destruction surrounding both batei
Mikdash was due to not giving the proper relative importance to mitzvos.
Regarding the first Beis HaMikdash, the example took place following the
destruction with the killing of Gedaliah. Gedaliah had been appointed by
the king as leader of the Jewish people who remained in Eretz Yisrael.
Yochanan ben Kereach was one of the commanders and he had informed
Gedaliah that Yishmael ben Netanya was planning to kill him. While this
would not be sufficient cause to kill Yishmael ben Netanya he should
have taken the necessary precautions. Instead, Gedaliah refused to accept
the loshon hara spoken and it was his misplaced piety which cost him his
Regarding the destruction of the second Beis HaMikdash there is the well-
known story of Bar Kamtza who wished to offer a blemished animal.
Zechariah ben Abkulos refused to offer this animal for fear that people
will then think that it is permitted to offer a blemished animal - an act
which perhaps would be permitted in order to save lives. Once again, it
was misplaced "yiras Shamayim" which lead to the destruction. This
highlights the importance of misplaced chumros and of not knowing the
proper relative scale of things.
This is very important for us as well - Chazal write that Shabbos is
equivalent in weight to all the other mitzvos. Chazal also say this
regarding tzitzis, does that make it permissible to tie tzitzis on Shabbos?
Yishuv Eretz Yisrael is also equivalent in weight to all mitzvos, yet we
may only have a non-Jew perform melacha on Shabbos to fulfill this
mitzvah, no Jew may violate Shabbos in order to settle the land. It is
imperative that we understand when to be meikel and when to be
machmir. If we are able to do so then with Hashem's help we will merit
the building of the Beis HaMikdash and fulfilling the mitzvos of Pesach,
matzah, and marror on a Torah level speedily in our day. Amen.

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As this contains Divrei Torah and partial Pesukim, it should be treated with proper respect, both during and after use

The Gemara (Gittin 45b) excludes various people from being
able to write the parchments for Tefillin, stating that only those
obligated to wrap the Tefillin (around their arm) are eligible to
write them. Tosafos quotes Rabbeinu Tam who therefore
excludes women from making Tzitzis as well. If so, why are non-
Kohanim permitted to make the Bigdei Kehunah, if they are not
eligible to wear them ? One possibility suggests that a non-Kohen
man may make Bigdei Kehunah because he is of the same type
(i.e. gender) as the Kohanim who wear them, whereas, since no
women are obligated in Tzitzis, there is no basis to allow them to
make Tzitzis for men. However, the Pesikta Zutrasa specifically
derives from ck hnfj kf that women may also make the Bigdei
Kehunah, despite being ineligible to wear them, against the
opinion of Rabbeinu Tam. HaDrash VHaIyun suggests that
making Tzitzis is itself not a mitzvah, but only preparatory, so if
women are not connected to the mitzvah itself, they have no role
in its preparation. Making Bigdei Kehuna, on the other hand, is
itself a mitzvah, and part of the group of mitzvos associated with
building the Mishkan and the Beis HaMikdash, where the
Rambam (Beis HaBechirah 1:12) states that women are also
obligated to give of themselves and their money to assist in the
effort, as derived from the Posuk: uuy vhshc ck ,nfj vat kfu. The
Meforshim raise an issue regarding this obligation since the Beis
HaMikdash may only be built by day, making it time-dependent,
which should exempt women. The Beis Yitzchok (jut 3) suggests
that the women wove the curtains, which they were permitted to
do at night as well. HaDrash VHaIyun follows this with a novel
approach, suggesting that where a mitzvah is generally time-
dependent, but there are aspects of it which are not, then women
may be obligated in the entire mitzvah, including the time-
dependent aspects, because they must engage in it anyway. If they
were obligated to weave curtains, they were obligated in it all.
What part of Shemona Esrei must be repeated/fixed if one made a
mistake in it during Shacharis, but not during Mincha ?
(For which should one stand: Chazoras HaShatz or Krias HaTorah ?)
The Rema (jut 124:4) cites an opinion that one should stand for
Chazoras HaShatz, and in (jut 156:4) that Machmirim stand for
Krias HaTorah. If one cannot stand for both, he should stand for
Chazoras HaShatz, whose cuhj comes first, and since by listening
it is as if one davened Shemona Esrei (see MB), he must stand.
Once a poor person is living in a city for 30 days, he must be
given enough flour to bake matzos for all Pesach. If he has not
resided there yet for 30 days, he need not be given all the flour at
once, but he has the right to daily support of 2 meals per
weekday, and 3 meals on Shabbos. (MB 429:5)
The Gemara (Arachin 31b) states that if 2 first-born lambs are
born into ones flock in a leap year - one of them on the 15
of Adar 1 and the other on the first day of Adar 2, then the latter
will become one-year-old on Rosh Chodesh Adar of the next year
(12 months later), while the former will become one-year-old on
the 15
of Adar of the next year 13 months later. Such first-
born lambs must be offered/eaten within their first year, as the
Posuk states: vbac vba ubkft,. Why would such a disparity exist,
requiring a year to extend out to 13 months ? The Ibn Ezra notes
on the words: ofk vzv asujv that the word vba does not normally
imply a collection of months. Instead, it refers to a cycle of 4
seasons, which repeats itself every 365 days - vba which means to
repeat. On the other hand, asuj refers to the 30 day lunar cycle,
which renews itself (asj) each month. The arrangement of 12
months within a solar year is thus fictitious, and is only an
arbitrary division for convenience. The Rambam (Kiddush
HaChodesh 1:1) derives from: ohasj atr ofk vzv asujv that
reference to months means lunar months, while reference to
years means solar years, citing the Posuk chctv asuj ,t runa.
The combination of asuj and chct one referring to a lunar
month and the other to a solar season, represents the mandate to
keep the asuj of Nisan within the season of chct by periodic
additions of a second Adar. The Halachic method by which the
lunar and solar are thus kept in synch, is according to the
Tashbetz (2:250), the source of much scholarly praise from other
nations of the world. As such, the one-year-old requirement
established by vbac vba ubkft, takes no notice of the number of
lunar months that may exist within the solar year, but focuses
instead on the calendar day within the year, as required by the
words vbac vba.
A Lesson Can Be Learned From:
R Yonasan Eibishutz was unfortunately challenged constantly by a priest
who had the kings ear, and was forced to respond to theological
arguments, which he fortunately had no problem rebutting. The
frustrated priest, nonetheless, kept assuring the king that he was in fact
correct, but that R Yonasan was a skilled debater. He was confident
that he could convince any other Jew of the validity of his position. The
king instructed his servants to go out and bring in the first Jew they
encountered. A few minutes later, they escorted Yankel, the local wagon
driver, into the palace. With R Yonasan watching from the corner, the
priest began to promise Yankel that he would leave the palace a
prosperous man, if only he would allow himself to have a little water
poured over him, and would accept upon himself the religious
sovereignty of the Trinity. Yankel, as soon as he understood what was
being asked of him, began to repeat No!. The priest then asked Yankel
to explain why, hoping to best whatever theological arguments he came
up with. Yankel was assured he could speak freely and he explained that
it was because of the advice his father, also a wagon driver, gave him
before he died. My father said that if someone offered me a horse in
exchange for mine, and asked me to give him some money besides, that
I should consider the deal seriously. But if someone wished to give me a
horse in exchange for nothing at all, and wished to pay me to boot, I
should understand that there is something wrong with such a deal.
P.S. Sholosh Seudos sponsored by the Sternberg family.