This issue is co-sponsored l'iluy Nishmos
Vol. 8 No. 19
Yosef and Frieda Loecher and Frank Kaplan z.l.
and by an anonymous well-wisher.
May we merit the speedy fulfillment of the posuk
"Timcheh/Emcheh es zecher Amolek mi'tachas ha'Shomoyim"
Parshas Terumah (Zochor)
They Didn't Fear G-d
Rashi, quoting the Sifri, explains that, even though the Torah has just written "and you were tired and weary", referring clearly to Yisroel, nevertheless, when the posuk continues "and did not fear G-d", it refers, not to Yisroel, but to Amolek. This is in keeping with the earlier Rashi, which, comparing Amolek to a worthless fellow who jumps into a hot bath, cooling it down for others, but scalding himself in the process, describes him in the same light. Whilst the rest of the world stood in awe of Hashem's staggering miracles, Amolek had the chutzpah to attack Yisroel, the benefactor of those miracles. What better example than that can there be of someone who does not fear G-d.
Indeed "and did not fear G-d" is not merely a description of the way Amolek behaved then, but a description of Amolek's internal make-up. No wonder then, that Amolek was subsequently doomed to be blotted out of existence, and that no converts are accepted from them (Mechilta). It is self-understood that someone whose very title is 'one who does not fear G-d', cannot be eligible to eternal life, nor can he join the ranks of G-d's eternal, chosen people.
Most commentaries agree wit), that the phrase "and did not fear G-d" refers to Amolek (see for example, Targum Yonoson), despite the fact that this belies the smooth flow of the posuk. Presumably, the Sifri's explanation is based on the fact that the Torah's intention is clearly to defend Yisroel on the one hand and to castigate Amolek on the other. In that light, Rashi's explanation conforms with the spirit of the posuk, if not so much with the grammar.
On the other hand, there are a number of commentaries (among them the Chizkuni, quoting the Mechilta) who ascribe "and did not fear G-d" to Yisroel, as if it had written "and you did not fear G-d" (rather than "he"). This implies, that had they feared G-d, Amolek would have been powerless to attack them. It is obvious though, that if we explain the posuk in this way, then "and you did not fear G-d" will refer to a momentary lapse (perhaps even due to the fact that they were tired and weary), rather than serving as a description of their intrinsic character, as it does when it refers to Amolek.
Whether or not, not fearing G-d is a description of Yisroel, there can be no doubt that Amolek came as a result of their sins. In Beshalach, the Torah precedes the parshah of Amolek with Yisroel's query "Is Hashem in our midst or not"? Whereas in Ki Seitzei, it follows the prohibition of false weights and measures. Although this may initially appear to be a contradiction, that is not really the case, since the two sins are really one of a kind - one results from the other, as we shall now see.
Querying Hashem constitutes a lack of emunah, reminiscent of the phrase repeated over and over again in the Tochochoh "And if you will go with Me by chance", meaning that the curses come as a result of Yisroel's denial that everything comes from G-d. To deny that is to sever oneself from the source, which results in Hashem leaving them to the mercy of the powers in which they believe. Having doubts whether G-d was in their midst amounted to a crack in their emunah; expressing them, was in addition, a lack of Yir'as Shomayim (if not a fundamental one, at least a momentary one, as we explained earlier).
Similarly, it is only when a person fails to accept that it is G-d who supplies him with all his needs, that he resorts to depriving others of what is rightfully theirs. In addition, the fact that he sees fit to use two different sets of weights and measures suggests that he does not believe that Hashem is able to intervene, or that He even knows about what he doing, a blatant lack of Yir'as Shomayim. The two sins are one of a kind, only one effects the area of 'between man and G-d', the other, 'between man and man' and it is when one is guilty of the former that one resorts to the latter.
And that is why Amolek attacked at that time: Amolek, who neither believed in Hashem's powers nor did he possess even the minimal Yir'as Shomayim, which might have prevented him from attacking Yisrael whilst everybody else stood in awe of Hashem's supremacy.
"Like all that I show you" (25:9).
The numerical value of 'I show' ("Mar'eh") is equivalent to that of Gavriel. This teaches us, says the Ba'al ha'Turim, that 'Gavriel', wearing a sort of a leather belt, showed Moshe the shape of the Mishkon and all the holy vessels.
The Secrets of Torah
"And you shall overlay it with pure gold; from inside and from outside you shall overlay it" (25:11).
Rashi explains that Betzalel made three Aronos, two of gold and one of wood. He placed the wooden one inside the larger golden one, and the smaller golden one inside the wooden one. It was logical for him to have done it this way, the Gro comments, and not vice-versa (to place first the small golden one inside the wooden one, and then the two inside the outer golden one), since that would have entailed unnecessarily carrying the two smaller Aronos simultaneously.
The difficulty with Rashi's explanation, he explains, is the wording in the posuk "from inside and from outside you shall overlay it". According to Rashi's explanation, the Torah should have inverted the order and written "from outside and from inside," seeing as he first covered the outside of the wooden Aron, and then the inside?
In fact, answers the G'ro, "from inside and from outside" refers not to the inside and outside of the Oron, but to the inside and the outside of the gold. It is as if the Torah had written "You shall cover the wooden Oron with the inside and the outside of the golden Aronos. In other words, first the inner layer of the outer golden Oron covered the wooden Oron, and then the outer layer of the inner one.
Why, asks the G'ro, does the Torah write it in this way, rather than "from the outside and from the inside", as one would have expected, and which would then have meant from the outside and from the inside of the middle (wooden) Oron, as Rashi explains?
The answer, explains the G'ro, lies in the fact that the three Aronos represent man and the Torah. The wooden Oron represents man (as the posuk writes "because man is a tree of the field" - Devorim 20:19); whereas the two golden Aronos represent the two sections of the Torah, (the revealed and the concealed) which is compared to gold, as the posuk writes in Tehilim 19:11 "More precious than gold". The outer Oron hints at the revealed Torah, and the inner one, at the hidden Torah, and it is befitting for a man to be covered, as it were, with the two sections of Torah, with the Toras ha'Niglah on the outside and the Toras ha'Nistar on the inside.
And the Torah deliberately used the phrase "mi'bayis u'mi'chutz", with reference to the two golden Aronos, as we just explained, rather than "mi'chutz u'mi'bayis", with reference to the Oron of wood, to teach us a very important lesson. It is because "mi'bayis" now refers to the inside of the outer Oron of gold, and "mi'ba'chutz" to the outside of the inner one. From this we learn that whereas one must strive to plum the innermost depths of the revealed Torah, one must at the same time make do with only a minimal understanding of the concealed Torah, and not attempt to go beyond the periphery.
This is what the G'ro told his star talmid, Rebbi Chayim Volozhin, when he once asked him for a deeper explanation of a certain Zohar that he did not fully comprehend. And he declined to explain it to him (from the P'ninim mi'Shulchan ha'Gro)
No Samech, No Soton
The letter samech does not appear in the parshah of the Menorah, the Ba'al ha'Turim explains, because, where the light of Torah is to be found, the Soton (which the samech symbolises) is powerless to do harm.
Would You Believe it?
"And you shall make the Poroches (the Holy Curtain)" (26:31).
The Mishnah in Shekolim gives the measurements of the Poroches as one Tefach thick, and forty amos by twenty. It was made of eight hundred and twenty thousand threads, and three hundred kohanim would tovel it.
The G'ro points out that the circumference of the Poroches was one hundred and twenty amos. Bearing in mind that each amah of the Holy vessels comprised five tefochim (according to the opinion of Rebbi Yehudah), making a total circumference of six hundred tefochim. This explains the three hundred kohanim who would tovel it. And he goes on to explain it in the following manner. All the kohanim were eager to participate in the mitzvah, he says. Consequently, as many of them as possible would hold on to it with their two hands. In this way, the six hundred tefochim would allow exactly three hundred kohanim to participate.
The Mishkon and all its vessels are merely physical images, reflections of celestial bodies to which they bear a resemblance, explains Rabeinu Bachye. In this light, the Mishkon was divided into three sections, corresponding to the universe: the Kodesh Kodshim (corresponding to the world of the angels), the Kodesh (to the world of the constellations), and the Courtyard (corresponding to Earth).
In similar fashion, he continues, man, the most prominent of all creations, (who like the Mishkon, is also known as 'a miniature world') comprises three parts, corresponding to the world of speech (his head), the world of life (his heart) and the world of nature (the lower part of his body). In fact, these three are similar to the three worlds of which the Mishkon is a reflection.
The first section of the Mishkon is within the Holy Curtain, which houses the Aron, the Luchos and the K'ruvim, all of which are inner vessels, hidden from view because they represent the Merkovoh (the Chariot which, in turn, supports G-d's Throne), as the prophet Yechezkel described. The human manifestation of that is the part of man that comprises speech, man's head, the dwelling of wisdom, symbolising the tzadik (who is governed by his brain and) who serves as a Merkovoh to the Shechinah. Indeed, the Ovos (whose sum numerical value is equivalent to that of "Sh'nei K'ruvim"), are described as the 'Merkovoh' of the Shechinah.
And the Shechinah rests on him by means of the Tefilin that he wears on his head and on his arm, which in turn, corresponds to the two Keruvim.
The second section is the one outside the Holy Curtain, known as the Ohel Mo'ed, which housed the Table, the Menorah and the Golden Mizbei'ach, the Mizbei'ach ha'Ketores. These too, are distinguished, inner vessels, though on a lower level than the previous ones. They correspond to the world of the constellations, which tell of Hashem's glory, and through whose movements the world continues to exist. Correspondingly in man, it is the heart, one of the inner limbs, which keeps him alive through its constant movement.
The third section is that of the Chatzer ha'Mishkon, the Courtyard, which housed the copper Mizbei'ach, the Mizbei'ach ho'Olah, on which they brought sacrifices. These were in the form of animals, which deteriorate, corresponding to this lowly world Earth, which is physical and therefore destructible. Correspondingly in man, this represents the world of nature, downwards from the navel (which is the source of his existence).
And it is about these three worlds that Shlomoh ha'Melech wrote in Tehilim (103:20) "Bless Hashem, His mighty angels; Bless Hashem, all His Hosts: Bless Hashem all His works".
And his son Shlomoh, referred to the same three worlds, when he wrote in Shir ha'Shirim "His cheeks are like a row of spices; His arms are like golden pillars; His thighs are marble pillars".
THE PRICE OF GREED
Having ascribed the sin of the Golden Calf to a love of money, and the mitzvah of Machtzis ha'Shekel to the rectification of that sin (see end of last week's main article), the K'li Yokor writes the following:
'Just as the parshah of "Zochor es asher osoh lecho Amolek" is juxtaposed to that of false weights and measures (for that is the sin that brings Amolek in its wake), by the same token, Chazal fixed Parshas Zochor after Parshas Shekolim.
Because Parshas Shekolim is the atonement for the sin of the Golden Calf, which was made from the golden shekolim that they obtained in Egypt and at the Yam-Suf, a symbol (or more correctly, the catalyst) of their excessive greed (as we explained there). Someone who is consumed with greed for money will not hesitate to use false weights and measures. And it is for this sin that Homon, a descendent of Amolek, came against Yisroel with his silver shekolim.
That is why subsequently, Mordechai ordered them not to take any of the spoil, to rectify the sin that brought on Homon in the first place.
This year the residents of Yerusholayim (as well as the residents of all towns that are known to have been walled in the days of Yehoshua bin Nun) will be treated to an extended three day marathon of simchah. Known as Purim Meshulash, the marathon will begin on Thursday night, with the reading of the Megilah (just like everybody else), and will continue until Sunday, when they will send Sh'lach Monos and enjoy Se'udas Purim. On Friday, they will fulfill Matonos lo'Evyonim (which always goes hand in hand with the reading of the Megilah (because the poor, who associate the one with the other, anticipate receiving it then).
The problem begins with the fact that Chazal forbade the reading of the Megilah on Shabbos (in case one comes to carry the Megilah, as one takes it to an expert to ask him how to lein). So we bring the reading of the Megilah forward to the fourteenth (it cannot be postponed, due to the posuk in Megilas Ester "ve'lo ya'avor" (implying that the reading of the Megilah cannot be postponed beyond the fifteenth).
Presumably, Chazal fixed se'udas Purim on Sunday, so that it should not clash with se'udas Shabbos (because, seeing as there is no particular obligation to eat any special food, how will one be able to distinguish between Se'udas Shabbos and Se'udas Purim? And they fixed Sh'lach Monos for the same day, one might assume, because Sh'lach Monos goes together with Se'udas Purim (though in fact, this is one of two opinions, as we shall see).
What remains is 'Al ha'Nisim', which can only be said on the fifteenth (the day on which the miracle was completed), on Shabbos, and the leining of "va'Yovo Amolek", which we lein then too, from a second Seifer, in the form of Maftir. And the corresponding Haftarah is that of "Pokadti" from Sh'muel, the very same one that we just leined for Parshas Zochor.
The only bone of contention is that of 'Sh'lach Monos', which, although we learned earlier, is designated for Sunday, the sixteenth, others maintain should be performed on Friday, the same day as Matanos lo'Evyonim. To satisfy both opinions, it may be a good idea to send some Sh'lach Monos on Friday and some, on Sunday.
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