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

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Vol. 19   No. 19

This issue is sponsored
by Family Wilschanski
l'iluy Nishmas
Harav Moshe ben Chanoch Halevi Hoffman z"l
whose Yohrzeit is 26 Shevat
Miriam bas Rochel Leah a"h
whose Yohrzeit is 7 Adar

Parshas Terumah

Getting One's Priorities Right
(Translated from the K'li Yakar)

"Like all that I am showing you - the shape of the Mishkan and the shape of all its vessels, and so you shall do" (25:9). Rashi establishes this last phrase in connection with future generations, obligating them to model new vessels that they construct to replace vessels of the Mishkan that became lost with the exact same specifications as the original ones. The K'li Yakar however, queries Rashi's explanation in that it has no basis in the Pasuk itself (see also Ramban, who actually queries its veracity).

Consequently, he explains that it refers to the preceding words "the shape of the Mishkan and the shape of all its vessels", which follows the order that G-d showed them to Moshe on Har Sinai. The trouble was that the Torah then proceeded to describe first the vessels of the Mishkan and then, the Mishkan. This left Moshe in a quandary as to which order to follow when actually constructing them; whether to begin with the Mishkan, as he had been shown on Har Sinai, or whether to first construct the vessels, as the Torah subsequently specifies?

Had the Torah written "So you shall do" without the 'Vav', it would have implied merely that one should construct the Mishkan and its vessels exactly according to the given specifications.

But now that the Pasuk writes "And so you shall do!" it comes to indicate that when putting the current command into practice, Moshe/Betzalel should follow the order that he had been shown on Har Sinai, and that the Torah only changed the order, because the holy vessels are on a higher level of Kedushah than the Mishkan itself. And he cites the famous mantra (that we mention every week in 'L'cho Dodi') 'Sof ma'aseh be'machshovoh techiloh', with reference to the Aron, which houses the Shechinah, and which was therefore the main purpose of the Mishkan. It was precisely because it was first on G-d's mind when commanding the construction of the Mishkan that He mentioned it together with the other vessels, after the construction of the Mishkan.


Having said that, the K'li Yakar wonders at Rashi, who explains that Moshe instructed Betzalel to first construct the vessels, and it was Betzalel who, on his own volition, corrected Moshe, to which Moshe (playing on Betzalel's name) responded 'be'Tzel Keil hoyiso' (You were in the shadow of G-d!). Rashi's basic statement is simply not correct, he argues. As we find here as well as in Parshas Ki Sissa and Vayakhel, Moshe made a point of placing the Mishkan before the vessels, as G-d instructed him, and it is only on the one occasion, later in the Parshah, that he switched the order, to stress the superiority of the Aron, for, as everybody knows 'the crown of Torah overrides everything else!'

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Parshah Pearls
(Adapted from the Riva & the K'li Yakar)

The Fifteen Items

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

The K'li Yakar cites Rashi, who comments that Yisrael donated thirteen items for the construction of the Mishkan, all of which are listed in the Parshah. In fact, he says, quoting the Ra'm, the Torah lists fifteen, only Rashi counts the three wools (dark blue, purple and crimson) as one.

The number thirteen represents 'Echad' (as the Mishkan served to unify Hashem (see Rashi in Korach 15:5) and 'Ahavah' (as the Pasuk says in Shir ha'Shirim "Its inside burning with love").

The majority of commentaries however, refer to the fifteen materials from which the Mishkan was constructed, says the K'li Yakar. He explains that they prefer to associate the number fifteen with the Mishkan, based on R. Bachye and many other commentaries, who connect the three parts of the Mishkan to the three worlds. And they quote the Pasuk in Yeshayah (26:4) "ki be'Koh Hashem Tzor Olamim", from which Chazal derive that G-d created the world with the Name "Koh" (whose Gematriyah is fifteen).

The continued existence of all three worlds became dependent upon the Mishkan, which was built on the basis of fifteen materials. And this is further hinted in the fifteen steps from the Ezras Nashim to the Ezras Yisrael and in the fact that the Beis-Hamikdash was subsequently built by Shlomoh Hamelech, who was the fifteenth generation after Avraham Avinu. (See also Main Article, vol. 14.)


What Was the Problem?

" hammered out shall the Menorah be made (te'oseh) " (25:31).

The word "te'oseh" contains a 'Yud', the Riva explains, because Moshe had difficulty with it. That difficulty, he explains, was based on the fact that, unlike all the other holy vessels, he was not given its height.

Rashi does certainly not agree with the Riva, since he explains that, due to Moshe's lack of understanding as to how the Menorah ought to made, Hakadosh-Baruch-Hu instructed him to throw the lump of gold into the fire, and it manufactured itself! Now if it was merely a matter of not knowing the Menorah's height, this was hardly necessary. All that was needed was for G-d to supply the missing information. G-d's actual response was totally superfluous.

The Rosh and the Da'as Zekeinim, incidentally, attribute the extra 'Yud' as a hint to the ten extra Menoros that Sh'lomoh Hamelech was destined to make for the Beis-ha'Mikdash.


Five Bolts

"And you shall manufacture bolts five for the planks of one side of the Mishkan" (26:26).

These five bolts, explains Rashi, were really three, only the top and bottom bolts were each made of two separate pieces, whereas the middle one ran from one end of the wall to the other.

This follows the opinion of the Medrash, the Riva points out, that each side had an independent middle bolt that ran along it.

According to the Gemara in Shabbos however, there was only one middle bolt, that was invisible from the outside and that ran through inside of the three walls (north, south and west), thereby holding the structure together.

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Mishpatim before Terumah
(by the Beis Halevi)

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

The Torah deliberately inserts Terumah after Mishpatim, says the Beis Halevi, to teach us that before giving away one's money for charitable purposes, one should make sure that it is clean - free of theft and all kinds of elicit gains. Otherwise, he explains, his Tzedakah is worth nothing, just as Chazal say with regard to a stolen Lulav, which the Gemara refers to as a 'Mitzvah ha'bo'oh ba'Aveirah' (a Mitzvah that comes through an Aveirah), and which causes that Mitzvah to be invalidated.

And this is what the Pasuk in Yeshayah (59:14) means when it says "When justice is withdrawn, Tzedakah stands at a distance", and in chapter 56:1 - "Observe justice and perform Tzedakah, for My salvation will come soon, and My Righteousness will be revealed".

The Gemara in Succah (29a), in connection with 'Mitzvah ha'bo'oh ba'Aveirah', cites the Pasuk (also in Yeshayah 61:8) "For I am Hashem, who loves justice and who detests a burned-offering that is purchased with stolen money!" And the current Pasuk is talking about donating towards the Mishkan (an issue, which seems to go hand in hand with Korbanos).

The Gemara the stresses the point with a Mashal - of a king who when passing a toll-gate accompanied by servants, ordered them to pay taxes. And when they asked him why this was necessary, seeing as all the taxes were paid straight into his royal coffers, he replied 'Let all travelers take their cue from Me and learn not to evade paying taxes!'

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