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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 35, v. 1: "Va'yakheil Moshe" - And Moshe assembled - Rashi says that Moshe did not assemble the people by bringing them together with his hands. Rather, they assembled by hearkening to his command that they assemble. Commentators ask why it is stressed here that Moshe assembled the bnei Yisroel, as every time that he transmitted mitzvos to them they assembled. Even more problematic is the need for Rashi to say that Moshe did not physically bring them together, as this was also the case every time he assembled them.

The Holy Zohar on our verse says that from the words "adas bnei Yisroel" we derive that Moshe only told those who were descendants of Yaakov that their donations would be accepted, but not those of the "eirev rav," the mixed multitudes, who were Egyptians who joined our ranks upon departing from Egypt. When the building of the Mishkon was mentioned before the sin of the golden calf, they could have been donours as well, but after the sin of the golden calf, which was promoted by the "eirev rav," their donations would be unacceptable.

We now understand why the verse stresses here that they were assembled and why Rashi adds that they did so by answering the call of Moshe. Only "adas bnei Yisroel" was called to this assembly. Hearkening to Moshe's voice to assemble was the main point of their assembly. This was not just another get-together. To separate themselves from the insidious "eirev rav" they had to be people who hearkened only to the "voice of Moshe" to assemble as a G-d-fearing group. (The Holy Admor of Satmar zt"l)

Ch. 35, v. 1: "Ei'leh hadvorim asher tzivoh Hashem laasose" - These are the things that Hashem commanded TO DO - The gemara Shabbos 70a and 97b says that in the words "ei'leh hadvorim" is alluded that there are 39 creative acts that are forbidden to do on Shabbos. "Ei'leh" has the numerical value of 36. Add to this 2, as "dvorim" is plural. Add to this 1 more by virtue of the additional letter Hei preceding "dvorim," and we have a total of 39. This seems most puzzling, as the verse is actually saying that "these are the things that Hashem commanded TO DO," rather than not to do. The simple answer is that the verse tells us that these 39 acts are to be done during the six days before Shabbos and on the seventh day it shall be Shabbos (verse 3). It is obvious that there is no mitzvoh to do the 39 prohibited acts of Shabbos during the week, so why are they alluded to in the weekday and by reverse connotation, rather than on Shabbos? Perhaps this is to teach us that when we are active in our weekday activities, we should always have Shabbos in mind, either by virtue of bringing in income so that we may honour the Shabbos, or as is told of the Chofetz Chaim, that during the week when he removed a bone from his portion of fish, he would say, "This act is prohibited on Shabbos."

Ch. 35, v. 2: "Sheishes yomim TEI'O'SEH m'lochoh" - Six days work should be done - Why is this a lead-in to Shabbos? Also, why does the Torah express the work on weekdays as "being done," TEI'O'SEH, and not in the simple form of "doing work," as we find in the Ten Commandments, "v'osiso kol m'lachtecho," (Shmos 20:9)? The level of difficulty of refraining from work on Shabbos is very much dependent upon one's attitude towards his work/income relationship. One who has the mistaken attitude that the "bottom line" of income depends solely upon the sweat of his brow will find it difficult to refrain from working on Shabbos, reasoning that it will cut deeply into his earnings. This is even more realistic if he feels that his income has a "weekend" high-traffic factor. For a person with this type of outlook, keeping the Shabbos is indeed a true challenge.

Contrast this with the person who has the mind-set of having his income come by decree of Hashem, and the pursuit of livelihood is the tax we must pay for Odom's sin, "b'zei'as a'pecho tochal lechem" (Breishis 3:19), or some other legitimate Torah-based reasoning, such as a test to see if one will comply with the laws of Choshen Mishpot at work, etc. For him refraining from work becomes much, much easier. It all depends upon the attitude.

This is why the Torah prefaces keeping Shabbos with "Sheishes yomim TEI'O'SEH m'lochoh." Realize that during the six weekdays your work is "done for you," TEI'O'SEH, that your income is decreed by Hashem. Then you will easily be able to keep Shabbos properly. (Apirion)

Alternatively, Shabbos is mentioned here in juxtaposition to the creation of the Mishkon to teach us that one should not do any creative work for the Mishkon at the expense of pushing away Shabbos (Rashi). The M.R. says that the creation of the components of the Mikdosh was done in a supernatural way. People put in their effort, but Hashem's angels helped in their creation, making sure that every item was accurately created, as per Hashem's specifications.

A person might thus mistakenly think that he is allowed to do this work even on Shabbos, as per the dictum, "shnayim she'ossu f'turim" (gemara Shabbos 3a), that when two people involve themselves in one act, they are each not held responsible for the desecration of Shabbos. However, this is not so. The verse later says that it is a "Shabbas Shabbosone laShem," that even Hashem and his celestial creatures also refrain from work on Shabbos. Thus if one were to create items for the Mishkon on Shabbos, he would be doing it on his own, without the involvement of an angel.

Our verse thus relates that even though the work of creating the Mishkon on the 6 weekdays is TEI'O'SEH, "it will be done," i.e. with the help of an angel, nevertheless, do not do it on Shabbos, as on that day you alone would be doing the work. (Mahari"l Diskin)

Ch. 35, v. 2: "Sheishes yomim TEI'O'SEH m'lochoh" - Six days work should be done - Rashi (Mechilta) says that the juxtaposition of Shabbos to the creation of the Mishkon teaches us that the building of the Mishkon may not be done at the expense of Shabbos. Some say that this is derived from Shabbos being mentioned before the Mishkon. However, in parshas Ki Siso the Mishkon is mentioned before Shabbos. As well, how is the order indicative of which takes precedence?

As stated in the first verse of our parsha, there was an assemblage of the bnei Yisroel. Why was Shabbos also included in the commands given in this assemblage? The need for donations for the Mishkon makes its being told in assemblage understood, since everyone was to be made aware of the building of the Mishkon, so that all may take part. Shabbos being mentioned in the same assemblage clearly indicates that the building of the Mishkon not push away Shabbos, because if it were to be the reverse, that the Mishkon may be built even at the expense of Shabbos, why mention Shabbos restrictions in the same gathering? (B'eir Yitzchok)

Ch. 35, v. 2: "Shabbas" - Shabbos - The Baal Haturim points out that the parsha of Shabbos follows on the heels of the last verses of parshas Ki Siso, where it relates that Moshe's face beamed. This teaches us that a person who embodies the sanctity of Shabbos has a different, more elevated look (shine) on his face on Shabbos than during the week. Along this line: It is related that the B'eir Mayim Chaim, the Holy Admor Rabbi Chaim of Tchernovitz, had a special holy glow on his face on Shabbos, and that his body became taller every Shabbos by a head.

The Baal Haturim also writes that Shabbos follows "Va'yakheil" to teach us that the Rabbis of each community should lecture for the assembled public on Shabbos and Yom Tov (Yalkut Shimoni remez #408).

Ch. 35, v. 3: "Lo s'vaaru aish b'chole moshvosheichem b'yom ha Shabbos" - Do not kindle a fire in any of your homes on the day of Shabbos - Rashi brings the opinion in the gemara Shabbos 70a of Rabbi Yosi that kindling a fire is singled out from among all the 39 restricted acts of Shabbos to teach us that a transgressor of this act only among the 39 receives lashes and not the death penalty. According to the opinion that it teaches us separation of atonement sacrifices for each act done accidentally on Shabbos, "l'cha'leik," why does the Torah single out kindling a fire?

1) Because it is permitted on Yom Tov (Rashbam, Ramban, Ibn Ezra)

2) Because fire in the main is destructive, and the acts of Shabbos have to be constructive Nevertheless, fire is the basis for many creative acts. Kindling a fire is such a major basis for creative activity that we include the blessing over fire at the end of Shabbos, to clearly indicate that Shabbos has come to an end. (Rabbeinu Bachyei, Sforno)

3) To teach us that the courts may not melt lead on Shabbos to administer the "sreifoh" death penalty (gemara Sanhedrin 35b)

4) Since the Torah in the Ten Commandments tells us that Shabbos is a testimonial for the creation of the world, since fire only came into existence after Shabbos (M.R. Breishis chapter #82, gemara P'sochim 54a), we might think that it is permitted on Shabbos. (Tiferes Y'honoson)

5) This alludes to the gemara Shabbos 119b that one who desecrates the Shabbos will be punished by having his home burned down, based on the verse in Yirmiyohu 27:17, "And if you will not hearken to Me to sanctify the day of Shabbos ...... and I will kindle a fire in her gates which will consume the mansions of Jerusalem and it will not be extinguished." (Kli Yokor, Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh)

6) To teach us that only in our own homes is kindling a fire prohibited, but in the Beis Hamikdosh it is permitted (gemara Shabbos 20a)

7) This alludes to one refraining from kindling the fire of argument on Shabbos. This is a day when people refrain from work and have time to socialize. This could lead to heated arguments. (Akeidas Yitzchok)

8) Since we derive from "bechorish uvakotzir tishbose" (Shmos 34:21) that one is prohibited to plow on the eve of "shmitoh" as well as during "shmitoh," we might also think that one may not light a fire on the eve of Shabbos and have it continue burning on Shabbos (the mistaken opinion of the Saducees). Our verse therefore tells us that it is only prohibited "on the day of Shabbos, b'yom haShabbos." (Mechilta ma'seches d'Shabbata 1:3)

Ch. 35, v. 3: "Lo s'vaaru aish b'chole moshvosheichem" - Do not kindle a fire in any of your homes - The Saducees mistakenly posited that on the "shmitoh" year Shabbos does not apply. Since the Torah says that one should not plow or harvest on Shabbos, "bechorish uvakotzir tishbose" (Shmos 34:21), they claimed that on the "shmitoh" year, when planting or harvesting was prohibited every day of the week, Shabbos does not apply (gemara Horios 4b). Rashi (Mechilta #217) on Shmos 23:12 writes that since "shmitoh" is called "Shabbos," we might incorrectly conclude that there is no addition to the sanctity of "shmitoh Shabbos" and the prohibition against work on the weekly Shabbos does not apply. Therefore Shabbos is placed right after "shmitoh" to teach us that Shabbos restrictions still apply even during a "shmitoh" year. Following the Saducees mistaken reasoning, Shabbos would still apply outside of Eretz Yisroel even on a "shmitoh" year, as plowing and harvesting are always permitted outside of Eretz Yisroel. We would thus have the anomaly of having Shabbos outside of Eretz Yisroel during a "shmitoh" year, while there would be no Shabbos in Eretz Yisroel. The Torah is teaching us that the ruling of the Saducees is false, by stating that Shabbos applies "b'chole moshvoseichem," in all your dwellings, whether they be in or outside of Eretz Yisroel. (Meshech Chochmoh)

Actually, the Meshech Chochmoh rightfully says this idea on Vayikroh 23:3, where the same words "b'chole moshvoseichem" appear, and not here, even though it is earlier. This is because there are other explanations for "b'chole moshvoseichem" here, some brought in the previous offering. However, independent of any other explanations, this would be a most befitting comment on these words.



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

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