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FEBRUARY 27-28, 2003 6 ADAR 5764

Pop Quiz:Which of the vessels was placed in the courtyard of the Mishkan?


"Make an Ark of cedar wood...and cover it with gold." (Shemot 25:10-11)

The Aron (Ark), which held the two Tablets in them, had to be made out of cedar wood and covered with gold from within and from without. Since this is one of the most important vessels in the Mishkan, shouldn't it be made totally out of gold? What is the significance of the wood between the layers of gold?

The answer is that the Torah must be kept in something wooden because wood is a substance which symbolizes growth. The scholar and the layman both must be like wood in the sense that they are constantly growing and improving. The gold covering symbolizes the midot, the character, which must be sterling and pure like the pure gold in the Mishkan, but the main substance which can hold the Torah is wood. The lesson for us is that no matter what our level of understanding is, we must try to increase our learning and be constantly on the move towards perfection. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Shmuel Choueka

"And its pegs and all the pegs of the courtyard, copper" (Shemot 27: 19)

Our perashah is dedicated to the story of the building of the Mishkan - the Temple of the desert. This great generation succeeded in building a Mikdash, a holy building. This is no small feat. Hashem's command was: ďAnd they shall make a Sanctuary for me so that I may dwell among them." Hashem didn't command them to build a bayit, a building, and Hashem would dwell in it. That would not have been enough to bring Hashem's presence into the structure. They had to build a holy building, and infuse it with holiness, on their own! Only then would Hashem dwell there. No easy task, but they were so great, so holy, that they did it.

At the end, in the last verse of the perashah, there is a mention of the copper pegs. In order to keep the courtyard curtains from flapping in the wind, they were secured by ropes tied to pegs. Rashi says that he is unsure if the pegs were stuck into the ground or if it was the weight of the pegs that weighed down the lower edges of the curtains, preventing them from moving in the wind. Rabbi Moshe Feinstein leans from this Rashi a clear lesson. A person must see to it that he doesn't "flap in the wind." He shouldn't be buffeted by the different influences, winds, of society. He must be weighted down by his own weight. He must have his own strong convictions, not the convictions of someone else. However, in the beginning, when he is young, he needs to acquire these convictions from others. He needs to be firmly rooted with diligent study in a good yeshivah, with teachers and friends that will strengthen him and inspire him in the ways of Hashem. After accomplishing this, he will be strong on his own to withstand all of the winds. The man, like a peg, needs his own weight and he needs to be stuck into the ground.

Our children will grow up before we know it. They need to be guided by us while they are young to get a strong attachment, and be able to succeed in their adult lives. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Reuven Semah


Question: Why does the person who goes up for the haftarah also go up for a portion of the Torah?

Answer: 1) So it will not look as if the person is unimportant, and consequently received only an aliyah to the haftarah. 2) If we sent up a person for the haftarah alone, it might look as if the haftarah was equal to the Torah - which is not the case. (Excerpted from Siddur Abir Yaacob, published by Sephardic Press)


"You shall make a Menorah of pure gold, hammered out shall the Menorah be made" (Shemot 25:31)

Rashi writes that Moshe had difficulty understanding the making of the Menorah. What couldn't Moshe comprehend about the Menorah?

One of the esoteric interpretations of the Menorah is that it symbolized Klal Yisrael. The Menorah was kindled with pure olive oil. According to the Gemara (Menahot 85b) olive oil is associated with knowledge.

Throughout the long exile, the Jewish people were scattered to all corners of the world. Wherever they sojourned, the country benefited immensely from their wisdom, intellect and creativity. Nevertheless, anti-Semitism prevailed and the Jewish people, who enhanced the country, were beaten and persecuted.

This strange phenomenon puzzled Moshe to no end. The Jewish people who have contributed so much to humanity through their intellect and wisdom should be cherished and appreciated by all, and in fact they are being hammered? (Vedibarta Bam)


"They shall take for me an offering." (Shemot 25:2)

Last week's perashah tells how Bnei Yisrael told Hashem "Na'aseh v'nishma - we will do and we will listen" when they received the Torah. They were prepared wholeheartedly to accept everything in the Torah without exception. This week's perashah then starts off by describing the collection that was made to build the Mishkan (Tabernacle). The Ba'al Shem Tob explains that Hashem is giving us a message. When something inspires us to do good, it is not enough to declare our dedication to Hashem and then go right back to our daily routines. We must act upon the inspiration, and bring the potential to the actual.

This concept applies in all areas of personal growth. In order to maximize the effects of an uplifting class or an enlightening experience, one must seize the moment and act upon it before the emotion fades away. After hearing a Torah class, one could either walk away thinking about how he enjoyed the class and leave it at that, or he could immediately choose a point of the class to act upon. If a person remains focused on his goal of spiritual improvement, he will try to make the most of the opportunities that Hashem gives him.

Question: Name one thing that you acted upon as a result of a Torah class or spiritual experience. Do you think you would have followed through with it if you hadn't acted on it promptly?


This Week's Haftarah: Melachim I 5:26 - 6:13

Our perashah describes the Mishkan and everything that goes into it. B'nei Yisrael volunteer and contribute whatever they can to participate in this great event.

Our Haftarah describes the building of the first Bet Hamikdash. Now that the Jews have established themselves in the land, they need a permanent structure for G-d to reside in. The Temple was built by King Solomon, who spared no expense to make it a glorious house for G-d. (Tell it from the Torah)

Answer to Pop Quiz: The Mizbah hanehoshet (Copper Altar).

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