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MARCH 3-4, 2000 27 ADAR I 5760

Rosh Hodesh Adar II will be celebrated on Tuesday & Wednesday, March 7 & 8.

Pop Quiz: Which prohibition of Shabbat is specifically listed in this perashah?

Rabbi Reuven Semah

"And they brought more contributions in the morning" (Shemot 36:3)

When describing the way the people donated money to build the Mishkan, the verse says the word "baboker, in the morning," twice. Some explain that it means that not only did they give their donation in the morning, but they gave it extremely early. They remembered how they woke up very early in the morning to worship the Golden Calf. They felt that at least when they have a chance to make up for that sin, to build the Mishkan, they should also do it extremely early in the morning. We see that the sin gave them a heightened awareness in how to do a misvah.

There is another benefit that seems to have lasted with us until today. It says in our perashah that the people gave too much money (36:5)! They responded to the building donations in excess of what was needed. There is a good reason for this. Rabbi E.M. Bloch explains that whenever a person is called upon to give charity, there are two powerful factors that prevent a good response. One is the natural tendency of a person to be stingy. Secondly, there is the yeser hara, the evil inclination, in all of us to prevent us from doing good. So naturally the campaign to build the Mishkan should have failed. However, prior to this was the incident of the Golden Calf. In that case, the evil inclination was rooting for us to give. The evil inclination helped the Israelites overcome their stinginess, and it resulted in their throwing in a huge amount of gold and jewelry to build the calf. Later, when they were called upon to donate their wealth to build the Mishkan, the response was overwhelming, because their trait of stinginess was already broken. My friends, the Jewish community has been blessed with the great ability to come up with large amounts of charity in a short time. This might be a surprising benefit from the Golden Calf! Shabbat Shalom.

Rabbi Shmuel Choueka

When Moshe Rabenu called upon everyone to donate to the Mishkan, the women stepped forward and offered their copper mirrors which they used to preen themselves. Moshe was understandingly reluctant to accept such a type of donation, whereupon Hashem told him to accept them because they are very beloved in His Eyes (Hashem's). These mirrors were used to make the women pretty in the eyes of their husbands when they were all downtrodden in the mud pits of Egypt, and through these mirrors, the Jewish people multiplied to become the nation of Hashem.

Interestingly, these copper ornaments were used to make the Kiyor, the washbasin which the Kohanim used to wash themselves before the Holy Service. Also, the water which was used to make a suspected adulterer's drink came from this basin. The lesson to be learned is that since these mirrors promoted love and loyalty between husband and wife, the waters found in this Kiyor would also guarantee that if a woman is free of sin, she would be found innocent and return to her husband. When someone does an act of love and devotion, anything which comes from that act will have those same characteristics. We should realize that nothing is forgotten by Hashem, and if someone does a kindness or a good deed with true feelings, this will only bring goodness and blessing to himself and others. Shabbat Shalom.

Rabbi Yaacov Ben-Haim
"For six days you shall do work, and on the seventh day, it shall be holy" (Shemot 35:2)

The 613 Commandments of the Torah correspond to the 613 parts of the body and to the 613 components of the soul. Shabbat corresponds to a vital organ - the heart. Just as the heart is situated in the central area of the body, and from there, it sends the blood through all parts of the body, so too, Shabbat stands as the focal point of the days of the week. The three days which precede it and the three days which follow it have a special relationship with it, which is expressed in halachah. For example, if one has not finished studying the weekly perashah with Targum or Rashi, he may complete it until the following Tuesday, for the three days which follow Shabbat are connected to the Shabbat which preceded it, while the days from Wednesday on are connected to the Shabbat which follows. Similarly, one who is about to embark on a voyage abroad, and knows that it will last until after Shabbat, must embark before Wednesday. By the same token, one who did not recite habdalah on mosa'ei Shabbat may do so as late as Tuesday, under certain circumstances. From such laws as these, we see that Shabbat stands at the center and radiates of its splendor to the days which precede it and the days which follow it. It is the source of life and blessing for the entire week. When a man honors Shabbat and goes to considerable expense because of it, he is blessed with unlimited blessing. Every Jew who keeps Shabbat feels the festive spirit of Shabbat night, the air of joy, delight and sanctity that fills the house. Shabbat Shalom.


"And the people stopped bringing" (Shemot 36:6)

The Ba'al Haturim notes that the word "Vayikaleh - and they stopped" - is found only twice in the Torah, once here and also in Beresheet (8:2): "vayikaleh hageshem min hashamayim - and the rain from the heaven stopped." What is the connection between the two? Rain produces material abundance, plentiful rain brings affluence, and drought leads to famine and deprivation. Many people give charity generously when Hashem showers them with heavenly blessings. As soon as "the rain from the heavens stop" - they experience restraint in their income - immediately " the people stop bringing" - the first thing they curtail is the giving of sedakah. Unfortunately, little do they realize that their wealth will not be minimized by the giving of sedakah. It is written in Yeshayahu (Isaiah), "So says Hashem 'I am the First and I am the Last.'" According to one interpretation, Hashem is bemoaning the fact that when a person has to limit his spending, instead of reducing personal pleasures, he first cuts his expenditures for Torah and misvot. On the other hand, when one is blessed with financial success, only after satisfying himself with all the amenities of life does he think of Hashem and begin to spend for His causes. (Vedibarta Bam)

"No man or woman shall do any more work for the offering of the Sanctuary" (Shemot 36:6)

The people were asked to contribute the material necessary for building the Sanctuary. With great enthusiasm, they responded with the various items that were needed. When the men in charge of the collection reported to Moshe that they were receiving an abundance of material, Moshe commanded the people to suspend further work on their offerings. Seforno notes that Moshe did not instruct that the people should not bring any more items, but that they should discontinue doing additional work. Some of the people had already completed doing work for the Sanctuary, and had they been told not to bring what they had already prepared, they would have been most disappointed. Moshe, therefore, worded his announcement in a manner that would not cause them anguish. If someone does something for you which ultimately proves to have been superfluous, be considerate of his feelings. Do not tell him that his efforts were not actually needed, since this will cause him needless disappointment.

Once, someone came to the house of Rabbi Yitzhak Elchanan Spector to inform him about some good news. Rabbi Spector thanked him. A few minutes later, another person came and told him the same news. Rabbi Spector thanked this person also. Within a short period, several more people came to tell the Rabbi the same news. Without mentioning that he already had heard the news, Rabbi Spector listened politely and thanked each one.

Someone who was with Rabbi Spector asked him why he didn't mention that he had already heard the news. "Each of them derived pleasure from giving me the information," said Rabbi Spector. "I didn't want to deprive them of that pleasure." (Love Your Neighbor)

Answer to Pop Quiz: The prohibition of lighting a fire.

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