subscribe.gif (2332 bytes)

by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

Back to This Week's Parsha | Previous Issues

For sponsorships and advertising opportunities, send e-mail to:SHOLOM613@AOL.COM


Ch. 25, v. 5: "V'oros eilim m'odomim" - And reddened hides of rams - "M'odomim" is a verb in the "hifil," causative tense. It means that the hides were reddened, and not "red hides." If the intention of the verse were to be to take hides that are naturally coloured red the verse would have said "adumim." (Rabbi Eliyohu Mizrochi)

Ch. 25, v. 5: "Va'atzei shitim" - And acacia wood - How did they procure this wood in the desert? Rashi brings the Medrash Tanchuma #9 on our parsha which says that Yaakov planted acacia trees in Egypt and told his descendants that they should be harvested and taken along upon departure for later use in the Mishkon. The Baa'lei Tosfos says that there were forests in the desert from which they took these trees.

Ch. 26, v. 9: "V'chofalto" - And you should fold - Rashi says that the front roofing panel is folded downwards as a valance. According to Rashi 1 "amoh" was a Mishkon covering, 1 "amoh" covered the poles in front of the building, and 2 "amos" were a valance. According to Rabbi Avrohom ben hoRambam half the panel, 2 "amos" were a Mishkon covering, 1 "amoh" covered the poles in front of the building, and only 1 "amoh" served as a valance. The Breisa of M'leches haMishkon takes this verse literally, and says that the panel was doubled and sewn down like a hem, and all 4 "amos" of its width served as a valance. Perhaps "v'chofalto" would be translated as "and you should double" according to this opinion.

Ch. 26, v. 12: "Tisrach al achorei haMishkon" - Should drag/hang on the back of the Mishkon - Rashi here says that the length left to cover the back of the western wall of the Mishkon totally covered its complete length, even the last "amoh" of the beams and the silver foundation sockets. However, Rashi in his commentary on the gemara Shabbos 98b d.h. "meichavro'sehoh" says that one "amoh" dragged on the floor. An explanation would be greatly appreciated.

Ch. 26, v. 15: "Atzei shitim OMDIM" - Standing acacia wood - A few explanations of OMDIM:

1) The gemara Yoma 72a says in the name of Rabbi Choma b"R Chanina that this means that the beams should be positioned so that their end that was close to the roots when growing should also be at the bottom.

2) Alternatively, he offers that they give permanence to their cladding, i.e. they keep their cladding standing. Rashi d.h. "shemaamidin" explains that this means that their gold cladding (verse 29) should be permanently fastened to the wooden beams with nails.

3) Alternatively, Rashi offers that this type of wood was impervious to worm damage, thus their gold cladding would not fall off because of internal rot.

4) The gemara has a 3rd explanation, that the acacia beams are permanent, that they will remain forever. Even though they are now hidden from us, they will be shown to us at the end of days.

5) Rashi and Sforno on our verse say that OMDIM teaches us that the beams should not be placed horizontally one on top of the other to create walls, but rather, they should be placed vertically, OMDIM. I have difficulty comprehending this because it seems that without the word OMDIM we would clearly know this from later verses as follows:

The Torah says that each beam should have two prongs that fit into silver foundation blocks (verse 21). If the beams are placed horizontally there are some difficulties: 1) "Adonim," the sockets, are translated as foundation (Rada"k), as we find in Iyov 38, "Al moh ado'nehoh hut'b'u." If placed at the ends of vertical beams they are not foundation blocks. 2) There is no indication of which end of the vertical beams should have the "adonim" and which end the rings, "tabo'ose" (verse 24). 3) The silver sockets add nothing to the structural integrity of the Mishkon. 3) If placed horizontally, we will have the north and south walls of the Mishkon 30 "amos" high, as verses 18 and 20 say that the south side and the north side have 20 beams each. This would have been a most difficult situation. They would need a crane to put the upper beams into place. 4) Verse 22 tells us that the western wall has 6 beams. They total a height of 9 "amos" when laid horizontally. Two walls 30 "amos" high and the connecting wall 9 "amos" high is unusual, to say the least. 5) The support rods, "brichim," would have to run vertically. A collection of information from verses 26 through 28 strongly indicates that they ran horizontally. 6) The space dimensions inside the Mishkon would be 10 "amos" from east to west and 8 or possibly 9 "amos" from north to south, depending on the thickness of the beams. This is very problematic as well. Firstly, Tosfos on the gemara Shabbos 98b d.h. "dal" says that we derive the depth of each beam from the Beis Hamikdosh, which the verse says had dimensions of 60 "amos" by 20 "amos" (M'lochim 1:6:2). We apply this to the Mishkon and say that it had the same three to one ratio. This would have to be discarded, not a major problem. The placement of the Sanctuary vessels is more problematic. We have to place a "shulchon, menorah," and golden altar into the first chamber, a curtain as a divide and the Holy Aron into the inner Sanctum. Its staves would have to be at least one and a half "amos" longer than the Aron to accommodate a carrier and to avoid his touching the Ark, a total of 3 "amos." By the time we are done with all of this there is almost no maneuvering space. 7) The 44 "amos" long covering would drag at least 2 "amos" on the floor at the outside base of the western wall. However, this is not a serious problem, since Rashi in his commentary on the gemara Shabbos 98b d.h. "meichavro'sehoh" says that 1 "amoh" dragged on the floor. 8) Possibly the greatest problem is from verse 23. Verse 22 tells us that there are 6 western wall beams. Verse 23 states that there are another 2 western wall beams that are corner beams. If all beams are laid horizontally, why does the Torah separate the six from the last two? Also, they are not the exclusive corner beams, as all 8 beams create the corner. The only answer to this would be that the 6 western beams of verse 22 are horizontal, and the 2 mentioned in verse 23 are vertical. This adds to the oddity of the structure. We would now have a 30 "amos" high northern and southern wall, a 9 "amos" high western wall, and the corner beams would stand an "amoh" higher than the rest of the western wall, as well as beams running in different directions. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

6) OMDIM means taking the wood from growing trees that are alive and standing, and not from dead trees that have fallen, as they are subject to rot and might even already have hidden interior deterioration. (Hadar Z'keinim)

7) Tosfos Hasho'leim writes that they did not change their colour with aging, nor did they deteriorate. Change of colour is not a factor in the cosmetic aspect of the Mishkon because they were gilded with gold, "V'es hakroshim t'tza'peh zohov," (verse 29). However, it explains why Hashem chose this material.

8) OMDIM means from PREPARED trees. Medrash Tanchuma #9 on our parsha says that Yaakov planted acacia trees in Egypt and told his descendants that they should be harvested and taken along upon departure for use in the Mishkon. This has a mathematical allusion. "Hakroshim laMishkon" is the same as "Yaakov Ovinu nota lo'hem arozim b'Mitzrayim." Another indication to this is the word "Hakroshim," with a definitive letter Hei, the specific beams that Yaakov told them should come from the trees he planted. (Kli Yokor)

Ch. 26, v. 18: "Negboh teimonoh" - To the south - Teimon means south. The literal translation of "negev" is "dry." It is a borrowed term for "south," as in the southern end of the Northern Hemisphere it is dry because of the heat. Sometimes the word used for "south" is "dorome," as in "Holeich el dorome " (Koheles 1:6). The word "dorome" is really a composite of "dor rom," with the letter Reish serving a double duty, as the end of the first word and as the beginning of the second. This means that the sun "resides up high" on this side. The east is called "mizrach," because that is the location of the first shining (rays) of the sun when the day begins. A person naturally turns to that direction first at the beginning of the day, hence the word "kedem" also being used for "east." Once facing that way and having the sun advance somewhat in the sky, it is to one's southeast. Because of the southern factor in the sun's position while the observer is facing east, we have the word "teimon," as the sun is to his right side, "y'min." Sometimes "ochor" is used for "west" (T'hilim 139:5) because when one is facing east, the fisrt direction one turns to see light at the beginning of the day, the west is behind him. "Maarov" is also used for "west" because when the sun is in the west it is beginning its descent towards evening, "erev." The north is called "tzofone" because the sun is never in the north, hence it is "hidden" from that direction. (Ramban)

Please note that all of the above is from the vantage point of someone positioned in the Northern Hemisphere. As well, in the summer, especially around the time that we experience the longest amount of daylight, the sun moves in a more pronounced arc, and we find at the very beginning and very end of the day that it is somewhat in the north.

Ch. 26, v. 28: "V'habriach hatichon" - And the internal support rod - The Daas Z'keinim at the beginning of our parsha says that this rod was originally Yaakov's stick, "Ki v'makli ovarti es haYardein ha'zeh" (Breishis 32:11). Targum Yonoson ben Uziel says that it came from a tree that Avrohom planted in B'eir Sheva. Angels cut it down and threw it into Yam Suf when the bnei Yisroel crossed. It floated and the angels announced, "This is from a tree that your ancestor Avrohom planted." This rod had the miraculous property of becoming flexible. It was 70 "amos" long and when inserted into a wall and upon reaching the end in one direction it made a turn and continued through the next direction, and again upon completing that span it took another turn and spanned the third wall. Upon removal it again became flexible, and when totally removed, it was a straight, stiff, solid pole.



See also Oroh V'Simchoh - Meshech Chochmoh on the Weekly Parsha and Chasidic Insights

Back to This Week's Parsha | Previous Issues

This article is provided as part of Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Permission is granted to redistribute electronically or on paper,
provided that this notice is included intact.

For information on subscriptions, archives, and
other Shema Yisrael Classes,
send mail to
Jerusalem, Israel