This issue is sponsored by
Vol. 14 No. 19
Rabbi and Mrs. Yosef Kaufman n.y.
in honour of the marriage of their son
Eli to Yocheved (Chechik) n.y.
She'yizku li'v'nos bayis ne'eman be'Yisrael
The Fifteen Things
(Based on the K'li Yakar)
Rashi comments that Yisrael donated thirteen things for the Mishkan. In view of the fact that the numerical value of both the word 'Ahavah' and 'Echad' equals thirteen, it is feasible to say that this number hints a. at the mutual love that exists between G-d and Yisrael ("Ani le'Dodi ve'Dodi li") and b. at the Oneness of Hashem that it portrays (see Rashi Korach, 16:10).
In fact, the commentaries ask, the Torah's list includes fifteen commodities, and not thirteen? The Ra'am answers that, since the first three items all comprise different coloured wools, they are considered one. The Chizkuni on the other hand, explains that the spices are not considered an independent gift, since they were mixed into the anointing oil, at which stage they were no longer visible; whereas the precious stones were brought specifically by the princes, and not by the people at large.
The K'li Yakar however, who ascribes the above explanation to the Medrash Tanchuma, prefers the opinion of most commentaries, who refer to (not thirteen, but) fifteen things that were donated. This goes well with the explanation of Rabeinu Bachye and others, who explain that the three sections of the Mishkan (the Kodesh Kodshim, the Heichal and the Chatzer) corresponded to the three worlds (that of the angels, of the constellations (the sun, moon and stars), and our world. And as is well-known, Hashem created the world with the Name 'Kah' (spelt 'Yud' 'Hey', which add up to fifteen, a thought that is enhanced by the fifteen steps that lead from the Ezras Nashim to the Ezras Yisrael (to which the Mishnah in Succah alludes, and which form the basis of the fifteen 'Shir ha'Ma'alos' said by David ha'Melech in Tehilim). This in itself, hints that it is the Mishkan (and the Avodah that is performed in it) that keeps the world going. And it also explains, says the K'li Yakar, why the Beis-Hamikdash would later be built by Shlomoh, who was the fifteenth generation after Avraham.
Pointing out that the Torah writes "And they shall make for Me a Mikdash and I will dwell (not, in its midst, but) in their midst", the commentaries explain that it is not so much in the Mishkan that G-d wishes to dwell, but in the hearts of K'lal Yisrael. Man too, says the K'li Yakar, is a mini world. He too, consists of three parts, and so the analogy to the world and to the Mikdash becomes complete. Man's head can be compared to the world of the angels (the Kodesh Kodshim, containing the Cherubs), his heart (the Heichal, containing the Menorah) to that of the constellations, and the lower part of his body to this world (the Chatzer, in which animals are sacrificed). In that case, the Mishkan and later the Mikdash, were not an end in themselves, but a means to bring the Shechinah into man.
It seems to me that, by bringing man into the picture, the connection to the fifteen things becomes that much more viable. Man alone of all the creations, comprises a body and a Soul, the one representing this world, the other, the World to Come. For as is well-known, Hashem created this world with the 'Hey' and the World to Come with the 'Yud' (as is hinted at the end of 'u'Vo le'Yziyon Go'eil', when we say "ki be'Koh Hashem Tzur olamim"). And this incorporates man, whose body is made from the earth, but whose Soul is made from the Heaven.
Furthermore, this link between the Mishkan and man is the answer to the question posed by the angels, as to why Hashem chose to rest His Shechinah here on earth, when His praises would be increased manifold if He were to leave it in Heaven, where it resided prior to the building of the Mishkan?
Only it is not just the quantity of praises that is at stake here, but their quality. To be sure, far more of Hashem's praises stand to be sung by the celestial creatures than by their earthly counterparts. But celestial creatures are Heavenly by nature. They praise Hashem because that is the way they are.
Human beings on the other hand, comprise two parts. Their bodies are made of earth, which has no natural tendency to praise Hashem. The praises that emanate from man may be fewer in number, but when he does praise Hashem, it follows a personal decision to do so. He has had to work on himself, to overcome a natural tendency not to, which renders it of superior quality, and therefore more precious in Hashem's eyes.
* * *
All for the Sake of Hashem
"Speak to the B'nei Yisrael and they shall take for me a gift ... " (25:2).
'For Me", comments Rashi, 'for My sake'.
The S'fas Emes, commenting on the Pasuk in Chagai (2:8) " 'Silver and gold belong to me', says Hashem", asks why Hashem sees fit to take pride in the fact that all silver and gold belongs to Him. Does not everything belong to Him anyway, so what is special about these commodities?
And based on the above Rashi, he explains that what the Pasuk really means to say is that silver and gold were created to be used for the sake of Hashem. Consequently, the correct translation of the Pasuk is 'Silver and gold were created for Me'. They were never meant to be used for one's personal benefit, but in the service of one's Creator.
R. Meir Shapiro explains that Tzadikim understand that with money, one can support Talmidei-Chachamim, build and maintain Torah institutions, and perform other important Mitzvos, Mitzvos that often cannot be performed with one's body. Hence Chazal have said that 'Tzadikim hold their money dearer than their bodies'.
Resha'im, on the other hand, spend all their money in pursuit of physical pleasure. Thus the main objective of money is for the sake of their bodies. That is why their bodies are dearer to them than their money.
"And they shall make the Aron ... two and a half Amos its length, one and half Amos its width and one and a half Amos its height" (25:10).
All the measurements of the Aron, observes R. Nasan Adler, are halves (broken). This comes to teach us, he explains, that a Talmid-Chacham must always be broken in his own esteem. He must realize that however much Torah he has learned, he has only reached the halfway mark, and that he still has that much more to learn.
Or as the Pardes Yosef puts it, the Torah is described as 'larger than the world and wider than the sea', making it beyond the capacity of man to complete.
"The staves shall be placed in the rings of the Aron; they shall not be removed from it" (25:15).
According to the Chachamim, says the Alshich, the Aron represents the crown of Torah, which is accessible to anyone who studies it. Indeed, that is why the Pasuk writes "And they shall make the Aron, rather than (he [Betzalel], as it does in connection with all the other holy vessels.
Torah-study is not possible however, without supporters, and it is the supporters at whom the staves hint.
And it is in connection with the people who support Torah that the Torah forbids ever removing the staves from the Aron. Inasmuch as they are considered an integral part of the Torah establishment without which Torah cannot flourish. They must remember never to be lax in the vital role that they play in maintaining the Talmidei-Chachamim, never to withdraw their vital support, even for one moment.
Children's Chinuch - Only the Best!
"And you shall make two golden cherubs of gold" (25:18).
All the holy vessels in both the Mishkan and the Mikdash could be manufactured out of any metal (Mechilta [even though the Torah specifies gold in connection with them]). The one exception is the cherubs, which had to be made of gold, and of no other metal.
R. Meir Shapiro attributes this to the fact that they symbolized children, as Chazal explain. The Torah placed them on top of the Aron which housed the Luchos, to teach us the obligation to imbibe our children with nothing else other than Torah. And when it comes to the Chinuch of our children, he says, it is not good enough to go for copper P'rutos. Only golden Dinrim will do!
* * *
From the Haftarah
(Adapted from the Ma'yanah shel Torah)
Two Kinds of Peace
"And there was peace between Chirom (King of Tyre) and Shlomoh, and they entered into a covenant, the two of them" (Melachim 1 5:26).
How does Shlomoh ha'Melech come to enter into a covenant with a gentile, asks R. Bunim from P'shischa?
The Pasuk forestalls this question, he replies, when it says (not 'And the two of them entered into a covenant', but) "And they entered into a covenant, the two of them", implying that even after they entered into the covenant, they remained two separate individuals, with no real common bond.
In Parshas Vayeira (22: 27), describing the covenant that Avraham entered into with Avimelech, the Torah does indeed write "And the two of them entered into a covenant"? The question posed by R. Bunim from P'shischa will certainly apply there.
Perhaps we can differentiate between the era prior to the giving of the Torah (where Yisrael had not yet been designated as
G-d's nation) and the era afterwards. And a precedent for this distinction is to be found in R. Bachye in Parshas Bo (11:2). Commenting on the Pasuk " ... And they shall request, each man from his friend and each woman from her friend", R. Bachye writes that before Matan Torah, it was not inappropriate to refer to a gentile as 'friend' (re'eihu), since at that stage, all members of the human race were members of the same brotherhood.
But once the Torah was given, all that changed, every mention in the Torah of 'brother' and 'friend' refers exclusively to one's fellow-Jews.
One in Ten
"And King Shlomoh imposed a levy upon all of Yisrael. The tax comprised thirty thousand men." (Ibid 5:28).
The Medrash relates how G-d instructed David ha'Melech to ensure that half the people should study Torah full-time. Now Talmidei-Chachamim are exempt from taxes, as is well-known.
Assuming that Yisrael numbered the standard six hundred thousand, this means that three-hundred thousand people were subject to the above levy, in which case Shlomoh imposed a levy of one in ten to work in Lebanon with the cutting of trees for the Beis-Hamikdash.
These thirty-thousand men, the Pasuk goes on to explain, worked in shifts; they spent one month in Lebanon, and two months at home (R. Yonasan Eibeschitz).
* * *
"Speak to the B'nei Yisrael and they shall place before Me a gift from all those who wish to volunteer, but not by force, you shall take My gift" (25:2).
"Three goblets, engraved with their pictures on one branch, a knob and a flower ... " (25:33).
" ... you shall make its seven lamps, and the appointed Kohen shall kindle them ... " (25:37).
"And you shall join the five curtains independently, corresponding to the five Books of the Torah; and the six curtains independently, corresponding to the six tractates of the Mishnah ... " (26:9).
"And the centre bolt in the middle of the planks (manufactured) from the tree that Avraham planted in Be'er-Sheva. When Yisrael crossed the Yam-Suf, angels cut it down and threw it into the Sea, where it floated on the surface of the water. And an angel made an announcement that this was the tree that Avraham planted in Be'er-Sheva, where he prayed in the Name of Hashem; so Yisrael took it and made from it the central bolt. It measured seventy Amos and a miracle occurred with it, inasmuch as when they erected the Mishkan, it went round the corners like a snake, inside the planks of the Mishkan; and when it was dismantled, it straightened like a stick". (26:28).
* * *
AND THEIR MEANING
(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.
Arranging the Lechem ha'Panim
and the Levonah (cont.)
In fact, the Gemara in Megilah (26b) informs us that precisely because it was used for a Mitzvah and the will of G-d was performed with it, the Lechem ha'Panim was subject to a tremendous blessing, in that any Kohen who received and ate as little as a 'k'pul' (the volume of a large bean) was satisfied ... All of these Holy items (such as the Shulchan, the Menorah, the Lechem ha'Panim and the Korbanos) were commanded (not for the benefit of Hashem but) for our sakes, in the way that we just explained. The mere suggestion that placing the Loaves on the Table and then removing them whole, will benefit Hashem (Kevayachol), with regard to sight, smell or in any other way, is nothing short of absurd. Only He commanded us this Mitzvah because, in His infinite goodness, it is His will that we should be blessed.
The Levonah, which comes together with the Loaves, is described as 'the Fire-offering of Hashem', because, as the commentaries explain, it is the only part of the sacrifice that goes to Hashem (since it is burned each Shabbos when the Loaves are removed). This is not to say (Chalilah) that in Heaven, any real distinction is drawn between the Levonah and the actual Loaves. Not at all! The two are one and the same; for just as Hashem commanded us to arrange the Loaves on the Table, and we did; so too did He command us to burn the Levonah, and we did. But all these things are said from the point of view of the performers. For when all's said and done, it would look strange to say that bread that is eaten by the Kohanim is 'all for Hashem', seeing as they are the ones who are eating it. It is only possible to say this about something from which man derives no physical benefit whatsoever, something that is used up entirely for the Mitzvah. And because the pleasure of smell is not considered a physical pleasure, but rather pertains to the Soul (since the body only absorbs pleasures that are tangible) the Torah always equates smell with Hashem (hence the constantly recurring phrase "a fire-offering, a pleasant smell for Hashem"). And this, despite the fact that in the face of G-d's superiority and greatness, He is in fact, not subject to such (physical) things at all, for He is neither a body nor does He possess physical attributes, as everybody knows. As a matter of fact, the Toras Kohanim has already explained that, wherever the Torah uses the expression "a fire-offering, a pleasant smell for Hashem" it really means that He commanded, and His will was carried out. And the same applies to the phrase "And Hashem smelt the pleasant smell" in Parshas No'ach (8:21).
The Rambam however, writes that he does not know how to explain the Shulchan with the Loaves that are on it.
Some of the Dinim of the Mitzvah ... Chazal (in Toras Kohanim) have said that on each of the two rows of bread (each comprising six loaves) they would place a vessel (known as a Bozoch) containing a fistful of Levonah, as the Torah writes in Emor (24:7) "And you shall place on the row (i.e. on each of the two rows) pure frankincense" ... And each Shabbos, the Kohanim remove the Loaves and immediately re-place them with fresh ones. The loaves that have been removed are distributed among the ingoing group (of Kohanim), the outgoing group and the Kohen Gadol, who then eat it (in the Azarah) ... And how is the bread arranged? Four Kohanim enter the Heichal carrying the fresh Loaves and the Bazichin, preceded by four other Kohanim who first remove last week's Loaves from the Table. The Gemara in Menachos (99b) explains that they would take care that the new Loaves were placed on the Table simultaneously with the removal of the old ones ('tifcho shel zeh be'tzad tifcho shel zeh') to implement literally, the Pasuk "before Me always" ... The shape of the Loaves and the way they are placed (in a way that allowed air to pass between the them) ... as well as the other details of the Mitzvah, are discussed in the eleventh Perek of Menachos, and in the fifth chapter of Hilchos Temidin in the Rambam.
This Mitzvah applies when the Beis-Hamikdash is standing, to male Kohanim only, since it is they, and not the women, who perform the Avodah.