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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 30, v. 19: "V'rochatzu es y'deihem v'es ragleihem" - And they should wash their hands and their feet - The majority of a Kohein's body is sanctified by being covered with the holy garments. Their hands and feet, which are exposed, require this ritual to be sanctified. (Rabbi S.R. Hirsch)

Ch. 30, v. 34: "V'chel'b'noh" - This is the one incense component that exudes a negative odour when burned. Nevertheless, it is included with the other ten fragrant incense spices. The gemara Krisus 6b derives from this that when we pray on a day of fasting we are to include even a spiritually negligent person in the quorom, or else the fasting is to naught. This is explained by the Holy Baal Shem Tov. If we are incapable of drawing a "poshei'a" to join us and improve himself, it is a sign that not all is well with us. This is akin to having both dry kindle shavings and some moist wood. We ignite the dry kindle and once it produces a fire, the moist wood will also eventually burn. If it doesn't, it is a sure sign that the dry kindle is not really so dry.

Ch. 31, v. 14: "M'chal'lehoh mose yumos ki kol ho'oseh voh m'lochoh v'nich'r'soh hanefesh hahee" - Her desecrators will surely be put to death because whoever does work on Shabbos and that soul will be excised - What sort of reason is "ko'reis" for putting one to death? The gemara Shabbos 70 says that "mose yumos" indicates multiples. Obviously death comes but once. The intention is that one who desecrates Shabbos unintentionally numerous times has to bring numerous chatos offerings. This is only true because one who desecrates it intentionally is liable for "ko'reis," as per the gemara Sanhedrin 66. (Lekach Nechmod)

Ch. 31, v. 18: "Va'yitein el Moshe" - And He gave to Moshe - Rashi comments that this incident, relating the giving of the tablets, which contained the Ten Commandments and the ensuing creation of the golden calf is chronologically out of order. This took place before the command to build a sanctuary was given. Rashi goes on to build a timeline which proves his point. On the 17th of Tamuz the tablets were broken, and it wasn't until Yom Kippur that Hashem forgave the bnei Yisroel. The donations for building the sanctuary took place on the following day. Many commentators question Rashi. Perhaps the command for the sanctuary was indeed transmitted to Moshe earlier, as the simple order of the verses indicate. Rashi's time line is correct, but only deals with the donations. Possibly, Moshe did not relate the command to build a Mishkon until after Yom Kippur.

However, it is quite possible that Rashi relied on the medrashim which state that the building of the Mishkon was for the purpose of bringing about atonement for the sin of the golden calf. And this is why the donated money is called "kesef hakippurim." As well, the gemara Yerushalmi Shkolim page 8a states that because the bnei Yisroel sinned at half-day they were commanded to bring a half-shekel, or because they sinned at six hours into the day they were commanded to bring a half-shekel, equal to six smaller units called "garmisin." In any case we clearly see that the donations were for atonement for the sin of the golden calf. (Chamudei Zvi)

This is all good and fine based on the medrashim, but it seems that the commentators claim against Rashi is that based on the text of the Torah it is not conclusive.

Ch. 32, v. 2: "Por(a)ku nizmei hazohov asher b'oznei n'sheichem b'neichem uvnoseichem" - Remove the golden rings that are in the ears of your wives your sons and your daughters - Why was it necessary for Aharon to point out the present location of these gold pieces of jewellery? In Shmos 3:22 we find Hashem telling Moshe that the bnei Yisroel will leave Egypt with assorted items, including gold jewellery. Hashem tells Moshe that the jewellery should be placed upon their sons and daughters. Thus, Aharon is alluding to them that Hashem was so kind to bring about their coming into such wealth, which they and their children are actively wearing, and they are now about to embark upon donating these items to ch"v rebel against Him. (Rokei'ach)

Ch. 32, v. 3: "Va'yispor(a)ku kol ho'om es nizmei hazohov asher b'ozneihem" - And all the nation was relieved of the golden rings that were in its ears - From whose ears were these items removed? Ibn Ezra says that they were removed from the ears of their wives, sons, and daughters mentioned in the previous verse. The Holy Alshich says that the men acted in such haste that they removed the earrings that were in their own ears, not those of their wives and children. The reflexive "va'yispor(a)ku" is more readily understood according to the Holy Alshich.

Ch. 32, v. 11: "Hanichoh li vaacha'leim" - Allow Me and I will annihilate them - Hashem has such great love for those who are exceedingly righteous, to the point that He wants no pain to come upon them. This can bring protection to the close friends of a righteous person. We see in our verse that without Moshe's permission, Hashem would not carry out His harsh decree. (Ralba"g)

Ch. 32, v. 11: "Va'y'chal Moshe" - And Moshe beseeched - The letters of "va'y'chal," when moved around, spell "choli." Moshe exerted such efforts in his prayer that he literally became sick. (Rabbeinu Efrayim)

Minchoh V'luloh offers a novel translation of "va'y'chal," and he negated, as we find, "lo YACHEIL d'voro." Moshe was successful in having Hashem rescind His decree.

Ch. 32, v. 31: "V'chol hansiim bo'eidoh" - And all the ministers IN the congregation - One is only a proper minister when he is totally involved in the congregation, and does not remain aloof. (Rabbi Shlomo Kluger)

Ch. 33, v. 11: "Umshorso Yehoshua lo yomish mitoch ho'ohel" - And his servant Yehoshua would not leave the tent - Before Rabbi Mayer Shapiro established Yeshivas Chachmei Lublin he visited numerous Torah scholars, soliciting their advice in regard to how to teach his students. When in Warsaw he steeped into the great Torah scholar Rabbi Avrohom Weinberg, the author of Reishis Bikurim on the gemara B'choros. Rabbi Shapiro related that one person advised him to include in his curriculum a lecture on the daf ha'yomi, and to prepare it on his own and then present it to his students. Rabbi Weinberg responded that he disagreed. He offered a parable. A person had his son apprentice by a baker, to learn how to bake breads and pastries. The baker gave the boy the job of selling the baked goods. Although he handled all the wares, he never learned the basics of baking, not how much flour, how much yeast, other ingredients, how much heat in the oven, to bake for how long, etc. Similarly, the students will hear a brilliant lecture, but will not know how to sift through all the ideas that enter one's mind when first tackling the gemara. Instead the students should be present when the Rosh Hayeshiva goes through these early stages, discards some concepts, accepts others, and comes to his conclusions. This is "lo yomish mitoch ho'ohel."



See also Oroh V'Simchoh - Meshech Chochmoh on the Weekly Parsha, Chasidic Insights and Chamisha Mi Yodei'a

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