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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 25, v. 2: "V'yikchu li trumoh" - And they shall take for Me a tithe - The average tithing of trumoh is a fiftieth. The ground space of the Mishkon compound was 100 by 50 cubits, 5,000 square cubits. The ground space of the Beis Hamikdosh campus was 500 by 500 cubits, 25,000 square cubits. The tithing for the Mishkon is called "trumoh" because its sanctified ground area is a fiftieth of that of the future Beis Hamikdosh. (Baal Haturim)

Ch. 25, v. 2: "V'YIKCHU Li trumoh mei'eis kol ish asher yidvenu libo TIKCHU" - Why is taking mentioned twice? The Nachal K'dumim in the name of the MHR"I Z'eivi answers that the Targum Yonoson ben Uziel in parshas Va'yakheil 35:27,28 writes that the stones for the breast-plate were brought to the desert by clouds, and the spices for incense and the oil for the menorah came from Gan Eden. They came into the possession of the tribal heads who donated them to the Mishkon. This is the meaning of "V'yikchu LI," MI'SHELI, as these items are MINE, Hashem's, as they came into the hands of the tribal heads in a miraculous manner. Besides taking these donations there was a command to take a second type of donation, "mei'eis kol ish asher yidvenu libo," as these items did not come into their hands miraculously, and required a magnanimous and charitable heart.

This also explains why when the donated items are listed in verses 3,4,5, and 6 all items after the first are prefixed by a Vov, meaning AND this, AND this, etc. However, when the list continues in verse 7 with the oil, it does not say "V'shemen," but rather "Shemen," without a Vov, indicating that this is not a continuation of the donated items. The previous materials were donations of the people who were magnanimous, while the oil was in reality given by Hashem, as He sent it in a miraculous manner to the tribal leaders, as were the precious stones, which are mentioned right after the oil, hence no Vov to connect the two types of donations.

Please note that there is an opinion that the oil for the menorah was purchased from merchants who braved the desert. For example, see the words of the Ponim Yofos on "Shemen ZAYIS zoch" (Shmos 27:20).

Ch. 25, v. 10: "V'OSSU oron" - Why by the command to create all other vessels does it say "v'ossoh" and here "v'ossu?" The Moshav Z'keinim gives three answers:

1) The oron represents the Torah. Everyone is responsible to personally take part in studying it.

2) Shlomo Hamelech made replicas of all other Mishkon vessels, hence the singular form. However the Holy Ark was not duplicated by Shlomo Hamelech, hence the plural form. (See comments on 25:21 which might explain why Shlomo Hamelech could not create another Holy Ark).

3) The oron, shulchon, and mizbei'ach had ornamental crowns. The crown of the shulchon was taken by Dovid Hamelech, the crown of the mizbayach by Aharon the Kohein, but the crown of Torah is open for all, hence the plural term "v'ossu."

Ch. 25, v. 21: "V'nosato es hakaporres ...... v'el ho'oron ti'tein es ho'eidus" - The Ibn Ezra says that this means "Place the lid onto the Holy Ark AFTER you have fulfilled 'v'el ho'oron ti'tein.'" Rashi says that this has already been taught in verse 16. Our verse teaches that it is not permitted to place the lid onto the oron before placing the "luchos" into the oron first. The Baalei Tosfos ask on Rashi, "What need is there for this verse? It is impossible to put the kaporres on first and then place the 'luchos' inside." They answer that the verse prohibits placing the lid on first even if only to test if it is properly shaped to sit securely upon the oron.

The Sfas Emes asked Rabbi Chaim Ozer Grodzenski why there was no Holy Ark in the second Beis Hamikdosh. Even though the original oron and its contents were sequestered, why not build an oron as is required for the Mikdosh? Rabbi Chaim Ozer answered that an oron without luchos is not an oron. Possibly this is what is taught by the extra verse.

This seems to depend upon two opinions regarding the second ark which escorted the bnei Yisroel to the battlefield, discussed in gemara Shkolim 16a-b and B.B. 14a. Was this ark empty or did it house the broken "luchos?" According to the opinion that it was empty, we see that an ark with no "luchos" in it is still of value. Also see Rashi on Bmidbar 10:33 in the name of the Sifri, that the ark that escorted the bnei Yisroel to battle had the broken "luchos." Possibly, even if this oron was empty, the oron that was to occupy space in the Kodesh Hakodoshim required luchos. Tosfos on the gemara Eiruvin 63b d.h. "kol zman", deals with this at length.

Another answer to the Sfas Emes's question might be with the above Baalei Tosfos who say that it is prohibited to place the kaporres onto the oron without the "luchos" inside. Since the "luchos" were gone, the kaporres could not be placed onto the oron, so an oron wasn't made.

Another possible answer might be that there is a strong indication from the Rambam hilchos Beis Habchiroh 1:6 that the oron was not needed to create the sanctity of the Mikdosh. He lists all the vessels that must be made for the Beis Hamikdosh, the mizbach ho'oloh, kevesh, shulchon, menoroh, kior, and mizbach hazohov. He does not mention the oron. It would seem that the command to make an oron is only for the purpose of having it house its holy contents, but it is not one of the "klei Mikdosh."

Ch. 25, v. 37: "V'ossiso es neiro'sehoh" - Although many details of the menorah were discussed, i.e. the kanim, gviim, prochim, and kaftorim, "v'osiso" is used here, seemingly indicating some sort of new creation. The gemara M'nochos 88b brings two opinions as to whether the "neiros," the lamps which contained the oil and wicks were unibody with the menorah or not. According to the opinion that the "neiros" were separate, it is obvious why "v'ossiso" is used here and not by the kanin, gviim, prochim, or kaftorim. The Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh says that even according to the other opinion, the "neiros" were not formed out of the large original block of gold that became the menorah, but rather, they were soldered on later, also justifying the use of "v'osiso," specifically by the "neiros."

However, the Breisa Dimleches haMishkon chapter 9 says that the "neiros" were made of the same block of gold as the main body of the menorah, and its ornamentation, the gviim, prochim, and kaftorim may be soldered. This chapter is brought in its entirety and is expounded upon by the Ramban 25:39.

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)



See also Oroh V'Simchoh - Meshech Chochmoh on the Weekly Parsha, Chasidic Insights and Chamisha Mi Yodei'a

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