Chamishoh Mi Yo'dei'a

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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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1) Ch. 30, v. 13: "Esrim geiroh hashekel" - The Torah tells us in four places that twenty "geiroh" equal one shekel. They are our verse, Vayikra 27:25, Bmidbar 3:47, and 18:16. Why is it necessary to point this out four times?

2) Ch. 30, v. 34: "Kach l'cho samim v'chel'b'noh" - Rashi (gemara Krisus 6b) says that "chel'b'noh" is a spice that has a bad fragrance, and nevertheless is included in the incense. This teaches us that when we declare a public fast and pray to Hashem for mercy we should not be reluctant to include sinners as part of our congregation, just as we include a spice that has a bad fragrance in the incense. Is this concept just another manner of showing tolerance, or is there an inherent advantage to praying with a sinner present?

3) Ch. 30, v. 34: "Bad b'vad" - Exactly what does this mean?

4) Ch. 31, v. 15: "Shabbas Shabboson kodesh laShem" - Here we find the description of Shabbos being "kodesh" after the words "Shabbas Shabboson." In the beginning of parshas Va'yakheil (35:2) we find the reverse, "kodesh Shabbas Shabboson laShem," with the word "kodesh" preceding "Shabbas Shabboson."

5) Ch. 33, v. 23: "Vahasirosi es kapi" - Rashi in the previous verse says that once Hashem's "hand" is removed, permission is given to the destructive powers to do their damaging work. Why is this expressed as "My HAND," and technically speaking as "My PALM?"



The Meshech Chochmoh answers that there is a need for fractions of a shekel in regard to the subject matter of each of these four places.

1) Our verse discusses the giving of a half-shekel for the Mishkon. Since a fraction is to be given, the "geiroh" is mentioned.

2) Vayikra 27:25 discusses the payment for an inherited field which was sanctified. This is pro-rated at 50 shekel for 49 years from one Yovel to the next. This obviously involves fractions of a shekel as well.

3) Bmidbar 3:47 discusses the five shekel redemption of the 273 people who were not redeemed through a Levi exchange. The total of their shkolim equaled 1,365. This is divisible by three resulting in complete integers. Why then is there a need to mention "geiroh?" The Meshech Chochmoh answers that the gemara B.B. 143b says that from the words "l'Aharon u'l'vonov" in our verse we derive that the total was split between Aharon and his sons, with Aharon receiving an equal amount as his two sons combined. This would require splitting the total by four, leaving us with a fraction.

4) Bmidbar 18:16 again discusses the five shekels for redemption of the first-born. Since this is exactly five shekels why the need to tell us the "geiroh" fraction? The Meshech Chochmoh answers that there are fractions when one redeems a first-born from more than one Kohein. One may split the five shekels among many Kohanim and this is valid as mentioned in the gemara B'choros 51b.


Rabbeinu Bachyei explains that if we are not accepting of a sinner, then it is unlikely that he will repent. This is a black mark on the righteous person. Including him in our congregation will bring him to repent, and this will be a great merit for the righteous. This is reminiscent of taking the four species together on Sukos. This includes the willow, "arovoh," even though it symbolizes a person who is lacking in both Torah knowledge and fulfillment of mitzvos.

The Mahara"l of Prague in Gur Aryeh writes that a person who considers himself righteous will not be as contrite as a person who realizes that he is a sinner. With proper contrition and prayer Hashem will respond, thus the need for a sinner as part of the congregation.

Rabbi Chaim, the brother of the Mahara"l of Prague, in B'eir Mayim Chaim, writes that Hashem judges us relative to all other bnei Yisroel, as we find in Rashi on "pen tidbokani horo'oh vomati" (Breishis 19:19), hence the advantage of having sinners in the congregation.

The Maharsh"o writes that although they are accepted as part of the congregation, just as we find that there are 10 other spices that exude a pleasant aroma besides the "chel'b'noh," so too, we should attempt to have at least 10 people, the minimal quorum, who are righteous, in our congregation.


The gemara K'risus 5a offers several interpretations for these words in relation to how the incense components are to be measured. See the Meshech Chochmoh on Shmos 27:11 for a wonderful insight into this matter.

1) Rashi says that the literal meaning of "bad" is ONE, thus "bad b'vad," one one, means that they should be equal one to another.

2) The Rada"k says that "bad b'vad" means each one ALONE, similar to the word "l'vad." This teaches us that each spice type should be ground separately (Rambam hilchos klei Mikdosh 2:5 and Kesef Mishneh), or that they should be weighed separately, thus benefiting the Sanctuary coffers by adding a slight bit called "hechra," to safeguard against falling short of the amount required.

3) The N'tzi"v writes that "bad b'vad" teaches us that the grains of spice that are to be ground should be brought as complete grains, carefully handpicked, and not broken grains of spice, as are commonly found mixed in with complete ones which one purchases in a spice store.


The Rokei'ach says that this teaches us that one should add to the Shabbos, "tosfos Shabbos," before and after. There is a well-known expression of the Admorim of Vizhnitz and their adherents: "hei'li'gen Shabbos kodesh." At first glance there seems to be a redundancy here, similar to "mayim acharonim vasser." Perhaps this expression is based upon these two verses, where "kodesh" is mentioned both before and after Shabbos.


Rabbi Shimshon of Ostropolia explains Rashi as follows: In last week's parsha it says "Sofoh yi'h'yeh L'fiv Soviv Maa'sei Oreig" (28:32). The first letters of the four words starting with "L'fiv" are Samach-Mem-Alef-Lamed. This spells the name of the chief of the destructive angels "SaMo'EiL". Continuing in this same verse, it then says "k'fi Sachro Yi'h'yeh Lo Yiko'rei'a." The first letters of the five words starting with "Sachro" spell the female counterpart "LILIS." The only thing separating the groups of words that spell out these two names is the word "K'FI," spelled Kof-Pei-Yud. This is what is meant by "vahasirosi es KaPI." If I were to remove the letters of KaPI, which form the word K'FI, then the names of SaMo'EiL and LILIS would run consecutively, and permission would be granted to these two destructive powers to do their damaging work ch"v.



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

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