Thoughts on the Weekly Parshah by HaRav Eliezer Chrysler
Formerly Rav of Mercaz Ahavat Torah, Johannesburg

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Vol. 15   No. 23

This issue is sponsored
l'iluy Nishmas
R' Yoel Zev ben R' Yosef HaLevi Intrekt z"l
by his family, on his shloshim,

Parshas Pikudei

The Mishkan and the Creation

Come and see, says the Rosh, how beloved is the Mishkan in the eyes of Hakodosh Baruch Hu, inasmuch as it is placed on a par in many ways with the Creation. In fact, everything that is mentioned in connection with it corresponds with what the Torah writes in connection with the Creation.

The Pasuk writes in Tehilim (104:2) "He stretched the heaven like a curtain", and it says in connection with the Mishkan (26:7) "And he made curtains of goats-hair".

The Torah writes on the second day of the Creation (Bereishis 1:6) "Let there be a firmament in the sky and it shall divide between the upper water and the lower water"; and it says here (26:33) "And the curtain shall divide for you between the Kodesh and the Kodesh Kodshim".

The Torah writes on the third day of the Creation "Let the water gather (1:6); and it says here (30:18) "And you shall make a Copper Basin (in which the water will be gathered)".

The Torah writes on the fourth day of the Creation (1:14) "Let there be lights in the firmament of the sky"; and it says here (25:31) "And you shall make a Menorah of pure gold (to light up the Mishkan)".

The Torah writes on the fifth day of the Creation (1:20).

"Let the water swarm forth and birds that fly "; and it says here (25:20) "And the Cherubs shall spread their wings upwards".

The Torah writes on the sixth day of the Creation (1:27) "Let us create man "; and it says here (28:1) "And as for you, bring near Aharon your brother".

The Torah writes on Shabbos (2:1) "And the Heaven and the earth were completed"; and it says here (39:32) "And all the work was completed".

At the Creation, the Torah writes (1:28) " and G-d blessed them"; and here it says (39:43) " and Moshe blessed them".

At the Creation, the Torah writes (2:3) " and He sanctified them"; and here it says (Bamidbar 7:1) " and he (Moshe) anointed it and sanctified it".

There Hashem created the Heaven; and here we find the Kodesh Kodshim, where His Shechinah dwelt.

There, Hashem created the earth; and here we have the Azarah.

There, Hashem created the fruit; here we have the Shulchan, containing the two rows of bread, six loaves in each row, corresponding to the six seasons, sowing, reaping, cold, heat, summer and winter.

The moon corresponds to the copper Basin, and the luminaries, to the Menorah.


And here is what Rabeinu Bachye says (in Parshas Terumah), when he too, compares the Mishkan to the Creation: 'It seems most likely that the three gifts (see first Rashi in Terumah) mentioned there correspond to the three (Divine) gifts which elevated the world - Chochmah, Tevunah and Da'as (the first three of the Ten Sefiros), as the Pasuk writes in Mishlei (3:19/20) "Hashem founded the earth with wisdom, He established it with understanding; through His knowledge the depths were cleaved". And this is hinted here in connection with the building of the Mishkan, since the Mishkan is compared to the Creation of the World. And the three gifts also correspond to the three gifts that Yisrael donated in the desert; the first, that of the commodities with which the Mishkan was constructed (mentioned here [in Terumah]); the second, that of the half-Shekalim (mentioned in Ki Sissa), which were used to construct the silver sockets; and the third, (mentioned in Parshas Bamidbar), through which Yisrael were counted, and which were then used to purchase the communal offerings. And it was corresponding to those three gifts (the first two Kodesh, the last, [relatively mundane, since they came to atone for Yisrael, as opposed to the first two, which were a gift to G-d]), that Yisrael were ordered to donate three gifts to the Kohanim when they arrived in Eretz Yisrael - Terumah Gedolah, Terumas Ma'aser and Chalah, the first two Kodesh, the last, [relatively] mundane. And it is because the first two are Kodesh that they are confined to Eretz Yisrael, unlike Chalah, which the Rabbanan extended to Chutz la'Aretz, too (so as not to forget about the institution of Chalah completely).


And it is to further emphasize the comparison to the Creation that the Torah describes Betzalel as being imbued with 'Chochmah, Tevunah and Da'as'. Indeed, Chazal specifically say that, when Betzalel constructed the Mishkan, he knew how to combine the letters with which G-d created Heaven and earth. And they learn this from the Gezeirah-Shavah comparing this Pasuk and the Pasuk in Mishlei (in connection with the Creation) that we quoted earlier.

Furthermore, Rabeinu Bachye adds, citing a Pirkei de'Rebbi Eliezer (which in turn, bases its statement on various Pesukim in Nevi'im and Kesuvim), not only did Shlomoh build the first Beis-Hamikdash with the same three Midos, but so will the third Beis-Hamikdash be built with them. And so too, will Hashem bestow Chochmah, Binah and Da'as on Yisrael in due course, and on Mashi'ach may he come speedily in our days.

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Parshah Pearls

All the Details

"These are the reckonings of the Mishkan " (38:21).

Why, asks R. Yosef Shaul Natanzon, does the Torah list the details of each and every item (the planks individually, the bolts individually ). Why will it not suffice to just list what Yisrael donated for the entire Mishkan (so much gold and so much so much copper ), like an ordinary person would do?

An ordinary person, he says in reply, wants a place of residence. That is what is of major interest to him when he builds it. The details are of minor importance at the time.

G-d on the other hand, does not need a residence. What He is looking for is the goodwill of those who are building it. It is therefore insufficient to record that Yisrael built Him a house. Each and every act of generosity is meaningful in its own right, and needs to be listed individually.


Moshe & Isamar

" the service of the Levi'im, through the hand of Isamar the son of Aharon the Kohen" (Ibid.).

In fact, the Rosh points out, Moshe was in charge of the entire Mishkan. Only every important communal appointment requires two people. So he picked Isamar to work with him in this particular matter.


Beyond what Moshe Said

"And Betzalel did what Hashem commanded Moshe" (38:22).

The Dubner Magid comments on the fact that the Torah does not refer to what Moshe commanded Betzalel, but rather to what G-d commanded Moshe.

Indeed, he answers, Moshe issued instructions as to how to build the Mishkan. To be sure, Betzalel fulfilled those instructions to the letter (see Rashi). What Moshe did not tell him however, was the deeper meanings of each and every item pertaining to the Mishkan. Those Betzalel arrived at with his exceptional wisdom and sanctity (see following Pearl).


Betzalel Betzalel Betzalel


Betzalel's name is mentioned three times in the Parshah, because of his three special attributes Chochmah, Binah and Da'as, says the Ba'al ha'Turim.

He makes the same observation in Parshas Vayakhel (37:1), where he attributes the three times Betzalel's name is mentioned there to the Aronos that he made (see Rashi 25:10). Specifically the Aron, he explains, because it was in connection with the Aron that he was 'be'Tzeil Keil (in the shadow of Hashem [which is the acronym of his name]), in that he knew all about its secrets and the Merkavah.


Gold & Affliction

All the gold that was made for the work " (38:24).

Five kinds of gold are listed in Vayakhel (35:22), points out the Ba'al ha'Turim: bracelets, nose-rings, rings, body ornaments & all golden vessels. These corresponded to the five kinds of affliction to which Yisrael were subjected: rigour, bitterness, torment, pressure and hard work.

Perhaps the Ba'al ha'Turim bases his comparison on the wording of the Pasuk "All the gold that was used for the work, for all the Holy work. The words "for the work" are clearly superfluous, hinting at the hard work, corresponding to which the gold was used to make the Mishkan.


The Bags for the Bigdei Kehunah

"And they made the linen shirts " (39:27).

Each of the priestly garments appears together with the word "es", says the ba'al ha'Turim; to teach us that each garment had its own bag, in which it was placed when not in use.


Completed on Chanukah

"And the work of the Mishkan was completed" 39:32).

The words "Va'teichel kol Avodas Mishkan " has the same Gematriyah as 'be'esrim-va'chamishah be'Kislev nigmar' (It was completed on the twenty-fifth of Kislev).

* * *


" he (Moshe) took the two Tablets of Stone, the Tablets of Testimony which were given to him at Chorev, and which stood miraculously in the Ohel Mo'ed, they are the Tablets of Testimony, and the broken Tablets, (he placed them) in the Aron, and he placed the lid together with the Cherubs that were fashioned from it on top of the Aron" (40:20).

* * *


(Adapted from the Seifer ha'Chinuch)

Please bear in mind that the rulings in this article reflect the opinion of the Seifer ha'Chinuch and are not necessarily Halachah.

Mitzvah 111:

Not To Eat or Drink the Sacrifices of Avodah-Zarah

It is forbidden to eat or drink the sacrifices of idolatry, as the Pasuk writes in Ki-Sissa (34:12/15) "Beware lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land and they call to you and you eat from their sacrifices".

A reason for the Mitzvah is to distance and to remove every vestige of Avodah-Zarah and whatever is connected with it from before our eyes and from our thoughts. And the author has already written about the principle of distancing from Avodah-Zarah (Mitzvah 26).

Some of the Dinim of the Mitzvah The Gemara in Avodah-Zarah (51b) incorporates in the prohibition whatever they use to sacrifice to their idols, even just water and salt. That means to say that, even though these commodities are inappropriate for this purpose, and that they were probably not placed before their idols to honour them at all, they are nevertheless forbidden So too, did the Chachamim prohibit all wine of a gentile, even though one does not know for a fact that it was poured as a sacrifice. And this is referred to as 'Stam Yeinom'. There is however, a difference between known Yayin Nesech and S'tam Yeinam, in that, based on the Pasuk (in Re'ei) "And nothing from the ban shall cleave to you", even the smallest amount of the former is forbidden, and is subject to Malkos (thirty-nine lashes); whereas the latter is merely subject to Makas Mardus (Rabbinical lashes) provided one drinks a Revi'is (a quarter of a Lug), but not less, even though the prohibition even be'Hana'ah (to derive any benefit from it) applies even to the minutest amount. Apart from wine, there is no other commodity that is subject to the stringency of prohibiting S'tam (even where it is not known to have been used for idolatrous purposes), unless it is obvious from the object itself that it has (such as idols themselves, which the Gemara in Avodah-Zarah [41a] specifically forbids). What's more, such objects are forbidden even if one finds them thrown away, they are only permitted under the circumstances specified by the Chachamim. And it also seems that one should avoid purchasing any object that gives the impression of having been used for idol-worshipping purposes Chazal issued many other prohibitions regarding S'tam Yeinam, both because wine is the chief commodity that the idolaters use in their joyous sacrificial ceremonies, and because the Pasuk in Ha'azinu mentions it specifically, when it writes (32:35) " and they drink the wine of their libations". That is why they said for example, that even wine belonging to a Jew that is touched by a gentile becomes forbidden - even be'hana'ah. But how can that be, you may well ask, when Chazal have said that one person cannot render another's forbidden on the owner? The answer is that this was only said with regard to cases such as Reuven prostrating himself in front of Shimon's animal, which remains permitted to Shimon, because Reuven did not perform an act with the animal concerned; But once he performs an act with the object (even if it is something insignificant, such as merely touching it, as in our case), he does indeed render it forbidden to the owner, albeit mi'de'Rabbanan. Should he perform a major act such as Shechting the animal to Avodah-Zarah, or pouring the wine in front of the idol, then the prohibition on the owner is min ha'Torah. And because the initial case (where the gentile only touched the wine not in front of an idol) is only an Isur mi'de'Rabbanan, they permitted accepting payment for the damage and deriving benefit from it (which is not the case by Yayin Nesech proper), ascribing to it the Din of payment for damages (rather than the exchange of Avodah-Zarah).

Chazal were also exceptionally stringent with regard to distancing wine that was actually poured out to Avodah-Zarah, or to any derivative of Avodah-Zarah, more than all other Isurim. For there is nothing else from which the Torah forbids benefit (Isurei Hana'ah) that is mixed with Heter and is not recognizable, that cannot be rectified (to permit deriving benefit from it), even if liquid falls into liquid (as we shall now see), with the exception of Yayin Nesech and other forms of Avodah-Zarah. This general leniency is based on the ruling of Raban Shimon ben Gamliel, who permits selling such a mixture to gentiles, as long as one deducts the value of the forbidden item, unless that is, the mixture concerned may not be purchased by a Yisrael, in case he inadvertently comes to sin (in which case the Chachamim forbade it). And it goes without saying that one cannot permit such a mixture containing Yayin Nesech by taking the value of the Isur and throwing it into the Yam ha'Melach (which is sometimes permitted [where it will soon disintegrate]).

The above stringency only applies however, to where the wine and the Heter have actually mixed (even if it is one drop in a jar holding many Sa'im); but not to where a barrel of Yayin Nesech got mixed up with many barrels of Kasher wine, where the Isur has not intrinsically mixed together with the Heter, we will indeed rely on Raban Shimon ben Gamliel's Heter (of selling it all to a gentile ). And so we do in the case of S'tam Yeinam (even If it has mixed with the Kasher wine), seeing as it is not real Yayin Nesech It is important to know that although other Isurim only become forbidden if they add taste to the permitted food into which they have fallen (which is generally considered to be one or more in sixty), but not less (with the exception of a Davar Chashuv, which, the Rabbanan decreed, never becomes Bateil), this distinction does not extend to Yayin Nesech and other items of Avodah-Zarah, of which even the minutest amount renders Asur. The only other exceptions to the above distinctions, are K'lai ha'Kerem and Chametz on Pesach, which, according to some, requires not more than one in two hundred (irrespective of whether it is the same species or not) in order to become Bateil, and Orlah, which requires not more than one in a hundred. Two other areas where Chazal dealt stringently are a. regarding the prohibition of beer made from Yayin Nesech that remains Asur be'Hana'ah and b. regarding the remuneration of anybody who works in connection with Yayin Nesech, even if it is for breaking barrels in which Yayin Nesech was kept, because he wants the Yayin Nesech to remain in the world, even if it is only for a short time. And the Chachamim want to remove from our minds any desire for it to remain, even for one brief second, borne of an utter loathing for Avodah-Zarah and anything to do with it. So we tell him to break it and let him be blessed for having minimized this scourge.

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