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29 Adar 1, 5774/March 1, 2014
Yeshiva University Torah MiTzion Beit Midrash Zichron Dov Yeshiva University Torah MiTzion Beit Midrash Zichron Dov Yeshiva University Torah MiTzion Beit Midrash Zichron Dov
Toronto TorahToronto TorahToronto Torah
 
Parshat Pekudei/Shekalim
 
Vol. 5 Num. 25
 
ס
Rabbi Hirsch summarizes the lesson to be learned: "The joy of duty eagerly fulfilled, this freedom in obedience and
obedience in freedom… is what
characterizes a human being as the servant of G-d." According to Rabbi Hirsch, then, the doubling in the verse comes to teach us that the craftsmen working on the Beit haMikdash were able to express their personality by limiting themselves to Moshe's orders in the name of G-d, achieving by this the highest level of both freedom and obedience.
 
Divine Inspiration
Rabbi Moshe Alshich (1508-1593)
 
takes what seems to be a different approach. He explains that the second phrase, "so had they done", tells us that not only did the Children of Israel execute G-d's orders perfectly, as the instructions had been transmitted through Moshe, but also that when they did change from what Moshe said, it was according to G-d's will. It seems the Alshich alludes to such cases as the change in the order of the building, regarding which the Talmud (Berachot 55a) says that Betzalel varied from the order Moshe had given him. According to the Talmud, Moshe told Betzalel to begin with the Ark, the vessels, and eventually the protective tent. Betzalel, who was guided by practical needs
 – 
 we cannot create the vessels before the house, as there would be no place to put them
 – 
 asked Moshe if his order might be wrong. Moshe acknowledged that Betzalel was right, and praised his wisdom, crediting it with Divine inspiration. Thus, according to the Alshich, the word "they" in the phrase "so had they done" refers to G-d and the Children of Israel together. According to the Alshich, then, the Children of Israel, through their creative effort, were able to expose the Divine will even further than it had been expressed in its revelation to Moshe. As the verse says, "I have called by name
Betzalel… and I have filled him with the
spirit of G-d." (Shemot 31:2)
Divine Freedom
While Rabbi Hirsch saw art as perfect only when submitting itself completely to the Divine command, the Alshich thought it possesses a positive side by itself, if it can tune itself to the Divine will. Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Kook took this view further: the artistic expression is not meant to be submitted, and it is not an attempt to aim to follow a higher Will. Artistic freedom by itself, Rabbi Kook maintained, is indeed the Divine will. (Olat Re'ayah II, pg. 3). As opposed to Rabbi Hirsch position, Rabbi Kook sees the goal of Halachah as not submission of artistic freedom, but rather protection of that freedom from becoming enslaved to material inclinations. (Orot Hakodesh 1:233) It might be added that Halachah not only protects freedom of art, but it
enables 
 this freedom. Without limits, artistic expression would be meaningless; freedom is meaningful when it exists within a society of norms. Free human artistic creation in the Mishkan (see Ibn Ezra Shemot 31:4) was meaningful because the frame was kept and G-d did live in it. "Literature, painting, and sculpting are able to bring to fruition all the spiritual concepts engraved in the depths of the human spirit, and so long as one brush
is missing… there is still an artistic
duty to realize it." (Olat Re'ayah, ibid.)
bweintraub@torontotorah.com 
 
The Mishkan and Artistic Freedom
 
Rabbi Baruch Weintraub
 
To sponsor an issue of Toronto Torah, please email info@torontotorah.com or call 647 
234 
7299 
A leitmotif in our parshah is the phrase "As G-d commanded", which describes the creation of various works for the Mishkan; this phrase appears more than ten times. The Torah emphasizes this point regarding virtually every detail in the Mishkan, and again as Moshe reviews the people's work. However, in its final appearance the language is unusual:
 
"And Moshe saw the entire work, and indeed they had done it, as Hashem had commanded, so had they done. So Moses blessed them." (Shemot 39:43)  There seems to be a redundancy in
"and indeed they had done it… so had
they done." Why do we need both phrases indicating that their deeds followed the Divine plans precisely?
Freedom in Obedience
Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch suggested an interesting reading; according to Rabbi Hirsch (Haberman translation): "Moshe looked over all the work that had been completed, and he noted that the work bore two distinct characteristics: First, It was
they 
 who had done it; every part of the work, from the smallest to the largest, expressed the whole personality, the devotion, the enthusiastic responsiveness and the dynamism of
the entire nation…
 "Second, as G-d had commanded so had they done. Their zeal and enthusiasm had been subordinated
completely… to the Divine command.
 There had been no attempt on the part of any craftsman to bring his own ideas and his own individuality to bear upon the work by making addition or omissions."
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OUR BEIT MIDRASH
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OSH
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IDRASH
 
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ORDECHAI
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Visit us at www.torontotorah.com
 
 Jerusalem, where the Sanhedrin
 – 
 possessors of knowledge and comprehenders of wisdom
 – 
 convenes, and when we will also bring the tithe of our produce there during four years of the
shemitah 
 
cycle… and the fruit of a tree's fourth year will
be eaten there, then either the owner of the property himself will go there to learn Torah, or he will send one of his children to learn there, and the child will be supported by that produce. "As a result, every Jewish home will include a wise person, knowledgeable in Torah, who will then teach his wisdom to his entire household, and so the land will be filled with knowledge of G-d. For if there were only one sage, or even ten sages, in a city, then many of the city's men, women and children would not meet these sages but once per year. Even if they would hear a sage's words every week, they would then return home and cast the words of the sage behind themselves. However, with a teacher in every home, dwelling there evening, morning and afternoon and perpetually instructing, then all of them, men, women and children, will be instructed, and no sin or iniquity will be found among them. They will earn the fulfillment of Vayikra 26:11-
12, 'I will place My tent among you… and you will be
My nation, and I will be your G-d.'"
torczyner@torontotorah.com 
 
2
 The Torah instructs us to tithe our produce and give the tithe to various parties. The Torah also instructs us (mitzvah #360) to tithe the kosher sheep and cattle born to our flocks each year; this is called
maaser beheimah 
. However, unlike
with other tithes, we don’t give this tithe away; rather, we
bring the selected animals to the Beit haMikdash as a korban, and we eat the meat ourselves in Jerusalem. We are not permitted to sell these animals, or their flesh. (#361)  The animal tithe is not entirely unique in its disposal; we have a parallel in
maaser sheni 
, the produce tithe separated in four years out of every seven-year
shemitah
cycle. Like
maaser beheimah 
,
maaser sheni 
 is brought to Jerusalem and consumed there. Indeed,
Sefer haChinuch 
 (360) describes a benefit provided by both of these mitzvot in common; he views these mitzvot as acts of Divine social engineering: "G-d knows that most people, as flesh, are drawn after inferior, material items. They do not turn themselves to the
struggle of Torah and its involvement perpetually…
Undoubtedly, all people are drawn to establish their dwellings where their property is found. "Therefore, when each individual will annually bring the tithe of his cattle and sheep to the place of wisdom and Torah,
Haftorah (Shekalim): Melachim II 12:1-17
 Rabbi Baruch Weintraub
 
Who is the prophet of our haftorah?
Achaziah, king of the southern Jewish kingdom of Yehudah (circa 9
th
-8
th
 century BCE), was killed by Yehu, king of the northern Jewish kingdom of Yisrael. In the aftermath, his mother, Athaliah, massacred the rest of the family. Only Achaziah's son, Yehoash, survived, hidden by his sister and the high priest, Yehoyada, in the Holy of Holies. When Yehoash was seven years old, Yehoyada took him out of his hiding place, declared him King, and killed Athaliah. Yehoyada then launched a campaign to purify the Temple, eliminate false prophets and end idolatry. No prophet is named in our haftorah, but we can see Yehoyada as the central spiritual figure of our story. Rambam, in his introduction to Mishneh Torah, presents Yehoyada as the link between Elisha and Yehoyada's son, Zechariah, in the chain of prophetic tradition.
What is the message of our haftorah?
Our haftorah describes a reform in the  Temple fundraising system, introduced by King Yehoash. In the beginning of his reign, the money brought by the people was given to the priests. The priests were allowed to take the money for themselves, because they were responsible for annual accountings and for carrying out renovations in the temple. Twenty three years later, Yehoash observed that the system had broken down; the accountings had been abandoned, and no new renovations were taking place. Radak explains that King Yehoash suspected that the priests were keeping the money to themselves. The king's cure to the problem was simple: the money would be placed in a special closet, and when the closet was full, the money would be counted and placed into the Temple's treasury, for use later in the renovations.  This new technique was successful, and the renovations were renewed.
What is the connection to Parshat Shekalim?
 The connection to Parshat Shekalim is evident: the story in our haftorah is about donations to the Beit HaMikdash, and that is exactly what the mitzvah of Machatzit HaShekel (contributing a half-shekel) is about. A deeper examination of the story in our haftorah will reveal not only a connection to Parshat Shekalim, but also a lesson to be learned. As we said earlier, Yehoash was crowned at a very  young age. The de facto ruler in Yehudah, it seems, was Yehoyada.  This is stated almost explicitly in the verse, "And Yehoash did what was
proper… as Yehoyada the priest
instructed him." (12:3) In Divrei HaYamim II (Chapter 24) we learn that after the death of Yehoyada, Yehoash went astray. In the end, when he was rebuked by Yehoyada's son, Zechariah, Yehoash decided to kill Zechariah, ignoring the fact that he owed his life to Zechariah's father, Yehoyada. In this light, our haftorah might be read as the beginning of the fall
 – 
 the story of a king who tries to invade the  Temple's treasury. He accused the priests of taking the money for themselves, but his real intention was to seize control over the Temple's money flow. One cannot resist this reading when one sees further in Melachim II that when an enemy attacked, King Yehoash did use the  Temple's money in order to pay him off.  The lesson is clear: The Beit HaMikdash, and the work done in it and for it, are holy, but the people who are responsible for it are not necessarily so. This calls for a system of checks and balances, in order to make sure that, as our haftorah says, 'they are acting in faith.' (12:16)
bweintraub@torontotorah.com
613 Mitzvot: #360-361
 
Social Engineering and Maaser Beheimah
 
Rabbi Mordechai Torczyner
 
Our sages established these four portions, Shekalim, Zachor, Parah, HaChodesh, to be read from Adar to Pesach. We need to know why the sages established them for these days, and what they represent. Clearly, these are hints and instruction for Israel regarding their lives in the land, to know
their duty to their Creator…
 Mishnah Shekalim 1:1 says, "On the first of Adar they announce the
shekalim."… On the first of Adar they
begin to collect the half-shekel donations from every Jew, to acquire daily offerings and musaf offerings to bring in the Temple for all Israel. Every  year, they begin bringing offerings from the new contributions, from the shekalim collected from Israel for the  year's offerings, on the first of Nisan.
 
However, another reason is brought in Megilah 13b: "Reish Lakish said: It was known before the Creator that Haman would give shekalim [in exchange] for Israel; therefore, He put their shekalim before Haman's." We must consider whether there is a connection between this reason and the essential reason of the collection of shekalim for offerings. Apparently, Reish Lakish provided a reason for a time without a Temple. We will preface this with the sages' observation that G-d puts the cure
before the wound… Therefore, in the
time of Haman, descendant of wicked Amalek, when the decree emerged before him to destroy all of the Jews, young to old, children and women on one day, the sparks of healing preceded the growth of the wound. This is [the story] from the murder of Vashti to "That night, the king's sleep was disturbed." These were of the hidden miracles that G-d performs for Israel in every generation, without the subject recognizing his miracle. Queen Esther, from whom the Divine plans and wonders were hidden, did not rely on her throne in the time of trouble. Immediately upon hearing Mordechai's trouble and pain for his nation, she sent, "Go, gather the Jews and fast for me, etc." This gathering first
revealed the hidden miracle…
 So all who have insight will [hear Parshat Shekalim and] understand the goal of these shekalim: When the Beit haMikdash stood, they collected shekalim from the  Jews for the offerings. When they brought the daily and musaf offerings from the shekalim, these were pleasing before Gd, and their sins were forgiven, and they
were saved… But when there is no Temple, we have only our speech, and our
sages said, "Prayers were enacted to parallel the daily offerings." This is our sole
ammunition, in our exile…
Torah and Translation
Why Read Shekalim without a Temple?
Rabbi Shalom haLevi, Divrei Chachamim Even haEzer 19
Translated by Rabbi Mordechai Torczyner
Biography
Rabbi Shalom HaLevi
Rabbi Mordechai Torczyner
 
Visit us at www.torontotorah.com
 3
Rabbi Yachya haLevi was the Chief Rabbi of San'a, Yemen, and the de facto spiritual leader of Yemenite Jewry, in the first decades of the twentieth century. In a time of great turmoil, he successfully led with Torah and diplomacy. The firstborn son of Rabbi Yachya and Saada haLevi was Shalom Isaac haLevi; born on 21 Cheshvan 5751 (November 4 1890), he was recognized in his youth for his clear and quick grasp of issues, and his powerful memory. Young Shalom was groomed for leadership; however, following Yemenite practice, he chose to work at a trade (dyed wool) even as he grew as a rabbi. In 1922, Rabbi Shalom became ill with a disease of the kidneys. Local doctors were not able to help, and Rabbi Shalom moved to the port of Aden, to be treated by British doctors in the hospital there. However, Aden was also the transit hub for Jews who were leaving Yemen for then-Palestine, and Rabbi Shalom determined that he would join them. In the summer of 1923, Rabbi Shalom moved to Jerusalem. His kidney ailments persisted, though; it is said that he was finally healed with water given to him by an elderly lady who observed his prayers at the Kotel. [It is also reported that a doctor who viewed his radiology film during a 1973 hospitalization declared that his kidneys had failed decades earlier, and that his survival was miraculous.] Rabbi Shalom was selected as Rabbi of the Yemenite community in Tel Aviv-Yafo in 1925, and he served in that capacity until 1961, when he returned to  Jerusalem. He also served on the Rabbinical Council of Israel's Chief Rabbinate from 1956 until his passing in 1973. Rabbi Shalom was a firm supporter of the State; he was the first halachic authority, in 1948, to rule that Yom ha'Atzmaut should be celebrated as a holiday, with recitation of Hallel. Rabbi Shalom's opinion on contemporary halachic issues was sought beyond his community, but he focussed particular energy on the needs of Yemenite Jewry. He fought to develop institutions to enable Yemenite immigrants to retain their Jewish practices in the early days of the State, when the Histadrut was working against that goal. Rabbi Shalom HaLevi's publications include his
Divrei Chachamim 
 responsa, and an edition of Mishnah punctuated according to the Yemenite tradition.
torczyner@torontotorah.com
זח
"
ול תוישרפ
 
ע ר ונל
 
וע ק
 
ל
 (
ס
'
פזש
"
ה
 
םילקש
 
םהש
,
רוכז
,
הרפ
,
שדחה
,
םתו רמול
 
חספ
 
דע
 
רד מ
.
המ
 
לי ש תעדל
 
ונ םיכירצו
 
הל םימי םימכח
 
םתו וע ק
,
םה
 
המ
 
לעוםיזמרמ
.
תוחכותו
 
םיזמר
 
םה
 
יכ
 
טושפ
 
ה רנו
 
ץר םהייח
 
ךלהמ
 
לע
 
ל רשיל
,
המ
 
תעדלם רו יפלכ
 
םת וח
...
 
םילקש
 
תשרפ
 
הנוש ר
 :
תכסמ תי םילקש
,
םילקשה
 
לע
 
ןיעימשמ
 
רד דח
.... 
םילקש
 
י צח
 
תו גל
 
ןיליחתמ
 
רד דח ש
 
תונ רק
 
תונקל
 
לי ש ל רשי תלוגלוג
 
לכמ
 
מה ןי ירקמש
 
ןיפסומו
 
ןידימת
"
ללכ
 
דע ק
 
ל רשי
.
דח ירקהל
 
ןיליחתמ
 
הנש
 
לכ ו
 
ו גש
 
םילקש
 
םתו מ
 
השדח
 
המורתמ
 
ןסינ הנשה
 
תונ רק
 
לי ש ל רשימ
.
מג םנמ
' 
הלגמ
 (
י
"
ג
רח םעט
 
וה
.
םש
 
תי יכהו
, 
היהו
 
רמ ש
 
ימ
 
ינפל
 
עודיו
 
יולג
 
שיקל
 
שיר
 
רמ ל רשי
 
לע
 
םילקש
 
לוקשל
 
ןמה
 
דיתעש
 
םלועה
 
וילקשל
 
םהילקש
 
םידקה
 
ךכיפל
.
םיכירצו
 
םעט
 
םע
 
הז
 
םעטל
 
רשק
 
שי
 
ם ןנו תהל
 
ןעמל
 
םילקשה
 
תי גמ
 
לי ש והש
 
רקיעהתונ רקה
.
 
ר
 
יכ
 
ה רנו
"
ןי ש
 
ןמז הזל
 
םעט
 
ןתיל
 
ל
 
מה
"
ק
 .
זח
 
ורמ ש
 
המ
 
הזל
 
םידקנו
"
ל
 
קהש
"
הכמל
 
ה ופר
 
םידקמ
 
ה
...
ימי ןכלו
 
וינפלמ
 
הריזגה
 
ה צישכ
 
עשרה
 
קלמע
 
ערז
 
ןמה
 
ףט
 
ןקז
 
דעו
 
רענמ
 
םידוהיה
 
לכ
 
ת דימשהל
 
דח םוי םישנו
.
ה ופרה
 
יצוצינ
 
הזל
 
ומדק
 
הכמה
 
חמצתש
 
םרט
.
דע
 
יתשו
 
תגירהמ
 
והו
 
ךלמה
 
תנש
 
הדדנ
 
והה
 
הליל
.
תניח והז
 
קהש
 
םירתסנ
 
םיסנ
"
לכ ל רשיל
 
השוע
 
ה
 
וסנ סנה
 
לע שיגריש
 
יל מ
 
רודו
 
רוד
.
רתס ה
 
תו שחמ
 
הנממ
 
וקמעש
 
הכלמה
'
ויתו לפנו
, 
הרצ
 
תע התכלממ
 
סכ
 
לע
 
הכמס
 
ל
,
 ל ומעל
 
ו כו
 
יכדרמ
 
תרצ
 
העמש ףכית
,
החלש
 
ילע
 
ומוצו
 
םידוהיה
 
לכ
 
ת סונכ
 
ךל
 
רמ ל
 
ולוכו
'.
תסנה
 
סנה
 
ת הלחת
 
ףשח
 
הז
 
סונכ
...
 
םילקשה
 
תילכת
 
המ
 
ןי י
 
ליכשמ
 
לכ
 
ןיע
 
הנה
 
הל ה
.
ויה
 
םייק
 
שדקמה
 
תי ש
 
ןמז והו
 
תונ רקה
 
ךרוצל
 
ל רשימ
 
םילקשה
 
ןי וג
. 
ןיפסומו
 
ןידימת
 
תונ רק
 
ןי ירקמ
 
ויהש
 
ןמז ו
 
םילקשה
 
ןמ
,
ה
 
ינפל
 
חחינ
 
חירל
 
תולוע
 
ויה
'. 
הז
 
ידי
 
לע
 
ןילחמנ
 
םהיתונועו
,
םילוצינו
...
ך מה ןי ש
 
ןמז
"
חיש
 
ל ונל
 
ןי ק
 
וניתותפש
,
זחו
"
ןידימת
 
דגנכ
 
תולפת
 
ורמ ל
 
ונקתנ
.
ונידי ר שנש
 
ידיחיה
 
קשנה
 
והזווניתולג
...

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