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by Dr. Avigdor Bonchek


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Parashas Truma (71)

Exodus 25: 38, 39

38: And its tongs and its snuff dishes shall be of pure gold.

39: A talent (Hebrew: kikar) of gold he shall make it, with (Hebrew: es) all these vessels.


A talent (Hebrew: kikar) of gold: Rashi: Its weight with all its vessels should only be a talent, not more not less.


Ramban, in a long comment, questions Rashi. He asks how can Hashem give a command to make the menorah and its vessels all from one talent of gold without specifying how much should be used for the menorah itself? It would seem that the size of the menorah is important. But as the Torah lumps it together with the other vessels (lamps, tongs and snuff dishes) we have no way of knowing the menorah's actual size.

The Ramban does not answer this question.

Can you defend Rashi?

Hint: See Rashi on verses 31 and 40.

Your Answer:


An Answer: Rashi himself says on those verses that Moses in fact had trouble understanding how Hashem wanted him to make the menorah. So Hashem showed him a menorah of fire. The difficulty Moses had may the very same one the Ramban asks - how much of the limited quantity of gold should be used for the menorah itself. Moses could only know this by seeing the menorah of fire.

How did the Ramban miss these Rashi-comments which answer his question?

Your Answer:


An Answer: The Ramban's question stems from his approach to p'shat. He certainly knew what Rashi wrote about the menorah of fire - but that is drash and not p'shat. The Ramban was looking for a p'shat explanation. While Rashi, as we have often seen, may accept the midrash as his p'shat.

So for Rashi there is no question, but for the Ramban there is.

Shabbat Shalom
Avigdor Bonchek

"What's Bothering Rashi?" is produced by the Institute for the Study of Rashi and Early Commentaries. The five volume set of "What's Bothering Rashi?" is available at all Judaica bookstores.

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