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

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Vol. 24   No. 22

This issue is sponsored l'iluy Nishmas
Zelig ben Pinchas z"l

Parshas Vayakhel-Pikudei

Beauty is False

In a former edition, we quoted the Seforno's explanation of the opening pasuk of the Parshah, in which he contrasts the Mishkon and the two Batei-Mikdash, explaining how the spiritual intensity seemed to progressively decrease, in stark contrast to the physical beauty of the three structures, which progressively increased.

The Seforno also points out how the spirituality of the House of G-d is in no way connected to its magnificence, but rather it is a question of "who the builders" are?


The Chofetz Chayim illustrates this with a striking moshol:

There were once two sisters (whom we shall call Rochel and Le'ah) who had been very close in their youth. They married, and Le'ah moved to a distant land. Many years passed and Rochel felt a strong desire to see her sister again, so, in spite of her poor financial situation, she made plans for the long and arduous journey. Arriving at her destination, imagine her surprise to discover that Le'ah lived in a veritable palace and that she was exceedingly wealthy. The chandeliers, the plush carpets, the tapestries and the exquisite furniture all reflected unbelievable affluence, the likes of which Rochel had never before seen.

The two sisters were overjoyed at the reunion, and, unable to contain their excitement, spent many happy hours filling in all their experiences over the years.

During the course of their conversation however, Rochel noticed that something was wrong, and she remarked to her sister. "Tell me, Le'ah dear, something troubles me. Your husband is obviously a very rich man, probably even a millionaire. It is clear that you lack nothing materially. How is it that an aura of sadness surrounds you, instead of the joie de vivre that one would expect?"

"You are right, Rochel," replied Le'ah. "I could ask my husband for a new car or for a priceless jewel, and he would not hesitate to provide me fulfil my request. Many people would consider me the luckiest woman in the world. But that is simply not the case. It is a fallacy; for of what use is money and wealth, when my husband neither respects nor honours me? How can money replace dignity? He runs our home single-handedly, without ever consulting me or even considering my opinion. How can any woman feel truly happy, when she is treated like that?

But tell me, Rochel, I notice that with you it is exactly the reverse. You radiate contentment and happiness, despite the evidence that you are anything but wealthy."

"You certainly hit the nail on the head," said Rochel. "My husband is indeed a very poor man. He does not often buy me new clothes or ornaments, because he cannot afford to, but that does not cause me any discontent, because he treats me with the deepest respect. In fact, he will not make any important decisions before consulting me. In that way, he makes me feel important too."


There are many beautiful shuls with magnificent chandeliers, plush carpets and tapestries, and which are beautifully and tastefully furnished, explains the Chofetz Chayim. The Sifrei-Torah are adorned with rich velvet covers and intricate silver ornaments. Yet the Torah is not happy. The people are willing to spend fortunes to adorn the Torah, but they have no respect for its sovereignty. They go their own way, without ever consulting it, and the Torah is sad. How different is the scenario in the little shtieblech. The furniture may be wooden and falling apart, the lights are plain and there are no carpets, let alone plush ones. Even the Sifrei Torah are unadorned - the mantles are threadbare and there is no silver to be seen. But the Torah is aglow with happiness because there is honour and respect. The people cherish the Torah and will not make a move without consulting her. They may not have much money to give her, but they give her their hearts, and that, when all's said and done, is what the Torah really asks of us!

It is very much like Sh'lomoh Ha'melech wrote in Mishlei - "Chein is false, and beauty is futile, it is a woman who fears G-d who is praiseworthy".

Chein and beauty on their own, explains the Gro, are meaningless. It is only when they are coupled with the fear of G-d that they become praiseworthy.

* * *

Parshah Pearls

Sheva Yipol Tzadik Ve'kom

The Ba'al ha'Turim writes that "Va'teichel kol avodas ha'Mishkon" is the equivalent geymatriya to "be'esrim va'chamishoh be'Kislev nigmar". The Mishkon may have been completed on the 25th Kislev, but it was not finally erected until Rosh Chodesh Nisan, as the Torah expressly writes (40:2).

In fact, the 25th Kislev was compensated with the Chanukah of the Chashmono'im (which even became an annual event).


Moshe Rabeinu actually erected the Mishkon for the first time on the 23rd Adar, but he dismantled it again on the same day, after the conclusion of the avodah. He did this for the seven consecutive days leading up to Rosh Chodesh Nisan.

The Ma'yonoh shel Torah, quoting the Gerrer Rebbe, explains that this was a Tikun for the seven destructions (i.e. the five Mishkonos - one in the desert, Givon, Shiloh, Nov and Giv'on, and the two Batei Mikdash). By taking down the Mishkon seven times and erecting it, Moshe Rabeinu was not only hinting that there would be seven destructions, but he was also ensuring that after each destruction, there would be a reconstruction.

The eighth construction (on Rosh Chodesh Nisan) remained standing - a sure hint that the third Beis-Ha'mikdash will never not be destroyed.


The Poor are More Important than
the Beit Ha'mikdash

The Gemoro in B'rochos relates how the Chachomim would enter Dovid ha'Melech's presence each morning, to tell him that Yisrael needed parnosoh. And the Gemoro quotes Dovid's reply.

It is not at first clear as to why the Chachomim repeated this performance every single day, and what they hoped to achieve with their constant repetition of the request.

It appears, the Ma'yonoh shel Torah quotes an ancient Seifer, that these dialogues took place during the period of the three years' famine, and that the Chachmei Yisrael were hinting to the king to take out the silver and gold that he designated for the building of the Beis Ha'mikdash, to feed the hungry people.

Dovid Ha'melech, it seems, did not get the hint - but his son Sh'lomoh ruled that the Chachmei Yisrael were right when he declined to use any of that money for the purpose that his father had intended.

* * *


In last week's edition, Parshas Tetzaveh, we wrote how the G'ro proved to his disciple Shevno, that his name was hinted in the book of Devorim.

We sincerely apologise for confusing two separate stories.

The G'ro did indeed maintain that all names are hinted in Seifer Devorim, and he did find his own name in Parshas Ki Seitzei, as we pointed out.

However, it was a disciple of the Ramban, by the name of Avner, who renounced his Yiddishkeit, because his Rebbe had said that the name of every Jew is hinted in Parshas Ha'azinu, and he considered this to be totally ridiculous -

Until the Ramban pointed out to him where his own name - Avner - was to be found in the words" "omarti - af'EIhem ashBiso me'eNosh zichRom" , the third letters of which spell Avner, and which means "I said that I will cast them away, I will destroy their memory from mankind".

Avner was shocked to hear this, and did Teshuvah on the spot.

* * *

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