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

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Vol. 23   No. 23

This issue is sponsored l'iluy Nishmas
Zereg ben Menachem z"l

Parshas Pikudei

It Depends Who the Builders Are

(Based on the Seforno)

"These are the reckonings of the Mishkan, the Mishkan of testimony, which were reckoned at Moshe's bidding, the service of the Levi'im, at the hand of Isamar the son of Aharon ha'Kohen. And Betzalel the son Uri the son of Chur from the tribe of Yehudah did everything that G-d commanded Moshe" (38:21/22).


Based on this Pasuk, the Seforno gives four reasons to explain the Mishkan's unique features

1. Because it contained the two stone Luchos with the Ten Commandments;

2. Because it was commanded and overseen by Moshe Rabeinu - whose Midah was 'Netzach' (eternity).

3. Because the service in the Mishkan was performed by the Levi'im under the jurisdiction of Isamar, Aharon's son.

4. Because Betzalel, son of Uri, son of Chur (Miriam's son) was its chief architect and builder. The Torah is clearly teaching us here that a venture whose central theme is Torah, and that is ordained, constructed and overseen by Tzadikim of the caliber of the aforementioned, will meet with complete success. It explains why the Shechinah was present in the Mishkan, resulting in many miracles that occurred there on an ongoing basis.

It explains why the Mishkan was eternal. When its time expired, it simply disappeared in its entirety - and is still intact, as Chazal learn from the words describing the planks that formed the walls - "acacia -wood, standing' - standing forever.

And it explains why it never fell into the hands of the enemy (on the one occasion that the Aron was captured by the P'lishtim, it was returned intact and with great Kavod).

In contrast, the author writes, the first Beis-ha'Mikdash may have housed the Shechinah - because it was commanded and overseen by Sh'lomoh ha'Melech and the service was performed by Levi'im. But it became dilapidated to the point that it needed to be reconstructed, and ultimately, it fell into the hands of the Babylonians who destroyed it - because it was built by foreign workers (Chirom, king of Tyre and his men).

And as for the second Beis-ha'Mikdash, the Shechinah did not dwell in it, it was devoid of an eternal character, in that it had to be rebuilt (by Herod) and eventually, it too, fell into the hands of the Romans - because none of the above reasons pertained to it. It was ordained by Koresh, King of Persia, its builders included men of Sidon and Tyre, few, if any, Levi'im served in it, and it did not contain the Aron.

* * *

It's All in the Torah
(Adapted from Rabeinu Bachye)

"Eileh pikudei ha'Mishkan, Mishkan ho'eidus" (38:21/22).

As is well-known, the first Beis-ha'Mikdash, which was built four hundred and eighty years after the Jews left Egypt, stood for four hundred and ten years, the second, for four hundred and twenty. Remarkably, R. Bachye observes, these three periods are hinted in the Gematriyos of the opening words of the Parshah

The Gematriyah of "Mishkan" is four hundred and ten, and of "ha'Mishkan", including the five letters, four hundred and twenty. Some commentaries explain that the missing five hints at the five things that were missing in the second Beis-ha'Mikdash - the Aron, incorporating the lid and the K'ruvim, the Divine fire (that consumed the Korbanos), the Shechinah, Ru'ach ha'Kodesh and the Urim ve'Tumim (the Name of Hashem that was placed in the folds of the Choshen Mishpat).

And the Gematriyah of "ho'eidus" is four hundred and seventy-nine, the number of years from the time that they built the Mishkan (in the second year in the desert) until they built the Beis-ha'Mikdash.


In conjunction with the above, Chazal, commenting on the double expression "ha'Mishkan Mishkan" point out that the Beis-ha'Mikdash was taken twice as a security (from the word 'Mashkon' - a security) - thereby averting the annihilation of K'lal Yisrael. This also explains why the Torah uses the word 'Mishkan', despite the fact that it is referring to the Beis-ha'Mikdash (and not the Mishkan).

* * *

The Month without a Mazel

The Adar that is next to Nisan is always short (twenty-nine days), whereas Adar Rishon in a leap-year is always full (thirty days).

Although the Mazel of Adar is 'Dogim' (fish[es]), in a leap-year, Adar Sheini (not Adar Rishon, as we mistakenly wrote in Parshas T'rumah) has no Mazel. Presumably, this means that, bearing in mind that Yisrael is above Mazel - he can overcome a negative Mazel, but with difficulty - in Adar, he can merit much good with less effort than on other months, since there is no bad Mazel that needs to be overcome! See also end of following article.


The Battle with Amalek

At the end of Parshas Beshalach, which we read on Purim, Rashi, with reference to the Pasuk that refers to Moshe's hand as 'being faithful until the sun set', gives the following explanation: Amalek, with his knowledge of astrology, knew exactly which time of day he would win. So what did Moshe do? He caused the sun to stand still, thereby confusing Amalek, who would now not have an accurate reading of the time.

R. Bachye explains that Amalek chose soldiers, again using astrology, whom he knew would not die that year; so Moshe instructed Yehoshua to do likewise - a strange battle if ever there was one!

The commentary there however, cites the Chizkuni, who, commenting on the Pasuk "Choose for us men" (the same Pasuk that serves as the basis for R. Bachye's explanation) comments that this refers to 'men' who were born in Adar sheini, and who would not therefore be subject to the witchcraft which Amalek employed, based on the Mazalos (See previous piece).


Rosh Chodesh Adar
(on what days it can, and can't, fall)

Nowadays, when the calendar is fixed, and not dependent on the testimony of witnesses who saw the new moon, the first of Adar (Sheini in a leap-year) can fall on one of four days - Monday, Wednesday, Friday or Shabbos.

It cannot fall on Sunday, because then Rosh Chodesh Nisan, and subsequently Pesach, will fall on Monday - clashing with the principle 'Lo Badu Pesach (Pesach cannot fall on Monday, Wednesday or Friday, which we will explain shortly). Incidentally, it is for the same reason that Purim cannot fall on Shabbos nowadays.

And based on the same principle, it cannot fall on Tuesday or on Thursday, because then Pesach would fall on Wednesday or Friday (respectively).


The reason that Pesach cannot fall on any of the above three days has nothing to do with Pesach itself, but is connected with Yom Kipur and Hoshana Rabah that follow later in the year (the year of Yamim-Tovim begins in Nisan) in the following way:


Chazal did not want Yom Kipur to fall on Friday or Sunday a). to avoid a delay of two days regarding someone who died on the first of the two days (on any other Yom-tov in Chutz la'Aretz, a gentile [on the first day of Yom-Tov] and even a Jew (on the second day) is permitted to perform the burial, but not on Yom Kipur and b). because vegetables that cannot be prepared and cooked on the first day would be inedible by the second day.

Likewise, they did not want Hoshana Rabah to fall on Shabbos, to ensure that the Mitzvah of Hosha'anos, which are taken only once on Succos and which is Muktzah on Shabbos, is indeed performed.

What has all this got to do with the day on which Pesach falls?

Bearing in mind that Nisan, Sivan and Av always comprise thirty days, and Iyar and Tamuz, twenty-nine, it will transpire that if Pesach were to fall on Monday, Rosh Hashanah would fall on Wednesday and Yom Kipur, on Friday;

If it were to fall on Wednesday, then Rosh Hashanah would fall on Friday and Yom Kipur on Sunday, whereas if it would fall on Friday, then Rosh Hashanah would fall on Sunday and Hoshana Rabah, on Shabbos.

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