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

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Vol. 4 No. 20

Parshas Tetzaveh

It's All Hinted in the Torah

A Torah-Jew requires no proof that Torah is min Ha'Shomayim (the work of G-d Himself), or that it preceded the creation by two thousand years, serving, in fact, as the blue-print of the world's creation. Its astounding beauty and infinite depth, combined with its irrefutable truth and eternal character, amply attest to G-d's Divine Hand and to its supernatural qualities. It would simply have been far beyond man's capabilities to have composed a work of such exquisite perfection, a work that is equally appealing to the youngster of six as it is to the veteran of seventy.

Yet, there is ample proof of the Torah's Divine character in the maxim of Chazal (Ta'anis 9): "Is there anything not hinted in the Torah?" Events, place names and even the names of people are hinted at in the Torah, often long before they occurred or were actually named.

There is a famous story told of Shevno, a disciple of the Gro, who renounced his Yiddishkeit because he considered nonsense the acclaimed theory that everyone's name is hidden somewhere in the book of Devorim. He simply did not believe it. Until, confronted by the Gro, he challenged his illustrious Rebbe to show him where his name was to be found. Whereupon, the Gro indicated where "Shevno" was clearly and appropriately hinted in the first letter of four consecutive words. The stunned Shevno immediately repented.

His own name, the Gro pointed out, was hinted in the words "Even Shleimoh vo'tzedek yihye loch" (Devorim 25:15), the first two words serving as an acronym for "Eliyohu ben Shlomoh".

See also Rashi Bereishis 2:14 and 14:7 for two examples of towns mentioned by the Torah long before those towns were actually built.

A remarkable reference to the two Botei Mikdosh is to be found both in last week's Parshah (Terumah) and in this week's. In last week's Parshah the Torah writes: "And they shall make for me a Mikdosh, and I will dwell in their midst" (Sh'mos 25:8). Now, the word the Torah uses for "and I will dwell" is "ve'Shochanti". Break up the word into two parts and you have "ve'Shochan tov-yud" - "and He will dwell 410 [years]" - the actual number of years that the first Beis Ha'mikdosh stood. Take the same word "ve'Shochanti" and break it up differently to read "ve'Sheini tov-chof" - "and the second [one] 420 [years]" - and you have a direct reference to the years that the second Beis Ha'mikdosh stood. The beauty of this prediction is enhanced when one realises how the Torah refers to making a "Mikdosh", whereas in reality, it relates to the Mishkon, the term used to describe the Divine Dwelling in the very next possuk. "Mikdosh" clearly hints to the Beis Ha'mikdosh, the object of the Torah's uncanny prediction. In this week's Parshah, the Torah writes (27:20): "And you shall take for yourself pure olive oil, beaten for the light". The word that denotes "beaten" is "kosis" - read backwards (hints connected with the Midas Hadin - G-d's quality of judgement - often appear backwards) and broken into two parts, it reads "tov-yud" and "tov-chaf" - 410 and 420 respectively. Again, we have a clear hint to the years that the two Botei Mikdosh stood, and the very same word "kosis" indicates that they would ultimately be destroyed. The possuk concludes "to kindle the everlasting lamp (one that will never be extinguished)" - a neat inference to the third Beis Ha'mikdosh, which will never be destroyed, but its light will shine forever.

Yet another reference to the duration of the two Botei Mikdosh occurs in the opening words of Parshas Pekudei: "Eileh Pekudei ha'Mishkon, Mishkon ho'Eidus". "Ha'mishkon" (including the five letters) = 420 (the duration of the second Beis Ha'mikdosh.

"Mishkon" = 410 (the duration of the first Beis Ha'mikdosh. "Ho'eidus" - the duration of the (era of) Mishkon, which lasted 479 years, until the building of the Beis Ha'mikdosh by Shlomoh ha'Melech, 480 years after Yisroel left Egypt (the Mishkon was built in the second year after they left Egypt). It may be true that no proof is required that Torah is min ha'Shomayim, yet the numerous beautiful and stunning hints that abound in the Torah, leave no room for doubt that it was.


Adapted from the Gro

What, No Moshe?

This is the only Parshah in the Torah (from Sh'mos - where Moshe's birth is recorded), which does not contain Moshe's name. The Ba'al Ha'turim gives two reasons:

1) Because Moshe asked Hashem (in Parshas Ki Sisso) to blot out his name from the Seifer Torah. Although Hashem did not accept Moshe's request in its entirely, nevertheless, a tzadik's curse must materialise. So Hashem fulfilled it at least in one Parshah of the Torah - Parshas Tetzaveh.

Why specifically Tetzaveh? Perhaps we can combine this explanation with that of the Gro quoted later.

2) Because this Parshah deals with the various details of the Kehunah, for which Moshe was originally destined, but which he lost when he persisted in his initial refusal to undertake the leadership of Klal Yisroel at the burning bush. The Kehunah was subsequently given to Aharon.

Consequently, Moshe's name is not mentioned, as a sign of the emotional pain that he must have suffered at seeing his brother appointed to the position that was originally his. (Refer to "Human Nature" on p. 3.)

The most popular answer however, is that of the Gro, who points out that, in most years, the 7th of Adar, Moshe's yohrzeit, falls in the week of Parshas Tetzaveh. In deference to Moshe therefore, G-d who, of course, knew in advance that Moshe would die then, omitted his name from this Parshah

The Three Keys

The Gemoro writes in Ta'anis (2a) that three keys remain in the hands of Hashem (in other words, there are three issues over which He alone retains control - He does not delegate to a Shli'ach)): that of life, as the Torah writes "and He opened her womb"; that of rain, as it writes "And Hashem will open for you His good storehouse"; and that of Techiyas Ha'meisim, as the Torah writes "When I open your graves".

There is nothing that is not hinted in the Torah. So where is this hinted, asks the Gro? The hint lies in a possuk in this week's Parshah, he replies; in the possuk "Pituchey chosom, Kodesh la'Hashem" (28:36). Now "chosom" is made up of three letters, a ches, a sof and a mem, representing "chayoh" (a woman who gives birth), "techiyeh" (revival), and "mottor" (rain) respectively.

There is nothing that is not hinted in the Torah.

When Chazal write that the three keys were not handed to a Shli'ach, they do not necessarily mean unconditionally, since we do find that the keys of rain and of Techiyas Ha'meisim were handed to Eliyohu and to Elisha the prophets. What they mean is that the keys are never given to a Shli'ach permanently, only on a temporary basis (Tosfos - Ta'anis). Or, as Rabeinu Gershom explains there, that two of the keys may have been handed to a Shli'ach, but never all three (even temporarily).

Human Nature

We quoted earlier the Ba'al ha'Turim, who refers to the emotional pain of Moshe Rabeinu at seeing Aharon his brother taking over the Kehunoh, which was originally designated for him.

Initially, taking into account Moshe's extreme humility, it seems hard to understand how a man so humble could have room in his heart for pangs of jealousy. Yet, there is a Gemoro in Manochos 109b, which quotes the Tanna R. Yehoshua ben P'rachyoh, who said that at first, had anybody even suggested that he take a position of importance, he would have tied him up and tossed him to the lions.

However, now that he was the Nosi of the Sanhedrin, he would take anyone who dared to tell him to step down, and pour a pot of boiling water over his head. And he proves his point from King Shaul, who ran away from the kovod when he was initially appointed to the throne. Yet when he felt Dovid to be a threat to his sovereignty, he set out to kill him. And Shaul was praised by Chazal for his incredible humility. Perhaps Moshe Rabeinu was above all this?

The Medrash describes how Moshe requested to enter Eretz Yisroel, if not as leader - because Yehoshua's time to rule had arrived - then at least, as second in command to Yehoshua.

His request accepted, he proceeded to follow Yehoshua, as Yehoshua had followed him. When Yehoshua returned from a prophecy, and Moshe asked him what Hashem had said, he was told that, had Hashem wished to speak to him, He would have done so directly (presumably that was the prophecy that Yehoshua had received from Hashem).

At that moment, Moshe felt the pangs of jealousy welling in his heart, and at that moment, Moshe decided that a hundred deaths are better than one jealousy, so he accepted to die graciously.

In any event, we see that even Moshe Rabeinu was not totally free of human feeling. Certainly that feeling was kept at a minimal level, certainly that feeling was perfectly controlled, but it was there. It is human nature, and every human being is subject to it.


(Tetzaveh) (Melochim I 5:26-6:13)

The Haftorah of Tetzaveh deals with the vision of Yechezkel, in which he is shown exactly how the third Beis Ha'mikdosh will be inaugurated - just as the Parshah deals with the inauguration of the Mishkon.

The Redak, commenting on the opening possuk, explains how the Novi told the people to take note of the measurements and to prepare for it, for they were destined to see it built exactly as it had been shown to them - after they would arise at Techiyas ha'meisim. Rashi writes that he was giving them the details of the Beis Ha'mikdosh, in order that they know how to go about its construction when the time came. In fact, he adds, the specifications taught by Yechezkel were meant to be the specifications of the second Beis Ha'mikdosh, which was due to be built a short while later. However, the everlasting Beis Ha'mikdosh to which the Novi referred would only be built conditionally. It would only be built on the understanding that they were so ashamed of the sins that caused the destruction of the first Beis Ha'mikdosh, that they would never again repeat them (see also Redak). But that, unfortunately, was not to be. Rashi goes even further. He writes that, from the double expression in the Shiroh "until Your people Hashem cross, until the people that You acquired cross" (Sh'mos 15:16). Chazal derive (Sotoh 36a) that Klal Yisroel were destined to return from Bovel to the accompaniment of miracles similar to those that took place at the time of the exodus from Egypt. But this did not happen. The depth of their sins in golus was such that, although they did do teshuvah, their teshuvah was not totally sincere. It was not done with the resolve necessary to ensure that their sins would not be repeated - or, as others say, because they had served idols in Bovel. As a result, the ensuing ge'ulah was not a Divine phenomenon, as it was meant to be. They simply received permission from Koresh, King of Persia, to leave, and proceeded to leave on their own initiative. With the above explanation, we can better understand as to why Yechezkel should prophesy about the third Beis Ha'mikdosh before the second had even been built.

In possuk 19, G-d instructed the Novi to hand over the bull for the sin offering to the Cohanim and then to sprinkle its blood on the Mizbei'ach to atone for it. Yechezkel was a Cohen, and it appears that he is hereby being appointed Cohen Godol to serve after Techiy'as Ha'meisim, in the time of the third Beis Ha'mikdosh. This is rather surprising, remarks the Redak, since Aharon Ha'Cohen will be there too, and one would surely expect this supreme honour to be reserved for him - perhaps, he suggests, G-d's inferred appointment is in the capacity of deputy Cohen Godol, not the Kehunah Gedolah itself.

The Redak finds difficulty with Chazal, in whose opinion the above pesukim are speaking of the second Beis Ha'mikdosh. How can this be, he asks? Yechezkel purportedly died in Bovel, before the return from Golus Bovel, in which case he could hardly have been appointed Cohen Godol in Eretz Yisroel after the return. And besides, the pattern of the Korbonos to inaugurate the second Beis Ha'mikdosh, followed the pattern of those that were brought to inaugurate the first, and were quite unlike the Korbonos described in Yechezkel, which were usnique, and are quite obviously referring to those that will be brought to inaugurate the third Beis Ha'mikdosh, when the time arrives.

According to the Rashi that we cited earlier, the interpretation of Chazal is perfectly feasible. The Korbonos described by Yechezkel were indeed intended for the second Beis Ha'mikdosh, if they would be zocheh - and who can say that Yechezkel himself would not have then remained alive when the Ge'ulah took place. Now that they were not zochech however, the second inauguration resembled the first - and the special inauguration that G-d had designated for the Beis Ha'mikdosh which would be permanent, was now postponed for the third Beis Ha'mikdosh, may it be built speedily in our days.

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