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

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Vol. 15   No. 19

This issue is sponsored
l'iluy Nishmas
Tzvi Meir ben R' Shimon Baruch Izkowitz z"l
whose Yohrzeit was on 28 Shevat
by his family

Parshas Terumah

The Measurements of the Chatzer

The Pillars and the Spaces

"And its pillars, twenty, and its sockets twenty (both) of copper " (27:10).

Rashi explains that there was a space of five Amos between each pillar.

The problem with this, says the Riva, is that, seeing as twenty pillars means nineteen spaces, the length of the Chatzer would have been, not a hundred Amos, but ninety five. And the same problem exists with regard to the width of the Mishkan, where there were ten pillars (and nine spaces), which total forty-five Amos, and not fifty .


To answer the question, the Riva explains that in fact, there were twenty-one pillars on the north side (running from east to west), only the twenty-first pillar (on the north-western corner), belonged to those on the west side; Similarly, there were eleven pillars on the west side (running from north to south), only the eleventh pillar (on the south-western corner) belonged to those on the south side, and so the twenty-first pillar on the south side (on the south-eastern corner) belonged to those on the east side, and the eleventh pillar on the east side (on the north-eastern corner) belonged to the pillars on the north side.

According to this explanation, he adds, the five Amah spaces between one pillar and the next included the width of the pillar.


Citing his Rebbe, R. Efrayim, the Riva gives a second explanation. R. Efrayim maintains that the pillars were not included in the spaces, and that it was they that made up the missing Amos. Only this would mean, he points out, that the pillars that comprised the width (on the east and west sides) were twice as wide as those that comprised the length (the north and south).

This is due to the fact that there were twenty pillars to make-up the five-Amah deficiency along the latter, but only ten pillars to make-up the same deficiency along the former.


The Height of the Hangings

"The length of the Chatzer was a hundred Amos, its width, fifty by fifty, and its height was five Amos, (made of) twined linen ".

This implies, says the Da'as Zekeinim M.T., that the height of the linen hangings was five Amos. A problem, they point out, seeing as the Mizbei'ach, which stood in the Azarah, was ten Amos tall (nine, without the k'ronos [the cubic blocks] on the corners). This means that people standing outside the Azarah could see the Kohanim performing the Avodah, contravening the principle of 'Hatzne'a Leches' (modesty), to which the Gemara in Succah (49b), citing the Navi Michah, attaches so much importance.


It therefore seems that the five Amos referred to by the Pasuk constitutes five Amos over and above the height of the Mizbei'ach. In that case, the actual height of the hangings was (not five, but) fifteen Amos.

They cite R. Yitzchak b'R. Avraham however, who poses another problem, as a result of which he offers an alternative explanation to the previous one.

Assuming that the height of the entrance to the Azarah of the Mishkan had to be the same as that of the Beis-Hamikdash, he points out that the latter was twenty Amos, in which case the hangings of the former could not possibly have been a mere five Amos tall?

He therefore explains that the hangings on the north, south and west sides of the Azarah were fifteen Amos tall, and when the Torah gives the height as five Amos, it is referring to the hangings on the east side, which were (not five Amos, but) five Amos taller than those of the other three sides - twenty Amos, the same height as the entrance to the Azarah in the Beis-Hamikdash.

* * *

Parsha Pearls

The Command of the Mishkan Preceded the Eigel

"Speak to the B'nei Yisrael, and they shall take for Me a separation " (25:2).

This Parshah, says the Da'as Zekeinim mi'Ba'alei Tosfos, was told to Moshe within the first forty days following Matan Torah.

Already then, G-d commanded him to build a Mishkan with a Kodesh Kodshim in which the Aron, containing the Luchos would be placed, and that there the Shechinah would rest. He was told that Yisrael would encamp around the Mishkan with the Shechinah among them, just like the angels that surrounded the Kisei ha'Kavod, with the Shechinah in the middle.

And that is what the Pasuk in Tehilim (82:6) is referring to when it writes "I said that you are angels, and that all of you are sons of the most High" - ' that My Shechinah will dwell among you as it dwells among them'.


Making it a Little Lighter

"And you shall overlay it with pure gold, on the inside and on the outside " (25:11).

Actually, says the Da'as Zekeinim M.T., the Aron ought to have been made entirely of gold. And the reason that it was not is because it was carried on the Levi'im's shoulders, in which case it would have been too heavy. Perhaps you will ask how the Aron can have been too heavy, seeing as it carried those who carried it, as Chazal have taught?

The answer is that that was only on the one occasion when they crossed the River Yardein. There is no indication that it was a regular occurrence.

But if that is true (the Da'as Zekeinim queries his own explanation), then why, in the time of David Ha'Melech, was Uzo punished for grabbing hold of the Aron, when it threatened to fall off the wagon? Chazal explain there that it was because he ought to have realized that if the Aron carried those who (purportedly) carried it, it was certainly able to carry itself. But according to what we just said, the Aron did not carry those who carried it (except for the one occasion)?


And it is for the very same reason that the Mizbei'ach ha'Zahav and the Mizbei'ach ha'Nechoshes (both of which were carried on the shoulders) were made of acacia wood and only overlaid, the one with gold, the other, with copper.


The Luchos Before the Lid

"And into the Aron you shall place the (Luchos of) Testimony" (25:21).

The Pasuk is coming to teach us that the Luchos must be placed inside the Aron before it is covered with the lid (see Rashi).

But isn't that obvious, asks the Rosh? How can one possibly place the Luchos (or anything else for that matter) inside an Aron which is covered by a lid?

Not at all, he answers?

What the Pasuk means is that one may not place a lid on the Aron (even temporarily) before the Luchos are lying inside it. Perhaps, one may add, this is akin to saying that as soon as the Aron is completed, the Luchos should be placed inside it, even before covering it with the lid.


The Standing Planks

"And you shall make the planks for the Mishkan, of cedar wood, standing" (26:15).

See Rashi.

The simple explanation, says the Da'as Zekeinim M.T. is that Moshe was to use wood from standing cedars, and not from trees that had been cut down and were perhaps already turning mouldy.

Chazal however, learn from here that the planks of the Mishkan stood forever. To this day, they are still intact, but hidden.

* * *


"And you shall place it (the copper netting of meshwork) underneath the surrounding border of the Mizbei'ach, so that, should a bone or a burning coal fall off the Mizbei'ach, it will land on the copper netting and will not reach the ground. The Kohanim will then take it from there and put it back on the Mizbei'ach" (27:5).



" and they shall take for Me Terumah (a separation)" 25:2.

Terumah contains the letters 'Mem' Torah, hinting at the Torah that was given in forty days. For so Chazal have said 'The Torah was given first and foremost to those who ate the Manna, and secondly, to those who eat Terumah'. (Eating what is not Kasher has a negative affect on one's mind; eating what is Kasher does not; eating what is holy has a positive effect on it).


"And they shall take for Me", comments the Ba'al ha'Turim, implies that whoever studies Torah takes Hashem for himself (as if it had written 'Take Me'), in keeping with what Chazal have taught 'G-d has nothing in this world other than the four Amos of Halachah'.

And this explains why the Torah juxtaposes this Parshah next to that of Matan Torah.


"And you shall make two Cherubs and their faces shall turn to one another" (25:18/20).

Like two Chaverim (study partners), explains the Ba'al ha'Turim, discussing Torah topics with each other.


"And I shall dwell (ve'shochanti) in the midst of B'nei Yisrael " (25:8).

The letters in the word "ve'shochanti" also spell "ve'shochan 'Tav' 'Yud' (and He will dwell four hundred and ten) - the number of years that the first Beis-Hamikdash stood. And that is also the equivalent Gematriyah to the word "Kodosh" (in the Pasuk "And You who are Holy (Kodosh), dwells on the praises of Yisrael").


"Sh'nei Keruvim" has the same Gematriyah as 'Avraham, Yitzchak Ya'akov', as their function was to remember the merits of the Avos, says the Ba'al ha'Turim. In fact, the two Keruvim plus Moshe, which total three, correspond to the three Avos. And the first letters of "Mi'bein Sh'nei Ha'keruvim" (from between the two Cherubs) spells 'Mosheh'.



" eis kol asher atzaveh oscho (all that I command you [25:22])"

has the same Gematriyah as 'Taryag Mitzvos', says the Rosh.


" the Menorah shall be made (te'aseh) " (25:31)

The word "te'aseh" contains an extra 'Yud', says the Rosh, hinting at the ten extra Menoros that Shlomoh Hamelech made for the Beis-Hamikdash.

The Gemara in Menachos (28:) gives the height of the Menorah as eighteen Tefachim, and this is hinted, says the Da'as Zekeinim M.T. in the Pasuk in Beha'aloscha "ve'Zeh ma'aseh ha'Menorah", since the Gematriyah of "ve'Zeh" is eighteen.


"And you shall make the Mizbei'ach ... five Amos long and five Amos wide, and three Amos tall" (27:1).

The acronym of 'Mizbei'ach', the Rosh points out, is - Mechilah, Z'chus, B'rachah, Chayim' (forgiveness, merit, blessing, life).

The Da'as Zekeinim M.T adds that the measurements of the Mizbei'ach represented the five commandments on each of the two Luchos, and the three redeemers, Moshe, Aharon and Miriam.

* * *

(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 107:
To Anoint the Kohen Gadol and the Kings of Beis David with Anointing-Oil

It is a Mitzvah to make the anointing oil in the manner prescribed by the Torah, as it is written in Ki Sissa (30:25) "And with it you shall manufacture oil of sacred anointment", from which one should be prepared to anoint every Kohen Gadol who is appointed, as the Pasuk writes in Emor (21:10) "And the Kohen who is greater than his brothers on whose head is poured the anointing oil". And similarly, some of the kings are anointed too, as well as the holy vessels of the Beis-Hamikdash. In time to come however, it will not be necessary to anoint the latter; rather they will become sanctified by being used for the Avodah, as the above Pasuk in Ki Sisa states "this shall be for Me for your generations" - So they said in the Sifri.

A reason for the Mitzvah G-d wanted that on the day that we enter the inauguration ceremony celebrating the glory of His Holy Service, there should appear on us visible signs of greatness and praise. This He did by means of the anointing oil, for anointing with fragrant oil is something that is generally reserved exclusively for great kings and leaders. It is also part of the very foundation of the Mitzvah itself, inasmuch as it renders the vessels of the Beis-Hamikdash ready for immediate use, thereby enhancing the esteem of the holy place, in that whoever needs to use one of the holy vessels is not held back due to the particular vessel being unavailable.

Some of the Dinim of the Mitzvah Regarding the manner in which the oil is prepared; Myrrh, fragrant cinnamon & cassia each weighing five hundred Shekel is used, only the cinnamon was weighed in two lots, in order to increase the 'hachro'os' (the small extra amount that was added to all the respective ingredients when they were weighed). Fragrant cane weighing two hundred and fifty Shekel (all of these were to be found in the islands in the vicinity of India), and one Hin (twelve Lugin) of olive-oil. After all of these had been sufficiently cooked, the mixture would weigh twelve Lugin. A hint for this lies in the word "Zeh" (in Pasuk 31, whose gematriyah is twelve) and the remaining details are discussed in the first chapter of K'riysus.

This Mitzvah applies when the Beis Hamikdash stands. It is a communal Mitzvah, as is the actual construction of the Beis-Hamikdash.


Mitzvah 108:
That a Zar is Forbidden to Anoint Himself with the Anointing-Oil

(Apart from the kings of Yehudah) only Kohanim are permitted to be anointed with the anointing-oil that Moshe made, as the Pasuk writes in Ki Sissa (30:32) "On the flesh of a man it shall not be poured". The Torah clearly states that a Zar (a non-Kohen Gadol) who does anoint himself with it is subject to Kareis, as the Torah writes there (Pasuk 33) "and whoever places it on a Zar shall be cut-off". Should he do so be'Shogeg (without realizing that it is prohibited) he has to bring a fixed Chatas (i.e. irrespective of whether he is rich or poor).

A reason for the Mitzvah to enhance the esteem of the Beis-Hamikdash (as we explained in the previous Mitzvah). That is why it would not be correct for ordinary people to use such revered oil that is reserved for the Beis-Hamikdash, but rather that it should be reserved exclusively for more distinguished people, such as Kohanim (Gedolim) and kings. Moreover, now that they are forbidden to use it, it will become precious in the people's eyes, and they will develop a strong desire to use it; for the value of any article to a person is commensurate with its availability.

Some of the Dinim of the Mitzvah The Gemara says in K'riysus (6b) that one is only Chayav Kareis if one rubs in the amount of a k'Zayis, and that one is Chayav only if one anoints oneself with the oil that Moshe manufactured, but not with anointing oil made by anybody else We have a tradition that miraculously, Moshe's oil will last forever Our sages say there that one does not anoint Kohanim who are initiated to the Kehunah, only Kohanim Gedolim, Kohanim who are anointed for war and kings from Malchus Beis David. Other kings are not anointed with this oil, only with balsam oil The anointing of a king is performed in a different way than that of a Kohen Gadol Chazal also say that a king who is the son of a king does not require anointing unless his right to reign is being disputed (which is the reason that Shlo'moh Hamelech had to be anointed) and the remaining details are discussed in the third Perek of K'riysus (and in the Rambam, Hilchos K'lei Hamikdash, chapters 1 & 2).

This Mitzvah applies at all times, wherever the anointing oil is to be found, to men and women alike. Whoever contravenes it and rubs into his skin some of the oil on purpose, is Chayav Kareis; by mistake, he is Chayav a fixed Chatas.

* * *

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