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by Dr. Avigdor Bonchek


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Parashas Vayakheil (71)

Exodus 35:15

And the incense altar and its bars and the anointing oil and the incense of aromatics and the screen of the entrance - at the entrance of the Mishkan.

The screen of the entrance: RASHI: The curtain that was in front of the east side [of the Mishkan] for there were neither boards nor curtains there.

Today's piece will be short. I have a question for which I find no answer. It said above in parashas Teruma (26: 37) the following statement about the "screen of the Tent" which is the same as the screen of the Mishkan:

Exodus 26: 37

"And make for the screen five columns of acacia wood overlaid with gold and their hooks are gold and you shall cast five sockets of copper for them."

So we see that screen did have columns - five of them - why then does Rashi say on our verse, "there were neither boards nor curtains there" ? There were boards.

What bothers me is that I could not find any commentator on Rashi who asks this question. Apparently my question is mistaken, though I do not know why!

I leave you readers with my question, if you have an answer I would want to hear it.

Thank you.

Shabbat Shalom
Avigdor Bonchek

P.S. I have since found an answer to my puzzling question. My neighbor, Leor Jacobi, suggested the following. The Hebrew words 'kerashim" (boards) and 'amudim' (boards) seem to be identical things with different names. But that is not so. Kerashim (36: 20) (Artscroll "planks") and 'amudim' ( 36: 38) (pillars) are different. The walls of the Mishkan were made of kerashim which were flush up against each other with no space between them; the amudim on the other hand were free standing pillars at the entrance with much space between them. So Rashi tells us that the eastern side of the tent- no kerashim (which would be a closed wall) and no yerios (curtains) which would close the space in a different way, therefore it was open. So that is why we need the screen. That is Rashi is telling us.

"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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