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

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Vol. 14   No. 22

This issue is co-sponsored
l'iluy Nishmos
Frank and Frieda Kaplan n.y.
and Yosef Loescher n.y.
by an anonymous donor

Parshas Vayakhel-Pikudei (Parshas Ha'Chodesh)

Fifteen Things and Three Worlds
(Adapted from Rabeinu Bachye)
(An extension of the main article Parshas Terumah)

In Parshas Terumah, we cited the K'li Yakar, who, based on the Medrash Tanchuma, discussed the fifteen commodities that Yisrael donated for the Mishkan. And we quoted him there as saying 'This goes well with the explanation of R. Bachye and others who explain that the three sections of the Mishkan ... corresponded to the three worlds ... . He also connected the number fifteen to the fifteen steps leading from the Ezras Nashim to the Ezras Yisrael. Here is what R. Bachye (who specifically concurs with the Medrash Tanchuma) says a. about the fifteen commodities, and b. about the three worlds.


The Fifteen Things

Discussing the significance of the fifteen things that Yisrael donated for the Mishkan, Rabeinu Bachye offers no less that eight instances where the number fifteen figures prominently:

1. The fifteen dots that form the vowels (the 'Tzeireis, the 'Chirics' and the 'Segols') in the opening Pasuk in the Torah (not counting the two Sh'vas (which he refers to as 'Avadim').

2. Seven Heavens (each comprising five hundred years) + the Heaven above it + the feet of the Chayos ha'Kodesh (above the top of which is Hashem Himself).

3. The fifteen praises in 'Yishtabach' (Shir, Shevochoh, Hallel, Zimroh, Oz, Memsholoh, Neyzach, Gedulah, Gevuroh, Tehilah, Tif'eres, Kedushah, Malchus, B'rochos, Hodo'os, followed by the words the words 'le'Shimcho ha'Godol').

4. And correspondingly, the fifteen praises in 'Emes ve'Yatziv' (Yatziv, Nochon, Kayam, Yoshor, Ne'eman, Ohuv, Choviv, Nechmod, No'im, Noro, Adir, Mesukan, Mekubal, Tov, Yofeh). 'Emes' which, unlike all the others, is not prefixed by a 'Vav', corresponds to the Name of Hashem, as in the Pasuk in Yirmiyah (10:10) "va'Hashem Elokim Emes".

5. The fifteen praises listed by David ha'Memelech (Gedulah, Gevurah, Tiferes, Netzach, Hod, Kol, Mamlochoh, Misnasei [le'Chol le'Rosh], Osher, Kovod, Mosheil ba'Kol, [u've'yodcho] le'Gadeil, u'le'Chazeik [la'Kol]).

6. The fifteen 'Shir ha'Ma'alos' (to which the fifteen steps leading from the Ezras Nashim to the Ezras Yisrael correspond).

7. The fifteen words in Ki Savo (26:17) "es Hashem he'emrto ha'yom lih'yos lo l'Elokim, ve'loleches bi'Derochov ve'li'sh'mor Chukov u'Mitzvosov u'Mishpotov, ve'li'shemo'a be'Kolo".

8. The fifteen words in Birchas Kohanim: "Yevorech'cha Hashem ve'yishmerecho; Yo'er Hashem Ponov eilecho vi'yechuneka; Yisa Hashem Ponov eilecho ve'yoseim l'cho sholom".

* * *

The Three Worlds

After equating the Kodesh Kodshim with the world of the angels, the Heichal with the world of the constellations, and the Chatzer with our world, Rabeinu Bachye writes that all this is merely a reflection of the three parts of man (whom he describes as an 'Olom Koton'), which he calls 'the world of speech, the world of life and the world of nature.

The world of speech, he says, corresponds to that of the Angels and to the Kodesh Kodshim, the world of life to that of the constellations and to the Heichal, and the world of nature to this world and to the Chatzer. He elaborates:


The First world: Within the Poroches (the Holy Curtain), where the Aron, the Luchos and the Keruvim were housed. These corresponded to the Merkavah, as the Navi writes in Yechezkel (10:19) "and the glory of the G-d of Yisrael was above them". This corresponds to the world of the angels, which are obscure and hidden beings. They are individual creatures with intelligence, which form the Merkavah (the Chariot) and the Throne of G-d. And the parallel in man is the world of speech, synonymous with his head, which houses Chochmah, where the Seichel feeds the brain. For the complete Tzadik serves as the Merkavah of Hashem (as Chazal have said about the Avos). And the Shechinah rests on him via the Tefilin shel Rosh and the Tefilin shel Yad, which are placed next to the heart. Indeed, the brain and the heart are equivalent to the two Keruvim. The Second World: Outside the Poroches, housing the Shulchan, the Menorah and the Mizbei'ach ha'Ketores, prestigious 'inner' (spiritual) Keilim too, but on a lesser plane than the Aron. These correspond to the world of the constellations, prestigious entities which declare G-d's praises. Moreover, it is their constant motion that enables the world to exist. And the parallel in man is the world of life, the heart, which is the inner organ on man's life depends.

The Third World: The Chatzer of the Mishkan, containing the Copper Altar, on which the Korbanos were brought, animals that are born and that deteriorate. This corresponds to our world, a world which likewise is subject to both life and deterioration. And the parallel in man is the lower half of his body, which houses both the source of life, and the source of deterioration.

And it is in connection with these three worlds that David Hamelech wrote in Tehilim (103:20-22) "Bless Hashem His angels of mighty strength; bless Hashem all His Hosts; bless Hashem all His works!", as did his son Shlomoh, in Shir ha'Shirim (5:13-15).

And this also serves as the basis for Ya'akov Avinu's dream with the ladder, as the author explained there.

* * *

Parshah Pearls

(Adapted from the Ma'yanah shel Torah)

Two Kinds of Shabbos

"Six days work shall be done, and on the seventh day it will be for you a Shabbos Shabboson" (35:2).

Generally, when the Torah speaks about Shabbos, it uses the expression "work shall be done" and then refers to Shabbos as 'Shabbos Shabboson'.

To explain the Torah's general habit of juxtaposing the passive expression "work shall be done" and that of "Shabbos Shabboson", one Gadol cites Chazal, who say that when somebody performs the will of Hashem, his work is done by others. In view of that, the Pasuk here is speaking about such a person, whose days of the week are holy (like Shabbos) and whose Shabbos therefore falls under the category of Shabbos Shabboson. His work is performed by others, and the Torah is therefore justified in writing that for six days, his work shall be done.

On the other hand, he says, we find that pairs "You shall do work with "Shabbos" alone, because for a person whose week is mundane, Shabbos cannot be termed 'Shabbos Shabboson'. Such a person does not enjoy the privilege of having his work performed by others.


The Melachah of Lighting a Fire

"Do not kindle a fire in all your dwellings on the day of Shabbos" (38:3).

Why does the Torah single out this Melachah out of all the thirty-nine Melachos, asks the Tiferes Yehonasan?

In the first Luchos, he explains, the Torah connects Shabbos with the creation of the world, when it writes "because in six days Hashem made Heaven and earth, and on the seventh day He'rested' ". That being the case, one may well have thought that it is the Melachos that were employed during the six days of the creation (and from which Hashem desisted on Shabbos) that are forbidden on Shabbos. Lighting a fire however, was not 'invented' until Motza'ei Shabbos, when, as the Medrash teaches us, Adam rubbed two stones together, creating the sparks from which he lit the first fire. Consequently, the Torah found it necessary to inform us that lighting a fire is considered a Melachah too, despite the fact that it was not performed during the six days of the creation.


It now also becomes clear as to why the same Melachah is not mentioned in Mishnah Torah (Seifer Devarim, where the Torah is repeated), even though Shabbos, and even the Ten Commandments, is mentioned there. This is because there, the Pasuk connects Shabbos, not with the creation, but with the Exodus from Egypt (when it writes in connection with Shabbos "And you shall remember that you were slaves in the land of Egypt").


Publicising the Names of Donors

This is the thing that Hashem commanded saying (to say). Take from you a gift ... " (35:4).

The Rashbam writes in a Teshuvah that it is a Mitzvah to publicize the names of the people who donate money for a Mitzvah. And he cites this Pasuk as a proof. Despite the importance of giving Tzedakah discreetly, with as few people as possible knowing about it, the Torah indicates here that giving money for a D'var Mitzvah, it should be said and publicized.


Betzalel's Aron

"And Betzalel made the Aron ... " (37:1).

Why is Betzalel's name mentioned specifically in connection with the Aron, asks the Meshech Chochmah?

All the other vessels, he explains, were later made by others, both in the first Beis-Hamikdash and in the second; and what's more, he says, someone else is going to build them in the time of the Third Beis-Hamikdash.

The sole exception is the Aron. The same Aron that Betzalel constructed was hidden already before the destruction, and was not re-placed in the second Beis-Hamikdash, and what's more, when the third-Hamikdash is built, it is Betzalel's Aron that will reappear and be used.



Waiting for Us to Cry

"These are the reckonings of the Mishkan, the Mishkan of Testimony, which were reckoned at Moshe's bidding ... " (35:21).

This hints, says Rashi at the Beis-Hamikdash, which was taken as a security against the sins of Yisrael.

The question is asked as to how Hashem could possibly do this. The Torah in Ki Seitzei (24:6) prohibits taking a security of something that affects one's livelihood, and there is nothing that affects our very lives more than the Beis-Hamikdash? In any event, asks the Toldos Adam, it should be no worse than a garment, that one is obligated to return to the debtor each evening or each morning, depending on whether it is a night garment or a day one, as the Torah writes in Mishpatim (22:25)? Is there anything, he asks, that Yisrael need more than the Beis-Hamikdash?

The answer, he explains, lies in the latter Pasuk, which states " ... with what will he lay down? And it shall be when he cries out to Me, I will listen for I am gracious".

It is the debtor's cries that indicate that he needs the garment. If he does not cry out, it is to be assumed that it is dispensable.

Hashem too, will gladly return the Beis-Hamikdash to us, the moment we sincerely cry out for it; the moment we demonstrate that we really consider it an indispensable part of our lives. Until that time, He figures that if we don't really feel the need for it, why should He return it.


A Hundred Sockets; a Hundred B'rachos

" ... a hundred sockets for the hundred Kikar, a Kikar per socket" (38:27).

The foundation of the Mishkan (the symbol of Avodah) comprised a hundred sockets. Likewise, says the Chidushei ha'Rim, the foundation of every Jew's Avodah lies in the hundred B'rachos that he recites each day.

The word for socket is 'Oden' (signifying Adnus - that G-d is our master), which in essence, is what reciting a B'rachah is all about.


The Mishkan and the Creation

"On the first day of the first month you shall set up the Mishkan ... " (40:2).

The commentaries compare the construction of the Mishkan to the creation of the world in many respects.

As is well-known, G-d had planned to create the world in Tishri, even though he only put His thoughts into practice in Nisan.

Here too, says the Sichos Tzadikim, the people brought their donations for the Mishkan in Tishri (which is akin to the intention of building it) but the actual construction was only performed in Nisan.

* * *


'The Menorah and its crucibles, crucibles that are arranged corresponding to the seven constellations that govern the Heaven by day and by night ... ' (39:37).


'And you shall bring the Table to the north side, because from there comes wealth, because from there in turn, the rain falls on the herbs, to sustain mankind; and you shall arrange on it two rows, each consisting of six Loaves, corresponding to the Twelve Tribes of Ya'akov. And you shall bring the Menorah to the south side, because from there come the rays of the sun and moon, from there the paths of light and that is where the storehouses are situated, that are compared to light; and you shall kindle the seven lamps, corresponding to the seven constellations that are compared to Tzadikim, who light up the world with their merit' (40:4).


'And you shall place the Golden Mizbei'ach for incense in front of the Aron of Testimony, because of the sages who study Torah, and their scent is fragrant like the incense; and you shall put up the curtain of the entrance of the Mishkan because of the Tzadikim who protect the people of Yisrael with their merit' (40:5).


'And you shall arrange the Mizbei'ach ha'Olah in front of the entrance of the Mishkan, because of the wealthy people, who arrange a table in front of their front-doors, to sustain the poor, and their sins are forgiven as if they had brought a burnt-offering on the Mizbei'ach' (40:6).


'And you shall place the Kiyor (Basin) between the Tent of Meeting and the Mizbei'ach, and you shall put water in it, on account of the sinners who do Teshuvah and 'throw away their crookedness' like water' (40:7).


'And you shall surround it with the Courtyard on account of the merits of the Avos, which surround the people of Yisrael; and you shall put up the screen at the entrance of the Courtyard on account of the merits of the Avos, which are spread in front of the entrance to Gehinom, to prevent the children of Yisrael from entering' (40:8).


'And you shall take the Anointing Oil and anoint with it the Mishkan and everything in it, and you shall sanctify it, because of the crown of the Kingdom of Yehudah and King Mashi'ach who is going to redeem Yisrael at the end of days' (40:9).


'And you shall anoint the Mizbei'ach ha'Olah and all its vessels, and you shall sanctify the Mizbei'ach and it shall be holy of holies, because of the crown of the Kehunah of Aharon and his sons, and of Eliyahu the Kohen Gadol who is destined to be sent at the conclusion of the Galus (40:10).


'And you shall anoint the Basin and its base and sanctify it, because of Yehoshua your servant the leader of the Sanhedrin of his people, because through him Eretz Yisrael will be divided, and Mashi'ach ben Efrayim will descend from him and the House of Yisrael will defeat Gog and his followers at the end of days' (40:11).

* * *

(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 99:
Wearing the Bigdei Kehunah (cont.)

The Kohen must wear all eight garments when serving Avodas Chutz (the regular Avodah that does not entail entering the Kodesh Kodshim), but when, on Yom Kipur, he served inside the Kodesh Kodshim, he wore only the four linen garments which resembled those of the Kohen Hedyot.

And once Yom Kipur passed, he was not permitted to wear those four garments again, as the Torah writes in Acharei-Mos (16:3) "and he shall leave them there" ... A Kohen (Gadol or Hedyot) who serves in the Beis-Hamikdash without all the prescribed garments, or wearing additional ones, renders the Avodah Pasul, and is Chayav miysah bi'yedei Shamayim. For so Chazal learn from the Pasuk in Tetzaveh (29:9) "And you shall gird them with a belt, Aharon and his sons ... and the Kehunah shall be for them an everlasting statute", 'as long as they are wearing the priestly garments, their Kehunah is intact; when they are not, it is not'; they are considered like Zarim (non-Kohanim) who are subject to Miysah for performing the Avodah ... and all other details, are discussed in the second chapter of Zevachim and in locations in Yuma and Succah (see Rambam, tenth chapter of Hilchos K'lei Mikdash).

This Mitzvah applies when the Beis-Hamikdash is standing, to male Kohanim. A Kohen who contravenes it and serves with less or more than the required number of garments is Chayav Miysah bi'yedei Shamayim, as we explained.


Mitzvah 100:
Not to Allow the Choshen to Move from the Eifod

We are not allowed to move the Choshen from on the Eifod (to which it is tied). The Choshen and the Eifod are two of the garments worn by the Kohen Gadol (as we mentioned in the previous Mitzvah). The former is worn in front in the vicinity of the heart, the latter, correspondingly at the back. Extending from the Eifod, and made as part of it, are two straps, which the Kohen Gadol ties in front, which are called 'the Cheishev (belt) of the Eifod'. After tying it, and placing the Choshen on the area of his heart, the Cheishev is below the Choshen. The Pasuk now orders the Kohen Gadol to tie the two golden rings that are fixed to (the bottom corners on the inside of the) Choshen together with the two golden rings that are fixed to the Eifod with two threads of Techeiles (dark-blue wool). This ensures that the Choshen is firmly, and esthetically fixed to the Choshen. Otherwise, the Choshen would constantly move and separate from the Cheishev, and bang on the Kohen Gadol's heart. That is why the Torah writes in Tetzaveh (28:28) "And the Choshen shall not move from on the Eifod" (meaning from the Cheishev ha'Eifod), which Unklus translates as 'shall not disconnect'. Consequently, someone who disconnects the Choshen from the Eifod is subject to Malkos.

A reason for the Mitzvah ... because G-d wants, for our own good, to merit us with the aggrandizement of His Holy House, that everything in it should be accurate and fixed in its ascribed place. And this pertains both to the holy vessels, which He wants manufactured to perfection, and to the vestments worn by those who serve in it. Everything must be correct and complete, made to perfection, so that even the esthetics are flawless. And, as we explained, were the Choshen to flap around and not be fixed to the Eifod, that would be considered esthetically imperfect. Until we find a better reason for the Mitzvah, says the Seifer ha'Chinuch, this reason will do.

The Dinim of the Mitzvah ... incorporating the way the Choshen and the Eifod are made, are discussed in Maseches Midos. This Mitzvah applies when the Beis-Hamikdash is standing, both to men and to women, either of whom is subject to Malkos should they disconnect the Choshen from the Eifod.


Mitzvah 101:
Not to Tear the Me'il of the Kohen Gadol

It is forbidden to destroy the opening of the Me'il (the over-shirt or the cape) of the Kohen Gadol, as the Torah writes in Tetzaveh (28:32) " ... it shall not be torn".

A reason for the Mitzvah ... is because tearing something is both destructive and dishonourable, and particularly when it is in the vicinity of the opening of a garment. We are therefore ordered to distance ourselves from such behaviour by means of a La'av, in order that the Kohen who wears it shall do so in awe and fear, yet serenely and in an honourable fashion, whilst taking care not to tear or to destroy it.

This Mitzvah applies when the Beis-Hamikdash is standing to both men and women. Whoever contravenes it and deliberately tears or cuts it is subject to Malkos.


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