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1. Rabbi Binyomin Adler Shabbos Ta’am HaChaim page 2
2. Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein Maharal's Gur Aryeh page 4
3. Rabbi Oizer Alport Parsha Potpourri page 4
4. Rabbi Stephen Baars-Aish.Com Brainstorming With Baars page 5
5. HaRav Eliezer Chrysler Midei Shabbos page 6
6. Rabbi Moshe Erlbaum-Aish.Com Torah Teasers page 6
7. Rabbi Zvi Akiva Fleisher Chamishoh Mi Yodei'a page 7
8. Rabbi Zvi Akiva Fleisher Chasidic Insights page 7
9. Rabbi Zvi Akiva Fleisher Oroh V'Simchoh page 7
10. Rabbi Zvi Akiva Fleisher Sedrah Selections page 8
11. Rabbi Yissocher Frand RavFrand page 9
12. Rabbi Yehonasan Gefen-Aish.Com The Guiding Light page 9
13. Rabbi J. Gewirtz Migdal Ohr page 10
14. Rabbi Nosson Greenberg Khal Machzikei Torah page 11
15. Rabbi Avraham Kahn Torah Attitude page 11
16. Rabbi Mordecai Kamenetzky Parsha Parables page 12
17. Rabbi Dov Kramer Taking A Closer Look page 12
18. Rabbi Moshe Krieger Bircas HaTorah Parsha Sheet page 13
19. Rabbi Eli Mansour Weekly Perasha Insights page 13
20. NCYI Weekly Dvar Torah page 14
21. HaRav Avigdor Nebenzahl Netiv Aryeh page 15
22. Rabbi Kalman Packouz-Aish.Com Shabbat Shalom page 16
23. Rabbi Eliezer Parkoff Weekly Chizuk page 17
24. Rabbi Yechiel Yitzchok Perr Parshas Terumah page 18
25. Rabbi Ben-Zion Rand Likutei Peshatim page 19
26. Rabbi Naftali Reich Legacy page 20
27. Rabbi Mordechai Rhine Rabbi's Message page 20
28. Rabbi Rabbi Michael Rosensweig Torahweb page 21
29. Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks Covenant & Conversation page 21
30. Rabbi A. Leib Scheinbaum Peninim on the Torah page 22
31. Rabbi Dovid Seigel Haftorah page 24
32. Rabbi Yaakov Asher Sinclair Ohr Somayach – Torah Weekly page 25
33. Rabbi Jacob Solomon Between the Fish and the Soup page 25
34. Rabbi Doniel Staum Stam Torah page 27
35. Rabbi Berel Wein Credit Cards page 28
36. Rabbi Berel Wein Weekly Parsha page 28
37. Rabbi Noach Weinberg ZT”L-Aish.Com 48 Ways to Wisdom – Way #19 page 31
38. Rabbi Dr. Tzvi Hersh Weinreb - OU Person In The Parsha page 29
39. Rabbi Pinchas Winston Perceptions page 29
40. Yeshiva Aish HaTorah-Aish.Com Jewish History Crash Course#35 page 30
41. Rabbi Leibie Sternberg Pleasant Ridge Newsletter The Back Page
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Rabbi Binyomin Adler
Shabbos Ta’am HaChaim
New Stories
Terumah 5773(From the archives)
Shabbos in the Parasha
In this week’s parashah the Torah records the instruction that HaShem gave to
Moshe regarding the construction of the Mishkan. The primary vessels in the
Mishkan were the Aron (ark) the Shulchan (table) and the Menorah (the
candelabra). What was the significance of these vessels? It is noteworthy that
in the Friday night zemiros recited in many households, we declare that I have
kindled my lamps, spread my bed and changed my clothes in honor of the
Shabbos day. It would appear from this declaration that there are three
components to the holiness of Shabbos. One aspect of Shabbos is the lighting
of candles, the second aspect is having a bed made, and the third aspect is fresh
clothing. The lighting of the candles corresponds to the lighting of the Menorah
in the Mishkan and in the Bais HaMikdash. The prepared bed corresponds to
the Aron, the ark, as it is said (Shir HaShirim 1:13) tzeror hamor dodi li bein
shadai yalin, but my Beloved responded with a bundle of myrrh, the fragrant
atonement of erecting a Tabernacle where His Presence would dwell between
the Holy Arks staves. Thus, we see that the Aron reflects the idea of rest. This
is also evidenced by the fact that it is said (Bamidbar 10:35) vayisu meihar
HaShem derech sheloshes yamim vaaron bris HaShem noseia lifneihem derech
sheloshes yamim lasur lahem menuchah, they journeyed from the Mountain of
HaShem a three-day distance, and the Ark of the covenant of HaShem
journeyed before them a three-day distance to search out for them a resting
place. The idea of changing one clothes corresponds to the Shulchan, where the
Lechem HaPanim, the Showbread, was placed. The Lechem HaPanim was
placed on the Shulchan every Shabbos and was removed the subsequent
Shabbos when new loaves replaced the old ones, and the bread was eaten by
the Kohanim. Thus, the Lechem HaPanim reflected renewal and this renewal
occurred on Shabbos. Similarly, prior to the onset of Shabbos one should
change his clothing, as this external action reflects the transformation that one
undergoes internally upon the arrival of Shabbos. HaShem should allow us to
sanctify our homes to be akin to the Mishkan, and we should merit the building
of the Third Bais HaMikdash, with the arrival of Moshiach Tzidkeinu,
speedily, in our days.
Shabbos in the Zemiros
Eishes Chayil
Composed by Shlomo HaMelech in Mishlei
יִ כּ ,הָ מֲ עָ ט-אל ;הּ ָ רְ חַ ס בוֹט-הּ ָ רֵנ הָ לְיַ לַּ ב הֶ בְּ כִי, she discerns that her enterprise is good; her
lamp is not snuffed out at night. In this verse it is said that she discerns that her
enterprise is good. Interpreting these words to be referring to Shabbos, we can
suggest that this means that one must not merely enter into Shabbos and
assume that he will benefit from the holiness and joy of the day. It is brought in
Halacha that one should taste the food prior to Shabbos, and this is based on
the passage that we recite in the Shabbos Mussaf prayers, toameha chaim
zachu, those who savor it will merit life. One should engage in preparations
prior to Shabbos so that when he enters Shabbos he will be able to truly savor
the Shabbos.
Shabbos in Tefillah
Through the Patriarchs we glean an understanding of HaShem’s greatness
Es sheim hamelech hagadol hagibor vihanora kadosh hu, the Name of G-d, the
great, mighty and awesome King; holy is He. Why is it that after we declare
that HaShem is great, mighty and awesome, we then state that HaShem is
holy? Perhaps we can suggest the following idea. Ultimately it is impossible to
comprehend who HaShem is, despite all of the appellations that we prescribe to
Him. The Gemara and Medrash therefore offered us a manner in which to
understand who HaShem is, and that is by giving us a glimpse into the
character of the righteous. Regarding Yaakov the Gemara (Megillah 18a) states
that HaShem called Yaakov Keil, G-d. We also find that when Yaakov
experience his dream upon his journey to return to Eretz Yisroel, the Medrash
(Bereishis Rabbah 68:12) states that the angels ascended on high and saw the
image of Yaakov engraved on the Heavenly Throne and they descended to
earth and found Yaakov sleeping. Thus, we see that Yaakov was deemed to be
godly, and this is what puzzled the angels when they saw this godly being
sleeping. Regarding Yaakov it is said (Bereishis 28:17) nora, awesome, and
Yaakov is also reflected in the third blessing of Shemone Esrei, which
describes how the holy ones praise HaShem. Thus, in this passage here we
declare that Yaakov is nora, awesome, and kadosh, he is holy. By describing
Yaakov in this manner we attempt to glean an understanding of HaShem’s
awesomeness and holiness. This idea is in line with the Medrash (Bereishis
Rabbah 47:6) that states: haavos hen merkavah (lashechinah), the Patriarchs
were the chariot (for the Divine Presence). This means that through the
Patriarchs we get a glimpse of who HaShem is.
Shabbos Stories
The smell of Gan Eden
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky writes: Rabbi Chaim of Sanz was once walking
in a small shtetl with his shammas (sexton). Suddenly he stopped in front of the
home of a simple Jew. “There is a certain spirituality that I sense here. I'd like
to stop by this man's home.”
His shammas knocked on the door, and as it opened the holy Rebbe exclaimed,
“There is a smell in this home that must be from the Garden of Eden. It is
sweet and pure. Pray tell me, where does it come from?”
The simple Jew did not know what to answer, but allowed the Rebbe to roam
freely through his humble abode and open any door he chose. Suddenly the
Rebbe pointed to a closet. “What is in that closet? The holiness comes from
within.” The man was reluctant to open the door, but the Rebbe urged him. The
man opened the door and in the closet hung the vestments of a priest! The
Rebbe turned to the man once again and asked. “Please tell me. What is a holy
Jew doing with those clothing?”
The poor Jew told his tale: “Years ago, I was asked to help raise money for a
family thrown into jail by a poritz (landowner) to whom they owed rent. My
Rebbe asked me to raise the funds, and I immediately agreed. After all, I
thought, with the Rebbe's wishes it would be an easy task. Everyone would
give to save a Jewish family! I was wrong. Everyone in town had an excuse not
to give. There was a deadline approaching, and I had no choice but to approach
the wealthiest Jew in town who was known for his malevolence toward
Chassidim. "The man told me he would give me the entire sum that day on one
condition. I must parade through the town, dressed as a priest singing psalms in
Hebrew and asking for tzedakah (charity) in Yiddish. At the end of the day, he
would pay the ransom.
“I did what I had to do, while a group of his friends followed me around,
laughing and mocking me wherever I walked. I got the money and I never
returned the vestments he gave me.”
The Rebbe turned and said, “Yes. These clothing are truly holy. They are the
source of the spirituality I sense.” Legend has it that the Rebbe told the man to
be buried in those clothes. (www.Torah.org)
Shabbos in Navi
Shmuel I Chapter 27
The importance of saying the truth on Shabbos
In this chapter we learn how Dovid fled from Shaul to Achish the king of Gas
in the land of the Plishtim. Achish gave Dovid the town of Tziklag in the
countryside to settle in. Dovid and his men then went and raided the Geshuri,
the Gizri and the Amalekites. When Achish questioned Dovid as to where he
had raided, Dovid would respond that he had raided the south of Yehudah, the
south of the Yirachmieili and the south of the Keini. Achish believed Dovid,
thinking that Dovid really had come to abhor his own people and that he would
always be a servant to Achish. One must wonder how Dovid was permitted to
lie to Achish and tell him that he was raiding Jewish territory when in fact
Dovid had raided the Plishtim and the Amalekites. It is noteworthy that the
Sefer HaChasidim (§ 1017) writes that from this incident of Dovid we learn
that if armed robbers attacked Jews and the Jews killed the armed bandits and
there were gentiles who witnessed the fact, the Jews are permitted to kill the
gentiles who witnessed the act. The reason for this is because the gentiles
cannot be trusted that they will not inform anyone of the act, and the proof is
from Dovid who would not leave alive any man or woman, because otherwise
they would inform on Dovid. Perhaps in this incident we can derive a lesson
that is manifest in Shabbos. The word Shabbos in mispar katan, digit sum, is
the same numerical value as the word emes, truth, in mispar katan (9). On
Shabbos one must be extremely careful to say the truth, as we learn (Demai)
that even an am haaretz, one who is not scrupulous in separating tithes, is
believed when he says on Shabbos that he separated tithes.
Shabbos in Agadah
Asking HaShem for sustenance on Shabbos
The Zohar states that just like the Jewish people received the manna daily, so
too one should beseech HaShem for parnasah, sustenance, on a daily basis. The
Pinei Menachem wonders why one does not request of HaShem on Shabbos
that He provide a person with parnasah. The Pinei Menachem suggests that
perhaps the reason why we do not ask HaShem for parnasah on Shabbos is
because the Gemara (Shabbos 118b) states that one who delights in the
Shabbos receives everything that his heart requests. Furthermore, there are
veiled hints to requests for parnasah in the prayers that we recite on Shabbos.
These requests are not recited verbally. Rather, one contemplates these
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requests. An example of this request is when we recite the words sabeinu
mituvecho, satisfy us from Your goodness.
Shabbos in Halacha
Insulating with a heat-retaining material
Most materials that one wraps around a container of hot food only serve to
retain the heat of the food or to slow its cooling process. Materials like cloth,
aluminum foil, paper, wool, cotton and the like are referred to as davar
shemamid hevel, heat-retaining substances. One can wrap a pot of hot food in
heat-retaining material on Erev Shabbos. On Shabbos, however, one is
prohibited from insulating a pot of food with such material. One cannot even
enclose completely on Shabbos a pot that that was partially insulated in such
material Erev Shabbos. It is for this reason that one is permitted to wrap a pot
in a towel or blanket prior to Shabbos so that it will remain warm for the Friday
night meal. A pot left unwrapped prior to Shabbos, however, cannot be
insulated on Shabbos.
Shabbos Challenge Question
Last week we posed the question: what is the source for eating meat of an
animal on Shabbos? The Rambam (Hilchos Shabbos 30:10) writes that eating
meat and drinking wine on Shabbos is deemed to be delighting in the Shabbos.
The Pinei Menachem suggests that the source for eating meat of an animal on
Shabbos is because the Gemara (Shabbos 119b) states that the household of
Rabbi Abbahu would slaughter a calf at the conclusion of every Shabbos and
Rabbi Abbahu would eat one of its kidneys. When Rabbi Abahu’s son grew up
he asked why an additional calf had to be slaughtered after Shabbos, especially
for the Melaveh Malka, when they could instead save the kidney from the calf
that they regularly slaughtered for their Shabbos meals. His advice was well
taken, and a bit of the Shabbos meat was set aside for the Melaveh Malka.
However, a lion came and devoured the calf, so that nothing was gained by the
suggestion. The Pinei Menachem infers from this episode that it was the
custom to eat the meat of an animal on Shabbos.
This week’s question is, why do we recite in the blessing of Retzei in Bircas
Hamazon that there should be no distress, grief, or lament on this day of
contentment? Do we only desire that Shabbos should be free of strife and not
the rest of the week? If you have a possible answer, please email me at
ShabbosTaamHachaim@gmail.com and your answer will be posted in next
week’s edition of Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim.
New Stories Terumah 5773
My Recovery
My leg wasn’t the only thing that got shattered that fateful day.
by Rebbetzin Feige Twerski
A year and a half ago I was struck by a car during a casual summer walk with a
friend. I was fortunate to survive the accident, but my leg was shattered and I
needed surgery to reconstruct my leg. Complications followed and, not
unpredictably, my recovery has proceeded slowly and sporadically, with many
ups and downs. Additionally, the accident had an adverse effect on my immune
system, and what might have been ordinary episodes of cellulitis and shingles,
turned into prolonged and excruciating ordeals. It is fair to say that the physical
residual toll is still being exacted. The post-traumatic emotional scars are less
obvious, manifesting themselves in almost imperceptible ways, but are,
nonetheless, a reality with which I have to contend.
Life as usual came to a halt. Deadlines to which I was committed had to be
abandoned, appointments canceled, and a myriad of other obligations which
are generally viewed as non-negotiable, were set aside in deference to healing
and recovering. All the must-do’s became irrelevant, non-issues. Slowing down
was mandated by a wake-up call, a message sent by Divine providence. This
unanticipated respite in the stream of my life provided necessary reflection and
contemplation. The following are some of the thoughts and insights born from
this experience.
With Body and Soul
My immediate concern following the accident was physical recovery. I gained
a new appreciation for the functioning of the body that we tend to take for
granted. Moreover, I received a deeper understanding that the body and soul
are interdependent. We cannot realistically pursue spiritual goals without the
cooperation of the body.
My body for the most part was dictating the terms of my existence.
Like it or not, my body for the most part was dictating the terms of my
existence, and I had no choice but to comply. This was a rude awakening, but I
took them as my marching orders from above. I had to let go of all other
agendas and dedicate my work for this period of time to recovery. So the
spiritual and physical merged and became one, a seamless, fused whole. God
appointed us as custodians over a physical body that was intended to serve as
an eager partner to our exalted souls. The Jewish perspective, rather than
promoting the obsession of physicality so rampant in our culture, urges balance
as the key element. The Torah encourages a middle of the road approach,
eschewing both neglect at one extreme and obsessive preoccupation at the
After such an event, clichés become real. The vulnerability of the human being
is of no surprise to anyone. However, when one experiences how dramatically
life can change in a split second, the cliché describing the fragility of life takes
on new meaning. Accidents and serious injuries become life altering events.
The outpouring of well wishes from near and far, the exquisite attention to my
every need by my family, devoted friends, and special community, gave caring
a new definition, and was nothing short of awesome. I was enveloped and
sustained by a virtual sea of warmth. There is no question that when the chips
are down and the going gets tough, relationships are what pull us through.
Man Plans, God Laughs
I think it’s fair to say that all of us, to one degree or another, operate under the
illusion that we control our lives, and that our lives lend themselves to
considerable predictability. Walking out on a beautiful Friday afternoon, all of
my Shabbos preparations done, I believed I had everything under control.
Instead, I found myself on a stretcher being rushed to the trauma center at
Froedert Hospital. The myth of human control was shattered. The myth of
human control was shattered.
It brought to mind the anecdote of a shtetl Jew walking to shul early one
morning with his Tallis bag under his arm. Unbeknownst to him, the king was
on one of his jaunts through the streets of his domain disguised as a commoner,
surveying and assessing the needs of his subjects. Seeing the Jew, he
approached him and inquired where he was going with the curious package
under his arm. The Jew replied that he really didn’t know. Puzzled, the king
repeated the question several times, only to find that the Jew was adamant
about the identity of his destination. Furious over what he viewed as deliberate
obfuscation, the king ordered that the Jew be arrested and imprisoned.
The king later visited the prisoner, mystified by the illogical answer the Jew
had given him. “Your Majesty,” the Jew said, “I knew where I planned to go,
and that was to the synagogue to pray, but where I was going in actuality was
something I could not know with certainty, because, as your Majesty can see, I
ended up in jail instead.”
We all make plans, as assuredly we must. One cannot navigate life without
goals and strategies. But it is imperative that we do so with the undeviating
awareness that the Almighty runs the world. In the last analysis, there is a
Divine plan, and life is such that often times we find ourselves on detours from
the mental map we had envisioned and scripted. When this occurs, our
assumptions about what should be are challenged. Suddenly everything is
quaking, trembling, and falling apart. We have no idea what is happening or
When we let go of our futile attempts to force God’s Hand, life becomes more
of an adventure.
Surprisingly, after the initial shock I found great comfort in letting go and
handing the world over to God. I realized that when we let go of our futile
attempts to force God’s Hand to our liking and to our agenda, life becomes
more of an adventure, interesting and exciting. One comes to understand that
what our next moments will bring are known only to the Divine Orchestrator
whose love and concern for us craft the challenges we face. He steers us in
directions unanticipated, to roads less travelled. It’s as though a Heavenly
Voice rings out on the loud speaker of the universe and exclaims, “Trust me! I
alone, your Creator, knows what is ultimately in your best interest. So leave it
to me. Fasten your seatbelts and enjoy the ride.”
Life Is Now
A by-product of appreciating the unpredictability of life is that one comes to an
appreciation of the preciousness of the now, this moment, slowing down and
noticing our surroundings. It was Einstein who said, “There are two ways to
live your life, one is as if there are no miracles and the other is to live as if
everything is a miracle.”
During my convalescence, my son Rabbi Benzion and his children brought
beautiful plants of all sorts of flowers and decorated our deck. Not to be
outdone, my community treated me to an outdoor patio set. For weeks, it
became my favorite place to sit and enjoy the symphony of chirping birds, the
quiet company of summer breezes, and the elegant colors of God’s blossoms.
Before the accident, I never would have given myself permission, the space,
and the time to just be; to relish the simple gifts with which God surrounds us. I
walk through my days now much more mindful of my blessings; my husband,
children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, friends and the many beautiful
sights and sounds of life. They are all huge, and I have learned that I don’t
want to run past them.
Rachel Naomi Remen, an author, relates in one of her books that when she was
a small child her grandfather shared grape juice with her on Friday night and
wished her “L’Chaim,” explaining that it meant “to life.”
“Why,” she asked, “do we merely say ‘to life,’ rather than wishing each other a
‘good life’?”
She records that his response has been a beacon escorting her through life.
“Just to be alive,” he said, “is in and of itself already good.”
The Modeh Ani prayer recited first thing upon awakening in the morning has
taken on new meaning for me. Thanking God for returning our soul to us for
yet another day represents His great faith in us and His great love for us. It
acknowledges that He respects us and needs us in His world. For that I am truly
grateful. (www.aish.com)
Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim Terumah 5773 is sponsored in memory of
Rav Shmuel ben Natronai, one of the Baalei Tosefos, was tortured and
martyred (1197).
Rav Daniel Prostitz (1759-1846). Rav of Pressburg and colleague of the
Chasam Sofer.
Rav Naftali Amsterdam, disciple of Rav Yisrael Salanter (1916). He
immigrated to Eretz Yisrael in 1902.
Rav Yosef Baumgarten, Av Bais Din Schiffschule in Vienna
Rav Dovid Povarsky, rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Ponovezh (1902-1999). When
he was twelve years old, he learned with Rav Isser Zalman Meltzer in Slutzk.
Afterward, he transferred to Poltova, where he became deeply attached to his
rav muvhak, R’ Yeruchom Levovitz, whom he followed to Kelm and
Ponovezh. From Ponovezh, he transferred to Mir yeshiva and became very
close to Rav Chaim Shmuelevitz. One of his chavrusas in Shulchan Oruch was
Rav Aharon Kotler. A while after his marriage, he transferred to the yeshiva in
Baranowitz, where he studied under Rav Elchonon Wassermann. Later, Reb
Yeruchom sent Rav Dovid to be a ram in Yeshivas Chachmei Lublin headed
by Rav Meir Shapira of Lublin. Rav Dovid merited to form a special bond with
Rav Chaim Ozer Grodzinsky.
Rav Chanoch Tzvi HaKohen Levin, the Bendiner Rav (1935)..רדא 'ו ורטפנ, רכז
הבוטל לארשי לכ לעו ונילע וניגי םתוכז ,הכרבל םישודקו םיקידצ
Have a wonderful Shabbos
Prepared by Rabbi Binyomin Adler.
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Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein
Maharal's Gur Aryeh
The Art and Science of Giving(1)
Take for Me a portion. From every man whose heart motivates him, you
shall take My portion. This is the portion you shall take…
Rashi: Terumah means something separated. They should separate a
portion of their property as a voluntary offering. The word terumah is used
three times, Chazal observe. One refers to the beka of silver given for a
head-count. The proceeds were used for the bases of the upright boards.
Another beka per person purchased the communal offerings of the year.
The third was of the thirteen materials that were needed for the
construction of the Mishkan, and are mentioned in later pesukim.
Gur Aryeh: Of the three, only one – the last – is actually discussed in the
verses that follow. The Torah alludes to the others here, to remind people
not to offer so much of their property that they will be unable to fulfill the
requirements of the other two, obligatory donations. Rather, they should
first address the two obligatory terumos, and only after give voluntarily
from what remains.
We can find a deeper meaning in the Torah’s joining the three givings
together. The three are a set. None of them operate without the other two.
Together, they respond penitently to the sin of the golden calf, which
involved three sins rolled into one. Each of the three terumos addresses a
different one of the transgressions, and attempts to atone for it.
Idolatry is one of very few aveiros that can be transgressed in Man’s inner
spirit. Attributing importance to another deity or force perverts Man’s
intellect. It removes his power of rational thought from its proper place
within the control of Hashem. Those who gathered around the eigel
included people who believed that it had some substantive power. This
was an intellectual repudiation of Hashem’s true nature. We call that
avodah zarah.
During the episode of the eigel some people actively worshipped it by
presenting it with offerings. The active side of the transgression perverted
the physical side of Man, the part through which he acts. (Active sin need
not flow from or be coupled with an intellectual flaw or decision. Man can
sin beshogeg, unintentionally, in which case he sins primarily with his
body, and not with his active mind and intellect.)
Finally, Man can sin with his property, with the acquisitions that he sees as
extensions of his primary self. Chazal emphasize(2) that the riches with
which Hashem blessed the Bnei Yisrael helped ensnare them. The effect
that a surfeit of gold and silver had upon them led them to stray after the
golden calf. Part of the sin, then, was with their property.
Summing up, the Bnei Yisrael sinned with their inner selves, with their
bodies, and with their possessions. They needed some expiation of their
sin in each of these areas. The three terumos provided that atonement.
Every person combines body and spirit. The two are inseparable; each, in a
sense, contributes half of the complete person. This relationship is
mirrored in two of the terumos, which correspond to body and spirit.
Because they represent the universal truth that a person functions as a
combination of these two elements, two of the terumos are obligatory.
Furthermore, they are set at a fixed rate of a half-shekel each. Combined,
they become a whole shekel, representing the whole Man. Everyone offers
the same amount. While bodies and spirits may look and function
differently, they have the same relative value to all people. No one gets by
without the two elements working together.
One of these terumos was applied to the purchase of the yearly offerings in
the Mishkan. Through much of the Torah, korbanos are described as for
the purpose of “atoning for your spirits/souls.” The second of these
terumos bankrolled the silver bases for the kerashim, for which they served
as the receptacle that contained them. In that sense, they symbolized the
body, which also acts as a utensil, holding the soul within it.
The third terumah, the one that our parshah deals with explicitly, concerns
Man’s possessions. While body and spirit are essential to Man, possessions
are not. For this reason, there is huge disparity in the wealth of different
people. Wealth, unlike body and spirit, does not define Man. He can own
more or less, without changing him. His wealth is peripheral to him. It,
too, requires atonement when misused, and protection at all time. The
amount that a person offers for this atonement ought to be commensurate
with his worth. The more he owns, the more he ought to give.
Many people likely respond this way, and give according to their means. It
seems strange, though, that the Torah does not standardize this terumah as
a fraction of a person’s worth. The Torah leaves the amount up to
whatever his motivates him to do. We can easily imagine a poor man
donating more than a rich one! Why is this so?
The answer is that the person of great worth who gives like a miser is not
really rich. Only a person who is capable of using his money properly,
who can give it away with a generous eye and a generous heart is rich. If
he cannot bring himself to give, it is because he sees himself as deficient
and lacking – and therefore not rich! By leaving the amount up to the
generosity a person finds in his heart, the Torah really does match the
donation to the true, usable wealth of each person.
Returning to our original question, we can offer another reason for
alluding to all three terumos in one verse. There can be no question about
two of them. They are obligatory, and their amounts are fixed. The third,
however, depends on a person’s motivation and subjective feeling. We
could conclude that it is entirely voluntary. Should a person not be moved
to give at all, he would not be in violation of any law. For this reason, the
Torah combines all three together, teaching that all three are fully
obligatory. Everyone was required to make a donation. It was only the
amount of the donation that was left to individual discretion. Each person
had to see himself, however, as fully required by halacha to offer
something to the collection of materials for the Mishkan.
1. Based on Gur Aryeh, Shemos 25:2; Derech Chaim 4:1
2. See Rashi, 32:31
Rabbi Oizer Alport
Parsha Potpourri
Parshas Terumah – Vol. 8, Issue 19
ה "ע עשוהי ןב ילתפנ 'ר נ "על
ה "ע יבצ םוחנ תב אטנעי נ "על
) םכותב יתנכשו שדקמ יל ושעו 25:8 (
One of the blessings commonly given to a newly-engaged couple is ד רע
ןייז הפי הלוע לאז גוויז. While it may be customary to rapidly rattle off the
words, an examination of the English translation – the match should be
one that “goes up well” – reveals that the wording is awkward and the
deeper meaning is difficult to grasp. What is the underlying intention
behind this curiously-worded blessing?
The Satmar Rebbe Rav Yoel Teitelbaum brilliantly explains that the word
הלוע is often used to connote the gematria (numerical value) of a phrase. If
so, we may re-interpret the blessing as stating that the new match should
have the numerical value of the word הפי, which comes to 95, but what is
the significance of this seemingly arbitrary number?
The Sefer HaChinuch discusses the laws and reasons for the 613 mitzvos,
listing them in the order of their mention in the Torah. He counts the 95

mitzvah as the commandment םכותב יתנכשו שדקמ יל ושעו – and they shall
make for Me a Sanctuary, and I shall dwell amongst them. This is a most
appropriate blessing to give a new couple embarking on the establishment
of their own personal טעמ שדקמ (miniature Sanctuary).
) וכרא יצחו םיתמא םיטש יצע ןורא ושעו 25:10 (
The Gemora in Sanhedrin (29a) seeks a source for the claim that “whoever
adds to something actually takes away from it.” One opinion claims that
this statement may be derived from our verse, which states that the Holy
Ark was to be made of acacia wood and should be 2.5 cubits long.
However, the Gemora is cryptically terse; how does one sees from here
that something which was added had the net effect of detracting from the
original amount?
Rashi explains that the Torah requires the Ark to be וכרא יצחו םיתמא – 2.5
cubits in length. However, if the letter א wasn’t present, the Ark would
need to be וכרא יצחו םיתמ – 200.5 cubits – significantly longer. Therefore,
by adding the letter א, the overall size of the Ark was actually reduced.
However, the Maharsha challenges Rashi’s explanation by pointing out
that if the letter א is removed, the Torah no longer specifies to which units
of measurement it refers. The verse would require the Ark to be 200.5
long, but there would be no way of knowing with which units this should
be measured. It would be quite possible that it would be measured using a
smaller unit than cubits, such that 200.5 of the smaller units would actually
be less than 2.5 cubits. In this case, adding the letter א would have the
effect of increasing the size of the Ark, and the Gemora’s claim couldn’t
be derived from here.
The Vilna Gaon brilliantly suggests an alternative understanding of the
Gemora’s derivation. Unlike Rashi, he explains that the Gemora refers to
the addition of the letter ו at the beginning of the word יצחו. In the absence
of this letter, the verse would read וכרא יצח םיתמא – two cubits is half of the
length of the Ark. In other words, the Ark would have been four cubits
long, but by adding the letter ו, its length was reduced to 2.5 cubits,
thereby providing an ideal source for the Gemora’s claim that adding on to
something actually takes away from it.
(25:23) םיטש יצע ןחלש תישעו
The Torah specifies that the Table in the Mishkan was to be made
specifically from םיטש יצע – acacia wood. Why was this specific type of
wood chosen for this purpose?
Rabbeinu Bechaye explains that the letters spelling the word םיטש are short
for the words הליחמ ,העושי ,הבוט ,םולש – peace, goodness, salvation, and
forgiveness. This type of wood was also used in the Ark and the Altar,
hinting that the Divine Service performed through these vessels was the
source of bringing all of these blessings to the world.
In our day, however, when we unfortunately lack these vessels, what do
we have in their stead through which we may merit the rewards and
bounty that they brought? The Gemora in Chagigah (27a) derives from a
verse in Yechezkel that in the absence of the Beis HaMikdash, the
generous opening up of a person’s table to serve the poor and other guests
serves in lieu of the Altar. The Gemora in Berachos (54b) adds that doing
so is a merit for long life.
>:\D nO·¯D – trcdk trcd ihc 5
Rabbeinu Bechaye mentions the fascinating custom of the pious men of
France who had their burial caskets built from the wood of their tables.
This symbolizes their recognition that upon dying, none of their earthly
possessions would be accompanying them. The only item they could take
with them was the merit of the charity and hosting of guests that they
performed in their lifetimes. In fact, the Minchas Cohen suggests that the
letters in the word ןחלש (Table) are abbreviations for דסח הרובקל רמוש
ךיתובידנ – preserving for burial the kindness of your giving.
םיברכ התא השעי בשח השעמ רזשמ ששו ינש תעלותו ןמגראו תלכת תכרפ תישעו
) 26:31 (
The Mishnah in Shekalim (8:5) teaches that the Paroches (Partition) was
40 cubits long and 20 cubits wide. It required 82,000 women to weave it
and 300 Kohanim to immerse it in the mikvah if it became ritually impure.
Why did it require so many Kohanim to submerge it in the mikvah?
The Vilna Gaon calculates that if it was 40 cubits by 20 cubits, its total
perimeter was 120 cubits. The Mishnah in Keilim (17:10) teaches that the
cubit which was used to measure items in the Beis HaMikdash was five
hands-breadths long, which means that 120 cubits was 600 hands-breadths.
As every Kohen would want to take part in the mitzvah of immersing the
Paroches to purify it, it is reasonable to assume that the entire perimeter
was covered by the hands of the Kohanim. As each Kohen had two hands,
the 600 hands-breadths of the perimeter required precisely 300 Kohanim to
carry it and immerse it.
As brilliant as the Vilna Gaon’s calculation is, the Tiferes Yisroel notes
that it seems to be completely unnecessary. The Gemora in Chullin (90b)
teaches that there are three numbers mentioned throughout the Gemora
which are exaggerations, and names this Mishnah as one of the three.
Although there are those who answer that the exaggeration in the Mishnah
is the number of women needed to weave the Paroches (82,000), this
explanation is difficult in light of the fact that the other two exaggerations
mentioned by the Gemora both involve the number 300.
Some suggest that while the Vilna Gaon’s calculation is valid, the
exaggeration lies in the fact that there weren’t always 300 Kohanim
involved in the immersion of the Paroches. However, the Ein Yaakov
suggests that the Gaon’s line of reasoning is correct, yet it still represents
an exaggeration. According to his calculation, the corners of the Paroches
would be covered by two hands, one from each Kohen at the end of each
of the sides which meet at the corner. These four extra and unneeded hands
translate into two additional people, which means that only 298 were
needed to immerse it and 300 is clearly an exaggeration.
Parsha Points to Ponder (and sources which discuss them):
1) Why is Parshas Mishpatim, which contains the Torah’s code of civil
law, juxtaposed to Parshas Terumah, which discusses the Mishkan and its
utensils? (Maharsha Kesuvos 67, Beis HaLevi, Oznayim L’Torah)
2) As gold is more precious and valuable than wood, why was the Aron
made of wood instead of gold like its coverings (25:10-11), which would
seem to give more honor to the Torah housed therein? (Daas Z’keinim,
Chizkuni, Kol Dodi)
3) From where did the Jewish people obtain the wood for the ןוכיתה חירב –
the middle bar (26:28) which miraculously turned (Shabbos 98b?) to run
inside of the םישרק (planks) along the lengths of all three of the walls of
the Mishkan? (Targum Yonason ben Uziel, Daas Z’keinim 25:5, Rav
Muller quoted in Peninim Vol. 3)
4) The Yerushalmi in Shabbos (12:3) derives from 26:30 that the planks
for the Mishkan were labeled so that they would always be used in the
same area of the Mishkan each time that it was reassembled. May one
derive from here that a person should similarly label the boards of his
sukkah so that each of them should always be in the same place? (Be’er
Heitev Orach Chaim 630:6, Bikkurei Yaakov 630:16, Bishvilei HaParsha,
Chavatzeles HaSharon)
Answers to Points to Ponder:
1) The Beis HaLevi explains that the Torah juxtaposes the portions to
teach that before one can donate to a holy cause such as the Mishkan, he
must first make sure that the money is “kosher gelt,” which can only be
determined after studying the Torah’s civil law. Rav Zalman Sorotzkin
suggests that after the Jews heard the laws in Parshas Mishpatim, they
wanted to return to Egypt to return all of the items that they “borrowed”
from their Egyptian neighbors (12:35). Hashem knew that they were
entitled to keep these objects as payment for the work they did during their
enslavement (see Sanhedrin 91a). To reassure them, He immediately
commanded them to donate these very items for the building of the
2) The Daas Z’keinim and Chizkuni explain that making the Ark
completely out of gold would have made it too heavy to be transported on
the shoulders of the Levites. Rav Dovid Feinstein questions this,
calculating that even with the middle layer of wood it weighed
approximately 8 tons. Rather, he answers that because the Ark contained a
Torah scroll and the Tablets, it signifies the study of Torah. Although gold
is considered more valuable, wood has an advantage in that it is alive and
organic. We refer to the Torah as a “Toras Chaim” as it provides us with
the necessary tools to respond to life’s challenges. Even at the apparent
expense of the Ark’s glory, Hashem requires that the Torah rest in a
wooden housing to teach that even the most learned Rav in the world may
never remain static, as that would symbolize the death of the Torah, but
must constantly be growing, changing, learning, and adapting.
3) The Targum Yonason writes that the wood for this bar originated in
the inn of Avrohom Avinu in which he fulfilled the mitzvah of hosting
guests. When the Jewish people were crossing the Red Sea, angels cut it
down and threw it into the water, from which the Jews took it and used it
in building the Mishkan. Peninim quotes Rav E. Muller, who
symbolically explains that the entire Mishkan was built from donations
given by those whose hearts generously motivated them to give.
Therefore, it isn’t surprising to learn that the central bar which supported
the entire structure was one which was steeped in charitable giving, as
Avrohom personified the Jewish attribute of chesed. Alternatively, the
Daas Z’keinim writes that the middle bar was made from the wooden staff
of Yaakov Avinu.
4) The Be’er Heitev quotes the Maharil, who suggests that one should
label the boards of his sukkah for this purpose. The Bikkurei Yaakov
points out that this opinion isn’t cited in other legal works, nor did he ever
see anybody adopt this practice. He explains that the various areas of the
Mishkan each had their own unique sanctity. It was therefore forbidden to
relocate a plank from the north, where sacrifices were slaughtered and the
Shulchan was located, or from the south, where the Menorah was placed,
but this law isn’t applicable to the sukkah walls. A similar understanding
of the Yerushalmi is also given by the Meshech Chochmah (26:21),
although this explanation is challenged by the Chavatzeles HaSharon.
© 2013 by Ozer Alport. To subscribe, send comments, or sponsor an issue,
email oalport@optonline.net
Aish.Com - Rabbi Stephen Baars
Brainstorming With Baars
This Is It
The real way to protect your kids from drugs.
I haven't seen Michael Jackson's movie "This is it." However, I am 236%
certain he didn't have a clue what "it" really is. Although he probably
knew what "it" wasn't.
This week's parsha is about "it."
When in your life were you the happiest and you knew it?
I am not talking about looking back on your life to past events that you
realize now brought you happiness, but at the time didn't seem so great.
The question I want you to ponder is, what moment in your life were you
the happiest AND you knew at that time you were deeply and truly happy?
I would bet your answer was neither illegal, illicit or immoral. In fact,
nothing competes with that kind of happiness. Not even drugs. That is "it."
So why do children choose drugs?
Because you haven't taught them what "it" is and how to get there.
Teaching how to achieve "it," is what a real Jewish education, and frankly
Judaism, is all about. And in as much as we don't teach our children how
to achieve "it," our children become open to the possibility that drugs can
replace "it."
To quote my good friend, Rabbi Moshe Cohen from Aish LA, "The
biggest subject in the Torah, by far, is the building of the home for God."
One could easily be misled in reading its description in this week's parsha
as just a story of wood, curtains and metal. But you would be missing the
single greatest pleasure a human being can attain. King David’s greatest
aspiration was to "...dwell in the house of God all the days of my life."
(Psalms 27:4)
Let us contemplate the mechanics of such a structure. Wouldn't the house
of God be a place of such extreme serenity, ultimate clarity, immense and
sublime earthly beauty? Wouldn't that be an overwhelming achievement of
existence? Who dares dream of creating a place on this good earth so
exalted and transcendent that God Himself deems fitting to dwell?
Isn't that really what the noblest of people strive for - to create a society so
elevated in their humanity that they reach the very heavens while still on
Isn't that "it"?
The other day we had a family over for dinner. The father sat anxiously as
his 13 year old son poured himself a little wine. At one point the father
reprimanded his son, "That's too much!" he said.
I think we all know what was going on. The father doesn't see his son
pouring wine. He sees, or fears, where this small amount of wine will lead
him: a homeless Joe under a bridge with a bottle of rubbing alcohol in a
brown paper bag.
I am 237% in support of shielding children from everything bad in the
world. I am also 238% certain, that if your children don't learn where the
real pleasures of life are, and know how to achieve them, then they will
search for and find the fake alternatives (aka drugs) when you are not
looking - which is most of the time.
All of us are seeking "it." Teach your children what "it" really is, so they
don't become like Michael Jackson or Joe (under the bridge), who find out
what "it" really isn't.
Brainstorming Questions To Ponder
Question 1: If you were to meet the happiest person that ever lived, what
question would you ask?
Question 2: What question would the happiest person ask you?
6 >:\D nO·¯D – trcdk trcd ihc
Question 3: Have a family debate, who is the happiest person you have
ever personally met?
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HaRav Eliezer Chrysler
Midei Shabbos
Vol. 20 No. 19
This issue is sponsored anonymously
Parshas Terumah: Carrying the Copper Altar
(adapted from the Da'as Zekeinim mi'Ba'alei Tosfos)
" … you shall make for it a netting of copper meshwork and you shall
make upon the meshwork four copper rings at its four edges. … you shall
place it under the surrounding border of the Mizbei'ach below it, and the
meshwork shall go to the midpoint of the Mizbei'ach" (27:4).
These rings, explains the Da'as Zekeinim, were to house poles with which
the Mizbe'ach was to be transported.
Quoting R. Yechiel, he cites the Gemara in Shabbos (92a) which rules that
someone who carries something four Amos in the street above the height
of ten Tefachim is Chayav (even though above ten Tefachim does not have
the status of a R'shus ha'Rabim, but of a Makom P'tur). And it proves this
from the B'nei K'has, who carried the Mizbe'ach, all of which was above
ten Tefachim from the ground.
And the Gemara proceeds to prove this as follows:
We have a tradition that whatever is carried on poles, is carried one third
above (the poles) and two thirds below. Now, given that (like Moshe) all
the Levi'im were ten Amos tall, and that the head measures approximately
one Amah, then from the shoulders to the ground was nine Amos. The
Mizbei'ach too, measured nine Amos without the K'ronos (the four blocks
on the four corners), in which case it would have hung down six Amos
(two thirds of nine) from the carriers' shoulders - leaving three Amos
(eighteen Tefachim) space from the base of the Mizbei'ach to the ground.
Although the author does not query the Gemara's proof regarding the fact
that the base of the Mizbei'ach was more than ten Tefachim from the
ground, he does query the Gemara's assumption that whatever is carried on
poles, is carried one third above (the poles) and two thirds below, seeing as
the Pasuk appears to place the poles at the halfway mark, which is twenty-
seven Tefachim from the ground and not eighteen.
To answer the question he answers that what the Gemara means is that
even according to the tradition, the Mizbei'ach would have been more than
ten Tefachim from the ground; how much more so that the poles were
placed not a third of the way down, but a half! In that case however, the
tradition cited by the Gemara is of no consequence.
Alternatively, he explains that the rings (that housed the poles) were
extremely wide, so that although the bottom of the ring was situated on the
midpoint of the Mizbei'ach, its top was situated a third of the way down, as
Chazal stated.
Interestingly, the Gemara is uncertain about whether the Levi'im were
really ten Amos tall (as Rashi explains).
Consequently, it cites an alternative proof that whoever carries above ten
Tefachim in the street is Chayav from the Aron (See Parshah Pearls).
The question arises that if the Levi'im were three Amos tall, like
everybody else, how could they possibly have carried the Copper
The Gemara in Zevachim (52b) cites a dispute between Rebbi Yehudah,
who interprets the three Amos height that the Torah ascribes to the Copper
Mizbei'ach literally and Rebbi Yossi, who ascribes it to the top section of
the Mizbei'ach, but who holds that its total height was ten Amos.
Perhaps the second opinion cited in the Gemara concurs with Rebbi
Yehudah, in which case there would have been no problem with the
Levi'im carrying the Mizbei'ach, even if they were three Amos tall, like
everybody else.
Parshah Pearls
Getting Paid from Hekdesh Money
"And they shall make for Me (Li) a Mikdash" (25:8).
The Torah Temimah cites the Gemara in Temurah (31a) which,
interpreting the word "Li" as 'mi'she'Li' (from what belongs to Me), learns
from here that one may use Hekdesh money (from Bedek ha'Bayis) to pay
workers who perform repairs in the Beis-Hamikdash.
In similar vein, the Torah Temimah observes, the Gemara in Eruvin (27b)
rules that one may use money of Ma'aser Sheini to purchase a jar in which
to hold Ma'aser Sheini wine, albeit from an entirely different source. The
Mitzvah is of course to purchase wine in Yerushalayim and to drink it, yet
one is permitted to use part of the money for accessories for the Mitzvah,
such as jars (bottles or even wine-glasses) with part of the money.
This Halachah will apply even today, the author points out, where for
example, somebody donates wine to one's Shul for (Kidush or) Havdalah,
and where the Gaba'im are permitted to use some of the donated money to
buy bottles and wine-glasses to use with the wine.
The Poles of the Aron
"And you shall cast for it (the Aron) four rings of gold and you shall place
them on its four corners" (25:12).
Rashi explains that the rings (which housed the poles with which the Aron
was carried) were on the top corners, just below the lid..
The Ramban argues that this is illogical, a. because, due to the weight of
the Aron, it would have been much easier to carry if the rings were at the
bottom of the Aron, as that is how one generally carries a heavy weight
(from underneath), and b. it is not Derech Kavod to carry the Aron in such
a way that it hangs down, but rather to raise it above the shoulders!
According to Rashi on the other hand, there would have been no problem
in lifting up the Aron when they began to travel, whereas according to the
Ramban, this would have proved a formidable task.
Besides that, Rashi's explanation is based on the Gemara in Shabbos (92a),
which specifically states that the Aron (like the Mizbei'ach), was one third
above shoulder-height, two-thirds below. See main article.
Ten Amos Tall
From the fact that Moshe single-handedly spread the covers on the
Mishkan (which measured ten Amos in height [See Parshas Pikudei,
40:19]), the Gemara in Shabbos (92a) learns that Moshe was ten Amos
tall. Moreover, it assumes that if Moshe was ten Amos tall, so were all the
And it initially corroborates this assumption with the fact that it was the
Levi'im who carried the Holy Vessels on their shoulders, and one of those
vessels was the copper Mizbe'ach, which was ten Amos tall (see main
It is astonishing, to say the least, to conceive a nation, who by and large,
measured three Amos in height, and one family, whose ancestors were no
different than anybody else, where all the children measured not four
Amos and not even five, but ten Amos. Incidentally, since the theory of
the Levi'im's height is based exclusively on the fact that they were the ones
who carried the Holy Vessels, why do Chazal attribute this incredible
height to all the Levi'im? Maybe it was only the B'nei K'has, who actually
carried the Vessels, who were that tall, but not the B'nei Gershon and
Merori. Remember again, that there is no reason to assume that either Levi
or his three sons, were significantly taller than anyone else. According to
Rashi's explanation of the Gemara, whether or not, we need to say that the
Levi'im were ten Amos tall, hinges upon whether the Gemara's proof (that
somebody who carries four Amos in the street above the height of ten
Tefachim has transgressed Shabbos or not) is from the Mizbei'ach or from
the Aron (see main article).
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Aish.Com - Rabbi Moshe Erlbaum
Torah Teasers
Parshat Trumah
10 challenging questions.
1. Which four letters spell out three different items found in the
The letters kaf, peh, raish and tav spell out three different items found in
the Tabernacle: The kaporet, the covering of the Holy Ark (Exodus 25:17),
the paroches, the partition separating the "Holy" from the "Holy of
Holies" (26:31), and the kaftor, the round ball designs found on the
Menorah (25:33).
2. Which item in the Tabernacle has 3 half-measurements in its
The Holy Ark is two and a half cubits long, one and a half cubits high, and
one and a half cubits wide (Exodus 25:10).
3. In what context are rings (taba'ot) mentioned? (4 items)
Rings (tabaot) are soldered onto (1) the Holy Ark (Exodus 25:12), (2) the
golden table (25:26), (3) and the golden altar (27:6), in which poles were
placed to carry each vessel. (4) In addition, the Tabernacle's beams haves
rings through which a pole was slid to support the structure (26:29).
4. Which items, spelled with two letters, have only one unique letter in its
name? (2 answers)
(1) The words for vav (hook) (Exodus 27:10)
(2) and shesh (flax) (25:4 with Rashi), each contain only one letter
(doubled) in its name.
5. Aside from the cherubs (keruvim) mentioned in the context of the
Tabernacle, where else in the Torah are cherubs mentioned?
In parshas Beraishis, Hashem guards the path to the Tree of Life with two
cherubs (keruvim) (Genesis 3:24).
6. What had hands (yadot) but no fingers?
Each of the Tabernacle's beams has two bottom protrusions called "yadot"
(Exodus 26:17).
7. In this parsha, in what context is the number 50 mentioned? (2 answers)
(1) There are 50 loops on each set of coverings of the Tabernacle. They
are attached together with 50 curved hooks (Exodus 26:5-6).
(2) The courtyard of the Tabernacle is 50 cubits wide (27:12).
8. In this parsha, in what context does a man and his brother appear?
The Torah states that the cherubs must face each other as "a man to his
brother" (Exodus 25:20).
9. In this parsha, in what context does a woman and her sister appear? (2
(1) Each set of coverings of the Tabernacle are attached together as "a
woman to her sister" (Exodus 25:3, 6).
>:\D nO·¯D – trcdk trcd ihc 7
(2) The protrusions on the bottom of each beam of the Tabernacle are
parallel to each other, as "a woman to her sister" (26:17).
10. Which 6 parts of the human body appear in the context of the
The following human body parts appear in the context of the Tabernacle:
(1) A rib (tzela) refers to the sides of many of the objects found in the
Tabernacle (Exodus 25:12, 26:20). (2) The face (panim) refers to the face
of the cherubs (25:20), the "face" of the show-bread (25:30), and other
items as well.
(3) Hands (yadot) refer to the protrusions on the bottom of the beams that
locked into the sockets (25:17).
(4) A head (rosh) refers to the tops of the beams (26:24).
(5) A shoulder (katef) refers to the two shorter sides (of 15 cubits each)
comprising the gate to the courtyard.
(6) A thigh (yerech) refers to the base of the Menorah (25:31) and the ends
of the Tabernacle (26:22).
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Rabbi Zvi Akiva Fleisher
Chamishoh Mi Yodei'a
Please send your answers and comments to: Sholom613@Rogers.Com
Chamishoh Mi Yodei'a - Five Questions On The Weekly Sedrah - Parshas
Trumoh 5773 - Bs"D
1) Ch. 25, v. 4: "V'sheish" - And flax - We find the word "bad" used for
flax as well. Which word is used when?
2) Ch. 25, v. 4,5: "V'izim, V'oros eilim m'odomim v'oros t'choshim" -
And goats, And hides of reddened rams and hides of t'choshim -
"Hides of" are mentioned by the rams and "t'choshim," but not by goats.
3) Ch. 25, v. 12: "Arba tabose zohov" - Four gold rings - Similarly by
the stave coverings of gold in the next verse we find "v'tzipiso osom
zohov." By the creation of the gold Ark, the term "zohov TOHOR" is used,
PURE gold. Why the difference between the actual ark and its staves
4) Ch. 25, v. 20: "V'hoyu hakruvim" - And the cherubs shall be - We
know that the faces of the cherubs were in the form of children, and the
wings were obviously like bird wings. What form did the bodies from the
neck down have, of humans or birds?
5) Ch. 25, v. 29: "K'orosov" - Later on we have "k'sosov" and
"m'nakiosov." What were these three items and what was their function?
#1 Minchoh V'luloh says that when the thread is a single strand of flax
then the word "bad" is used. This is appropriate because "bad" likewise
means "single." When multiple threads are spun together or folded to
create a six-fold strand the word "sheish" is used. We are still left with the
word "pishtim."
#2 The Chasam Sofer answers this through first raising a question. Why do
we not find donations of musical instruments, which were used during the
services? The mishnoh at the end of Kinim says that an animal while still
alive, emits one sound, that of its voice. When it is dead it emits seven
sounds. Its horns are fashioned into two trumpets, its thighbones into two
flutes, its hide into a drum, its large intestines into harp strings, and its
duodenum into violin strings.
If rams are dedicated to the Mishkon, even if earmarked for the structural
needs, they nevertheless receive the sanctity of an "oloh" sacrifice. (This
seems to be a weak point, as this is so only by virtue of a Rabbinic edict.)
An "oloh" is totally consumed on the altar. Its body parts can therefore not
be fashioned into instruments. A goat cannot be an "oloh." Even if some of
its parts become an offering the parts that can be made into musical
instruments remain. Therefore the goats were totally sanctified, and the
rams not, only their hides.
It still remains to be explained why by "t'choshim," a species totally unfit
as any type of sacrifice, only their hides are mentioned.
#3 Perhaps this is an allusion to the unfortunate reality that although the
Torah itself is pure and untainted, the support of the Torah, symbolized by
the rings and staves, is not always pure, as money donated for Torah study
is sometimes not honestly earned. (Nirreh li)
#4 Chizkuni writes that the body form of the cherubs was that of birds, not
humans with wings attached.
#5 Rashi explains that "k'orosov" were forms similar in shape to the
breads, to keep them from breaking. Chizkuni says that they were bowls
used for kneading the dough to make the show-breads. Similarly, Rashi
says that "k'sosov" of our verse were split pipes that were used as spacers
between the breads, and Chizkuni says that they were bowls from which
water was poured upon the flour to create the show-breads. Similarly,
Rashi says that "m'nakiosov" of our verse means panels that were part of
the table, which also served as the legs of the table, while Chizkuni says
that they were tools with which they cleaned the ovens of ash and debris
before they would use them for baking the breads. In all three cases Rashi
says that the items were for the table or storage of the breads on the table,
while Chizkuni says that they were all items used for making the bread.
A Gutten Shabbos Kodesh.
Rabbi Zvi Akiva Fleisher
Chasidic Insights
Chasidic Insights Parshas Trumoh From 5764 Bs"D
For sponsorships and advertising opportunities, send e-mail to:Sholom613@Rogers.Com
Ch. 25, v. 2: "V'Yikchu li trumoh .. asher yivenu libo Tikchu es
trumosi" - The verse starts off with "v'Yikchu," and THEY shall take, and
ends with "Tikchu," you shall take. Some people donate only out of
obligation, but are not happy that they have to give. Others are happy to
donate. For those who have "n'divus ha'leiv," the verse says "Tikchu,"
second person, face to face. For those who give only out of obligation, the
verse says "v'Yikchu," third person, hidden, a like response. (Rabbi Leibel
Eiger in Toras Emes)
Ch. 25, v. 2: "Mei'eis kol ish .. tikchu es trumosi" - The mishnoh in
Pirkei Ovos 4:1 says "Ei'zehu chochom halomeid mikol odom," - Who is a
wise man? He who learns from every person. This is alluded to in our
verse. From every man .. you shall take lessons in how to elevate yourself.
(Nirreh li)
Ch. 25, v. 2: "Asher yidvenu libo tikchu es trumosi" - From the
powerful lusts that are driven by the heart, you should take a lesson in
serving Hashem. Serve Hashem with the same enthusiasm. (The Holy Baal
Shem Tov)
Ch. 25, v. 11: "V'tzipiso oso zohov tohor mibayis umichutz" - The
gemara Yoma 72b derives from these words that a Torah scholar must be
straight, his inside and outside in harmony. We sometimes find a person
who pursues Torah and receives remuneration for it. Sometimes he
receives honour. Is this an improper pursuit? It really depends on his
intentions. If he gets paid and only wants the money to pay for his basic
necessities so that he can learn Torah and do mitzvos, wants to receive
honour only so that he is held in esteem for the purpose of being listened
to when he calls for "yiras Hashem" and strict adherence to His mitzvos,
then his "inner and outer" are well synchronized. We see this from the
construction of the Holy Ark. Included in learning from its construction
that a Torah scholar be "tocho k'baro," that the outside and inside are
gilded. However, there is also a third layer, the inner wooden frame. On
the outside we see a Torah scholar who learns and behaves as a G-d
fearing individual should. On the inside, his inner drive, is to receive the
accompanying benefits only for Heaven's sake. The wooden lower level of
benefits are not only acceptable, but are part and parcel of the Holy Ark.
(Ponim Yofos)
Ch. 25, v. 25: "V'osiso zeir zohov l'misgarto" - The showbread table
symbolizes sustenance. On one hand it requires a "misge'res," limitation
and restraint. On the other hand it requires magnanimity. Use the former
when feeding yourself and the latter when feeding others. (Nirreh li)
Ch. 25, v. 31: "M'noras zohov tohore mikshoh" - To shine and be pure
in service of Hashem one has to go through many trials and tribulations.
(Maa'sei Ha'menorah)
Ch. 26, v. 1: "Maa'sei chosheiv taa'seh" - We sometimes don't
understand the reason for certain mitzvos. The first thing is to do them
anyway, "maa'sei," even without understanding. Once we have committed
ourselves to fulfilling the mitzvoh we may think into its rationale,
"chosheiv." We will then have a deeper appreciation of the mitzvoh and
then we can do it on a higher level, "taa'seh." (Nirreh li)
Ch. 26, v. 6: "V'hoyoh hamishkon echod" - The "sh'chinoh," Hashem's
Holy Spirit will be present when, "echod," the bnei Yisroel are unified.
(Rabbi Nachman of Breslav)
A Gutten Shabbos Kodesh.
Rabbi Zvi Akiva Fleisher
Oroh V'Simchoh
Oroh V'simchoh - Meshech Chochmoh On Parshas Trumoh - Bs"D
Ch. 25, v. 15: "Lo yosuru mi'menu" - The Meshech Chochmoh says that
the purpose of leaving the staves in their rings permanently is to teach us
that they are not there for the purpose of carrying the Holy Ark. The Holy
Ark had the miraculous ability to carry its carriers (gemara Sotoh 35b). If
the staves would be in the rings during transport only, one would say that
they are needed for that purpose. Leaving the staves in the rings
permanently shows that even when the ark is transported, the staves are
not there for transportation purposes, but rather are a component of the
Holy Ark. This is similar to the illumination of the Beis Hamikdosh. The
window frames were bevelled, larger to the outside (M'lochim 1:6:4). This
is contrary to logic. If the frames would be enlargened inwards it would
maximize the light coming in. Since the Beis Hamikdosh is a light unto the
world, the windows were bevelled in a manner indicating that the light
emanates from the inside to the outside.
As well, the Rambam posits hilchos tmidim umusofim 3:10 that the
menorah was lit in the morning as well as in the evening. There was no
need to light it in the morning as daylight was sufficient. Rather, this
teaches us that the Beis Hamikdosh is the source of light for the world.
Ch. 26, v. 6: "V'hoyoh haMishkon echod" - The lowest layer of roofing
was called Mishkon. It was made of ten sections of material, five sewn
together, and another five sewn together. On the lips of the five-section
sheets 50 loops were sewn, and interlocking hooks were used to join them.
8 >:\D nO·¯D – trcdk trcd ihc
At this point the Mishkon, the lowest layer of roofing material, became
one. The Meshech Chochmoh suggests that "v'hoyoh echod" is to be
understood as a command that it remain one, that the hooks should never
be removed, even upon disassembly of the Mishkon and transport.
Ch. 26, v. 21: "V'arbo'im adneiHEM ko'sef" - In verse 19, when
discussing the foundation blocks of the southern wall, the verse says
"v'arbo'im adnei cho'sef." Why does our verse add the possessive suffix
HEM to "adnei"? The MESHECH CHOCHMOH answers that the gemara
Yerushalmi Shabbos 12:3 says that each beam had its unique position and
should not be switched with another beam. The gemara derives this from
the words "Vaha'keimoso es haMishkon k'mishpoto." The gemara
translates "k'mishpoto" as "according to its judgment." Is there then a
judgment, a claim, for a beam? The gemara concludes that the beams had a
claim to their positions and a beam that made up part of the northern wall
shall remain in the northern wall when erected again, and a beam in the
southern wall shall remain in the southern wall. The Meshech Chochmoh
daringly suggests that only the first half of this statement is said in earnest,
while the part about the southern beams remaining to the south is not
literal, just a follow through expression that mirrors the first half, that a
northern beam shall remain to the north, which is to be taken literally. He
explains that since sacrifices of the Kodoshei Kodoshim status may only
be slaughtered in the northern half of the Mikdosh courtyard, it was more
sanctified than the south. (I believe that we may likewise assume that those
that were further to the west, which were either closer to the Holy of
Holies, or were even part of the wall of the Holy of Holies, can also not be
switched with beams on the same flank that were further away. Applying
this to north/south, those that were to the north should not be changed to
the south, even when placed in the corresponding east-west position.)
We thus see that being on the north is greater than being on the south. This
is why our verse says "v'adneiHEM," with the possessive suffix. Our verse
discusses the northern foundation blocks, and the foundation blocks are
THEIRS, claiming a higher position. Verse 19 discusses the foundation
blocks belonging to the southern wall. Their blocks have no claim to
remain on the south because if a northern block is lost or rendered
improper for use, a southern block may be moved up and put in its place.
Although a beautiful insight, it is a bit unusual for the verse to point this
out by the foundation blocks, which are mentioned after the beams and are
also the subject of the gemara. Perhaps we see this same point by the
beams. In verse 18 the Torah tells us to make 20 beams for the southern
wall, mentioning the creation of the 20 beams ahead of saying where they
will be positioned. In verse 20 the Torah switches around the order, first
stating that beams are to be made for the northern wall, and then telling us
that there are 20. Perhaps we can say that by mentioning the number of
beams without first stating their intended position, we can derive that they
are not totally designated to that position, as they might move up to a more
coveted position, the north. Verse 20 first states the position, "for the
northern flank," indicating that this is first and foremost, that they will
remain in the north and not later be repositioned in the south. This nuance
carries through for the western wall, which totally abuts the Holy of Holies
(verse 22), as does the word "v'adneiHEM" (verse 25).
What remains to be resolved is the verse that discusses the poles and base
blocks that supported the courtyard curtains. Although the command for
the north is in consonance with the Meshech Chochmoh, saying
"v'amudOV" and "v'adneiHEM" (27:11), but when discussing the poles
and their base blocks for the south (verse 10) the verse says both
"V'amudOV" and "v'adneiHEM." Since they too may be elevated to the
north, as they are first adjacent to the southern part of the courtyard, why
does the verse add the possessive suffix?
Finally, "k'mishpoto" as explained by the gemara is to be translated as
"according to its judgment/just claim." Perhaps on a simple level we can
say that this word can be translated as POSITION, as we find by the butler
in Breishis 40:13. Yoseif told him that he would once again serve Paroh
"kaMISHPOT horishon," as was his original POSITION.
Feedback And Submissions Are Appreciated. Sholom613@Rogers.Com
Rabbi Zvi Akiva Fleisher
Sedrah Selections
L'iluy Nishmas I mi Morosi Chavoh Bas Zvi, Nif't'roh 6 Ador 5723
Sedrah Selections Parshas Trumoh 5773 Bs"D
Ch. 25, v. 2: "V'yikchu li trumoh" - And they shall take for Me an
offering - Rashi comments: "Li lishmi," to Me for My Name. The Ari z"l
writes that the act of giving a needy person charity encompasses Hashem's
holy Name Y-H-V-H. The outstretched arm of the donour is in the
configuration of a Vov, his five fingers equal Hei, the five fingers of the
recipient another Hei, and the coin a Yud.
We can thus say that he who donates for the building of the Mishkon gives
"lishmi." (Chid"o in Nachal K'dumim)
Ch. 25, v. 2: "Mei'eis kol is hasher yidvenu libo tikchu" - From each
man whose heart is magnanimous shall you take - A very holy Admor
put much concentration into his recital of grace after meals. This was very
pronounced when he reached the words "Lo lidei mantas bosor vodom,"
where he raised his voice and said these words very slowly and with great
emotion. One of his followers who was a generous donour to the Admor,
when having a private audience with him, gathered his courage and asked
the Admor why he said these words with much gusto, especially given that
he had the personal experience of giving donations to the Admor, which
were received graciously by the Admor. If the Admor was so set against
receiving donations, even if in great need, why the beaming happy face?
The Admor took his Chosid's hand into his and caressed them, while
saying, "There are two types of donours, those who know that it is a great
merit to donate to a proper recipient, and those who do so begrudgingly,
motivated by shame, conscience, etc. The words in grace after meals are
that one prays to not receive a present of 'flesh and blood," meaning a
donation given as if one if giving away his flesh and blood, so difficult is it
for him to open his wallet. You however, surely donate with the attitude
that it is a great merit." "Kol ish asher yidvenu libo."
Ch. 25, v. 11: "V'tzipiso oso zohov tohore mibayis umichutz
t'tza'peno" - And you shall clad it with pure gold from within and
without shall you clad it - Given that every visible surface of the Holy
Ark is overlaid with gold, why does the previous verse call it, "Arone atzei
shitim," an ark of acacia wood?
The ark, which contains the Holy Tablets, represents the Torah scholar.
The essence of the ark is wood to teach us:
1) that the Torah scholar represents growth - Gold remains stagnant, while
wood grows.
2) that the Torah scholar, albeit he externally should seem affluent,
internally is simple, as is wood
3) that the Torah scholar should be light, as is wood compared to gold, to
symbolize that he is pleasant to deal with
4) that the Torah scholar should actively impact on others just as a tree
produces fruit
Ch. 25, v. 30: "V'nosato al hashulchon lechem ponim" - And you shall
place on the table showbread - The Rambam in Moreh N'vuchim section
#3 from chapter 26 through chapter 49 offers insights into the mitzvos. In
chapter 45 he writes that he has no understanding of the mitzvoh of
placing showbreads on the table. Although he likewise has the same
difficulty with libation wine (chapter 46) he does cite someone else's
The Ari z"l likewise in "Askinu s'udoso" for the day seudoh writes,
"Y'ga'lei lon taamei divisreisar nahamei," a plea to Hashem to disclose the
reasoning for the "12 breads."
The Ibn Ezra in his piyut "Ki esh'm'roh Shabbos" also writes, "Chok el
s'gonov bo laaroch lechem ponim l'fonov," that it is a statute.
Ch. 26, v. 7: "V'ossiso y'rios izim l'ohel al haMishkon" - And you shall
make panels of goat skin to cover the Mishkon - These covers not only
served as a roof layer, but also hung over the sides totally covering the
gold cladding on the wall beams. All the elegant beauty of gold was
covered from public view by simple hides. The lesson we are to take from
this is obvious.
Ch. 26, v. 30: "Vaha'keimosa es haMishkon k'mishpoto" - And you
shall erect the Mishkon as befits it - The gemara Yerushalmi Shabbos
12:3 asks, based on the word "k'mishpoto," does a wooden beam have a
claim? The gemara answers that this means that the beam that merited to
be placed in the north should always be placed in the north when the
Mishkon is reassembled, and the beam that was in the south should again
be set in the south.
The gemara says "merited" by the northern beams but not by the southern
beams. Perhaps this is because the northern area of the Mishkon courtyard
has more sanctity, as Kodshei kodoshim are processed there.
It would seem that the gemara translates "mishpot" as a "position." This
seems to be corroborated by the use of "mishpot" by Yoseif when he tells
the wine butler that he will be reinstated "kamishpot horishon" (Breishis
40:13), back to his original position. However, Rashi on Shmos 28:15 and
the Rambam in Moreh N'vuchim section #1 writes that "mishpot" has but
three meanings, the arguments of the contesting sides, the judges'
adjudication, and the carrying out of their verdict.
The Mahari"l writes that his Rebbi made marks on his Sukoh panels so
that when he would reassemble them each panel would be in the same
position as it was the previous Sukos. He based this custom on the above
gemara. (Bei'ur Halacha)
As mentioned above, it seems that the insistence to place each beam of the
Mishkon in the same position is because there is a variation of sanctities. If
so, it seems that this should not apply to a Sukoh. Perhaps it is because the
"Ushpizin" who visit the Sukoh always sit in the same places, and the
Sukoh panel that merited to be close to …… should always remain there.
Ch. 27, v. 2: "V'ossiso es hamizbei'ach atzei shitim …… v'tzipiso oso
n'choshes" - And you shall make an altar of acacia wood …… and you
shall clad it with copper - Copper is a basic metal that is not costly. It
covered the acacia wood. This is unusual, as normally the overlay is
superior to the item it covers.
Rashi offers an insight into the copper's being the cladding of the altar.
The altar brings forgiveness. Copper represents brazen-faced people, as
per the verse, "Umitzchacho n'chushoh" (Yeshayohu 48:4). The copper-
clad altar proffers forgiveness for the brazen-faced.
The Holy Ark was clad with gold on its exterior and interior. The lesson is
that a Torah scholar is expected to have his outward behaviour and his true
>:\D nO·¯D – trcdk trcd ihc 9
insides on the same high level. No doubt the brazen-faced are on a low
level, similar to copper, and this is their public, exterior, behaviour.
Nevertheless, their insides have some positive aspects, at least a minimum
modicum of yiras Shomayim. Because the insides and outsides do not
match the altar is not clad internally with copper. Their insides are better
than their outsides, and this is why the coating of the altar is of a lower
quality than its actual body, the interior. (Mahari"l Diskin)
A Gutten Shabbos Kodesh.
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Rabbi Yissocher Frand
Parshas Terumah
These divrei Torah were adapted from the hashkafa portion of Rabbi Yissocher Frand's
Commuter Chavrusah Tapes on the weekly portion: Tape #802, Birthday Cakes On Shabbos.
Good Shabbos!
Symbolism of the Aron
Despite the fact that we don't have a Bais HaMikdash today or its various
utensils or furniture items, all of the commentaries make attempts to derive
great symbolic lessons from the description of the components of the
Mishkan that are mentioned in the parsha as well as the way that they were
The Torah describes the Aron and its dimensions: "They shall make an
Aron of Acacia wood, two and half cubits its length; a cubit and a half its
width; and a cubit and a half its height. You shall cover it with pure gold,
from inside and from outside you shall cover it, and you shall make on it a
golden crown all around. [Shmos 25:10-11]
Various commentaries find significance in the fact that all the
measurements for the Aron were given in half ammos [cubits] (2.5 x 1.5 x
1.5) as compared with the other utensils whose dimensions, for the most
part, are specified in whole cubit (Amma) units.
The Baal HaTurim says that since the Aron contains the Torah, it is
symbolic of the Talmid Chochom. The lesson is that the Talmid Chochom
must maintain his humility and see himself in half measures (i.e. – not yet
living up to his full potential). In the past, when a child was short, other
children would call him using the pejorative, "half-pint." The idea is that
he was only a "chatzi shiur" – half of a quantity.
The Kli Yakar comments regarding the same question in a similar vein that
the lesson for the Talmid Chochom is that he should always think that his
work is only half finished. Even when one finishes Shas or reaches a
certain level, he should see his job as only "half done".
The Pardes Yosef cites an interesting observation in the name of the
Chida. In Maseches Soferim, it is brought that the pasuk "Darosh Darash
Moshe" must to be written in the Sefer Torah such that the word Darosh is
written at the end of a line and the subsequent word Darash (spelled the
same way in Hebrew – Daled – Reish – Shin) is written at the beginning of
the next line. The Chidah homiletically explains this very beautifully:
When one expounds (Darosh) and he finds himself at the end of the line,
thinking "I am already finished", we tell him "No, you are never finished.
Go to the beginning of the next line and start expounding all over!" All
these are representative of the symbolism found by various commentators
of the half ammos mentioned by the dimensions of the Aron.
Another example of homiletic symbolism that abounds around the
description of the keylim [vessels] of the Mishkan is the fact that the poles
which were used to transport the Aron were never allowed to be removed
from the rings which encase them [Shmos 25:15]. Even though the
Shulchon [Table] and the Menorah also had rings and carrying poles to
transport them, the law that the poles were never to be removed from the
rings only applied to the Aron. What is the symbolism here?
The commentaries explain that by the Shulchon and the M enorah, the
poles were there to carry them strictly for pragmatic reasons. The poles of
the Aron however represent people who support Torah. They represent the
people who pay the bills, so to speak. We should never think that there
will come a time when we can discard those who support Torah. They will
always remain an essential component of the eternal preservation of Torah
amongst the Jewish people. The poles remain in the prestigious place in
the Holy of Holies together with the Aron itself.
This is analogous to the message our Rabbis derive from the pasuk
"Rejoice Zevulun in your going out and Yissocher in your tents" [Devarim
33:18]. Chazal note that Zevulun (who represents the supporters of Torah)
gets first mention in this pasuk to emphasize that he is on par with
Yissocher (who represents those who study Torah).
This leads us to the following question. The Torah teaches: "You shall
cover it with pure gold, from inside and from outside you shall cover it ..."
[Shmos 25:11]. Rashi cites the Gemara [Yoma 72b] that Bezalel made
three Arons, two golden and one wooden. They each had four walls and a
bottom and they were each open at the top. In other words, the Aron was
not really solid gold. It had that appearance but in truth it was made of
wood with gold on the outside and gold on the inside. The Menorah was
pure gold. Why was the Aron not made this way as well? It was certainly
not because they could not afford an Aron of pure gold! What is the
symbolism of this wooden interior for the Aron?
Rav Simcha Schepps, z"l, (a Rosh Yeshiva in Torah VoDaath) has a very
interesting thought on this subject. There is a major difference between
gold and wood. Gold is an extremely soft metal. It is very malleable. The
purest form of gold is 24 carat gold. Less pure is 18 carats. 14 carat gold is
less pure than 18 carat. They do not make gold more than 24 carets
because it would break. It would be too soft. A 14 carat necklace is muc h
sturdier than a 24 carat gold necklace because it has a larger percentage of
non-gold alloys mixed in to give it strength.
The symbolism is as follows. The Aron represents Torah. Wood is solid
and does not easily bend. The reason they strengthened the Aron with a
wooden inside is to emphasize that we should not try to mold the Torah to
meet our own needs. Pure gold could be formed and twisted any which
way. We are not allowed to do that with Torah.
Unfortunately, we have been witness to different movements that try to
shape the Torah. If they cannot fit their lives to the Torah, they try to
shape the Torah to match their lives. This is what the Torah wants us to
avoid and this is the message taught by the firm solid wood inside of the
Aron between the two layers of gold.
In a similar vein, I saw an observation from Rav Zalman Sorotzkin, z"l. In
his eulogy for the Brisker Rav Rav Sorotzkin asked, "Why was it that in
the Holy Aron that housed the Luchos haEdus [Tablets of Testimony] was
kept in the Kodesh Kadoshim behind a curtain?" No one ever saw the
Aron Kodesh except for one person, one day during the year. Only the
Kohen Gadol on Yom Kippur ever had a chance to see it! "Why was that?"
he asked.
Rav Sorotzkin explained that the Torah was in a vault. It is off limits so
that no one should dare try to tamper with it. Rav Sorotzkin compared this
concept to the Brisker Rav. He lived in Yerushalayim in a little house and
did not have very much to do with the rest of society. His job was that he
was the guardian of Torah. He was in the Holy of Holies with the Torah.
He was untouchable, just as the Torah must be untouchable.
One final example of symbolism: The Talmud in Yoma links the fact that
the Aron had gold plating on the outside and gold plating on the inside
with the statement that "Any Talmud Chochom who is not equivalent on
the inside with the way he appears on the outside is not a Talmud
Chochom." A per son who puts on an act for everybody to see on the
outside but who in his essence – on the inside – is not like that is no
Talmud Chochom!
Listen to a story: The Satmar Rebbe, zt"l, came to America after World
War II. Rav Shraga Feivel Medelovitz, the Principal of Yeshiva Torah
VoDaas invited him to come to Torah VoDaas to present a Torah lecture
for the students. The Satmar Rebbe was an outstanding scholar. He gave a
well-received shiur and as is customary, the students surrounded him after
the lecture raising various points of analysis regarding the lecture. There
were Torah discussions back and forth, it was a beautiful scene.
Rav Shraga Feivel Medelovitz was taking this all in. He was bursting with
pride. He was smiling from ear to ear. This demonstrated that he had been
successful in raising a generation of young Torah students in America who
were capable of hearing a shiur from the Satmar Rebbe and engaging him
in serious dialogue about the contents of hi s presentation.
After the boys left, he went over to the Satmar Rebbe and said "Nu, what
did you think of that? Wasn't it beautiful?" The Satmar Rebbe resonded,
"Yes it was beautiful, but I wish that these young men would be on the
outside like they are on the inside" (inverting the classic Talmudic
comment that a Talmud Chochom should be on the inside like he appears
on the outside). In other words he was impressed that inside they were in
fact fine Torah scholars, but they did not wear beards and payos on the
outside which the Satmar Rebbe felt (in accordance with his own customs)
was a necessary sign of a Talmud Chochom.
This write-up was adapted from the hashkafa portion of Rabbi Yissocher Frand's Commuter Chavrusah Torah Tape series on the weekly Torah
portion. Tapes or a complete catalogue can be ordered from the Yad Yechiel Institute, PO Box 511, Owings Mills MD 21117-0511. Call (410) 358-
0416 or e-mail tapes@yadyechiel.org or visithttp://www.yadyechiel.org/ for further information. Transcribed by David Twersky Seattle, WA;
Technical Assistance by Dovid Hoffman, Baltimore, MD RavFrand, Copyright © 2007 by Rabbi Yissocher Frand and Torah.org. Join the Jewish
Learning Revolution! Torah.org: The Judaism Site brings this and a host of other classes to you every week. Visit http://torah.org or email
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Aish.Com - Rabbi Yehonasan Gefen
The Guiding Light
Pure Intent
The Torah Portion describes the Mishkan (Tabernacle) and the various
vessels that were to serve in it, such as the Aron HaKodesh (Ark), the
Menorah and the Shulchan (table where the showbreads were placed). The
Rabbis teach that there is great symbolism in each vessel in that they
represent various aspects of the spiritual world.(1) Accordingly, the
commentaries closely analyze the descriptions of the Mishkan in order to
derive important lessons. In this vein, the Kli Yakar notes a difficulty with
a verse in the description of the Aron HaKodesh. The Torah states: "And
you shall cover it [the Aron] with pure gold from the inside; and on the
outside you shall cover it..." (2) The Kli Yakar points out that God twice
instructs Moses to cover the Ark; once on the inside, and once on the
outside. This teaches us that the Ark had both an inner and outer layer of
gold. However, with regard to the inner layer, the Torah says that the gold
must be pure, whereas when mentioning the outer layer, there is no
mention that the gold need be pure. The Kli Yakar argues that it was
10 >:\D nO·¯D – trcdk trcd ihc
certainly required for the outer layer of gold also to be pure, therefore he
asks why the Torah stressed the pure nature of the gold with regard to the
inner layer.(3)
He answers that the Torah is teaching us an important lesson in Avodat
HaShem (Divine Service). He explains that the inner gold covering alludes
to performance of mitzvot done in a private fashion where no one else
sees, whilst the outer gold covering alludes to public performance of
mitzvot. With regard to private observance, it is quite conceivable that one
have completely pure intentions when performing the mitzvah seeing that
that nobody else will be aware of the mitzvah. Therefore, when describing
the inner gold, the Torah can attach the description of pure. However,
when a person does a mitzvah in public, there is always a very strong
possibility that his intentions are not totally pure, as there may be an
element of a desire that other people witness his righteous act.
Accordingly, when discussing the outer gold, tt cannot say that it was
The Kli Yakar's explanation illuminates us as to the great power of the
yetser hara (negative inclination) involved in doing Mitzvot in public. The
following story involving the Kotsker Rebbe demonstrates even further the
full power of this yetser hara. The Kotsker Rebbe was on his deathbed
surrounded by many people. The time came when it seemed certain that he
was about to pass away. At that moment, he said Shema Yisrael with great
fervor. Yet, to everyone's surprise he did not die at that time. His students
asked him what he was thinking whilst he was saying the Shema. He
answered, that he was thinking that everyone would say about him that the
final words he uttered were 'Shema Yisrael'! (5) If, at the powerful
moment before death, the great Kotsker Rebbe acknowledged that he had
some level of interest in what people would say about him, then all the
more so, 'ordinary' people would be highly subject to this yetser hara
throughout their lives.
Because it is so difficult to maintain completely pure motives when doing
mitzvot in public, it is often praiseworthy to strive to do mitzvot in private.
Similarly, it is commendable to hide one's spiritual achievements from
others when there is no benefit in publicizing them.(6) The Baalei Mussar
(7) in particular went to great lengths to hide their true spiritual level. One
of the leading Baalei Mussar was Rav Yitzchak Blazer zt"l on one
occasion he joined a gathering of great Torah scholars, led by the Beis
HaLevi, Rav Yosef Dov Soloveitchik. The Beis HaLevi had heard that
Rav Blazer was a tremendous Torah scholar as well as being a great
Mussar personality, and wanted to see how Rav Blazer would contribute to
a Torah discussion. The Beis HaLevi asked a very difficult question,
which resulted in heated debate amongst the scholars. Eventually, the Beis
HaLevi offered two brilliant solutions to the problem, one from himself,
and one from his renowned son, Rav Chaim. However, during the whole
discussion, Rav Blazer remained quiet. Surprised at Rav Blazer's apparent
inability to answer the question, the Beis HaLevi perused Rav Blazer's
commentary on the Gemara, known as, Pri Yitzchak, to see what he wrote
with regard to the topic that they had debated. The Beis HaLevi was
astonished to see that not only did Rav Blazer ask the same question as the
one he posed, but also gave both answers that the Beis HaLevi had
suggested! He recognized Rav Blazer's humility in remaining quiet and
hiding his Torah greatness.
Of course, on many occasions it is important for one to contribute to Torah
discussions, however, evidently Rav Blazer felt there would be no benefit
in adding his opinion to the distinguished group. In a similar vein, the
great Alter of Slobodka, Rav Nosson Zvi Finkel zt:l, was rarely seen with
a gemara, however, late at night in his room, he would learn from the
gemara in a hidden fashion, and if anyone came in he would pretend to be
We learn from the above sources, that it is extremely difficult to perform
mitzvot in public without having some focus on the honor or praise that
one would receive. One lesson to be derived from this is that one should
strive to perform at least some mitzvot in private, where there is no chance
that the purity of his intentions is tainted by desire for recognition.(8) This
includes giving charity,(9) learning Torah, and other mitzvot.
1. See Yoma, 72b.
2. Shemos, 25:11.
3. It should be noted that it is possible to perhaps read the verse differently
from the Kli Yakar in such a way that his observation no longer applies,
however, it seems that the Kli Yakar understood that his reading was the
most accurate.
4. Kli Yakar, Shemos, 25:11.
5. Given his well-known greatness, It is very likely that the Kotsker did
indeed have very lofty intent whilst he was saying the Shema, and he was
likely alluding to a very subtle feeling of enjoyment at what the onlookers
would say about him. Nonetheless, as is often the case, the minute failings
of great people are magnified to teach us lessons that we can relate to.
6. There are occasions when it is important to do Mitzvos in a public
setting so that others will learn to do the same.
7. Literally translated as 'Masters of self-improvement'; these were great
people who attained incredibly high levels of spiritual greatness.
8. As stated above, there are times when one should do Mitzvos in public -
it is advisable to seek guidance in this matter from a Rabbi.
9. The Rambam writes that giving charity in a hidden fashion is one of the
highest forms of charity (Matanos Aniyim, Ch. 10.)
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Rabbi J. Gewirtz
Migdal Ohr
Volume 15 – Issue 18 Parshas Terumah 5773 G‰EwT RDA ÊW HMWRT ÊP
A publication dedicated to Harbotzas Torah
“And G-d spoke to Moshe saying: Speak to the Children of Israel and
they shall take for Me a tribute, from each man whose heart is
generous for him…” (Exodus 25:1-2)
This parsha discusses the building of the Mishkan in the desert and begins
by identifying the source of all the materials necessary for its construction.
The money and materials did not come from a tax, but rather these items
came from donations from people who chose to give of their own volition.
Additionally, the Targum Yonason ben Uziel comments that this was not a
case where we force someone until he says, “I am willing.”
It seems strange then, that the posuk should use the language that it does.
We know that there are different ways to say similar things in Lashon
Kodesh (Hebrew) as well as other languages. The nuances of the words
chosen make striking differences in the message. The root word “amar” in
Hebrew means to say. The root word “daber” means to speak. They seem
like the same word, but “amar” is saying something calmly and softly,
while “daber” is harsher and more demanding.
If HaShem was asking people to dig into their hearts and pockets to give
generously to construct His home in our midst, why would He use the
language that was harsh instead of being cordial and friendly?
The answer can be found in the answer to another question. Why are the
Jews instructed to “take for Me,” instead of to “give to me?” The answer is
that the spiritual (and often physical) rewards of contributing to the
support of holy endeavors far surpass any monetary loss sustained by the
giver. Coming close to HaShem is also rewarding in and of itself, so one
who gave to the Mishkan was actually taking.
Now we can explain why HaShem had to be so forceful in
“recommending” that people give the donations to the Mishkan. At first,
they might simply think donating would be a “nice thing.” Then they
might feel they needed to save their money for a rainy day, or some other
idea might occur to them about why they couldn’t give and they would
Therefore, much like a doctor who insists on a course of treatment for the
benefit of the patient, HaShem insisted that the Jews contribute to the
building of the Mishkan so that they might benefit. Similarly, we are
adjured to spend money to honor the Shabbos (many of whose laws are
learned from the building of the Mishkan) because by honoring Shabbos
we merit blessing and success throughout the week.
Levying a tax, however, would not have earned people the reward that
HaShem so greatly wished to give them. If they were forced to do it, it
would not create the close connection and care in the givers that it would if
they were able to decide to give themselves. Therefore, G-d, in His infinite
wisdom and kindness, insisted on a “voluntary” donation, so His children
could realize and actualize the potential for growth and greatness
engendered in making a home for G-d’s presence in our midst not for His
sake, but for ours.
The story is told of a wealthy man who gave generously when approached
by a certain Rav but, when approached by another Rav, gave much less.
Confused, he asked the man to explain.
“What can I tell you?” he replied. “When that Rav comes to me, he barges
in, pushes me down in my chair and starts berating me for my lack of
Torah; for my lack of Mitzvos. He yells at me, “How will you get into
Heaven?? With your filthy money?!” I’m so disgusted by the money that I
throw it at him just to distance it from myself.”
“But when you come in, speaking softly and ingratiating yourself to me, I
know the only reason is because I have money. I figure it must be
something worth holding onto, so I don’t wish to part with so much of it.”
Did You Know?
The very last line of the parsha discusses the copper pegs of the Mishkan
which were used to hold down the sides of the covering.
At first, Rashi states that he is unsure whether the pegs were staked into
the ground, or whether they were merely tied to the flaps of the Mishkan’s
fabric and held them down against the wind by virtue of their own weight.
From this question, R’ Moshe Feinstein z”l learns an important lesson
about life and how to prepare ourselves to be proper Jews.
A person, he says, must be strong enough in his own Torah, faith, and
knowledge to withstand the wild winds of popular opinion and trends
which threaten to push people away from where they should be. This is
>:\D nO·¯D – trcdk trcd ihc 11
represented by the thought that the pegs would simply hold down the flaps
by their sheer weight.
On the other hand, the idea that the pegs might have been staked into the
ground teaches us that at the beginning, when a person is not that strong
yet, he must endeavor to surround himself with teachers and friends who
will be a support system for him and reinforce the ideals and principles for
which he stands.
This will enable him to remain strong in the face of the fiercest winds until
he has reached the point where he can stand on his own.
Thought of the week:
One is not born into the world to do everything, but to do something.
©2013 – J. Gewirtz
Do it! Do it now! Print, e-mail, and share Migdal Ohr with friends and family. You’ll be glad
you did. E-mail Subscribe to info@JewishSpeechWriter.com
This issue sponsored in honor and appreciation of my parents, Rabbi
Jonah and Blanche Gewirtz of Silver Spring, MD who usually sponsor this
week in honor of my birthday. (I beat them to it.)
Their continual support encourages me to continue producing and
spreading Torah. I hope to give them nachas for many years.
©2013 – J. Gewirtz

Rabbi Nosson Greenberg
Khal Machzikei Torah
Terumah 5773 - Heavyweights
In this week’s parsha the Torah focuses on the construction of the
Mishkan and its vessels, the first of which is the Aron. The Aron as we
know housed the Luchos and thus was the official symbol of Torah in the
Mishkan. Like all chests, the Aron had a Kapores - lid. This lid is given the
kovod of being the exact resting-place of the holy Shechina. The Midrash
tells us (Shmos Rabbah 34,1) Moshe was puzzled as how to build a
structure fully containing Hashem’s glory. Hashem responded, “I will
constrict Myself into a square amah” referring to the empty surface area of
the lid (between the two keruvim).
The Kapores played another vital role. We know many items in the
Mishkan served as triggers to bring forgiveness to the Yidden for many
different types of sins (see Zevachim 88b). The Yerushalmi (Shekalim 1,5)
states: Rav Yosi the son of Chanina said, "Let the gold of the lid come and
bring forgiveness to the Yidden for the sin of the Golden Calf.” One must
ask: why of all the gold that was used in the Mishkan, is it the gold used
for the Kapores that is singled out and given the credit to help repair Klal
Yisroel’s bond with Hashem that had become frayed due to their
participation in the Golden Calf?
As we mentioned earlier, the Aron represents Torah and those who learn it
and keep it. Its accessories, too, are ambassadors to different facets
connected to Torah. The poles that carried the Aron correspond to those
who provide financial support for Torah projects. The four rings (which
housed the poles) represent the four planes of Torah - the pardes. But what
about the Kapores? What area of Torah is symbolized by the lid ?
Perhaps we can suggest the following. A lid not only protects the contents
of a container, but it can also serve as a preventative from getting at those
contents. A lid demands that more efforts are necessary in obtaining the
contents. And the heavier the lid, the harder the access. The kapores was
very, very heavy. It was made up of approx. 4,500 cubic inches of pure
gold. Gold weighs 0.698 lbs per cubic inch. That’s 3141 lb! (That is
similar to the curb weight of a small size car.)
Torah & mitzvos are our lifeline to Hashem, and the yetzer horah knows
this. And he puts all types of lids on top of the containers of life within
which we house our precious Torah. Those lids are better known as
nisyonos - tests. Tests of character, patience and perseverance. These lids
at times seem to be extremely heavy. Other times they feel like those
frustrating lids on top of some medicine bottles (“Please align the arrows
while pushing down and twisting in an anti-clockwise motion!”). These
are the type of lids the old wily yetzer presents us with. And he is hoping
that we get lazy and frustrated and perhaps even panic in our inability to
remove those lids. That is what happened at the Golden Calf: using smoke
& mirrors the satan got the Yidden thinking that Moshe was dead and they
were leaderless. And they panicked.
But Hashem wants us to know that all those lids are mostly a mirage. They
look devilishly difficult to remove, but they are ultimately a creation of
our own fears. Patience and effort will allow us to thwart the efforts of the
yetzer and gain access to what is important to us. This is what the kapores
represented. Ask yourself why it is that the kapores rested on the inner
boxes of the Aron and its thickness could not be seen from the outside?.
Ask yourself why the Torah gives us all the dimensions of the lid except
for its thickness (1 tefach, see Sukkah 5a)? The answer is that the Torah
wants us to recognize the barriers of life but at the same time to be be
undaunted by their imposing presence. Look at the weighty covers as if
they were paper thin, easy to remove at all times. That is how we should
attack our nisyonos: with patience, a sense of purpose, and much clarity.
A true antidote to the episode of the Golden Calf.
Rav, Khal Machzikei Torah, Far Rockaway, N.Y. ravgreenbergkmt@gmail.com

Rabbi Avraham Kahn
Torah Attitude
Parashas Terumah: First In Time, Not In Rank
February 14, 2013
Being G-d’s chosen people has caused us a lot of envy and animosity
throughout the generations. Abraham was called the Ivri which means “the
one on the other side”. The Jewish people constantly encounter a double
standard and everyone expects us to be better. We express our double
relationship with G-d many times throughout our daily prayers when we
refer to G-d as “our Father, our King.” We are the first nation that
accepted G-d, not first in rank, but first in time. The great sage Rabbi
Yochanan ben Zakai was careful always to be the first one to greet Jew
and gentile alike. We thank G-d for choosing the Jewish people to give us
His Torah. We continue to express our fervent hope that the day will come
when all the nations will join us and accept G-d as the One Sole G-d.
Envy And Animosity
In the last two Torah Attitudes we discussed why G-d chose us, the Jewish
people, and gave us His Torah. On the one hand, this is a tremendous
privilege that we thank G-d for every day; but on the other hand, it has
caused us a lot of envy and animosity throughout the generations. It has set
us apart from the rest of the world, and, both as a nation and as
individuals, we are always the odd one out. Paradoxically, this is often
blended with a subtle admiration for our achievements in the business
world, and our accomplishments in the sciences for the benefit of mankind
in general.
The Other Side
All of this started in the time of our patriarchs. G-d already chose
Abraham, as it says in the Book of Nehemiah (9:7): “You are Hashem, G-
d, Who chose Avram … and established his name Abraham.” Abraham
was called the Ivri (see Bereishis 14:13). The Midrash Rabbah (42:8)
teaches that this was not just because Abraham was a descendant of Ever,
but because “ever” means “side” and Abraham was alone on “one side” in
his belief in G-d, and his observance of the ways of G-d. The rest of the
world was on the “other side” worshipping their idols and living a lifestyle
very different than the one Abraham had accepted. Although Abraham was
persecuted for his monotheistic belief by Nimrod and his cohorts, he
eventually earned the respect of his contemporaries who referred to him as
a prince of G-d (see Bereishis 23:6). Isaac, Abraham’s son, also
experienced the envy and animosity of the Philistines mixed with their
admiration for his success (note: the Palestinians of modern day are not the
descendants of the Philistines mentioned in the Torah).
Expect Better
On top of all this, we find that the world sets a different standard when
dealing with Jews. It makes no difference whether it is a single person,
community or a whole country. Much to our frustration and irritation, we
constantly encounter a double standard. This is comparable to my wife’s
experiences when she was a young student in the Jewish elementary
school in Gateshead, England. My late father-in-law, Rabbi Shaul
Wagschal, of blessed memory, was the founder and principal of the school,
and the teachers would often say to my wife “from you I expected better.”
G-d is the Creator and Ruler of the entire world, and as such all of
mankind are His subjects. However, we are not just His subjects, we are
considered His children, as it says (Devarim 14:1): “You are children to
HASHEM your G-d.” As such, everyone expects us to be better.
Our Father Our King
We express this double relationship with G-d many times throughout our
daily prayers when we refer to G-d as “our Father, our King.” Rabbi
Avraham, the son of the Vilna Gaon, quotes from the Zohar that when we
serve G-d and pray to him we are considered G-d’s servants. However,
when we study His Torah we become like His children with whom He is
ready to share His secrets.
First In Time
Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsh states that, in truth, every human being has
the potential to accept G-d and rise to the level of a child of G-d. He
explains that this is why G-d refers to the Jewish people as “My firstborn”
(see Shemos 4:22). We are the first nation that accepted G-d, not first in
rank, but first in time. It is only because we do not consider ourselves first
in rank that G-d was ready to choose us as His nation. As it says (Devarim
7:7): “G-d did not desire you and choose you because you are larger in
numbers than the other nations, for you are the smallest in numbers of all
the nations.” Rashi quotes the Talmud (Chulin 89a) that interprets this
verse as follows: “I chose you since you do not consider yourself larger
[and better] than others when I bestow My goodness upon you. Rather,
you hold yourself small [and insignificant] as Abraham who said
(Bereishis 18:27): ‘I am like dust and ash’ and like Moses and Aaron who
said (Shemos 16:7): ‘What are we?’”
Greet Alike
This is why the Talmud (Berachos 17a) encourages us to be respectful to
every human being and emulate the great sage Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakai
who was careful always to be the first one to greet Jew and gentile alike.
12 >:\D nO·¯D – trcdk trcd ihc
Thank G-d
Every day we start our morning prayer with a number of blessings. In
these blessings we thank G-d for all the lovingkindness that He bestows
upon us, as individuals, as members of the Jewish people, and of mankind
in general. We thank G-d for choosing the Jewish people to give us His
Torah. On a personal level, we express our appreciation that we are born
as Jews and not as gentiles, thus giving us the opportunity to fulfill any of
the 613 commandments that apply to us and not merely the seven
Noachide commandments given to the gentiles as well.
Sanctify In Unison
At the end of every prayer we again thank G-d for setting us apart from all
other nations and giving us the mission to serve Him through the
commandments of the Torah. Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsh points out that
we continue to express our fervent hope that the day will come when all
the nations will join us and accept G-d as the One Sole G-d. This will
happen when Moshiach comes. He will restore G-d’s kingdom upon earth
and bring peace and prosperity to everyone. By then everyone will join to
sanctify G-d’s name in unison.
These words were based on a talk given by Rabbi Avraham Kahn, the Rosh Yeshiva
and Founder of Yeshivas Keser Torah in Toronto.
Shalom. Michael Deverett
P.S. If you have any questions or enjoyed reading this e-mail, we would appreciate
hearing from you. If you know of others who may be interested in receiving e-mails
similar to this please let us know at Michael@deverettlaw.com .

Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky
Parsha Parables
In loving memory of Phyllis N. Adelsberg on her 20th Yahrtzeit by Howard
& Robin Adelsberg & Family
Parshas Terumah - Extincted Defined
This week the Torah begins the commandments that entail both collecting
for, and the building of the Mishkan, the sanctuary that stood and travelled
with the Children of Israel during their sojourn in the desert. The Torah
specifies the materials needed for construction: "And this is the offering
which you shall take of them: gold, and silver, and brass; and blue, and
purple, and scarlet, and fine linen and goats" (Exodus( Rashi explains what
was needed was the hair of goats. Therefore, Onkelos translated it as
"Umay Azai, what comes from the goats, but not the actual goats
themselves [i.e., not the goat skins], Because, [if that was the case]
Targum's translation of the word םיִזִ ע [goats] is אָיַזִ ע ( see Gen. 30:32).
Rashi explains why the Targum chooses a particular translation. The Torah
continues: In addition to requests for acacia-wood; oil for the light, spices
for the anointing oil, and for the sweet incense; onyx stones, and stones to
be set, for the ephod, and for the breastplate, the Torah requests
contributions of "oros eezim and oros techashim" which seems to mean the
skins of goats and the skins of the tachash (whatever that means) and that
is where Rashi gets involved once again in why Targum translates a
certain way. Rashi explains s that the tachash was a species of animal that
existed only for a limited time, and it had many hues (gavanim). And once
again he rationalizes the Targum "Therefore, [Onkelos] translates [the
word tachash as] sasgoona אָנוֹגְּ סַ ס, because it rejoices (sas) and boasts of its
( gavanim - םיִנָ וַּ גּ). -[see Shab. 28a, b]."
It's quite intriguing. Rashi usually quotes the Targum who defines words
in the Aramaic language according to the Aramaic dictionary or axioms. In
these two cases, Rashi seems to rationalize as to why the Targum
translates the way he does. In the first scenario, Rashi is bothered. After
all, in Hebrew, eezim, literally means goats. But the Targum Unkeles
seems to say something else. Thus Rashi explains that the Torah is actually
not referring to a goat, but rather the goat hair, and therefore the Targum
translates it as "What comes from goats." However, the second Rashi is
truly difficult. Rashi explains that tachash was a species of animal lasted
only a short time. In other words it became extinct. Rashi then describes
the tachash as an animal which had many colors. What comes next is quite
curious. "Therefore, Unkeles translates it with the word Sasggona,
meaning it boasts of its many colors. First, why did Rashi say, "'Therefore'
Unkeles translates it with the word sasggona, meaning it boasts of its many
colors." Maybe that is the Aramaic name? Second, what connection does
the name have to do with the fact that the tachash is now extinct?
The Story
As a kid, I would read the Encyclopedia Brown series by Donald Sobel. It
was about a kid Leroy Brown from the fictitious town of Idaville. His
father was the police chief and he was a kid sleuth whose genius and
perceptive abilities earned him the nickname Encyclopedia.
In one story a shady coin dealer wants to sell the kids a "rare coin." It was
so old he claimed that it was dated 100 BC! Encyclopedia exposed him
with one simple point. You can't mint a coin and date it "BC"! How can
one date anything that they didn't know would happen?
The Message
Rav Yehoshua Leib Diskin explains: If the tachash only existed for a brief
time, the period of the Israelites trek through the desert, then how could it
have an Aramaic name? How is it possible that Unkelus who lived in the
time of the Temple know a name for a species that only existed in the
desert and was extinct way before the time he was around? Thus, Rashi
explains that the tachash was an animal that had a coat of many hues and
colors and "Therefore (even though even though Targum may not have an
exact name for it, it is defined by its essence) because it rejoices (sas) and
boasts of its hues (gavanim)!
Good Shabbos! ©2013 Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky
Rabbi Dov Kramer
Taking A Closer Look
After first listing the items that G-d asked the Children of Israel to donate
(Sh’mos 25:3-7), the Torah then tells us what these donations will go
towards: “And you shall make for Me a sanctuary, and I will dwell
amongst you” (25:8). This is the case not only when G-d commands
Moshe about the Mishkan, but also when Moshe relays the commandment
to the nation (35:5-9). There, the list ends with the general request that “all
wise-hearted should come and do all that G-d has commanded” (35:10)
before finally letting everyone know what the donations will be for, “the
sanctuary,” (35:11) et al. Shouldn’t G-d have first informed them what the
appeal was for, and then, after motivating them to give to the worthy
cause, listed what needed to be donated? Would a fundraiser ask for
donations before describing where the money will go or how it will be
Not only wasn’t the “big picture,” the sanctuary, mentioned until after all
the materials were listed, but the specific uses of each material wasn’t
mentioned either, except for the last few; “oil for lighting, spices for the
anointing oil and for the incense” (25:6), and precious stones for the
“ephod” and “chosen” (25:7), two of the garments worn by the Kohain
Gadol. Why were the purposes of these items included, but not those of
any other materials? The way oil is listed is a bit strange as well; since oil
was needed for lighting and for anointing, why was only the lighting
mentioned? Both purposes of the spices are included (they were used in
the anointing oil and for the incense); why is the anointing oil only
included with the spices, but not with its main ingredient, the oil? What
about the oil for the meal offerings? Why wasn’t it mentioned as well? Or
the flour for the “show bread” and the meal offerings? Or the animals
needed for the offerings? Or the firewood? Why are only some of the
materials needed for the sanctuary service mentioned, but not all of them?
Tosfos addresses this last issue (see also Oznayim L'Torah), explaining
that only materials needed for the structure itself (including the priestly
garments) are listed, but not materials used exclusively for offerings. The
anointing oil was needed to consecrate the Mishkan and its vessels, so is
considered a “structural need.” Royal palaces (and perhaps pagan temples
in the ancient Near East) were kept lit and fragrant; it would be
inappropriate for the earthly home of the King of kings to be in a less
honorable state than that of human kings. Therefore, the oil used to light
G-d’s sanctuary and the incense used to keep it pleasant-smelling are also
considered “structural needs.”
Rabbi Yitzchok Sorotzkin (Rinas Yitzchok II), sh'lita, quotes Rabbi Dovid
Soloveitchik, sh’lita, who suggests that the purposes of the last few items
were given to avoid their being donated for one purpose but used for a
purpose with a lower level of holiness (which is problematic, see Rambam,
Hilchos T’murah 4:11). For example, the precious stones were only used
for the priestly garments, not for the Mishkan itself. Upon hearing that
these were needed for the Mishkan, a potential donor might think that they
would adorn the structure itself and donate them for that purpose, thereby
making them ineligible to be used for the priestly garments. By
mentioning what these items would be used for up front, this issue was
avoided. However, as Rabbi Sorotzkin points out, some of the materials
that are listed without specifying their purpose(s) were used for making the
priestly garments as well. If the dyed wool was donated for the sanctuary
itself, and using it for garments instead is a problem, why wasn’t its
purpose spelled out too? (Rabbi Sorotzkin leaves this issue unresolved.)
Perhaps this was why the purpose of the donations, that they were going
towards a sanctuary for G-d, was left unsaid until after the list of materials
was given; they could not be donated specifically for the sanctuary, or for
any specific item in the sanctuary, but were donated “to G-d” (“for My
name,” see Rashi on 25:2, adjusting the expression to mean “for G-d to use
in any way He sees fit” rather than “for His benefit, not personal benefit or
satisfaction”). Just as one couldn’t donate gold and insist that it be used for
the holy ark rather than being for the gold-plated wall beams, it couldn’t
be expected that any material donated would be used for the structure
rather than for one of the vessels or garments. By asking for donations
before explaining what the donations would be used for, G-d made it
known that the donations should not be intended for anything specific.
This still leaves us with the question of why the specific purpose of some
of the materials is mentioned (and why oil is only implicitly connected to
the anointing oil). Even though one could not specify which item the
materials donated were for, it is normal for an individual to hope that his
donation would be used for the most holy, prestigious parts of the
Mishkan. One could donate gold and hope it would be used for the ark,
even though he knew it could be used for the gold threads of the priestly
garments. All of the items listed were used, or also used, in the structure of
the Mishkan, with the exception of the oil, spices and precious stones.
There may be no halachic issue with using any material donated for any
>:\D nO·¯D – trcdk trcd ihc 13
purpose, but that doesn’t mean an individual who donated something for
the Mishkan wouldn’t be disappointed if he knew that what he donated
was put to a lesser use. In order to avoid a situation where someone
donated something thinking it could possibly be used for the Mishkan
itself only to find out that the material he donated wasn’t even used for the
structure, G-d specified which materials were needed for the Mishkan
without being part of the structure itself; oil, spices, and precious stones.
There was no need to list all of the uses of these items explicitly, as long as
it was clear that these materials were not needed for the structure.
Therefore, despite not mentioning the Mishkan until after listing the
materials needed, the purposes of these items was mentioned, thereby
avoiding anyone being disappointed when they found out that the item
they donated couldn't be used in the construction of the Mishkan or its
Ten years ago (in 5763), I suggested another possible reason why G-d
didn’t mention what the donations would be used for until after listing the
materials; while preparing this piece I saw that the Chasam Sofer (in Toras
Moshe) makes the same comparison, baruch she’kivanti. The Mishkan was
built after Moshe was able to persuade G-d to (at least partially) forgive
the sin of the “golden calf” (see Rashi on 35:1), indicating that the
relationship between the Children of Israel and the Creator was still intact,
despite the setback. In fact, our sages tell us that the gold given for the
Mishkan (the very first substance asked to be donated) atoned for the gold
given to make the “golden calf” (Tanchuma 8). However, one of that sin’s
lasting effects was the loss of the status attained at Mt. Sinai- the “crowns”
the nation had earned when they accepted the Torah (33:4-6). The Talmud
(Shabbos 88a) tells us that these crowns were placed on the head of each
member of the nation because they first said “we will do” and then said
“and we will listen” (24:7), i.e. they did not need to hear what it was that
G-d expected of them before committing themselves to do it.
Asking for donations prior to explaining what the donated materials would
be for re-established (to some extent) this commitment to “do” even before
knowing the details. It may have taken only a few seconds for the list of
substances to be read, but in that short amount of time the people were
able to commit to giving even before knowing what they were giving to.
As soon as gold was mentioned, those with gold were able to think to
themselves, “I have gold, and if G-d wants it for something, He can have
it” without questioning what He wanted it for. By recreating the
commitment prior to knowing the details, similar to what they had done
when they accepted the Torah, the nation proved it was still (or once
again) worthy of its special connection to G-d, as symbolized by the
Mishkan. Delaying relaying what the donations were for allowed the
donors to willingly part with their possessions knowing only that G-d
wanted it, without having to know why He wanted it.

Rabbi Moshe Krieger
Bircas HaTorah Parsha Sheet
המורת תשרפ
In this week’s parsha, we get the first instructions for building the
Mishkan. Hashem implores us, “Build me a Mishkan and I will dwell
inside you!” Chazal tell us that the purpose of the Mishkan was not merely
to build a structure of grandeur for G-d, but to cultivate a relationship with
Hashem so that He would feel welcome to dwell among us. How does this
work? How does the Jewish People’s construction of the Mishkan lead to
this elevated relationship with Hashem? Furthermore, we must ask what
this has to do with us today? Is there any principle we can learn from here
that we can apply to our own lives? Is it possible that we too are capable of
having the Shechina dwell within us?
Rav Yechezkel Levinshtein says that we can find the answer to this
question a few parshas from now where we hear how the Torah describes
the making of the Mishkan. The Torah enumerates every detail of the
construction of the Mishkan and then proudly proclaims that the Jews did
it “just as G-d commanded.” After finishing the Mishkan “just as G-d
commanded”, Moshe then blessed the people, expressing the hope that the
Shechina would dwell among them and at that moment, the Shechina came
down. Rav Yechezkel claims that it wasn’t merely Moshe Rabbeinu’s
bracha that allowed the Shechina to rest on the entire Jewish people. It was
more specifically the dedication displayed by the Jews and the exacting
precision with which they built the Mishkan. The care for every single
detail and the importance given to what others might consider insignificant
minutia was so incredible that the Shechina viewed these individuals as fit
for Its presence. Amazingly, it was precision in mitzvos purely for the sake
of G-d that led to this glorious spiritual level. Many think that in order to
create an intense connection to Hashem one must purify himself through
separation from the physical or other atypical behaviors. However,
according to what we observe in the building of the Mishkan, the ultimate
way to connect to Hashem is just by wanting to do His will and taking the
necessary steps to actualize that desire with the highest level of
meticulousness. It is the sincere aspiration to fulfill Hashem’s will that will
bring us closest to Him.
Rav Reuven Fine elaborates that it makes complete sense that if one is
exacting in his practice of mitzvos, Hashem will be with him. The more a
person shows how much he desires a connection to Hashem, the more
Hashem is willing to give it to him. This is how the avos merited their
closeness with HaKadosh Baruch Hu. The gemara in Kiddushin 82a says
that Avraham Avinu kept the entire Torah before it was even given!
Completely actualizing Hashem’s will in every way was so important to
the avos that they didn’t even need to be commanded to do so. This
explains why the Midrash in Breishis Rabba 62:6 testifies that the avos are
Hashem’s chariot! They binded themselves so firmly to Hashem through
precision in His mitzvos and a pining for the fulfillment of His will in
every aspect, that Hashem’s Presence remained strongly with them their
entire lives! Generations later, when the Jewish people accepted the Torah
at Har Sinai, the declaration of “naaseh v’nishma” had a similar effect.
Hashem specifically wanted to bestow the Torah on a people that desired
this connection. No other nation in the world expressed such willingness.
Only the Jewish people, by yearning to do G-d’s will in its entirety,
merited the gift of the Torah. If we aspire to do the same, who knows what
spiritual rewards await us as well?
Rav Aryeh Leib Shteinman adds that even though many great
accomplishments in life take a long time to achieve, when one performs
mitzvos it’s different. Even one mitzvah has the power to change someone
in the blink of an eye and forever. All one needs to do is just do the
mitzvah the way it’s supposed to be done. The gemara in Nedarim 32b
says that after Avraham Avinu performed bris mila on himself, he merited
complete control over his eyes, ears, and bris mila. From this moment on,
he had the almost superhuman ability to use these limbs only for the
service of Hashem without any other ulterior drives. Tosfos, commenting
on this unique phenomenon, exclaims that we see from here the power of a
mitzvah. Just the mitzvah of bris mila changed Avraham Avinu’s life
entirely! Even though we may not be capable of performing mitzvos in as
lofty a fashion as Avraham Avinu, every mitzvah we do to the best of our
ability is changing us and deepening our relationship with G-d. The more
we exert ourselves and apply ourselves to fulfilling every detail of our
mitzvos, the more we can be assured that we will come closer and closer to
There were many times when I was younger that I had the great privilege
to visit Rav Gamliel Rabinovitch and to glean from his wisdom. I
remember one time that a very serious young avrech came to visit Rav
Gamliel and told him that he was applying himself fully in yeshiva, and it
would definitely be fair to say that he was a “masmid.” Nevertheless, the
avrech expressed a feeling of incompletion and the absence of the true joy
and connection to Hashem that such learning is supposed to bring. Rav
Gamliel gave a sly smile and then said, “I’ll tell you why you feel a
lacking. It can only be because you are not medakdek enough in mitzvos.
You should be making sure that everything that you do is l’chatchila
according to the Shulchan Aruch.” The avrech accepted Rav Gamliel’s
words wholeheartedly. The rabbi saw what was inside of him. Rav
Gamliel comforted and encouraged the avrech, saying, “If you make this
switch, it will make a big difference in shamayim,” said Rav Gamliel.
May we all be zoche to be exacting in our mitzvos and bring Hashem into
our midst!!!
Rabbi Eli Mansour
Weekly Perasha Insights
Parashat Teruma: Sincere Charity
Parashat Teruma begins with G-d’s command to Beneh Yisrael that they
should donate materials for the construction of the Mishkan: “Ve’yikhu Li
Teruma.” Rashi, commenting to this verse, notes that G-d here instructs
the people to make a donation “Li,” or “for Me,” and Rashi explains this to
mean “Li’Shmi” – “for My Name.” Beneh Yisrael were commanded to not
only give donations, but to do “for G-d’s Name.”
What exactly does this mean? How does one give a charitable donation
“Li’Shmi” – for G-d’s Name?
One explanation is based on the Kabbalistic tradition that whenever one
gives charity, he “constructs” the divine Name, as it were. The coin or bill
that a person gives corresponds to the letter Yod, and he holds it in his
hand, which has five fingers and thus corresponds to the letter Heh (which
has the numerical value of 5). The donor then outstretches his arm, which
is long and straight like the letter Vav, and places the donation in the
recipient’s hand, which corresponds to the letter Heh. Thus, by giving a
charitable donation, one spells out the letters “Yod,” “Heh,” “Vav” and
“Heh,” thereby forming the divine Name of Havaya. Rashi alludes to this
deep concept when he comments that donations should be given
“Li’Shmi” – “for G-d’s Name,” as the donation has the effect of spelling
out the divine Name.
There is, however, another, simpler, explanation of Rashi’s comment,
which can be understood in light of a story told of a certain Hassidic
Rebbe who received a visit from a destitute man asking for charity. The
Rebbe promptly pulled out a gold coin from his drawer and handed it to
the pauper. The poor man was amazed at the Rebbe’s generosity, and
thought maybe he was making a mistake and did not actually intend to
give him a gold coin. The Rebbe said he did not make a mistake, and so
the poor man quickly thanked him and left, before the Rebbe had a chance
to change his mind.
14 >:\D nO·¯D – trcdk trcd ihc
A few moments later, the Rebbe told his assistant to run after the poor man
and bring him back to his home. When the assistant caught up to the man,
the man thought to himself, “I knew it was too good to be true. The Rebbe
did not really mean to give me such a large donation!” Brokenhearted, the
man returned to the Rebbe, who welcomed him and proceeded to pull out
yet another gold coin and give it to him. The man was in utter disbelief. He
once again thanked the Rebbe effusively, and left.
The assistant turned to the Rebbe and asked for an explanation. Why did
he first give one gold coin, and then call the man back to give him
“When this fellow first came to me,” the Rebbe explained, “I was
immediately taken aback by his appearance. He looked so famished and
helpless, that I took one look at him, and my heart went out to him. I had
to give him a gold coin because I was overcome by pity and compassion.
But after he left, I decided I needed to give another donation purely for the
sake of the Misva of Sedaka. The first coin I gave him was out of pity; the
second was to fulfill the Misva.”
Certainly, one fulfills the Misva of charity regardless of his motives. In
fact, even if somebody accidentally drops some money and it is found by a
needy person, he fulfills the Misva. Nevertheless, as this story shows, there
is a higher level of giving charity sincerely “Li’Shmi,” for G-d’s sake, to
obey His command. It is worthy to be filled with compassion and a desire
to help, but in addition, one should also have in mind to give purely for the
sake of G-d, to fulfill the Misva.
In our community, many Chinese auctions are held to raise funds for
worthwhile causes. These are certainly wonderful events, and a tribute to
our community, and the organizers and participants undoubtedly fulfill a
great Misva by raising money for charity. We should remember, however,
that this is not the highest level of Sedaka. When somebody purchases
tickets at a Chinese auction, he hopes in the back of his mind to win
something. And thus although he fulfills the Misva of charity, he does not
fulfill the Misva on the level of “Li’Shmi” – purely for the sake of G-d. I
know some people who, when they participate in Chinese auctions,
purchase one ticket for somebody else, in addition to the other tickets, so
that they will have made at least one donation purely for the sake of the
Misva. This is certainly a praiseworthy practice, as it ensures that one not
only fulfills the great Misva of Sedaka, but does so on the highest level,
the level of “Li’Shmi.” As laudable as charity always is, we should strive
to reach the highest standards of this Misva, and make sure that at least
some of the donations we give are given purely and sincerely, out of a
genuine desire to serve our Creator.
National Council of Young Israel
Weekly Dvar Torah
Parshat Terumah
Daf Yomi: Shabbos 136
Guest Rabbi: Rabbi Benjamin Geiger, Associate Member, Young I srael
Council of Rabbis
Heed The Call – Build An Ark
The meeting is going poorly, at least from your perspective. Every time
your boss says “Let’s move on to the next thing we need to do,” your heart
palpitates as you think of the growing mound of work he keeps piling up
on you. A dozen employees are in the room, yet you are the one he keeps
turning to in order to get it done. At first you thought this was a sign of his
confidence in your abilities. Now you are not sure if it is your prowess,
everyone else’s incompetence, or your inability to say no. After all, just
last week these new projects were introduced as team building
opportunities. No one was to be able to slack off. “Everyone would need to
tow the line!”
When the Torah first introduces the Holy Ark, HaShem deviates from the
normative second person singular form to the third person plural. “And
they should make an ark of acacia wood…” Then, in mid sentence, the
Torah returns to the formation of a command used throughout the
transmission of the details of the Mishkan, “and you should plate it with
gold and you should make a golden zer (crown) [perek 25, pasuk 11]
around it.” The issues only multiply when we look at the next command to
fabricate an Ark. Following the sin of the Golden Calf, and the breaking of
the first Tablets, Moshe is instructed to make another Ark as he chisels out
the form of a new set of Tablets. In this case, the entire exchange is second
person singular. Only Moshe is involved. What happened to the rest of the
people? The initial deviation is clarified by Ramban to teach a beautiful
lesson in Jewish identity and mitzvah observance. The Mishkan is a road
map to the creation, or recreation, of our person. It, in every fine detail,
teaches us how to perfect ourselves, to reach our potential, to prioritize our
lives and so much more. (See Rambam, Ramban and many other early
What is the lesson in the need for plurality in the Aron? The Aron
represents the foundation of all life. The Aron is the revelation of Torah, it
is the soul of our very being, it is the connection between body and soul,
physical and spiritual worlds. The first core lesson is that our very essence
requires effort, requires a “buy-in” ─ it is not sufficient to simply send a
messenger to learn for me, to wait for the rabbi to teach it to me, to assume
that since the institutions exist and were created without my input, they
can continue to do so. I must be involved, I must donate, and I must work
at laying the foundation for my entire being. The plurality teaches us that
each Jew had to have a part in the creation of the center of our identity, but
it also teaches a more fundamental lesson in that role. The lasting,
permanent nature of such devotional effort is only lasting when it is done
in a selfless manner; when the goal and rationale for the giving and
striving for excellence is done for the “Greater Good.” Whether for the
benefit of the Divine or the benefit of the community, such actions create a
heart and soul that cannot be destroyed. With such depth and meaning at
the core if involving the entire community in this effort, why leave them
out when they are most vulnerable; when they are most in need of a loving
embrace? After the sin of the Golden Calf, the Jewish people were
desperate and in despair. Now, more than ever, they needed reassurance
that if they only made the effort, they could rebuild and find atonement
and forgiveness. Yet, HaShem tells Moshe to go it alone. To this Rabbi
Chaim Kramer (Rayanos Chayim, Centerville, Iowa, 1939) addresses his
essay. Before the sin of the Golden Calf, it was a time of hope, of endless
possibilities. As a people, we were moving up. Mitzrayim had been
destroyed, we had received the Torah and were heading to Israel to reap
the blessings promised to our family since the time of Avraham. For more
than four centuries we had hoped, struggled and dreamed. Those dreams
were now palpable. At this time, we were open to hearing instructions of
involvement and effort. We were open to any opportunity to grow and to
be connected. The horizon was golden, the sky was blue and spring was in
the air.
After the horrific events of the Golden Calf, everyone but Moshe had
given up hope. Moshe Rabbeinu never stopped believing in our potential.
He fought with HaShem to save us, he fought with us to redirect us and
give us hope. There were no other willing participants. In response to such
reality, HaShem gives the wherewithal to those who stand prepared to care
for his beloved, crying, frightened children. HaShem tells Moshe to make
the Aron himself and to bring Torah back to His people. Moshe is told to
single-handedly reconnect the community to it purpose. In times of bleak
and pessimistic outlooks, HaShem pours out the fulfillment of His
blessings to those who never waiver in their trust, fortitude and
determination to make life right. We simply need to stand up and heed the
Good Shabbos!
The Weekly Sidra- Terumah
By Rabbi Moshe Greebel
In this week’s mailing, we present some rather interesting He’Oros
(observations) on the Sidra from the K’Sav Sofer (Rav Avraham Sh’muel
Binyamin Sofer [Schreiber]- 1815- 1871) of blessed memory, who draws a
very significant connection between the building of the Mishkan
(Tabernacle) and the eventual rebellion of Korach against the authority of
Moshe. The Sidra commences:
“Speak to the B’nai Yisroel, that they bring Me an offering; from every
man that gives it willingly with his heart you shall take My offering.”
(Sh’mos 25:2)
On this Passuk (verse), the Midrash Sh’mos Rabbah 33-5 begins by citing
the advice of Shlomo HaMelech:
“A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and loving favor
rather than silver or gold.” (Mishlei 22:1)
The Midrash elaborates:
“…..Another explanation of ‘That they bring Me an offering.’ It is written,
‘A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches.’ ‘Chosen’ was the
name of Moshe, of whom it says, ‘Had not Moshe His chosen stood before
Him in the breach?’ (T’hillim 106:23), and also, I know you by name
(Sh’mos 33:17)…..”
Since Moshe is associated with the terms ‘chosen’ and ‘name’ in Mikra
(Scripture), ‘A good name is to be chosen’ refers to Moshe. The Midrash
“…..’Than great riches’- than the riches of Korach, of whom it says (that
he had) ‘Two hundred and fifty fire-pans.’ (Bamidbar 16:17) HaKadosh
Baruch Hu said to Korach, ‘You preen yourself because of your great
wealth. Well, the name of Moshe is rather to be chosen than all your
wealth of gold and silver!’ which is a proof that “loving favor” is better
than “silver and gold.”’”
Now, while the Midrash is certainly a most striking comparison between
Moshe and Korach, what association does this have, posed the K’Sav
Sofer, to the Sidra which states, ‘That they bring Me an offering’? His
response is as follows.
Because of his great wealth, Korach was insolent to Moshe. This can be
seen in the following statement of Korach:
“And they gathered themselves together against Moshe and against
Aharon, and said to them, ‘You take too much upon yourselves, seeing all
the congregation are holy, every one of them, and HaShem is among them.
Why then do you lift up yourselves above the congregation of HaShem?’”
(Bamidbar 16:3)
Korach never disputed that HaShem first spoke with Moshe, instructed the
K’Sav Sofer. Rather, what he was arguing in the above Passuk, was that
since the Mishkan was built, HaShem resided among all the B’nai Yisroel,
as the Passuk states:
>:\D nO·¯D – trcdk trcd ihc 15
“And let them make Me a Mikdash (sanctuary); that I may dwell among
them.” (Sh’mos 25:8)
Therefore, incorrectly reasoned Korach, since HaShem dwelled among
them all, there was nothing special about Moshe anymore, or his authority.
And so, we have the connection between the construction of the Mishkan
and the rebellion of Korach. But, there is more.
In reality, taught the K’Sav Sofer, due to his great wealth, Korach was able
to give very generously to the construction of the Mishkan, more so than
was anyone else. And, it was this generosity on his part, that led to his
impudence against Moshe, in that more than anyone, Korach mistakenly
reasoned, he was the cause of ‘That I may dwell among them.’
The reality of course, continued the K’Sav Sofer, is that unlike anyone
else, Moshe’s immeasurable spiritual level made unnecessary any
preparation for speech with HaShem. Even in the idolatrous land of Egypt,
at his birth, the entire house lit up (see Sotah 12a and Rashi Sh’mos 2:2).
Moshe was the Av HaN’vi’im (the father of the prophets).
In essence then, explained the K’Sav Sofer, Moshe personally, had no
need for the Mishkan, and did not have the Mitzvah to donate to its
construction, as is seen in the Midrash Vayikra Rabbah 1-6:
“Seeing that Moshe’s soul was sad, and that he said, ‘All have brought
their freewill offerings for the Mishkan, and I have brought nothing!’
HaKadosh Baruch said to him, ‘As you live, your speaking is more
acceptable to Me than all else!’”
And, as can be expected, because Korach donated so great an amount to
the Mishkan, and Moshe nothing, the former became very disrespectful to
the latter.
Hence, concluded the K’Sav Sofer, HaShem stated to Korach, “Because
you are wealthy, and gave so much to the construction of the Mishkan,
you become haughty against Moshe! The name of Moshe is more dear to
Me, for through him, the Mishkan was constructed. All donations came
through him, and he is responsible for the merits of the many!”
That is the connection between the construction of the Mishkan, the name
of Moshe, and the wealth of Korach:
“A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and loving favor
rather than silver or gold.” (Mishlei 22:1)
May we soon see the G’ulah Sh’laimah in its complete resplendence-
speedily, and in our times. Good Shabbos.
Confidential matters may be sent to Rabbi Greebel at: belmar.rabbi@yahoo.com Also
appearing on the website: The National Council of Young Israel http://www.youngisrael.org
Torah Insights -Parshat Terumah
By Rabbi Dov Shapiro
Revaluating the Limits
There is a well know story about the S’dei Chemed who as a young man
was not being so diligent in his Torah studies. One evening he overheard
his parents discussing his future and their decision to hire him out as a
shoemaker’s apprentice so that he would earn a trade since he was clearly
not destined to become a talmid chacham. Shaken, the young man pledged
to his parents that from that day onwards he would take his learning
seriously. With his new level of commitment he became a gadol hador and
the author of the well know sefer S’dei Chemed. Later on in his life he
pointed out that if he had not overheard his parents’ conversation and he
would have grown up as a religious, ignorant shoemaker, he never would
have known what he could have accomplished and what potential existed
within him. Unfortunately, many people go through life unaware of their
true potential.
In this week’s parsha, Parshas Terumah, Hashem instructs Moshe to direct
the Jews to build a mishkan. The mishkan, as its term connotes, would be a
place where the presence of Hashem, the Shechina, would dwell within
Klal Yisroel.
This raises a very basic question. The entire concept of the Shechina
dwelling in a physical edifice is a difficult one to comprehend. After all,
Hashem’s presence is an infinite, spiritual entity. How can a physical
structure whose essence is limited by its physical dimensions house the
infinite presence of Hashem. And if that were somehow possible, how can
ordinary people have the ability to construct such an edifice. It would
seem to be too great an undertaking, too formidable a task, for human
beings - with our limited understanding of what Hashem’s presence means
- to accomplish. It should require Hashem Himself to create a palace that
has the ability to house His divine presence. How then could we have been
expected to construct a mishkan? This question was asked by none other
than Moshe Rabbeinu himself.
The Midrash Rabbah (33:8) relates that when Hashem told Moshe of His
plans to have the Jews build a mishkan, Moshe was incredulous. He asked
“Can human beings - even people as special as the Jewish people -
construct an edifice to house Your Shechina”? And Hashem’s answer to
Moshe’s question contains a very powerful lesson that is relevant to all of
us until today.
The Eitz Yosef points out an unusual wording in the first posuk of the
parsha. The posuk begins with a plural terminology, in the words
“V’yikchu li terumah, and they should take for me a contribution.” Then
the posuk switches into singular terminology, “me’eis kal ish asher
yidvenu libo, from each man whose heart motivates him to contribute”.
Why does the Torah switch from plural to singular?
In this switch contains Hashem’s response to Moshe Rabbeinu’s question.
Hashem responded that not only can all the Jews build a house for Me but
actually it doesn’t require the entire Jewish people to do so. Even one Jew
can build a house for Me. Even one single Jew has the ability to create a
palace for the shechina to dwell. So whereas the posuk begins with the
plural since all the Jews were included in the mitzvah to build the
mishkan, in response to Moshe’s question, Hashem switched into the
singular to indicate the potential contained inside every single Jew. “Don’t
underestimate the potential of Klal Yisroel” Hashem replied to Moshe, “a
Jew who is determined to come close to Me and draw Me close to him, can
achieve that not only in his heart but also in sanctifying the physical world
that he builds around him.”
If we think about the context of this midrash, a deeper dimension of this
lesson emerges.
Moshe Rabbeinu was the biggest advocate the Jewish people ever had.
When the Jews worshipped the egel, Moshe prayed for them. When they
accepted the m’raglim’s negative report about Eretz Yisroel, Moshe
jumped to their defense. Every time the Jews sinned in the midbar, Moshe
was there to extol their greatness and pray to Hashem to forgive them. If
there was anyone who would be likely to see and appreciate the greatness
of Klal Yisroel, it was Moshe Rabbeinu. And yet even Moshe, with all the
love he felt towards Klal Yisroel, didn’t fully appreciate the greatness that
Hashem had implanted into every Jew. He underestimated the greatness of
what a Jew can accomplish, to such an extent, that what Moshe felt all the
Jews together could not accomplish, in fact even one Jew can accomplish.
In our own lives we often set limitations on what we can accomplish
because we feel that certain things are beyond our abilities. Once we set
these boundaries in our minds, they become self fulfilling prophecies
because we don’t strive to accomplish that which we feel is beyond our
reach. We see from this chazal that our true potential is well beyond what
we think it is.
As the Sdei Chemed pointed out, he was given an opportunity and he used
it to shake himself out of his complacency and resolve to fulfill his
potential. For the rest of us, perhaps learning about the glorious mishkan
that the Jews built, and reflecting on Hashem’s assurance that each of us
has the ability to build one of our own, can serve as our wake-up call.
Once we truly believe that we can build a mishkan, suddenly, many of our
unrealistic dreams don’t seem like fantasies at all.
Good Shabbos
Rabbi Dov Shapiro is the Rav of Kehillas Bnei Aliyah in New Hempstead, and a Certified Mohel. He can be reached at 877-88-Mohel or
www.eastcoastmohel.com. To receive an e-mail of his weekly parsha column, e-mail DSMohel@gmail.com.
Please feel free to forward this Torah thought to anyone you feel will take pleasure in reading it. Feel free to contact me at Rabbisochet@gmail.com
with any questions and comments. Rabbi Dovid Sochet is the son of the Stoliner Rebbe of Yerushalayim; he spent a considerable amount of his
formative years in Los Angeles CA, and the 5 Towns in New York. He studied in the following Yeshivas: The Mesivtah of San Diego, Yeshiva
Harbotzas Torah in Flatbush NY, and Yeshiva Gedola of Passaic. He currently is a Rabbi in Spring Valley New York where he resides with his wife
and children. Rabbi Sochet is also certified Mohel. Confidential matters may be sent to Rabbi Greebel at: belmar.rabbi@yahoo.com Also appearing
on the website: The National Council of Young Israel http://www.youngisrael.org

HaRav Avigdor Nebenzahl
Netiv Aryeh
"Hashem spoke to Moshe saying: Speak to the Children of Israel and let them
take for Me a donation" (Shmot 25:1-2). The language of the pasuk is puzzling.
Why does the Torah use the word "take" regarding donation as opposed to
"give" which seems more fitting? Why does the Torah refer to the people's
donating to the Mishkan as taking, should it not be called giving? The
commentaries offer several approaches to this puzzling question: Perhaps
Hashem was telling Moshe to speak to those entrusted with the collections (i.e.
the gabbai tzdaka) such as Bezalel and Oholiov - they should take donations
from the nation. This explanation would interpret the words "speak to the
Children of Israel" as referring not to the entire nation but rather to a small
subset of it.
Another explanation is that we cannot speak of giving to Hashem - we can only
give what we have received (taken) from Him. When David HaMelech
collected donations for the construction of the Beit HaMikdash he said: "For
everything is from You, and from Your hand have we given to You" (Divrei
Hayamim I 29:14).
The Gemara relates: "there was an episode involving King Munbaz, in which
he depleted his treasuries and the treasuries of his forebears to feed the poor
during years of famine. His brothers and his father's family banded together
against him and said to him in protest: 'your fathers hoarded and added to the
fortune of their forefathers and you are liberally expending them!' Munbaz
replied: my fathers hoarded wealth below but by giving charity I have hoarded
above ... My fathers hoarded their wealth in an insecure place but I have
hoarded my wealth in a secure place ... My fathers hoarded for others to use but
I have hoarded for myself ..." (Baba Batra 11a). Munbaz is saying that when he
gives he is actually taking for himself - the merits of giving will always remain
with us, when we keep the money for ourselves, however, who knows how
long we will manage to hold on to it for.
Giving Tzedaka
The Rambam asserts that a person will not become poor from giving charity.
Chazal, however, limited the amount a person may spend on tzdaka and other
mitzvoth to one-fifth of his assets. Although Hashem can easily return much
more than a fifth to us, Chazal placed a limitation because Hashem does not
always wish to demonstrate such open miracles. A person is obligated to
expend all his assets to avoid violating a negative prohibition, but when it
comes to positive mitzvoth the expenditures are limited to twenty percent of his
income. For example, he must spend whatever he has to avoid eating non-
kosher meat. However, if he finds himself in the beginning of the month of
Tishrei and he realizes he has to purchase a shofar, lulav, etrog, materials for a
sukkah, not to mention that he does not own a pair of tzitzit or tefillin, he may
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there is a limitation to the amount he may spend, the rest he can put off until
his next paycheck. It would seem that he should purchase the time-dependent
mitzvoth now and defer the purchase of tefillin to the next month.
The Gemara writes that when it comes to hiddur mitzvah (beautifying a
mitzvah), one may add an additional third over and above the basic cost. This
means that if a kosher etrog were to cost twenty shekels then he may spend up
to thirty shekels (note: the calculation of one-third is referred to as milbar an
"outer third" meaning one-third of the sum total of thirty may be the hiddur, as
opposed to milgav (an "inner third") which would be one third of the basic
twenty shekels).
Tzedakah - To Perfect Our Own Character
The Rambam proposes that if a person has one hundred perutahs to give to the
needy, he should give one perutah one hundred times rather than one lump sum
of one hundred perutahs. The reason is that giving tzdaka serves to defeat a
person's yetzer hara, and it's better to win one hundred victories than only one.
I believe that this principle does not apply in all cases. At times, for example,
the receiver may need a large sum of money to help cover the costs of an
operation in the United States. In this case, if we are in a position to help then a
lump sum is clearly preferable.
What we learn from the Rambam is that the purpose of giving is not so much to
help the poor as to improve our own character. The Gemara records an
exchange which took place between Tornus Rufus and R' Akiva: Tornus Rufus
asked: "If your G-d is a lover of the poor, for what reason does He not sustain
them? R' Akiva said to him, 'in order that through our giving them, we may be
saved from the judgment of Gehinom'" (Baba Batra 10a). There is no shortage
of ways in which Hashem can provide for the poor, He wishes however to
provide us with the opportunity to inherit a place in the Next World. Tornus
Rufus' argument was that if Hashem made a particular person poor then we
have no right to go against that, this is obviously not true. Hashem is our father
and we are His children. If a child suffers, the father is happy when someone
cares for him and gives him food. When we know someone is ill we must help
him in any way possible, whether by praying for him or helping with his
physical needs. At times Hashem makes a person ill in order to afford us the
opportunity to fulfill the Mitzvah of healing him.
The Torah gives us two mitzvoth: perika - helping remove a load from a
donkey, and teina - helping placing the load on the donkey. The Gemara
teaches us that if there are two donkeys, one of which belongs to a friend of
yours who requires help unloading it while at the same time your enemy needs
help loading his donkey, it is better to help the enemy. One could have thought
that we should first help the donkey that needs unloading because of tzaar
baalei chaim. Why should the donkey suffer because you like his master more
than you love the other donkey's master? From this ruling it becomes apparent
that what is behind the mitzvah is not helping the donkey, but rather defeating
the yetzer hara.
Hishtadlut Vs. Bitachon
The Messilat Yesharim (chapter 1) states: "all that happens in this world,
whether for good or for bad are tests for man - poverty on the one side, wealth
on the other ... serenity on the one side, suffering on the other, we find
ourselves in this constant tug of war". Man's faith is tested from all directions -
wealth has its trials as does poverty, peace and serenity are great tests as is
suffering. In my opinion the greatest internal battle a person has is where to
draw the line between hishtadlut and bitachon. A person experiences this
conflict with each and every step he takes.
On the one hand we must have bitachon, while on the other hand so long as we
lack a prophet to guide us we have no right to proclaim: "I believe in Hashem,
we will win even without an army". This is the constant struggle we live with -
how much hishtadlut we must do and how much to rely on bitachon. This
applies not only to the nation as a whole at times of war, but it is a conflict each
and every individual faces constantly. If we are approached by a needy person
we must feel that he is totally dependent on us, if we do not help him, then G-d
forbid he will die of starvation. We must therefore provide him with "whatever
he is lacking in him" (Devarim 15:8), even if that entails a horse to ride on and
a servant to go before him (see Rashi ibid.), in our terms this might mean
buying him the best car and apartment available. On the other hand, even as we
help the poor person we must understand that any assistance we provide for
him comes from Hashem. The adage "All of a person's income is fixed from
Rosh Hashana" (Beitza 16a) applies to the poor as well as to ourselves. The
poor man does not gain nor does the giver lose by acts of charity. If we do not
help him, Hashem will find some other means with which to assist him - on the
one hand everything comes from Hashem, on the other hand everything is
dependent on us. This is the tug of war we find ourselves in our entire lives.
There is a special mitzvah connected to helping the poor, that: "you shall give
him and let your heart not feel bad when you give him" (Devarim 14:10). A
person should be happy to have the opportunity to give. Giving without joy
shows that your priorities are with money rather than mitzvoth. This shows a
lack of emunah, for a person with true emunah knows that giving more to the
poor does not mean that you will be left with less for yourself. The Rambam,
as we mentioned maintains that a person will not become poor from giving
Serving Hashem Besimcha
Serving Hashem should always be besimcha. In Parshat Bechukotai as well as
in Parshat Ki Tavo the Torah records the terrible calamities that may befall the
Jewish people should they not follow the dictates of the Torah. What brings
about these terrible punishments? "Because you did not serve Hashem, your G-
d, amid gladness and goodness of heart, when everything was abundant"
(Devarim 28:47). The punishment is not directed at those who did not serve
Hashem, it might even be speaking of people who meticulously observe all the
mitzvoth. Yet you served Hashem, but as one possessed by a demon, not amid
gladness and goodness of heart, it is for this that these tochachot come about.
Why? Because if you do not observe Mitvzot in gladness then it means that
you do not appreciate their true value at all! You think you are doing Hashem a
favor by taking a Lulav or sitting in the Sukkah - you do not realize that these
mitzvoth were given to you for your own benefit! "For it is your life and the
length of your days" (Devarim 30:20).
Not demonstrating joy at fulfillment of mitzvoth has other serious
repercussions. If you do not observe mitzvoth with joy, you are giving your
children the message that keeping mitzvoth is not so positive, that the mitzvoth
are some sort of burden placed upon us by Moshe Rabenu or someone. As a
result o fthis, the child will come to look down on the mitzvoth and take their
fulfillment lightheartedly and will not be careful to observe all the mitzvoth. By
the time this attitude trickles down to the grandchild he already sees no purpose
at all in keeping mitzvoth. If the elders see no value in them, why should I keep
them? On the other hand, when the children see our joy at fulfilling mitzvoth,
they view a Mitzvah as a positive experience. Taking a Lulav, eating in the
Sukkah, davening, learning makes me happy. When a child sees this, he too
will wish to keep mitzvoth as will the grandchild - because they see the
immense joy such acts bring to the father and grandfather.
Every day in Uva LeZion we say "Hashem, G-d of our forefathers Avraham,
Yitzchak, and Yisrael, preserve this forever to be the product of the thoughts of
the hearts of Your people, and set their hearts towards You" (Divrei HaYamim
I 29:18). These words were said by David HaMelech after he praised Klal
Yisrael for their generosity in donating towards the Beit HaMikdash: "I know
also my G-d, that You examine the heart and desire integrity. I have offered all
these donations in the uprightness of my heart, and now I see Your people, who
are present here, to offer donations to You with gladness" (ibid. 17). David
HaMelech was praying to Hashem: "preserve this forever" - always remember
that we donated to the Beit HaMikdash out of gladness. We see the importance
of giving and doing all mitzvoth besimcha.
Mishenichnas Adar Marbin Besimcha
We are about to enter the month of Adar, which is characterized by simcha -
mishenichnas Adar marbin besimcha. The fact is that we should always serve
Hashem out of simcha, even on Tisha B'Av we say the pasuk: "ivdu et Hashem
besimcha" (in Mizmor LeTodah), but the period beginning with Rosh Chodesh
Adar especially evokes simcha. What is simcha? It does not mean being wild,
it does not mean eating and drinking all day. On Purim itself we do have a
mitzvah to eat and drink but the rest of the month should be characterized by
simcha in Avodat Hashem. On Tisha B'Av learning Torah is forbidden because
it brings us joy, it therefore stands to reason that during Adar when we are
marbin besimcha we should increase our Torah learning.
The Rambam writes about the importance of having a festive seudah in honor
of Purim. He adds, however, that it is better to spend more on mishloach manot
because this creates an atmosphere of love between neighbors. What should be
emphasized even more that that is matanot laevyonim - gifts to the poor,
because Hashem wants us to give to others. Perhaps we can find an allusion to
this idea from the Megillah itself. The pasuk states: "al ken karu layamim haele
purim al shem hapur" "Therefore they called these days Purim from the word
'pur' - a lottery" (Esther 9:26). If we were to substitute "pur" with its English
spelling "poor" ("al shem ha'poor'") then the pasuk would read that the days
were called Purim because of the mitzvah to give to the poor!
A principle part of serving Hashem with joy is bringing joy to others. We must
make sure that the poor among us not only have enough for Purim but for
Pesach and the rest of the year as well. This is what brings true simcha to
Aish.Com - Rabbi Kalman Packouz
Shabbat Shalom
Trumah 5773
GOOD MORNING! Purim is coming up next week -- Saturday night,
February 23rd, through all day Sunday. Purim is the holiday that reminds
us that God runs the world behind the scenes. Coincidence is God's way of
staying anonymous! Nowhere in the Megillas Esther is the name of God
mentioned, though there is a tradition that every time the words "the King"
are used it also refers to the Almighty.
Megillas Esther is a book full of suspense and intrigue with a very
satisfying ending -- the Jewish people are saved from destruction! I highly
recommend Turnabout -- it has an English translation of the Megillah
(literally: scroll) as well as a rendition of the Purim story incorporating the
commentary of the Malbim. Another book that you will find fascinating
insights is Inside Purim.
Usually the Fast of Esther immediately precedes Purim. However, this
year the day before Purim is Shabbat. Since we only fast on Shabbat for
Yom Kippur, the fast is moved up to Thursday, February 21st. The fast
commemorates the three day Fast of Esther and the Jewish people before
she approached King Ahashverosh with her request. Named in her honor,
it is also in memory of the Jews' fast before going to battle the anti-
Semites in the Purim story.
Also, before Purim one gives three coins to charity, to recall the half-
shekel (Machatzit HaShekel) donated annually to the Temple treasury
during Adar. Three coins are given because in the Torah portion dealing
with the half-shekel (Exodus 30:11-16), the word terumah ("donation")
appears three times. Each coin should be the denomination of half the
standard currency in that country (e.g. half a shekel, half a dollar, half a
pound). The money is then given to the poor.
A great book about Purim is Rabbi Shimon Apisdorf's The One Hour
Purim Primer -- Everything a family needs to understand, celebrate and
enjoy Purim (available at your local Jewish bookstore, at
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JudaicaEnterprises.com or by calling toll-free to 877-758-3242). Writes
Rabbi Apisdorf: If a family is a "twice a year to synagogue" family, then
those days should at least be Purim and Simchas Torah (when everyone
dances around celebrating the completion and beginning of reading the
Torah). Our kids should see and be a part of the joy of being Jewish!
Purim comes from the word "pur" in Persian which means "lots" -- as in,
"Haman cast lots for the most 'auspicious' date to kill the Jews." The date
fell on the 13th of Adar. The events of that date were turned around from a
day of destruction to a day of victory and joy. We celebrate Purim on the
14th of Adar for "they gained relief on the fourteenth, which they made a
day of feasting and gladness" (Megillas Esther 9:17).
In very few places -- most notably in Jerusalem -- Purim is celebrated the
following day, the 15th day of Adar. The Sages declared that all cities
which were walled cities at the time of Joshua should celebrate Purim the
following day. This is to commemorate the extra day which King
Ahashverosh granted Esther to allow the Jews of Shushan (the capital of
Persia, which was a walled city) to deal with their enemies. In Shushan
they gained relief on the fifteenth. The holiday celebrated on the 15th of
Adar is called Shushan Purim.
There are two ways in which to try to destroy the Jewish people --
physically and spiritually. Our enemies have attempted both. Chanukah is
the celebration over those who have tried and failed to culturally assimilate
us (the Greeks and Western Culture); Purim is the celebration over those
who have tried and failed to physically destroy us (from the Amalekites to
the Persians, ad nauseam).
Why do we masquerade with costumes and masks on Purim? As
mentioned above, nowhere in the Megillas Esther does God's name appear.
If one so desires, he can see the whole Purim story as a chain of
coincidences totally devoid of Divine Providence. Just as we hide behind
masks, but our essence is still there, so too God has "hidden His face"
behind the forces of history, but is still there guiding history.
Why do we make noise every time Haman's name is mentioned in the
Megillah? The answer: By blotting out Haman's name we are symbolically
obliterating evil.
The holiday is celebrated by hearing the Megillah Saturday night and
Sunday morning. During the day only, we fulfill three mitzvot: 1) Matanot
L'evyonim -- giving gifts or money to at least two poor people. (While it is
good to give locally, one can fulfill the mitzvot by giving at
http://www.kerenyehoshuavyisroel.com for the poor Jews of Jerusalem) 2)
Mishloach Manot, the "sending of portions," giving at least two ready-to-
eat foods to a minimum of one person. One should send via a messenger.
(You can order Kosher Purim baskets from: Rabbi Chaim Casper's Surf
Florist of Miami Beach 305-865-0433 or SurfFlorist@juno.com) and 3)
Seudah, a festive meal. During the meal we are commanded to drink wine
until we don't know the difference between "Blessed is Mordechai" and
"Cursed is Haman." (It is best fulfilled by drinking a little and taking a nap
-- one doesn't know the difference between them while sleeping!) One
should NOT drink to excess. The mitzvah is about connecting to the
Almighty -- and sloppy drunks are lousy at spirituality. Drinking can be
dangerous. The mitzvah is only at the meal with wine and should be well-
controlled and minimized.
Why are we instructed to drink this amount? In a certain sense, Purim is
greater than Yom Kippur. On Yom Kippur we fast and it is easy for our
soul to have dominance over the body. Purim is the epitome of integrating
the physical and the spiritual towards realizing that the Almighty loves us.
The only thing that stands between you and the Almighty -- is you. The
wine and the spirit of the day help us get beyond the barrier -- to realize
that everything comes from the Almighty for our good! We may perceive
things that happen to us as "bad" though ultimately they benefit us either
physically and/or spiritually.
The mitzvot of Mishloach Manot and giving gifts to the poor were
prescribed to generate brotherly love between all Jews. When there is love
and unity amongst us, our enemies cannot harm us!
For more on Purim, go to: http://www.aish.com/holidays/purim/. Enjoy
"Lego Purim" -- a short aish.com film unique retelling of the Purim story.
Also, "Purim and Spain's Hidden Jews", Rabbi Ken Spiro's "Purim in
Persia" from his "Crash Course in Jewish History" and Rabbi Shraga
Simmons' "The ABC's of Purim."
Torah Portion of the Week: Terumah
This week's Torah reading is an architect's or interior designer's dream
portion. It begins with the Almighty commanding Moses to tell the Jewish
people to donate the materials necessary for the construction of the
Mishkan, the portable sanctuary.
The Torah continues with the details for constructing the Ark, the Table,
the Menorah, the Tabernacle (the central area of worship containing the
Ark, the Menorah, the Incense Altar, and the Table), the Beams composing
the walls of the Tabernacle, the Cloth partition (separating the Holy of
Holies where the Ark rested from the remaining Sanctuary part of the
Tabernacle), the Altar and the Enclosure for the Tabernacle (surrounding
curtains forming a rectangle within which was approximately 15x larger
than the Tabernacle).
Dvar Torah
based on Growth Through Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin
The Torah states:
"Take for Me (the Almighty) an offering from everyone whose heart
impels him to give."
Rashi, the great commentator, tells us that "Take for Me" means that all
donations for the Tabernacle should be given for the sake of the Almighty.
The question: What difference does it make what a person's intentions are
as long as he does a good deed?
Rabbi Yehuda Leib Chasman clarifies the role of intentions with an
illustration. Suppose there is a man who wants to ensure that every child in
the community has wholesome milk for breakfast. Rain or shine he
delivers milk every morning. What would you say about that man? Likely
you would count him amongst the great tzadikim, righteous people, a
person of great kindness.
However, what would be your opinion of the man if you knew he
delivered the milk only because he was getting paid? No longer is he a
great tzadik, now he is just a plain milkman.
Similarly, in everything we do. If we keep in mind that we are fulfilling
the Almighty's command to do kindness, even the mundane interactions at
work can be elevated to a higher spiritual level. The bus driver is no longer
just driving the bus, he is helping people get to work or to shop for their
families. The deed may be a good deed with or without one's intention, but
our growth in character and spirituality depend on our intentions!
Quote Of The Week:
Pressure makes diamonds
In Honor of the Bat Mitzvah of Alexandra Leah (Lexi) Zidel
with Love Always, Paul, Meri & Parker Zidel
With Deep Appreciation to Mario Sapoznick, Aventura, Florida
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Rabbi Eliezer Parkoff
Weekly Chizuk
Parshas Terumah
Follow Orders
(Adapted from Bircas Mordechai, by Rav Boruch Mordechai Ezrachi,
Rosh Yeshivas Ateres Yisrael, Yerushalayim.)
In Parshas Terumah and Tetzaveh the Jews are instructed in all the details
of how to build the Mishkan. The actual building is related later in Parshas
Pekudei. It is very noteworthy that when the Chumash reports that the
Jews built the Mishkan it states that they constructed every article, "just as
Hashem had commanded Moshe." This statement must be important
because it is repeated no less than 18 times! Why was it so important to
make this point so many times? Was it so hard to build the Mishkan
exactly as Hashem commanded? Of course they followed instructions to a
"T". This was the generation which witnessed the Exodus from Mitzrayim
and who had received the Torah. How could they have done anything less?
But think about it. When someone is given a job, he usually performs it
"roughly" or "approximately" according to instructions. Perhaps even
better than he was told, sometimes not as good. However, whatever he
does, he feels satisfied that he has really performed his duties. It was good
enough. Who expects more than doing something "pretty good" "almost
This attitude is very widespread. Where does it come from? It emanates
from a distorted understanding of the plan. The question is, why does it
Hidden within the deep recesses of our subconscious, a person feels a
resistance to obedience to another. He feels threatened that he is being
made wholly subordinate to whoever is issuing the command. This creates
an irresistible need to also be a "partner" in the planning, the blueprint; to
also be the one giving the orders.
A person wants to feel "the boss" regarding everything he does. This is
engrained so deeply within himself, it forces him "to rationalize," "to
explain," "to understand," "to feel" out everything, to express his own
opinion, and make his own decisions.
This motivation to do everything "approximately" is really quite precise. It
is the force within that directs everything one does and thinks. He
rationalizes, "this is the only way to use your head." This force can be
quite ingenious in its rationalizations.
Eighteen times. The Torah accents, repeats, and accents again and again
that Bnei Yisrael did exactly as Hashem commanded Moshe. Because
Bnei Yisrael built the Mishkan out of absolute submission to Hashem's
words alone. This is the special quality that only Yisrael has, to be totally
subservient to Hashem's commands; with no personal calculations; with no
personal collaboration: with no expression of personal possession of the
They built the Mishkan with a clear understanding that the highest goals
can be reached only with absolutely no interjection of one's self; throwing
oneself totally into Hashem's commands.
18 times the Torah made this exalted point. Bnei Yisrael did exactly as
commanded. Not "approximately." There was no devious interjection of
one's self. There was no coupling whatsoever of any ego. 100%
subservience to Hashem's word.
18 >:\D nO·¯D – trcdk trcd ihc
"Just as Hashem commanded Moshe."
* * *
Let's take this one step further. "And so did Aharon," (Bemidbar 8:3).
Chazal comment, "this possuk praises Aharon for not changing anything"
(Sifrei Beha'aloscha 3).
And what was so special about Aharon that the possuk has to point out to
us that he didn't change anything?
We have to realize. When we are discussing Aharon the surprising fact
isn't that he didn't change anything to do less than he was told. What is
surprising is that he didn't do more! That he didn't try to improve anything.
Imagine. Aharon was a very holy man - holy of holies. He was the only
person in Klal Yisrael allowed in the Inner Sanctuary. He came to light the
holy Menorah, he stood there with the radiance shining in front of him. He
had been chosen to turn on a light for Hakadosh Baruch Hu.
Why didn't he start reciting "Leshem Yichud…?" Wasn't there some deep
emotional urge to glorify and beautify the Menorah even more? Maybe
add a bit of gold over here? Another cup or ornament?
What is this? Just to go over and light the Menorah? Just like that? Maybe
put on another piece of clothing in honor of this great event. Or to add
some move, to dance a bit. Make the ceremony a bit more ornate. "All my
bones should praise Hashem!" But this doesn't always match the halacha.
There is a prescribed manner of serving Hashem. There is a halacha
prohibiting extra or fewer garments (Zevachim 17b). There is a halacha
regarding the exact shape and form of the Menorah, etc. How can someone
so holy and devoted hold himself back? How can one not give in to his
holy impulses, emanating from such a pure source?
"This tells us the greatness of Aharon - that he didn't change anything."
Aharon controlled his deep desire to do more! Don't think you can do
"better" than the Torah. Don't delve "deeper" than the Torah. The most
wonderful thing you can do, is to do exactly as the Torah prescribes.
It isn't easy to withstand the artist impulse to "fix it up a bit" "to improve
on it" "to make it better." Why not allow some expert hand to make a more
glorious and exalted House for the Ribono Shel Olam? Why not make the
Mishkan taller and more magnificent. A more beautiful table? Another
mizbeach? Or a larger one?
Against all these onslaughts one must show a tremendous inner strength, to
understand that obedience is the epitome of service, the epitome of
understanding: total subservience to Hashem's word: the epitome of
Just like Hashem commanded Moshe.
* * *
I came across a very interesting article that opens up new vistas in our
understanding how strong Man's inner ego is. "There is a powerful scene
in Viktor Frankl's 'Man's Search for Meaning,' where the author describes
how the Nazis would line up the Jews to select who would go to the gas
chambers and who would go to the work camps. A Nazi commander
would stand at the front of the line, holding up his hand by the elbow, and
with one finger, he would simply point left, right, left, right. One little
finger determined whether a person would live or die.
"Frankl was sent into a room with others, where they were ordered: "Strip,
take everything off and throw it into a pile in the center of the room within
two minutes!" The Jewish prisoners frantically undressed and threw their
clothes in the central pile, fearful of running out of time and being killed.
At the end, all they were left with was their naked existence.
"Frankl, however, stood still holding his manuscripts, which contained a
lifetime of research. That little cache held everything that he had ever
accomplished in his psychological research. Holding his life's work, he
approached the German officer and tried to explain that his possession was
worth nothing to the Nazis. At first, the officer seemed to listen
compassionately, but then yelled, "Throw it into the pile!" Frankl
frantically persisted, 'You don't understand. This is my life's work! It's just
meaningless paper to you.' But the Nazi just repeated, 'Throw it into the
pile!' Frankl obeyed the order. He, too, was left with only his naked
existence. All he was is that he was.
"Imagine the tragedy of his loss. But also imagine the potential spiritual
growth that was available to those who went through such a challenge.
Sometimes, very painful experiences offer us tremendous spiritual
elevation. Frankl addresses this concept in his book, relating how many
people in the concentration camps became remarkably spiritual. Those
who were more religious and spiritually oriented, Frankl explains, lasted
longer than those who had big physiques but lacked inner strength.
"Frankl writes that after everyone had stripped, the Nazis gave out
concentration camp uniforms, which were previously worn by someone
who had just died in a gas chamber. As Frankl put on the torn, dirty prison
uniform, he reached into the pocket and found a tiny piece of paper. He
took it out and saw that it was the Shema, the Jews' daily declaration that
G-d is the absolutely one and only reality. This little piece of a prayer
book that another Jew had managed to keep was Frankl's exchange for his
collection of manuscripts. Frankl realized that when he gave up his life's
work, he got the Shema."
The author of this article concludes, "To me this means that when Frankl
was stripped of his persona and left to confront his naked soul, he was
empowered to discover his true identity -- identification with the source of
all self-worth -- the one and only everlasting G-d. And that connection no
one can take away from you. "
P.S. As optimistic as this article is, if you follow Victor Frankl's works
after his liberation from the Concentration Camp, we find a very sad
ending. Frankl focused on Man's quest for meaning and stopped there. He
went on to develop a new school of psychology based on Man's basic drive
to find Meaning in life. The tragedy is that he took it no further. He
remained a seeker questing for meaning but failed to find the true meaning
even after having his Jewish identity thrust right in front of his eyes. It
seems that his even more basic ego overpowered his ability to submit
himself to the Supreme Source of Meaning in Life.
Wishing everyone a Gut Shabbos!
© Rabbi Eliezer Parkoff 4 Panim Meirot, Jerusalem 94423 Israel Tel: 732-858-1257 Rabbi Parkoff is author of "Chizuk!" and "Trust Me!" (Feldheim
Publishers), and "Mission Possible!" (Israel Book Shop Lakewood). If you would like to correspond with Rabbi Parkoff, or change your subscription,
please contact: rabbi.e.parkoff@gmail.com Shema Yisrael Torah Network info@shemayisrael.co.il http://www.shemayisrael.co.il Jerusalem, Israel

Rabbi Yechiel Yitzchok Perr
Parshas Terumah
Parshas Terumah
The amount of space and the amount of detail given in the Torah to the
command for, and later the construction and dedication of the Mishkan,
testifies to the supreme and the eternal importance that this undertaking
has for us.
All of human history is filled with the efforts of various cultures to reach
out to some deity; sometimes sacrificing thousands and tens of thousands
of human beings in this quest. But what is contained in these Parshios is
the absolutely amazing fact that the Creator Himself reached out to Am
Yisroel, giving us a detailed plan which would actually bring His presence
down to the surface of this humble planet. Because of this world
shattering occurrence, every detail of His command, which was His
outreach to us, as well as every detail of its fulfillment, is recorded for all
There is something however which we should note among all the various
details of these Parshios. Both in the donation of the materials, as well as
in the construction and dedication of the Mishkan, it is stipulated that what
is to be done be only by those whose hearts bring them to volunteer to do
what they undertake.(Shemos 36:2)
This undertaking was not be forced, or insisted upon. With the exception
of the shekolim used for the foundation sockets, all materials and all labor
must come from the seeking and volunteering human heart.
And the giving of the Torah itself was also dependant on the seeking heart.
As the Torah relates:(Shemos 19:9) “And Hashem said to Moshe I will
come to you in the thickness of the cloud so that the people should hear
Me speaking with you and they will then believe in you [and your
prophetic power] forever. And Moshe [then] told the words of the people
to Hashem”. Rashi explains “the words of the people” were that “they
wish to hear [the commandments directly] from You!” Hashem spoke at
Har Sinai only because the people wished to hear from him directly!
However, having heard two of the Dibros directly from Hashem, the
people were so frightened that they then said to Moshe (Shemos 20:16)
“You speak to us and we will listen [to you], and let not G-d speak to us,
lest we die!” We see here that the whole of the Torah would have been
heard from Hashem Himself, had the people been able to bear it, and had
they so wished, just as the first Dibros were heard directly from Him,
because the people had so wished.
At the end of Shmonei Esrei we ask “May it be Thy will ...that the Beis
Hamikdosh be rebuilt, and give [us] our portion of your Torah, and there
(in the Bais Hamikdash) we shall serve You as in ancient days....”The
inserted words “and give us our portion of your Torah,”are not an
interruption of the tefilah, because the Bais Hamikdosh and the Torah are
two sides of the same coin.
Both the Torah and the Bais Hamikdash were given to us because Hashem
reached out to Am Yisroel and gave us the gift of His presence, and the
gift of His word. And because the reaching out was “voluntary” on His
part, the receivers of these gifts had to also “volunteer” in their receiving.
They had to volunteer to receive the Torah and to build a Mishkan. Over
the eons of our long history there have been kings, and Sanhedrins, and
Kehillos, and Batei Din, and Manhigim who have enforced on Am Yisroel
observance of the Torah. Today these are all gone. They are only distant
Yet, somehow, we seem to have come back now in the “end of days,” to
where it all started. Today we volunteer to learn Torah, and we volunteer
to observe mitzvohs. There is today a growing community of whom it can
be said that they do indeed declare as in the days of old “Naaseh
Venishmah! We are ready to do what the Torah tells to do, even before we
hear its command”.
And because we volunteer perhaps Hashem will also “volunteer” in our
times to give us again a Beis Hamikdosh, and to “Renew our days- as
[they were] in times before”.
A Good Shabbos
Rabbi Yechiel Yitzchok Perr
>:\D nO·¯D – trcdk trcd ihc 19
Rabbi Ben-Zion Rand
Likutei Peshatim
Volume 27 Number 19
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Lines Of Communication
“And God spoke to Moshe to say, ‘Speak to Bnei Yisrael...’ ” Shemos
The word "¬on9" - “to say” - connotes that the words spoken were to be
said over to others and were not meant to be merely a private
communication between Hashem and Moshe. If so, we need to understand
why it was necessary to continue with the phrase “Speak to Bnei Yisrael”.
Isn’t this directive to Moshe to communicate the instruction of building a
Mishkan implied with the word "¬on9"? To whom else would these
instructions to build a Mishkan be meant to be conveyed other than to Bnei
Or HaChaim answers this with a drasha. The Gemara in Yoma (4a) says
that we learn from the word "¬on9" that one is forbidden to divulge any
information that was said by one to another, even if the expectation of
confidence was not explicitly demanded. That is why the Torah always
says that Hashem spoke to Moshe “to say”, clearly conveying that the
words are meant to be told to the community. If so, without the specific
command, “Speak to Bnei Yisrael…”, Moshe could have understood from
the word "¬on9" that he had the right to convey these instructions, but not
that he was commanded to do so, for without the "¬on9" the
communication would have been understood to be confidential. The
command changes this misconception and makes it an imperative that
these instructions must be conveyed to Bnei Yisrael to build the Mishkan.
Tzeddaka - A Lucrative Investment
“Speak to Bnei Yisrael that they take for Me a donation; from every man
whose heart encourages him, take a donation for Me.” Shemos 25:2
At one time, Reb Yechezkel Sarna, k"mz, worked for the fund-raising
organization of the Yeshiva of Chevron. He was reviewing the list of past
and potential donors when he spotted a certain name. He immediately
recognized it as a person who had contributed a very significant sum,
which had provided the funding to enable the Yeshiva to move from
Slobodka to Eretz Yisrael. However, over the years, this donor had lost his
fortune and was now destitute and desperate even for his meager
subsistance. Reb Yechezkel was hesitant as to whether to invite this one-
time supporter to the scheduled parlor meeting as a courtesy. He finally
decided to delete the name from the guest list, realizing that it might serve
as an embarrassment to him in his current financially depressed state.
As the meeting was taking place, to everyone’s surprise, this former donor
arrived, albeit uninvited, and requested to be able to address the gathering.
He took a moment to gain his composure, as he spoke with great emotion.
“My dear brothers! We must realize that the status of any family or any
individual can change drastically from generation to generation, and even
from one year to the next. I used to be exceptionally wealthy, but the cycle
turned against me. Today I struggle for my daily bread, and I have nothing
remaining from my prior fortune. Only what I gave at that time - to move
the Yeshiva from Slobodka to Eretz Yisrael - that is what I have left from
my riches. That merit of helping the Yeshiva - that is mine forever, and I
would not sell it for anything in the world.
“I urge you all at this moment to learn from my experience! Whatever you
can give to tzedaka, quickly give it, without delay, for no one knows what
tomorrow may bring. Only that which you can put away for tzedaka now
will remain to your credit for eternity!”
The man's words made a great impact on those present, and the amount
collected for the Yeshiva exceeded the sums amassed at other collection
Mind Boggling
The Midrash tells us that when the Jews said "vow1¡ nwv1" - “We will
do and we will hear” - at Mount Sinai, Hashem immediately countered that
with the beginning of this week’s parasha: "no\¬n ª9 \npª¡" - “And they
shall take to Me a portion”. What is the connection here? The Ksav Sofer
explains: We see elsewhere that the concept of the Mishkan, a dwelling
place for the Shechinah, was not fully understood. When Moshe first heard
he had to build a structure for the Shechina, he was shocked and upset, and
cried out: “If You fill up all of the Worlds and everything that exists, how
can we possibly make a house that ‘fits’ all of Your Glory in it?!” It’s true:
The concept is impossible for our feeble minds to understand. First, we
had to say ¨vow1¡ nwv1¨- we will do whatever You tell us to do, and
then we will try to understand it. When the Jews were willing to do that,
only then could Hashem give them such a mitzvah, something which
boggles the mind: to make a structure that would house His Glory in this
Do Whatever We Can
“And ram skins that are dyed red, and techashim skins, and shittim
wood.” Shemos 25:5
From where did they have shittim wood in the wilderness? Rabbi
Tanchuma explained: Our forefather Yaakov foresaw through Divine
inspiration that Israel was destined to build a Mishkan in the wilderness.
He brought shittim trees to Egypt and planted them there, and he
commanded his sons to take them with them when they would depart from
Egypt. -- Rashi
It is fascinating to note that Yaakov Avinu anticipated the fact that the
Jewish people would sojourn through the desert upon their departure from
Egypt, and that they would need these trees to accomplish their mission
there. Yet, even with this foresight, Yaakov Avinu did not make any
provisions to prepare for the sustenance and physical needs of the people
to survive their stay in the desert. He also did not command them or direct
them in this regard. Why did he only arrange for them to have materials
for the Mikdash, but at the same time there is no record of his planning by
planting fruit trees or arranging any oasis for them to live in the desert. In
fact, when they did go into the desert without being prepared, we find the
verse (Yirmiyahu 2:2): “Thus said Hashem, ‘I remember in your favor, the
devotion of your youth, your love as a bride, when you did go after Me in
the wilderness, in a land that was not sown.’ ” Why is this?
In Peninei Da’as, Rabbi Eliyahu Meir Bloch notes that the lesson for us
is that in areas of holiness and the building of the Mikdash, we have a
responsibility to anticipate whatever may be necessary and not to rely
upon miracles. And, in areas concerning our physical welfare and in terms
of our creature comforts, we should not worry about doing more than the
minimum. We should trust in Hashem that He will provide our needs and
the opportunities to survive.
This is a fascinating insight, because it is the opposite of what many
people think. Commonly, people do everything in their power to increase
their earning capacity and to amass wealth. Yet, when it comes to spiritual
matters and construction and maintainance of schools, shuls and other
community institutions, people often become great believers and trust that
things will work out by themselves, or that the rabbis or educators will
worry about it. Nevertheless, Yaakov Avinu demonstrated to us that the
proper approach is that we must, indeed, exert all efforts necessary to
ensure the perpetuity of all that is holy. Yaakov brought the shittim
(acacia) wood to Egypt and planted it there for his children to have to take
into the desert to build the Mikdash.
Support For Torah
“And they shall make an Ark of shittim wood ...” Shemos 25:10
In the process of commanding Moshe to build the Tabernacle, Hashem
says in reference to each thing “And you shall make”, while in reference to
the Ark, Hashem says “And they shall make.” Why was there a difference
in expression?
The Chofetz Chaim cites the Midrash which explains that Hashem
specifically commanded all of the Jewish people to make the Ark so that
there would be no room for argument among the Jews in this matter. One
Jew would not have the ability to say to his friend that “I gave a lot to the
Ark, therefore I am privileged to learn a lot of Torah and to have a large
portion in the Torah, while you, who did not give anything to the Ark,
have no portion in the Torah.” The Torah belongs to everyone among the
Jewish people, and just as one who learns Torah gets rewarded according
to his effort, so, too, one who supports the Torah gets rewarded according
to his effort. Just as regarding the Ark, Hashem commanded everyone to
make it, so, too, with the Torah, everyone must contribute to the upholding
of the Torah according to his means. One who has the ability to learn
Torah must do that to the best of his ability, and one who is blessed with
wealth must contribute as much as possible according to his means. In this
way, everyone acquires a share in the support of Torah.
Partners In Torah
“The staves shall remain in the rings of the Aron; they shall not be
removed from it.” Shemos 25:15
It is prohibited to remove the poles from the holy Ark, and anyone who
does so is subject to lashes (Yoma 72). What is the reason that the Torah
requires that the poles for carrying the Ark always remain in their rings,
whereas the poles for carrying the altar and the table are only required to
remain in their places when their respective utensils are actually being
Meshech Chochmah explains that the poles for carrying the Aron
represent the segment of Klal Yisrael which supports and upholds Torah
scholars who are immersed in the study and dissemination of Torah, just as
the poles served to carry the Ark and the Torah contained in it. It is only
fitting that these supporters be totally and constantly associated with their
Torah partners. Just as we find that the Ark was not actually carried, but it
“lifted up its bearers”, so, too, is the case with those who study Torah.
Those who join in partnership with Torah learners in serving the needs of
the Jewish people and sponsor their endeavors are actually promoted and
elevated in their status, as they are privileged to serve a holy cause with
their support. This is why it is fitting that even while the Ark is at rest, the
poles which are used to carry and transport it should remain fixed to it to
indicate that their impact is always an inherent part of Torah.
Halachic Corner
20 >:\D nO·¯D – trcdk trcd ihc
"wª1pn nªª1va ¡ª¡J9 wª" - One must take care to concentrate and focus
his attention while answering the Kaddish. One must pay close attention
when the Kaddish is being recited, and any interruption is prohibited, even
to the extent that one may not think thoughts of Torah during Kaddish.
('n p¨o ¡¨1 ,1¨o) Specifically, the answering of nnª ,¡on, " ¨ '¡J¡ (¬-
1o na¬ now - “May His great name be blessed...”, is the climax of the
Kaddish. If, for example, one is able to hear the prayers of two minyanim,
and one minyan is at Kedushah of ywn n¬In, while the other comes to
Kaddish, the Mishna Brura writes that " '¡J¡ (¬1o na¬ now nnª ¡on"
takes precedence over the Kedushah.
Questions for Thought and Study
1. What word hints that one who learns Torah will merit to receive the
Teruma indicated in this week’s parasha? See Ba’al HaTurim 25:2
2. What blessing from Hashem does the ¡n9w (Table) represent? See
Ramban 25:24
3. How do the ten curtains of the Mishkan represent an attempt to get
closer to Hashem? See Ba’al HaTurim 26:1-6
4. Why is the section concerning the construction of the Mishkan listed
after the Aron? Which was actually constructed first? See Rabbeinu
Bachya 26:1
5. How does each direction get its name? See Ramban 26:18
6. How do the 48 uªw¬p (planks) represent a protection for Bnei Yisrael?
See Ba’al HaTurim 26:25
1. The word "no\¬n " contains the word "n¬¡n" and the letter "o" (40),
because the Torah was given in 40 days.
2. Miraculously, a Kohen who ate even a little bit of bread from the
¡n9w was completely satisfied (Yoma 39a). The Table represents that
Hashem does miracles.
3. The ten curtains represent the Ten Commandments. They are set up five
on one side and five on the other, representing the 5 commandments
between man and Hashem and the 5 commandments between man and his
fellow man. The 50 hooks represent the 50 gates of understanding one uses
to know the difference and get closer to Hashem.
4. The Aron had the most holiness |nwp). Therefore it is listed first.
The Mishkan’s structure was actually first due to practicality.
5. The east is called n¬Io) from the word "n¬I" (to shine), because the
sun rises in the east. The west is called 1¬vo because the sun sets there.
South is called 1ã1 (dry) because of the dryness of the southern desert part
of Israel. South is also called u¡¬1,, a contraction of "u¡¬ ¬1" because the
sun is higher in the sky in the south. North is called ¡¡sx (hidden) because
as one goes north the sun is hidden more and more.
6. There were 48 prophets. There also were 48 watches of Kohanim and
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Rabbi Naftali Reich
Parshas Terumah: Who Goes Hither, Freind or Foe
This week's Torah portion details the numerous varied gifts that were
lovingly dedicated to the Mishkan by the Jewish people and describes
how, following the Divine instruction plan, the people crafted a
magnificent Mishkan from the raw materials. The sages tell us that the
Mishkan reflected a miniature of the entire cosmos, woven and bonded
together by the supreme dedication of the entire Jewish people, whose
service of the Creator sustains the world.
The ultimate purpose of this complex construction was to connect heaven
and earth, a goal that was realized when by all the individual pieces finally
came together and 'the Mishkan was one' (Exodus; Chap 36 V.13). The
Mishkan reflected the perfect unity of His Divine heavenly presence in our
material world. The fusion of the entire nation's collective energies
towards this Divine task ensured the realization of this exalted goal.
This past week, I paid a shiva call to my brother-in-law, Rabbi Yonasan
Tendler, shlit'a, who was sitting shiva for his beloved father, Rabbi Yosef
Tendler, o.b.m., the revered mashgiach and director of Mesivta Ner Israel
of Baltimore. Rabbi Tendler o.b.m. led the Mesivta for over fifty years,
guiding, mentoring, molding and inspiring many thousands of his young
charges. Although I, along with thousands of others, appreciated his
personal greatness and towering personality during his lifetime, it was only
upon leaving the shiva house that his true stature and the full scope of his
accomplishments crystallized for me.
I was wondering what lies behind this frequently experienced phenomenon
of a delayed grasp of the true dimensions of someone's greatness. While
our contemporaries, leaders, and community greats are alive, we often
can't fully absorb their singular contributions and personal stature to the
fullest extent. Only upon their passing do we begin to realize what we
have lost. Why can't we fully appreciate what we have while we have it?
On a simple plane, this human lapse is probably a reflection of the
tendency to take our blessings and gifts for granted. Only once something
special is taken from us do we suddenly perceive its true value. We
actually feel more attached to it in its absence than we did while it was a
part of our day to day lives.
It's also possible that something deeper and more subtle is at play. The
egotistical strains of our human nature are sometimes so deeply embedded
that we may not be fully conscious of them. One of the deepest human
instincts that color our feelings is that of self-preservation. This instinct
relates not only to the need to secure our material sustenance and vital
needs but to preserve our status, self-respect and personal dignity.
In our initial encounter with another person, our minds are subconsciously
processing and assessing hundreds of calculations to determine if the other
is a "friend or foe," and what level of protection we need to employ to
safeguard our status and resources. All our subliminal emotional glands
reinforce those instinctive appraisals, and we approach the other based on
those intuitive "findings."
An essential byproduct of this "self-preservation-first" instinct is that we
cannot accord the people in our environment a full-bodied appreciation of
their greatness, for it may somewhat compromise or diminish our own
sense of self-worth. For many of us, our fragile natures are built around
these self-protective tendencies which compel us to downplay others'
qualities and accomplishments in an effort to shore up our own self-regard.
The lesson gleaned from the construction of the Mishkan is that the Divine
presence only resides among and within us when we find true common
ground with our fellow Jews and wholehearted appreciation for their
respective virtues and talents.
When we recognize that although we each pride ourselves on a sense of
uniqueness, our true success can only be achieved when we pool our
collective resources and suspend the fears and pettiness that make us feel
threatened by our fellow Jew's strengths and accomplishments.
Only then will we succeed in bringing the Divine presence to rest upon the
Jewish people as it did in the days of the Mishkan, when Heaven and earth
were united and Hashem's shechinah infused the world.
Wishing you a wonderful Shabbos,
Rabbi Naftali Reich
Legacy, Copyright &copy 2013 by Rabbi Naftali Reich and Torah.org. Rabbi Reich is on the faculty of the Ohr Somayach Tanenbaum Education
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Rabbi Mordechai Rhine
Rabbi's Message
Volatile Rescue
The Mishkan was a special place. The ambiance was structured so that
here one could connect with Hashem in a very special way. Each one of
the utensils was fashioned in a way that symbolized greatness. The Aron,
for example, was structured with half measures (1 1/2 x 1 1/2 x 2 1/2) to
symbolize that a person should always view their achievements as a half of
their true potential. The Aron was made of wood which was inlaid with
gold on both outside and inside. This symbolized that a person was
essentially like wood, temporary and vulnerable, subject to decay. But if
one coats themselves with golden deeds, not just for show, but both inside
and out, then one can attain eternity.
One of the most fascinating features of the Aron is that the poles which
were used to carry it when they travelled would remain affixed to the Aron
even after they reached their destination. Leaving the poles in place even
after they reached their destination gave the image that the Aron was in
transit. For some reason that image of the Aron as it travelled is the
symbol which the Aron was meant to share. What exactly did the Aron in
transit represent?
Jewish tradition tells us that there was something very unique about the
Aron. Although the Aron was assigned carriers just like all the other
vessels, in the case of the Aron, the carriers did not actually carry the
Aron. Instead, "The Aron carried its carriers." Although the carriers stood
positioned as carriers, it was the Aron that whisked them along carrying
them as it travelled. To appreciate the symbolic message of this, consider
the following.
Picture a group of canoes travelling together. In the midst of their travels a
storm hits and all the canoes begin to wobble precariously. Suddenly one
of the canoes tips over and the people on it are thrown to the rapids. The
people who have been thrown call to those on the still stable canoes for
help, but no one wants to help them. Each claims, perhaps rightfully so,
that they are dealing with their own problems. Each one of the canoes is
wobbling dangerously and taking on water. The people are trying so hard
to keep their own balance. How could they possibly reach out and help
someone else?
Yet, one of the people on one of the canoes reaches out to offer help.
Somehow this person gains inspiration from the Aron and says, "My own
situation is precarious. I myself am in transit and dealing with many of my
own issues. Yet the Aron- even when in transit- was able to carry others.
And so can I."
Many of us are aware of people around us who need assistance. But we are
hesitant to lend a hand because perhaps we think that we aren't quite so
>:\D nO·¯D – trcdk trcd ihc 21
stable ourselves. Lucky is the person who can lend a hand even as their
own canoe wobbles. Lucky is the person who can take a lesson from the
Aron in transit.
Wishing you and yours a wonderful Shabbos!
This article is written in tribute to Rabbi and Mrs. Eliezer and Besie Katz
of Politz Hebrew Academy, Philadelphia. May they continue to be blessed
to reach out to others.
Rabbi Michael Rosensweig
Megillat Esther: Truth and Peace in the Pursuit of Jewish Survival
"Mishenikhnas Adar marbin be-simchah." As we anticipate the upcoming
celebration of Purim, it is incumbent upon us to explore some of the
central themes of that joyous holiday that marks the miraculous if subtle
salvation of the Jewish people. As the story nears conclusion (Esther 9:30),
the megillah itself is depicted as "divrei shalom ve-emet - matters of peace
and truth". What is signified by this surprising characterization and
combination? Indeed, the mefarshim (ad loc) struggle to interpret these
The gemara (Megillah 16b) derives from this enigmatic phrase that the
megillah requires sirtut (lines) like "amitah shel Torah" (most mefarshim-
like a sefer Torah; Rabbeinu Tam- like a mezuzah). The Talmud
Yerushalmi explains that this consideration establishes the megillah as the
kind of sacred text that also justifies and even demands rabbinic
explication (nitan lidaresh- see Chidushei ha-Griz on Hilchos Megillah).
Why does the description of the megillah as "divrei shalom ve-emet"
trigger this response and justify this conclusion?
Generally, the qualities of peace and truth present a study in contrast.
Peace is typically associated with diplomacy and compromise, albeit often
for the sake of a greater good or larger prize. Truth conjures images of
rigid principle and can be identified with unyielding steadfastness, even
inflexibility in the protection of the just and the right. Indeed, Chazal
(Berreishit Rabbah) convey that the competing qualities of truth and peace
disagreed about the very creation of imperfect man.
A preliminary analysis of the Purim story might reinforce the impression
that the respective perspectives of Esther and Mordechai exemplified these
contrasting and mutually exclusive approaches of peace and truth. Esther's
manages to rise to royalty even as she disguises her real identity (2:10).
The Talmud (Sanhedrin 74b) questions how she was able to compromise
religious standards in her relationship with the king. She appears very
reticent to take bold action that might antagonize the king even when the
nation is endangered. Indeed, Mordechai practically accuses her of self-
interest (al tedami be-nafshekh... 4:13) Even as she is poised to act on
behalf of Klal Yisrael, she maintains a diplomatic posture, professing that
she would not have expended her political capital and intervened if the
stakes were only to prevent Klal Yisrael from being enslaved (7:4).
Mordechai, in sharp contrast, is described as defiant in the protection of
his religious convictions, notwithstanding the evident danger. The
megillah depicts his refusal to bow to Haman in future tense as well - "lo
yichre ve-lo yishtachaveh"(3:2), emphasizing that his conduct stemmed
from unshakeable conviction that could not change. According to some
mefarshim, he refused to employ even legitimate heterim (license or
allowance) that would have safeguarded him from jeopardy (see Tosafot
Sanhedrin 61b re. ha-oved mei-ahavah u-mi-yirah). He emerges as a
fearless crusading figure on behalf of his nation, urging actions to avert
calamity, cajoling Esther with his faith in Divine providence - "u-mi yodea
im la-eit ka-zot higaat la-malchut" (4:14).
However, further reflection reveals a more nuanced perspective. While
Mordechai and Esther surely played different roles and even exhibited
different postures and perspectives, they also worked in concert, and their
respective inclinations were hardly mutually exclusive. Indeed, Esther's
subterfuge was actually at Mordechai's behest (2:10). Moreover, when
diplomacy and prayer ran its course, Esther repeatedly put her own
survival at risk to ensure the survival of Klal Yisrael (4:15; 7:3,6). In
retrospect, one may perceive the differences between Mordechai and
Esther as a matter of leadership style, possibly also due to personality,
maturity, and different roles, rather than as reflecting a significant
difference in commitment to principle.
We find a parallel relationship of shalom and emet, each of which is
utilized idealistically in the leadership of Klal Yisrael in the Torah's
depiction of Moshe and Aharon. The gemara (Sanhedrin 6b-7a)
characterizes Moshe Rabbeinu as one who embodies the quality of
unwavering justice - yikov ha-din et ha-har. Moshe is associated with truth
- Moshe emet ve-torato emet. Aharon is identified with love and peace (in
Pirkei Avot he is described as ohvev shalom ve-rodef shalom) and is the
father of pesharah (compromise). Chazal note that only the beloved peace-
making Aharon was mourned by "kol beit Yisrael." Yet, these are not
viewed as incompatible persona or even approaches. Indeed, Tehillim
extols the interaction, integration and harmony of the two brothers - "hineh
mah tov u-mah naim shevet achim gam yachad". Each of these midot plays
a crucial role in Jewish leadership as long as the goals are idealistic and
the motivations are principled and sincere. In fact, each of these qualities
qualifies as a Divine characteristic and even a sheim Hashem. Chotamo
shel Hakadosh Baruch Hu emet - Hashem's seal is truth. Equally, Shalom
(Peace) is a Divine name (Shelomoh - mi she-hashalom shelo).
We tend to view megillat Esther as an exotic tale that is inspiring as a
demonstration of Divine providence, but not so evidently relevant or
applicable to our mundane experience. Moreover, we sometimes perceive
the rush of events in the megillah as unruly and chaotic interactions that
are nevertheless guided by or at least redeemed by Divine intervention.
The imperative of sirtut in the megillah provides a corrective to this
impression, as it accentuates the presence of a subtle order and structure.
This stylistic norm in the megillah inspires us to think anew about the
relationships, values, and personalities that are at work. It not only permits
us but demands that we subject the entire megillah to multilayered
scrutiny, like Torah itself. The coexistence of, and interaction between
shalom and emet, seemingly disparate, highlights the megillah's deeper
layers, as well as its importance as a paradigm of Jewish leadership and
crisis survival. Thus, the sirtut, inspired by divrei shalom ve-emet dictates
that the megillah is the kind of ketuvim that is conducive to profound
rabbinic explication ("nitan lidaresh").
Copyright © 2013 by The TorahWeb Foundation. All rights reserved.
Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks
Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth
Covenant & Conversation
Terumah 5773 – Building Builders
Feb 12 2013
As soon as we read the opening lines of Terumah we begin the massive
shift from the intense drama of the exodus with its signs and wonders and
epic events, to the long, detailed narrative of how the Israelites constructed
the Tabernacle, the portable sanctuary that they carried with them through
the desert.
By any standards it is a part of the Torah that cries out for explanation.
The first thing that strikes us is the sheer length of the account: one third of
the book of Shemot, five parshiyot – Terumah, Tetsaveh, half of Ki Tissa,
Vayakhel and Pekudei, interrupted only by the story of the golden calf.
This becomes even more perplexing when we compare it with another act
of creation, namely G-d’s creation of the universe. That story is told with
the utmost brevity: a mere thirty four verses. Why take some fifteen times
as long to tell the story of the Sanctuary?
The question becomes harder still when we recall that the mishkan was not
a permanent feature of the spiritual life of the children of Israel. It was
specifically designed to be carried on their journey through the wilderness.
Later, in the days of Solomon, it would be replaced by the Temple in
Jerusalem. What enduring message are we supposed to learn from a
construction that was not designed to endure?
Even more puzzling is that fact that the story is part of the book of
Shemot. Shemot is about the birth of a nation. Hence Egypt, slavery,
Pharaoh, the plagues, the exodus, the journey through the sea and the
covenant at Mount Sinai. All these things would become part of the
people’s collective memory. But the Sanctuary, where sacrifices were
offered, surely belongs to Vayikra, otherwise known as Torat Kohanim,
Leviticus, the book of priestly things. It seems to have no connection with
Exodus whatsoever.
The answer, I believe, is profound.
The transition from Bereishit to Shemot, Genesis to Exodus, is about the
change from family to nation. When the Israelites entered Egypt they were
a single extended family. By the time they left they had become a sizeable
people, divided into twelve tribes plus an amorphous collection of fellow
travellers known as the erev rav, the “mixed multitude.”
What united them was a fate. They were the people whom the Egyptians
distrusted and enslaved. The Israelites had a common enemy. Beyond that
they had a memory of the patriarchs and their G-d. They shared a past.
What was to prove difficult, almost impossible, was to get them to share
responsibility for the future.
Everything we read in Shemot tells us that, as is so often the case among
people long deprived of freedom, they were passive and they were easily
moved to complain. The two often go together. They expected someone
else, Moses or G-d himself, to provide them with food and water, lead
them to safety, and take them to the promised land.
At every setback, they complained. They complained when Moses’ first
intervention failed:
“May the Lord look on you and judge you! You have made us obnoxious
to Pharaoh and his officials and have put a sword in their hand to kill us.”
(Ex. 5: 21)
At the Red Sea they complained again:
They said to Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that
you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing
us out of Egypt? Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us
serve the Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the
Egyptians than to die in the desert!” (Ex. 14: 11-12)
After the division of the Red Sea, the Torah says: “When the Israelites saw
the mighty hand of the Lord displayed against the Egyptians, the people
feared the Lord and believed in him and in Moses his servant” (Ex. 14:
22 >:\D nO·¯D – trcdk trcd ihc
31). But after a mere three days they were complaining again. There was
no water. Then there was water but it was bitter. Then there was no food.
The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in
Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted,
but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly
to death.”(Ex. 16: 3)
Soon Moses himself is saying:
“What am I to do with these people? They are almost ready to stone me.”
(Ex. 17: 4)
By now G-d has performed signs and wonders on the people’s behalf,
taken them out of Egypt, divided the sea for them, given them water from
a rock and manna from heaven, and still they do not cohere as a nation.
They are a group of individuals, unwilling or unable to take responsibility,
to act collectively rather than complain.
And now G-d does the single greatest act in history. He appears in a
revelation at Mount Sinai, the only time in history that G-d has appeared to
an entire people, and the people tremble. There never was anything like it
before; there never will be again.

How long does this last? A mere forty days. Then the people make a
golden calf.
If miracles, the division of the sea and the revelation at Mount Sinai fail to
transform the Israelites, what will? There are no greater miracles than
That is when G-d does the single most unexpected thing. He says to
Moses: speak to the people and tell them to contribute, to give something
of their own, be it gold or silver or bronze, be it wool or animal skin, be it
oil or incense, or their skill or their time, and get them to build something
together – a symbolic home for my presence, a Tabernacle. It doesn’t need
to be large or grand or permanent. Get them to make something, to become
builders. Get them to give.
Moses does. And the people respond. They respond so generously that
Moses is told, “The people are bringing more than enough for doing the
work the Lord commanded to be done” (Ex. 36: 5), and Moses has to say,
During the whole time the Tabernacle was being constructed, there were
no complaints, no rebellions, no dissension. What all the signs and
wonders failed to do, the construction of the Tabernacle succeeded in
doing. It transformed the people. It turned them into a cohesive group. It
gave them a sense of responsibility and identity.
Seen in this context, the story of the Tabernacle was the essential element
in the birth of a nation. No wonder it is told at length; no surprise that it
belongs to the book of Exodus; and there is nothing ephemeral about it.
The Tabernacle did not last forever, but the lesson it taught did.
It is not what G-d does for us that transforms us, but what we do for G-d.
A free society is best symbolized by the Tabernacle. It is the home we
build together. It is only by becoming builders that we turn from subjects
to citizens. We have to earn our freedom by what we give. It cannot be
given to us as an unearned gift. It is what we do, not what is done to us,
that makes us free. That is a lesson as true today as it was then.
Rabbi A. Leib Scheinbaum
Peninim on the Torah
Parshas Terumah
And they shall take for Me a Portion. (25:2)
Rashi adds: Li LiShmi, "Take for Me - for My Name." What is Rashi
teaching us by adding Li LiShmi - for My Name? Obviously, if a person
contributes to the Mishkan which will serve as the repository for the
Shechinah, Divine Presence, the person is doing so for Hashem. What does
adding His Name add to the equation? The Chavos Yair offers a
penetrating explanation which has powerful ramifications for the way we
should give tzedakah, charity. He quotes the Shlah HaKadosh who posits
that one who gives charity to a poor man - even an amount as miniscule as
a perutah, penny, actually partners with Hashem, as the Shem Havayah,
Divine Name, of Yud Kay Vov Kay, combine together with him in the act
of giving tzedakah. How does this occur?
The perutah, smallest denomination of coin, resembles the yud, the
smallest letter of the Hebrew alphabet. This is followed by the hay, or kay
(since we do not articulate Hashem's Name), the fifth letter of the Hebrew
alphabet, alluded to by the hand with its five fingers that holds the penny
and gives it to the poor man. The ani, poor man's, outstretched arm bears
resemblance to the vov, the sixth letter of the alphabet, and shaped like a
vertical straight line. Last, we have the poor man's outstretched hand -
once again, with the five fingers alluding to the hay. Thus, when one gives
tzedakah, his act of giving embraces the Name of Hashem - Yud, Kay,
Vov, Kay.
The Chavos Yair parlays this exposition with a frightening addendum. One
must be careful not to ignore the ani, poor man, when he seeks alms. One
who waits for the poor man to beg, to stretch out his hand in solicitation, is
creating a situation whereby the poor man's outstretched hand, the "vov"
and "hay" of the beneficiary precede the "yud" and "hay" of the
benefactor. This causes Hashem's Name to be spelled out of its proper
sequence! This is the underlying meaning of Ki tzaddik Hashem tzedakos
aheiv, yasher yechezu Faneimo, "For righteous is Hashem, those of
righteous deeds He loves, those who are upright will behold His Face"
(Tehillim 11:7). As Hashem performs acts of tzedakah constantly and at all
times, even before one supplicates Him, Hashem wants His people to act
likewise - whereby they give the poor man his due, before the man resorts
to begging. Yasher yechezu faneimo, "those who are upright (straight) will
behold His Face."
This is what Rashi is teaching us when he writes LiShmi, for My Name.
The act of giving tzedakah should symbolize Hashem's Name in its proper
sequence. This means that one should give before the poor man must
suffer the indignity of stretching out his hand to beg.
One morning, following Shacharis, morning prayer service, the holy
HoRav Meir, zl, m'Premeshlan, one of the early Chassidic Masters, sat in
his "office" accepting people and soothing the hearts of those who came to
him to confer his blessing on them. Suddenly, a poor widow entered the
anteroom and demanded to see the Rebbe immediately. An argument
ensued, as she demanded to go ahead of the line, while the gabbai,
attendant, claimed that this was exactly the purpose of a line: there was an
order of sequence. She would enter when it was her turn. The woman was
not accepting "no" for an answer. Her needs were great - and immediate.
She could not wait. Suddenly, the Rebbe called out, "Arye! Allow her to
enter. She is in need of alms and must have them immediately."
The woman entered as the Rebbe lifted a large denomination of coin from
his table, held it momentarily, and transferred it from one hand to the
other. Afterwards, he placed the coin on the table and motioned for the
woman to take it.
He later explained his seemingly strange behavior. "You should not think
that "Meir" (as he would refer to himself) was playing with a coin. We are
taught that one's intention upon giving tzedakah to a poor man should be
on Hashem's Name." He then explained that the penny is the yud; the
benefactor's hand, the hay; the poor man's outstretched arm, the vov, and
his hand the concluding hay. If the beneficiary is a woman, it presents a
problem, since the benefactor may not place it in her hand. Physical
contact with a woman is prohibited. Thus, Rav Meir transferred the coin
from one hand to the other so that he would have the "benefit" of the
second hand/five fingers, to allude to the second hay. This gives us
something to reflect upon at the next opportunity we have to give
And they shall take for Me a portion. (25:2)
Tanna D'vei Eliyahu says that when Klal Yisrael accepted the Torah with a
resounding declaration of Naase' v'Nishma, "We will do and We will
listen," Hashem immediately informed Moshe Rabbeinu that it was time to
collect contributions for the building of the Mishkan. What relationship is
there between Naase' v'Nishma and V'yikchu Li terumah? The Admor
m'Mishkoltz, Shlita, offers the following homiletic exposition. He quotes
the Bnei Yissaschar who cites the Maharash Primo, zl, who questions our
ability to benefit from this world. We are quite aware that Yaakov Avinu
and his brother Eisav "divided" their assets, with Eisav taking Olam
Hazeh, This World, and Yaakov focusing on Olam Habba, the World to
Come. In other words, Eisav received the physical world, and Yaakov
became heir to the world of spirituality. What right do we, Yaakov's
descendants, his heirs, have to enjoy the bounty of this world?
The Bnei Yissaschar first cites the Talmud Shabbos 88b which interprets
the pasuk in Sefer Bereishis 1:31, Vayehi erev vayehi boker yom ha'shishi,
"And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day." Hashem
made a t'nai, stipulation, with the Jewish People, "If you will accept the
Torah - good. If you will not accept the Torah - I will return the world to
its pre-Creation status of tohu va'vohu, astonishingly empty. We derive
from here that the very existence of the world is only because we accepted
the Torah. True, this world belongs to Eisav, but without us - there would
be no world - period. Eisav would have absolutely nothing! Therefore,
Eisav and his minions have no reason to dispute our enjoying this world.
We now understand why Hashem, upon hearing Klal Yisrael's declaration
of Naase' V'Nishma, responded with a call for donations to the Mishkan.
Once the Jews replied in the affirmative, thereby ratifying the "deal" of
accepting the Torah, the world was saved. As saviors of the world they
were thus permitted to partake of its bounty. Hashem said, first things first
- now that you have, give for the Mishkan.
In an alternative exposition, the Kedushas Tzion, zl, m'Bobov, also quotes
the Talmud Shabbos, in which Chazal say that the Heavenly Angels came
before Hashem with a claim of bar metzra, which is halachic dictum
requiring one who is selling his field to grant first rights to his close
neighbor to purchase the field. This right was exercised by the Angels,
claiming that they were closer to the Torah whose origins were in Heaven.
Thus, it should remain with them. There is one override to the rule of bar
metzra. If, by selling the field to his close neighbor, the owner will incur a
monetary loss, he does not have to sell it to him.
With this in mind, we have a reason for Hashem informing Moshe to have
the nation immediately donate money for the Mishkan. The Angels wanted
the Torah - the Jews wanted the Torah. But, if the Jews contributed
towards the Mishkan, there would be a solid financial reason for them to
receive the Torah instead of the Angels. For, otherwise, the "Owner"
would incur a monetary loss.
>:\D nO·¯D – trcdk trcd ihc 23
From every man whose heart motivates him, you shall take My portion.
Much has been written in praise of those who generously open their hearts
and their wallets to help those who are in need. What about those who
volunteer to raise funds for people and organizations in need? The
commentators write that he who contributes charity, receives his due
reward regardless of his motivation - be it l'shmah, for the sake of the
mitzvah or the person and organization in need, or he is acting
beneficently to promote himself. The same does not hold true with regard
to the one who has the "fun job" of raising money. He must do so l'shem
Shomayim, for the sake of Heaven; otherwise, his reward is very limited.
This is derived from V'yikchu Li, they shall take for Me - LiShmi, for My
Name, l'shem Shomayim.
Horav Shimshon Pincus, zl, explains the tzedakah process and its benefits
with a meaningful analogy. The world we live in may be compared to a
stormy sea, its waters raging. Man sits in his boat being thrust up and
down with the rising and descending waves. Torah and mitzvos are the
boat that protect man from the raging world. They are his boat of
salvation, his only line of protection from the dangers of the sea. One who
sins, inevitably cracks his boat and falls prey to the destructive elements.
He is thrown into the water, cast about by the waves, and, ultimately,
becomes their victim.
There is, however, one way to have one's life spared, even as his boat
capsizes: a lifeline. He grabs hold of that lifeline and literally holds on for
dear life until the storm subsides and he is able to make his way to dry
land. Man's lifeline is the mitzvah of tzedakah. When all else has failed
and he is drowning in the raging waters, the mitzvah of tzedakah allows
him to hang on. Even if the Heavenly Tribunal has issued negative decrees
against him, he may continue to cling for dear life to his lifeline of
One who inspires another Jew to perform mitzvos is certainly performing
an enormous favor for him. It may, at times, appear to be a thankless
endeavor, but it is not. Hashem will pay him gratitude, and perhaps, at one
point, the person whom he inspired will also remember his origins. When
it comes to the mitzvah of tzedakah, however, it is much different. Then,
he is quite possibly saving one's life. Availing someone the opportunity to
give tzedakah is tantamount to throwing him a lifeline.
Imagine that the Heavenly Tribunal has issued a decree that has severe
negative - even drastic - implications for a person. It could be a dread
illness, a car accident, a severe financial crisis, and it appears that the
decree will be carried out. Out of His infinite compassion and love for all
of us, Hashem sends a poor man, or someone representing either a group
of people in need, or an organization that is hurting. Hashem is thereby
sending him a lifeline, an opportunity to be spared from the crisis, the
accident, the illness. Tzedakah tatzil mi'maves, charity saves from death, is
a very real and absolute dictum. It really does save.
Perhaps if we kept this in mind, the next time we are approached with an
opportunity to give tzedakah, we might respond with a more appealing
countenance. Rather than looking at the person in need as if he was
someone about to rob us of our hard-earned wealth, let us make believe
that he is here to throw us a lifeline to the future.
Horav Yaakov Galinsky, Shlita, relates an incident which took place
during one of his many fundraising trips abroad on behalf of his yeshivah.
He attempted to obtain an appointment with a well-known philanthropist.
He made the call, asked to speak with the man of the house, and received a
negative reply: "The man of the house is not home." When will he be
home?" Rav Galinsky asked. "In a few hours," was their response.
A number of hours elapsed and Rav Galinsky presented himself at the
man's doorstep. "I am sorry; the man of the house was delayed. He is not
yet home," was the curt response he received. "When do you expect him?"
he asked. "We have no idea," was their way of "graciously" dismissing
Rav Galinsky returned to his waiting car and dialed the man's home.
"Hello, I have an important message for Mr. "so and so". Is he available?"
"One moment," was the response. A few seconds went by and lo and
behold, the elusive man of the house came on the line. Rav Galinsky
introduced himself and said, "According to halachah, I really must
apologize and beg your forgiveness." "Forgiveness?" asked the man,
"What did you do to me that requires my forgiveness?"
Rav Galinsky explained, "At first, when you instructed your family to
inform me that you were not home, I suspected you of uttering a
falsehood. After all, I asked for the man of the house, and I was told that
he was not home." At first, I perceived this as an outright lie. But then I
realized it was the sad truth. The baal ha'bayis, true master of this house, is
the yetzer hora, evil-inclination, who is in absolute control over here. I
erred in thinking that you were in charge. Sadly, you are obliged to the
yetzer hora. You have my sympathy."
They shall make a Sanctuary for Me - so that I may dwell among them.
Like everything that I show you. (25:8,9)
The Mishkan, Sanctuary, was an edifice dedicated to the service of
Hashem. A structure of stone and mortar becomes consecrated through the
devotion and commitment to G-d of those who build and maintain it.
Anything not built solely for G-d has little to no meaning. Man's ability to
transform and elevate mere mundane, physical ingredients into a structure
of holiness indicates the incredible spiritual powers vested within him.
K'chol asher Ani mareh osecha, "Like everything that I show you," is a
reference to Hashem showing Moshe Rabbeinu the exact form of each of
the Mishkan's vessels. Thus, Moshe had before him an image of what each
of the finished products should look like.
The Sanctuary represents our nation's obligation to sanctify itself in its
personal life. Each and every one of us can create his own personal
Sanctuary - within himself, through the medium of his devotion to
Hashem. How does the image of the Mishkan which Hashem portrayed to
Moshe Rabbeinu fit into the equation? It may serve as a blueprint for the
collective Sanctuary, but it hardly assists one in creating his personal
The Admor m'Kretchnif, Shlita, explains this with a homiletic twist of the
pasuk. Hashem said to Moshe, "They (Klal Yisrael) shall make themselves
into a Sanctuary, for Me, by having my Shechinah repose within them.
How will this transpire? K'chol asher ani mareh osecha, "I will simulate
you to others so that they will see your behavior and total devotion to Me.
When they will perceive your commitment and holy demeanor, they will
have a living paradigm to emulate." Thus, as Moshe sanctified himself to
Hashem, he was by virtue of that very process presenting the archetype
eved Hashem, servant of G-d.
V'hayu einecha ro'os es morecha, "And your eyes will behold your
teacher" (Yeshayahu 30:20). Imagery is a powerful motivational tool.
When one sees greatness - one aspires to emulate and reproduce himself in
that image. I present the following narratives, one which extols positive
imagery, and the other which intimates the everlasting loss to oneself of
overlooking and ignoring the image before him. In his Warmed by their
Fire, Rabbi Yisrael Besser shares an episode concerning Horav Elazar
Menachem Shach, zl, which demonstrates the long-lasting effects of
seeing an image in a positive light:
The saintly Rosh Yeshivah of Ponevez was an individual to whom Torah
study was life itself. Though aged and physically weak, he received
strength and succor from the time spent with his precious seforim. Every
line of Talmud, Rambam, Rishonim added strength to his frail body.
One day, a prominent mechanech, Torah educator, visited and presented
the Rosh Yeshivah with a difficult request. As an educator who via his
educational programs came in contact with students from many yeshivos
in Bnei Brak, he was able to organize a siyum Mishnayos, completion of
the entire Mishnah, which would be attended by thousands of youngsters
from the area. The siyum was to be held in a hall adjacent to the yeshivah.
Was there any way the Rosh Yeshivah could attend? No speeches, no
fanfare - just to walk in and grant the children the treat of seeing the gadol
hador, preeminent Torah leader of the generation. It would mean so much
to them and would be remembered their entire lives. Rav Shach apologized
profusely, saying that he was simply physically exhausted. The Rosh
Yeshivah was a centenarian upon whom every step took its toll. The
mechanech felt bad, but understood that it was simply too much for Rav
After the gentleman left, Rav Shach turned to Rav Toib, his close
confident and sort of aide, and asked him if he "agreed" with his decision
not to attend the function. Out of deep reverence, Rav Toib hesitated, but,
then respectfully said, "I must tell the truth, but I wish to do so by relating
a story." The Rosh Yeshivah agreed to listen.
"My father-in-law, Rav Michel Fried, survived the horrors of the European
Holocaust. He lost everything - family and physical possessions. His world
as he once knew it was gone. Despite the tremendous losses and mind-
numbing emotional pain, he retained his strong emunah, faith, in the
Almighty. I once asked him how he was able to persevere in his faith after
all that he had suffered. So many others had weakened; what kept him
He replied that as a child, the venerable sage of Radin, the Chafetz Chaim,
visited his village, and the entire community went out to greet the great
Kohen Gadol. "My father lifted me so that I could gaze at his radiant face
and look into his piercing eyes. From that moment on, that image was
seared into my mind," his father-in-law said. He would never forget that
image of holiness and splendor. His countenance stood before him during
the most bitter and lonesome moments, when all was dark and gloomy.
That image pulled him from the depths and gave him the strength to look
forward with hope to the next day.
Rav Shach listened intently to the story. He remained deep in thought for a
moment, and then the elderly Rosh Yeshivah arose from his chair, donned
his frock and hat, and went out to see the children.
The second story is also about perception - or - the lack thereof. I came
across this story in Rabbi Pesach Krohn's latest literary endeavor, In the
Splendor of the Maggid. In the early 60's, Horav Shlomo Freifeld, zl, was
engaged as principal of the nascent Bais Yaakov High School of Toronto.
Rav Freifeld later devoted his life to establish America's kiruv, Jewish
outreach movement, via the yeshivah he founded in Far Rockaway. A
dynamic, charismatic and brilliant scholar, he could converse with any
24 >:\D nO·¯D – trcdk trcd ihc
Jew, regardless of age, background or religious affiliation about almost
any subject under the sun; so broad was his breadth of knowledge. As a
role model and rebbe, he had very few peers.
While Toronto was a booming city on the Jewish religious scene, its
suburbs ran a far and dismal second. The small Jewish community of
Hamilton, Ontario was geographically a mere forty-two miles south of
Toronto, but from a Torah perspective, it lagged far behind. There was an
afternoon Talmud Torah that catered to the Jewish children of its secular
Jewish community. It was run and staffed by bnei Torah, Orthodox men
and women from Toronto, who made the trip more as a labor of love than
anything else.
The Talmud Torah decided to have a fund-raising dinner, and sought a
guest speaker who would enthrall the gathering and convey the school's
message, as well as their financial needs. They asked Rav Freifeld. We
must bear in mind that, while Rav Freifeld spoke prolifically, his
appearance bedecked in a long black frock, large black beaver hat, and
sporting a full beard and payos, was not what the average secular Jew
envisioned in a "progressive" representative of the Orthodox community.
In fact, as Rav Freifeld was about to enter the banquet hall, he was stopped
by the doorman, who, assuming he was a meshulach, charity collector,
said, "Sorry, there is no outside fundraising here tonight." Rav Freifeld
smiled and said, "I just happen to be the guest speaker at this event. I hope
you will allow me to enter."
Rav Freifeld entered the room to the stares of those gathered for the night's
event. A tall, imposing man, bedecked in his classic garb, exuding self-
confidence and pride, he exhibited an aura of assured dignity. The people
looked at him and wondered if this European-style dressed man could even
speak English. They were in for a surprise. Their negative perception was
about to receive a wake-up call.
Rav Freifeld ascended to the podium and regaled them with a powerful
speech. They were taken by his eloquence, his command of the language,
his sensitivity and brilliant scholarship. The audience sat there enraptured,
as he captivated them with a powerful message concerning the legacy of
Judaism, each individual Jew's heritage and the sense of pride they should
all reflect.
Then he stunned the entire audience with, "Let me share with you a story
from the theatre district in Manhattan." With a confident smile he looked
at the flabbergasted crowd, who could not believe that this rabbi would
have a clue that there existed a theatre district - let alone talk about it.
Could such a religious, traditionally-dressed man be so cosmopolitan?
Rav Freifeld related the story of a wealthy businessman from a
Midwestern community who spent a week in New York. He assured his
friend that while in the big city he would make a point to take in a popular
musical that was playing on Broadway. He was told that they had heard
that the play was sold out for the remainder of the year. Tickets were an
impossible commodity. He assured them that for his money, the tickets
would be readily available.
He was wrong. There were no tickets to be had - anywhere. Even the usual
scalpers were unable to obtain the tickets at any price. He now had a
problem. It was one thing not to see the play; it was totally another for the
people back home to discover that there was something his money could
not buy. His enormous ego would take a hit. Now, if the people did not
know the truth - what could it hurt? So, on the last night of his trip he
stood in front of the theatre and asked people who were leaving for a ticket
stub and a playbill. He had no trouble with obtaining these useless items.
A ticket has value only before the play.
When he returned home, he showed his "souvenirs" to his friends, who
were duly impressed. Rav Freifeld waited for the laughter to subside and
he concluded with a thunderous voice, "Many of you here in this room are
like that gentleman. You have the "stub" of Judaism, but you have missed
the real show!" He continued with remarks about Judaism's real history, its
beauty, the sanctity of the Jewish home and the deep-felt pride that every
Jew should have in being G-d's emissary in the world. He was exceptional,
and the audience gave him a standing ovation.
They understood his message and so should we.
Va'ani Tefillah
V'solicheinu komemius l'artzeinu. And lead us upright to our land.
Horav Shimon Schwab, zl, observes that the word komemius, upright,
occurs only once in Tanach. V'Eshbor motos ulchem, v'Oleich eschem
komemius, "And (I) broke the poles of your yoke, and (I) led you upright"
(Vayikra 26:13). It is also to be found in the end of Bentching. Simply, this
means that Hashem broke the yoke of the Egyptians over us, and led us out
of Egypt in an upright posture. This presents a difficulty, since a Jew is not
to walk b'komah zekufah, an overly-erect posture. It bespeaks a sense of
arrogance on his part. Rav Schwab remembers when Horav Yeruchem
Levovitz, zl, the venerable Mashgiach of Pre-World War II Mir, offered
ten zlotys (coin) to anyone who gave the correct answer. Years later, Rav
Schwab arrived at what he felt was the correct explanation of the term
komemius - as b'komah zekufah, means stretching oneself up to one's full
height. Thus, the Torah means that not only did Hashem redeem us from
Egypt; He even severed any vestiges of our connection to that abominable
culture. We were now able to aspire to achieve our fullest potential. At the
time of Mattan Torah, when we accepted the Torah with a resounding
declaration of Naase' v'Nishma, "We will do and We will listen" we were
elevated to the highest level of spiritual development. We were b'komah
zekufah, at our fullest spiritual height.
In memory of Our parents, grandparents and great-grandparents R'
Naftali Michoel ben Nesanel z"l Maras Sara Riva bas R' Yaakov Meir
Hacohen a"h. The Rothner Family
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Rabbi Dovid Seigel
Parshas Terumah - M'lochim 1 5:26
This week's haftorah teaches us an important perspective about the Holy
Temple and our synagogue. The haftorah opens with a detailed account of
Shlomo Hamelech's construction of the Bais Hamikdash. He engaged
nearly two hundred thousand workers in hewing and transporting scarce
heavy stones for the Bais Hamikdash's foundation. He built its exterior
walls from perfectly hewed stones from the quarry that did not require any
cutting or planing. He enhanced the basic structure with numerous
chambers, annexes and winding staircases and paneled the entire structure
with impressive cedar wood.
In the midst of this heavy construction Hashem sent Shlomo Hamelech a
prophetic message and stated, "(Regarding) The house you are building, if
you walk in My statues, adhere to My laws and guard all My mitzvos .... I
will dwell amongst the Jewish people and not forsake My nation, Israel."
(M'lochim I 6:12,13) Hashem told Shlomo Hamelech at the outset that the
expressed purpose for all his labor was to create an earthly abode for
Hashem. The impressive architectural structures, jewel studded walls and
gold trimmings would not secure this objective. The sole factor in this
would be guarding Hashem's statutes and carefully adhering to all His
mitzvos. Hashem declared that the entire value of this magnificent edifice
depended upon the Jewish people. If they sincerely desired to unite with
Him they would merit His Divine Presence. Hashem pledged to remain
amongst them as long as they displayed true desire to be with Him.
Malbim notes the juxtaposition of this prophecy in the midst of the
construction. Scriptures indicate that Shlomo received this prophecy upon
completing the Bais Hamikdash's exterior before beginning its interior.
Malbim sees this moment as a transitional point in the building process, a
time most appropriate for this prophecy. We can appreciate Hashem's
timely message through S'forno's insightful comment about the Sanctuary
and the Holy Temple.
The Sages inform us that the actual Sanctuary remained perfectly intact
and never fell into foreign hands. When King Yoshiyahu foresaw the
Jewish nation's exile he secretly buried the Holy Ark, the Sanctuary and
many of its holy vessels in a cave below Yerushalyim for preservation.
The first Holy Temple did not merit such fortune and aside from suffering
much deterioration ultimately fell into wicked Babylonian hands who
leveled the entire magnificent edifice. This digression continued and the
second Temple did not even merit to house Hashem's intense Divine
Presence within its walls.
S'forno informs us the reason for such contrasting experiences with these
sacred structures. He sees the key factor in this as the pious nature of
individuals involved in erecting these structures. The Sanctuary was built
by pious, devout individuals totally focused on creating an earthly abode
for Hashem. Moshe Rabbeinu oversaw the entire construction devoting
himself to the perfect fulillment of every detail. Hashem's devout Levites
had a major hand in the construction under the leadership of Ahron
Hakohain's son, Isamar. The project's contractor was Betzalel gifted with
sacred insights to the Heavenly process of creation. The holy structure
they constructed did not allow for deterioration or destruction and
demanded eternal preservation.
Conversely, the first Temple's construction shared only some of these
experiences. Although the pious Shlomo Hamelech oversaw its
construction his massive undertaking included multitudes of skilled
craftsmen from Tyre. These foreign workers did not relate to spirituality
value and failed to dedicate their every act towards that end. Although
Hashem rested His intense presence in the first Temple this sacred edifice
was not spared from deterioration and destruction. The second Temple was
not even overseen by devout, pious individuals. Hashem's Levites were not
involved in its construction and the bulk its workers were of foreign
decent. In fact, the second Temple did not even merit the return of the holy
Ark and Hashem's Divine Presence was not intensely sensed within its
walls. (S'forno S'hmos 38:21)
In light of the above we appreciate Hashem's timely message to Shlomo
Hamelech. After successfully completing the exterior Shlomo set his focus
on the interior of the Bais Hamikdash. At that exact moment Hashem
reminded Shlomo of the interior's exclusive purpose. Hashem desired to
secure the Temple for as long as possible and chose this exact moment to
inspire Shlomo towards its spiritual direction. This impressive structure
was to serve as Hashem's earthly abode provided His people display true
>:\D nO·¯D – trcdk trcd ihc 25
desire to unite with Him. After Shlomo received his charge he immediately
focused on the project's Divine dimensions and dedicated every detail of
the interior to Hashem. Shlomo hoped to create through this Hashem's
permanent earthly abode. Although other factors interfered with Shlomo's
noble goal, his efforts were fruitful. Unlike the second Bais Hamikdash,
Shlomo's Bais Hamikdash merited Hashem's intense presence for four
hundred and ten years. The awesomeness of this experienc e is best
expressed through the Vilna Gaon's classic reflection. He once commented
that he could not even fathom the spiritual capacity of the ordinary Jew of
those times who merited to enter the Bais Hamikdash and stand in
Hashem's sacred presence.
This lesson in construction and devotion equally applies to our miniature
Bais Hamikdash, our synagogue. HaRav Chaim of Volozhin shared with
us the potential sanctity of our synagogue. He said, "Imagine what would
result in one devoted his thoughts when chopping the wood for the handle
of the ax used to chop the wood for the walls of a synagogue. If every
detail of construction was devoted towards housing Hashem's Divine
presence the following result would undoubtedly result. The sanctity
within its walls would be so intense that it would be virtually impossible to
engage there in idle chatter. Indeed, even our present day synagogue has
potential for true sanctity. When we construct a house for Hashem totally
for His sake it will also merit everlasting spiritual status. Although
majestic interior contributes to the beauty of our Bais Haknesses its
endurance and spiritual capacity does not stem from this. The singular
factor is our focus on the Divine Presence residing the rein. When we
construct our miniature Temple in this manner it will undoubtedly merit
intense degrees of sanctity and forever remain the home of Hashem.
Although such conditions are difficult to meet in full we can do our part to
preserve the sanctity of our sacred synagogues. Even in our times Hashem
desires to rest amongst His people. Our humble synagogue can facilitate
this goal when shown its proper respect. If we pause before entering this
sacred edifice and contemplate who rests within its walls we would merit
to sense, in some way, His Divine presence. If we could devote sincere
effort towards preserving our synagogue's sanctity we would be
overwhelmed by Hashem's intense presence sensed therein. May we soon
merit Hashem's full return to His people and may we be privileged to stand
in His sacred presence forever.
Haftorah, Copyright &copy 2013 by Rabbi Dovid Siegel and Torah.org. The author is Rosh Kollel of Kollel Toras Chaim of Kiryat Sefer, Israel.
Kollel Toras Chesed 3732 West Dempster Skokie, Illinois 600 76 Phone: 847-674-7959Fax: 847-674-4023 kollel@arlin.net Questions or comments?
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Rabbi Yaakov Asher Sinclair
Ohr Somayach – Torah Weekly
G-d commands Moshe to build a Mishkan (Sanctuary) and supplies him
with detailed instructions. The Children of Israel are asked to contribute
precious metals and stones, fabrics, skins, oil and spices. In the Mishkan's
outer courtyard are an altar for the burnt offerings and a laver for washing.
The Tent of Meeting is divided by a curtain into two chambers. The outer
chamber is accessible only to the kohanim, the descendants of Aharon.
This contains the table of showbreads, the menorah, and the golden altar
for incense. The innermost chamber, the Holy of Holies, may be entered
only by the kohen gadol, and only once a year, on Yom Kippur. Here is
the Ark that held the Ten Commandments inscribed on the two tablets of
stone that G-d gave to the Jewish nation on Mount Sinai. All of the
utensils and vessels, as well as the construction of the Mishkan, are
described in great detail.
The Lair Of The Lion
“They shall make a Sanctuary for Me.” (25:8)
A while ago, a well-know Israeli daily newspaper, not known for its
sympathy to religion, published a cartoon. In the cartoon, a man was
having a dream. Out of his head, came the statutory “think-bubbles”. The
bubbles got larger and larger until the following scene unraveled. The man
saw himself ‘Upstairs’ being questioned by angels with wings wearing
what looked suspiciously like black hats: “But why didn’t you keep
Shabbat?” they asked. “You knew there was a thing called Shabbat, didn’t
you? What about Kashrut? You knew there was something called
In the following bubble, the man wakes up in a cold sweat. Then a close-
up on his face. “Maybe they’re right!” He says.
Some time ago, a baby-food company recalled tens of thousands of its
products because some lunatic had put glass in some of them. Was there
anyone who thought “Well, the chances of getting the one with the glass is
so minuscule – thousands and thousands to one. I’ll just go right ahead and
feed this apple puree to my little six-month old baby?!”
If there were five hundred bottles of cola on a table in front of you and you
knew one of them was poisoned, would you drink any of them? Is there
anyone in the world who would pause, way up the statistical probabilities,
and say ‘Well, it’s such a small chance...”
When faced with even the smallest possibility of an enormous danger, not
even the longest odds in the world encourage us to take a chance.
So why isn’t everyone religious?
Why don’t people think like this: “What if those religious fanatics are
right? After all, even if they’re wrong, so at least I’ll have had a
wonderfully rich and fulfilling life, a faithful wife and a lovely family, etc.
etc. But what if they’re right and I’m wrong? I’m going to lose out on
something eternal. I’m going to get to the next world and I won’t have the
price of admission. I won’t be able to get even a cheap seat! I’ll be out in
the middle of a cosmic ocean with no direction home. Maybe they’re right!
Maybe it’s all true. Maybe there is a World-to-Come. Maybe I will have to
give an account in front of the real ‘Supreme Court’. So you know what?
I’ll be religious just in case! Better safe than sorry!”
Why don’t people think like this? What's the difference between a bottle of
baby food and Judaism?
In this week’s Torah portion, the Torah starts a lengthy description of the
Mishkan. The sheer volume of this account outweighs almost every
subject in the Torah. What was the Mishkan and why was it so special that
it merits such voluminous expanse in the Book where nothing is merely
descriptive and there is no place for sheer literary embellishment?
The word Mishkancomes from the word ‘to dwell’. It was the place that G-
d ‘dwelled’ in this lower world. But if G-d is the place of the world - the
world is within Him - how can a mere building house He whose glory fills
the universe? How can the Omnipresent have a ‘house’?
There is a difference between existence and presence. G-d exists equally
everywhere. He is no more in one place than another, because there can be
no place where He is not. He is the place of the world. Anywhere where
He is not cannot exist, by definition. Rather, the Mishkan and the Beit
Hamikdash (HolyTemple) were places where the presence of G-d was
palpable. You could see He was there.
Imagine sitting at a computer. You are typing away, lost in the great
American/British/Israeli novel. Unbeknownst to you, a lion enters your
room. It’s a very quiet, well-behaved lion, and you carry on typing in
blissful ignorance.
The existence of the lion is unaltered by whether you carry on typing or
you turn around and give yourself a bit of a surprise. However, the
presence of the lion has everything to do with whether you turn around or
The Mishkan allowed one to see and fear the lion, as it were. G-d’s
presence there was palpable.
The word for ‘sight’ in Hebrew is from the same root as ‘fear’ - yirah.
What is the connection between seeing and fearing? A person only fears
what he can see. Intellectual concepts don’t frighten us. The biggest proof
is that we don’t fear G-d. Even if we’re religious and we know that there is
a World-to-Come, a cosmic day of reckoning, even though we know these
things clearly, we can’t see them, and so we don’t really fear. Fear comes
only from seeing the Lion. Going into the Mishkan was like going into the
lion’s lair.
Rabbi Yaakov Solomon
Between the Fish and the Soup
Parshat Teruma 5773: D'var Torah
(G-d said to Moses) "They shall make for Me a Sanctuary, and I will
reside amongst them." (25:8)
Rashi explains that Tabernacle was to be a structure dedicated to G-d's
service. G-d's 'residing amongst them' means that the Tabernacle would
facilitate the Israelites experiencing a more intense level of G-d's Presence
- wherever they happened to be.
Whether the Tabernacle was a spiritual ideal for the Israelites or not is
debated by the commentators. At one extreme is the S'forno, who
postulates that the Sanctuary was only commanded because of Israel's
lapse into the idolatry of the Golden Calf - which prevented Israelites as
individuals being close enough to G-d to experience His Closeness as they
did at Mount Sinai. At the other pole is the Ramban, who regards the
construction of the Tabernacle as a means of making the Israelites re-
experience the Revelation at Mount Sinai: making it a permanent feature
of their lives. Indeed, he demonstrates the Tabernacle as both a whole and
through its individual parts as being symbolic of the Revelation at Mount
However all three commentators seem to agree on one important
implication. That is that the Israelites 'give to G-d' - with their energy,
time, and resources - to make for Him "a sanctuary". And He reciprocates
with "I will reside amongst them".
Taking this more broadly, it may be understood as follows. The Israelites
make an effort in building the Tabernacle for the service of G-d. And G-d
responds by making His intense presence felt at that place. He also
responds to their communications: as Solomon put it in respect to the
Temple "they shall pray and entreat you in this House, and in Heaven You
shall hear them" (Kings I 8:33-34).
26 >:\D nO·¯D – trcdk trcd ihc
In short, the people make an effort to 'go to G-d'. And He responds, by
'going to the people'.
Later on, near the end of the directives in building the Tabernacle, He
elaborates "I will reside amongst them", with "I shall rest My Presence
among the Israelites, and I will be their G-d. They shall know that it is I…
Who took them out of the land of Egypt… I am the Lord their G-d"
The Ohr Hachayim remarks on this elaboration which culminates with the
words: "I am the Lord their G-d."
'Perhaps [these words] cover a situation where He remains our G-d even
when His Presence is not among us'.
Thus G-d is always with His People even if He 'hides His face' (Deut.
31:18). He remains our King, but a king is not personal - he is a monarch,
a ruler, an entity who has the power of life and death over his subjects.
And G-d remains King even when His People conduct themselves in ways
where they would much prefer He is not looking too closely - Tabernacle /
Temple or no Tabernacle / Temple. And, following the implications of the
Ohr Hachayim, G-d remains with His People even when they have
forfeited the privilege of His closeness through the Tabernacle, and later
on, the Temple.
But when He is thus estranged from his People, G-d's relationship with
them is still there, but more distant and impersonal - to the extent of His
appearing not to relate to the suffering of the people. Nevertheless, He is
still in the background 'watching through the windows, peering through the
cracks' (Song of Songs 2:9). He sees you, you don't see Him. So He is
'their G-d' not 'our G-d'. He is our King, but not close enough to be our
Father. As expressed by the Prophet, Ezekiel: 'When I disperse the
Israelites, I will be to them as a "small sanctuary", wherever they reside'
(Ez. 11:16).
However, this relationship is a more difficult one, as it takes efforts not
only to build 'small sanctuaries' (understood by several commentators to
refer to the synagogue, then a very novel concept), but it also to come
away with the benefits, as explained below.
Many a person attends synagogue services regularly - weekdays very
much included, but will give you a puzzled look if you ask him or her
why. The response is: "well, it's what I always do. And I feel comfortable
in doing it. And it wouldn't be me not to go." And as likely as not, he or
she would change the subject, as you might well have brought up
something that would rather not be opened and talked about.
But in fact, such people are missing out on the essential relationship.
Ideally, a person makes the effort to attend services early in the morning -
full working day ahead notwithstanding. He has made the effort. In
response, he should feel plugged into the spiritual energy that comes with
contact with the Almighty - which came in greater force by his making
that effort.
That however, does not come naturally to all. It takes not only the effort in
attending, but the development of spiritual sensitivity to tune into G-d in
His 'small sanctuary'. And those connected with running of the small
sanctuary should also contribute to this spiritual development that the
synagogue stands for. They do this by enhancing the building's aesthetic
qualities, cleanliness, and high quality of inspiration and guidance from its
spiritual leaders. So that people do not leave the synagogue empty
handed… So that they have indeed taken something away with them.
Parashat Teruma (Haftara) 5773
The Word of G-d came to Solomon, saying: 'This Temple that you build -
if you… observe all My commandments… then I shall dwell among the
I sraelites, and I shall not forsake My people I srael.' (Kings I 6:11-13)
Guided Tour...
The setting of the Haftara is the Holy City of Jerusalem, The events
described take place in a rare era of peace and prosperity. That was
characteristic of all but the later years of King Solomon's reign (approx.
970-930 BCE) over the United Kingdom of Israel. During much of his
sovereignty, Jerusalem was not only the fully functioning capital city of
the Israelites, but it took on international dimensions as a center of both
Divine Worship and trade, open to all peoples and nations.
Solomon had the good fortune of ruling at a time that the great powers of
the Middle East had neither the will, nor the means to challenge his
international policies. Throughout the period that the Israelites were in the
Holy Land until the Destruction of the First Temple, they were living in an
area that functioned as a geographical buffer zone between two great
powers: Egypt to the west, and Mesopotamia to the East. Egypt had too
many domestic issues to challenge Solomon - though it recovered
sufficiently to launch a successful invasion after the kingdom was divided
during the reign of his son, Rehaboam. Mesopotamia, unlike Egypt, was a
region that oscillated between periods of stability and power, and
instability and disorder. The great power of Mesopotamia in the form of
the Assyrian Empire was not yet on the horizon during the reign of King
Thus there were few barriers to the growth and increasing importance of
the Israelite Kingdom - achieved by means of the political, marriage, and
trade alliances characteristic of his reign.
The common theme of the Parasha and the Haftara is the building of a
residence for G-d's most intense Divine Presence on Earth. As the
Israelites traveled through the wilderness, they made a home for Him in
the form of the moveable Tabernacle. And after many years of conquering
and settling Holy Land, they constructed a new permanent abode - the
Both structures served the same function, and were constructed on broadly
similar lines. However, the circumstances in which they were built were
different. All the materials used for building the Tabernacle were donated
generously and enthusiastically - to such an extent that Moses had to
intervene personally to limit the number of gifts. With the Temple,
however, everything was planned beforehand. Whole armies of porters and
craftsmen were engaged, together with tens of thousands of men Solomon
sent to Lebanon to cut the best quality durable softwoods available - to the
continued profit of Hiram, King of Tyre. The Hebrew word use for the
labor is 'mas' - a word used to describe the oppression of the Egyptian
bondage (Ex. 1:10). Whereas the Tabernacle was built from the free-will
offerings of the entire people, the Temple was a product of a huge labor
force specifically conscripted for that purpose.
In addition, the Tabernacle was built through the sole efforts of the
Israelites people, according to the architectural plans of the Almighty. The
Temple construction, in contrast, employed Phoenicians and other
employee foreign craftsmen who also supplied some of the construction
materials - turning them into an edifice designed by the wisdom of
Thus Solomon's statesmanship and his negotiations with Hiram King of
Tyre made the building of the First Temple possible. What was lacking
was the enthusiasm and devotion of his own people that was so apparent in
all stages of the Tabernacle's construction.
The Haftara concludes with G-d's promise that so long as G-d's laws are
kept, He will 'dwell among the Israelites' and 'not forsake… Israel'. That
parallels the verse in the Parasha: 'They shall make for me a sanctuary, that
I may dwell in their midst.' (Ex. 25:18) In comparison with the permanent
and magnificent Temple, the Tabernacle was a portable and relatively
simple structure. The purpose of the Haftara's conclusion is to warn King
Solomon not to overvalue the Temple's external beauty, and to remind him
that its continued existence depends solely on the fulfilling of G-d's
teachings. However fitting a beautiful building is for the service of the
Almighty, its significance depends solely in the spirituality and devotion it
engenders in those who worship within its walls. Buildings are a means to
an end: people are an end in themselves.
D'var Torah
The creation of the Universe - from distant galaxies, though plants and
animal life, and up unto Mankind, occupy only thirty-four verses in the
Torah. By contrast, the construction of the Tabernacle gets most of the last
half of the entire Book of Exodus, and the account of the building of the
Temple extends to four chapters of the Book of Kings. It is not as if the
Tabernacle had a lasting significance in the history of Israel or mankind: it
was a relatively fragile structure, made of beams, hangings, and moveable
objects. It was eventually replaced by the Temple in Jerusalem, and then,
when that was destroyed, by an initially less elaborate structure that was
ultimately replaced by the synagogue. What is special about both the
Tabernacle and the Temple that gives them so much space in the sacred
A two year old daughter comes home from kindergarten with two candies -
one for mother, and one for father. She presents her surprise gifts with
gleaming eyes and a deep loving smile…
Parents spend endless hours looking after their children - from before the
time they are born up to when they leave home and even afterwards. They
arrange their lives around their children, and seek to provide their needs
and wants (within reason) within a loving, caring, and positively nurturing
environment. They are - or should be - the prime concern of every parent.
Children however, tend to take things for granted. Gratitude and
reciprocating do not usually come naturally - youngsters have to be trained
to say 'please' and 'thank you'.
It can easily cost a quarter of million dollars or more to bring up a child
from birth to maturity. But mother and father will always remember the
things which cost nothing - or next to nothing: namely the two candies, the
gleaming eyes, and that deep, loving smile. For that was how they knew
that they had not just made a home for their daughter. Their daughter had
made a home for them - in her own heart.
The Psalmist writes that G-d gave the World to Man (Psalms 115:16). His
entire creation and work is for Mankind - for His children, especially those
that recognize Him. And Man's task is to work as a partner in the Creation,
working towards perfecting living on this planet according to the
principles revealed in the Torah.
The Torah states that the Israelites are G-d's children (Deut. 14:1). As the
parent, He takes His requirement to supply His children with their needs
for granted. But He does not take their thanks for granted. His great
happiness, as it were, comes from their intense joy from their giving Him a
home from their resources (like the candy), and within their hearts (like the
genuine smile). What is most important is that the present came out of real
love rather than a sense of obligation… That is what makes Him feel most
welcome. That is what makes the Creation worthwhile.
That home can only be a home for G-d if He feels the 'smile'. The 'smile'
He yearns for from His people takes the form of willing and enthusiastic
observance of His commandments, sensibly applied to working towards
>:\D nO·¯D – trcdk trcd ihc 27
perfecting living on this planet according to the principles He revealed in
the Torah.
Some material was based on Jacobs J: A Haftara Companion (1998), pp.
For those looking for more comprehensive material, questions and answers on the Parasha may be found at
http://www.shemayisrael.com/parsha/solomon/questions/ and on the material on the Haftara at http://www.shemayisrael.com/parsha/solomon/haftara/
. Written by Jacob Solomon. Tel 02 673 7998. E-mail: jacobsol@netvision.net.il for any points you wish to raise and/or to join those that receive this
Parasha sheet every week. Parashiot from the First, Second, and Third Series may be viewed on the Shema Yisrael web-site:
http://www.shemayisrael.com/parsha/solomon/archives/archives.htm Also by Jacob Solomon: From the Prophets on the Haftara Test Yourself -
Questions and Answers e-mail: jacobsol@netvision.net.il This article is provided as part of Shema Yisrael Torah Network Permission is granted to
redistribute electronically or on paper, provided that this notice is included intact. For information on subscriptions, archives, and other Shema Yisrael
Classes, send mail to parsha@shemayisrael.co.il http://www.shemayisrael.co.il Jerusalem, Israel 732-370-3344

Rabbi Doniel Staum
Stam Torah
Parshas Terumah 5773 - “Youthful Exuberance”
Rabbi Mendel Kaplan zt’l was a beloved educator, legendary for his
ability to forge deep connection with his student and developing a love and
passion for Torah and Avodas Hashem. However, when he first arrived in
a Yeshiva high school in Chicago from Europe in 1946 he looked a bit
My Rebbe, Rabbi Berel Wein, was one of the talmidim present when Rav
Mendel arrived that first day. Rav Mendel had little connection to the
mentality and outlook of American boys, aside from the fact that he hardly
spoke a word of English. The boys told their parents they didn’t think the
new Rebbe would last long.
Rav Mendel however, was not one to be daunted. The next day he walked
into shiur with a copy of that day’s Chicago Tribune tucked under his arm.
The class was stunned as he pulled it out and announced, “Today you will
teach me English and I am going to teach you how to read a newspaper.”
After the class recovered from disbelief, Rav Mendel began one of the
most unique discourses ever given in a Yeshiva. The boys read the stories
in English very slowly while Rav Mendel followed along with his index
finger on the place, just as he did when he learned Gemara. The boys who
knew some Yiddish struggled to translate what they were reading.
At the conclusion of each article Rav Mendel would interpret the events
from a Torah vantage point as only an erudite Torah scholar could. By the
end of the day Rav Mendel learned over fifty American idioms and a fair
amount of English grammar. At the same time his students learned
philosophic and Talmudic themes that underlie contemporary worldly
Every day after that, the pattern repeated itself. They taught their Rebbe
how to speak English and he taught them about life. By the end of the
semester he had learned English and his students learned that Gemara was
much more than an ancient text(1).
It is no easy task to construct the House of G-d. G-d instructed Moshe
about the minutest detail that was to be adhered to with utmost precision
when constructing the Mishkan. Each vessel had to be built with
painstaking exactness utilizing the proper materials.
The Aron(2) was to be placed in the Holy of Holies. It was to be
constructed out of Shittim wood, and placed into a larger box constructed
out of pure gold. Then, a small gold box was placed inside the wooden
box, completely covering the wooden box with gold. On top of the Aron
were the two Cherubim chiseled out of pure gold. “You shall make two
Keruvim out of gold- hammered out you shall make them- from both ends
of the cover(3).”
Ba’al Haturim notes that when the Torah writes the word Keruvim in this
verse it is without the letter vov so that the word can be read as ‘kiravim’
which, in Aramaic, means children. The Gemara(4) notes that the Keruvim
were actually golden images of two young children facing each other.
Ba’al Haturim makes reference to a verse in Hoshea(5) “Ki na’ar Yisroel
v’ohavo- For Yisroel is a youth and therefore I love them.”
Our society idolizes youth because our culture values vigor and aesthetic
beauty above all else. But we can hardly attribute such shallowness to G-d.
What does the prophet mean that G-d love us because of our youthfulness?
The Alter from Kelm, Rabbi Simcha Zissel Ziv zt’l, quotes Rabbi Yisroel
Salanter zt’l who explained that the greatness of youth lies in a child’s
willingness to learn. A child feels somewhat lost in the world around him
and is constantly trying to make sense out of everything going on. Any
parent with young children is familiar with the constant badgering of
curiosity, questions of When? Why? What? When? and How? Unlike most
adults who are constantly tired, a child generally will resist being put to
sleep at night(6). A child is filled with such curiosity and does not want to
stop exploring, probing, and learning.
G-d loves us, Klal Yisroel, because we possess that sense of wonderment
and excitement for Torah and mitzvos. To us the ancient texts remain
exciting and engaging, as we constantly seek new insights from the same
passages we have learned tens of times. Like children who can’t satiate
their sense of wonder, Klal Yisroel passionately studies Torah, pining for
yet another novel interpretation and insight(7).
Rabbi Shmuel Rozovsky zt’l adds that the Torah concludes its discussion
about the Aron by stating that G-d’s voice will resonate from atop the
Aron, as it were. “It is there that I will set my meetings with you from atop
the cover, from between the two Keruvim that are on the Ark of
Testimonial-tablets, everything that I shall command you to the B’nei
Yisroel(8).” Even when the Aron was erected in the Holy of Holies, the
voice of G-d would not resonate unless the Keruvim were atop the Aron.
The Keruvim, which represent the exuberance and the wide-eyed
excitement of youth, serve as the conduit for the Voice of G-d.
Douglas MacArthur quipped that, “Youth is not a time of life; it’s a state
of mind!” A person can be chronologically old and yet be ‘old’ in the
sense that he has lost his passion to grow and learn. On the other hand,
someone can be older and yet still possess the fountain of youth, because
they haven’t lost their ambition.
A number of years ago, Rabbi Yissocher Frand was one of the featured
lecturers at a Destiny Foundation event(9). Rabbi Frand began his speech
by expressing his admiration for Rabbi Wein. Even after decades of
accomplishments as a Rosh Yeshiva, Rabbi, author, and lecturer in
America, he not only continued teaching in Eretz Yisroel but also to
initiated new programs.
Indeed, that is the symbol of youth.
The holiday of Purim is a celebration of rebirth and renewed passion.
When Klal Yisroel recognized G-d’s Hand orchestrating the ‘coincidental’
events that led to Haman’s downfall, they were filled with a renewed vim
and vigor for Torah and Mitzvos.
Perhaps that is part of the reason why there was a national reacceptance of
the Torah at the time of the Purim miracle(10). The voice of G-d can be
heard only by those who contain the alacrity, excitement, and passion of
youth, as symbolized by the Keruvim. On Purim when Klal Yisroel
attained a renewal of those emotions on a national scale, it was inevitable
that they would also merit a renewed connection and dedication to Torah.
“I will set my meetings with you from between the two Keruvim”
“For Yisroel is a youth and therefore I love them”
1. Vintage Wein, by Dr. J. Weiss
2. Holy Ark
3. 25:18
4. Succah 5b
5. 11:1
6. Every parent of young children is more than familiar with bedtime
7. It never ceases to amaze me that there are constantly new seforim
published with novel insights. When Daf Yomi commences a new tractate,
a plethora of new commentaries and elucidations suddenly surface.
Similarly, before every holiday every single year tens of new books are
published with fresh insights and observations about the holiday.
8. 25:22
9. The Destiny Foundation was founded by Rabbi Berel Wein
10. see Gemarah Shabbos 86a
Parsha Growth Spurts
Parshas Terumah 5773
“…From every man whose heart motivates him you shall take My
portion.” (Shemos 25:2)
When Klal Yisrael left Egypt at the time of the exodus, they left b’rechush
gadol – with great wealth, which the Egyptians themselves gave them.
Subsequently, the bizas hayam- spoils of the sea which washed ashore
after K’rias Yam Suf were even greater than what they had taken from
The Chasam Sofer (Toras Moshe Hachadosh, parshas Bo) notes that there
was a significant difference in the attitude the Jews maintained when
collecting bizas Mitzrayim and bizas hayam. In Egypt Moshe implored the
nation to ask and accept the wealth of the Egyptians. At that time the Jews
were happy just to be leaving alive; they weren’t focused on wealth. At the
sea however, they were already removed from slave mentality and they
viewed the wealth differently. There the pasuk (15:22) says that Moshe
Rabbeinu had to goad them away from the spoils which were continuously
washing ashore.
Thus whereas the wealth of Egypt was granted to them despite the fact that
they weren’t searching for it, at the sea they were excited about the wealth
and scooped it up fervently.
Chasam Sofer continues that from the spoils of Egypt they constructed the
Mishkan, the Home of the Shechinah, while from the spoils of the sea they
contributed towards the construction of the golden calf. The pasuk in
Mishlei (20:21) states “If an inheritance is seized hastily in the beginning,
its end will not be blessed.” That is essentially what occurred at the edge
of the sea. They grabbed at the wealth with gusto and the end result of that
wealth was a disaster.
This idea is very relevant to us who live in the affluence of Western
Society. There is an insatiable desire to accumulate more and more –
pleasures, money, vacations, aesthetics, etc. Amassing more of the
enjoyments and pampering of life drain our ability to seek more from other
more important areas of life. Our motivation for our pursuits plays a vital
and clear role in the outcome of our efforts.
“And Shittim wood” (Shemos 25:5)
Rashi explains that the Shittim wood used for the Mishkan was originally
planted by Yaakov Avinu in Canaan. He knew that one day a Mishkan
would be constructed and he planted Shittim trees so his descendants
would have wood for its construction.
Rav Yosef Leib Nenedik zt’l hy’d, the Kletzker Mashgiach, noted that
Yaakov’s Canaanite neighbor who saw Yaakov Avinu planting those trees
probably assumed that Yaakov was doing the same thing he was doing, for
28 >:\D nO·¯D – trcdk trcd ihc
he too was plowing and planting. But in reality the neighbor was planting
so he would have fruits and firewood, while Yaakov Avinu was planting
wood for the Mishkan.
One’s intentions have a profound impact upon everything he does. One
person works so he has money while another person works so he could
provide a Torah education and lifestyle for his family. One person looks at
child-rearing as an obligation, while another sees it as a challenging
privilege. One’s attitude towards anything shapes how he approaches it.
“You shall make a Menorah of pure gold, hammered out… its knobs
and its flowers…” (Shemos 25:31)
The Gemara Menachos (21a) states that only if the Menorah is constructed
out of pure gold were flowers and knobs chiseled out of it. But if the
Menorah was constructed out of a different metal those ornaments were
not there.
Ta’am Voda’as explains that the Menorah symbolizes mitzvos and its light
symbolizes Torah. A person who is complete in his ways and meticulous
to adhere to the laws of the Torah, is symbolized by the Menorah
constructed out of pure gold. Such a person has a right to accept upon
himself stringencies and added customs, symbolized by the ornaments that
were chiseled out of the Menorah. But one whose conduct and mitzvah
observance leaves something to be desired, is analogous to a Menorah
constructed out of a different metal. Such a person should place his
primary focus on improving his mitzvah performance, and not busy
himself with added stringencies.
Rabbi Staum is the Rabbi of Kehillat New Hempstead and Guidance Counselor/Rebbe at
Yeshiva Bais Hachinuch & Ashar in Monsey, NY, and can be reached at
Rabbi’s Musings (& Amusings)
Erev Shabbos Kodesh Parshas Terumah
5 Adar 5773/February 15, 2013
Once upon a time, when you wanted to go somewhere, you needed to first
find out directions from someone who knew the way. You would try to
speak with someone who was proficient with roads, knew traffic patterns,
and which was the best route to take. Then, a few years ago, Mapquest,
followed by Google Maps, came into vogue which maps out the route for
you. All you had to do was print it out and take it along.
And then came the GPS! No longer does anyone need to know anything
more than the destination address. Just plug it in and voila! Follow the
little car on the screen. In the words of Rus, “Where you go I will go.” It
not only tells you how to get there, it tells you how long it should take,
how fast you are going, and what the approaching roads look like.
Much has been written about the GPS and the many lessons to be derived
from it. But I wish to speak about a seemingly insignificant accessory to
the GPS - the holder upon which the GPS is mounted. It may not seem to
be too important but I have learned that without it relying on the GPS can
be dangerous.
Recently, the holster which secured our GPS to our dashboard broke. Now
whenever I need to use our GPS it becomes an arduous process of trying to
balance it in a way that it won’t fall. But no matter how I position it,
invariably within a short time it falls off the dashboard, leaving me at a
total loss of where to go next. So here is this amazing piece of technology
replete with all the information I need to get to where I am going, and I
can’t access any of it, because it has fallen beyond my view.
In our advanced society we have been blessed with many resources to help
us learn Torah and do mitzvos with convenience and ease. The drawback
is that oftentimes when it’s too accessible and available we don’t feel a
pressing need to invest the effort to internalize that wisdom and
knowledge. After all, it’s right there whenever we need it. It’s like having
a GPS not fastened to the windshield. It will do nothing for you if you
don’t have it on display where you can constantly refer to it.
A navigation system can only guide you if you are watching its instruction
and following its lead. The captain who keeps his compass in his pocket
could have just left it at home.
The Torah is there for the taking. “It is not distant from you... For the
matter is very close to you, in your mouth and in your heart to do it.” But
only if you keep it in view.
In conclusion I should add that I don’t have the EZ pass stickers on my car
either. But that’s a whole separate issue.
Shabbat Shalom & Good Shabbos,
R’ Dani and Chani Staum
Rabbi Berel Wein
Credit Cards
One of the more fiendish banking creations of our modern society is that
of the credit card. This simple piece of plastic is the greatest source of
personal convenience and freedom of opportunity. It is also the source of
angst, bankruptcy and even greater forms of tragedy to families and
individuals. For credit cards like everything else in human existence come
at a cost. Some of it is immediate and most of it is long term.
It is not only that the monthly bill has to be paid – here in the Holy Land
the money is taken out of your bank account with no prior notice – but that
there are all sorts of other worries that come with a credit card – identity
theft, embarrassment when the card is not accepted for some unknown,
implausible and unjustified reason and the hassle involved if, God forbid,
one loses the card, to name a few problems that constantly hover in my
The freedom to go on a purchasing spree with a credit card, like all other
freedoms in life, can be dangerous. Many a family has been destroyed
financially and eventually domestically because of outrageous credit card
debt. And supplying a credit card to teen-age children can, if not
controlled and limited, be a prescription for personal and familial disaster.
So, like most advances and seeming conveniences in life and society,
credit cards are a double-edged sword depending on how it is wielded and
sheathed. The basic rule in life, that there is no free lunch, applies here
with a vengeance.
In Avot we are informed that this world is likened to a magnificent store,
full of all sorts of goods that one can purchase and enjoy. Not only is the
store open for business 24/7 but the storekeeper is willing to extend
generous terms of credit with no immediate cash required as a down
payment. But like the Israeli credit card system, payment is regularly
exacted and collected and usually without any prior notice to the credit
card holder/debtor.
We are always surprised and if not even blindsided by the events and
challenges that confront us constantly. And Avot makes this reality crystal
clear to us. We are all, so to speak, living on credit card debt. And in the
spiritual world, no less than in the physical and financial world, debt must
eventually be paid or at least somehow successfully negotiated and settled.
The current financial crisis in the Western world is a powerful illustration
of the inexorable iron rule of debt and credit.
The consequences of defaulting on spiritual debt to the Almighty are made
clear to the Jewish people in the Torah. All of Jewish history can be
summed up as simply the story of borrowing on credit and eventually
being forced to repay the debt incurred. Much of our spiritual debt, like
one’s personal financial debt, has been incurred by foolish and
unnecessary purchases.
Our spiritual credit card like our financial one has limits to the amount of
credit available. I imagine that there is much in Jewish history that we now
wish to return to the store. But the Torah store has a very limited return
policy based solely on true repentance and further probity in using our
moral and spiritual credit cards. And these terms certainly appear to limit
our purchasing freedoms in this life.
One of the great problems in current Jewish society is identity theft. Our
true self, our personal credit card, has either been stolen or lost due to
ignorance, alienation, apathy or terrible negligence. If asked to identify
one’s self successfully to our storekeeper many Jews are simply unable to
do so. Millions of Jews have been robbed of their heritage and history,
their value system and their true mission in life and the world. Their credit
card is no longer valid, having expired over a few generations of
assimilation and physical and spiritual annihilation.
There are many Jews today, especially here in Israel, who are in the
process of applying for a new credit card for themselves and their families.
We are all aware that such applications are not easily processed nor are
they always approved. Nevertheless the willingness of many Jews to
attempt to recapture their true identity, and the fact that Israel as a whole
has become more traditionally Jewish in outlook - and even in behavior, is
a most heartening development. It augurs well for our future here in our
land. Credit can be a blessing but it must be used wisely.
Shabat shalom, Berel Wein
U.S. Office 386 Route 59 Monsey, NY 10952 845-368-1425 | 800-499-WEIN (9346) Fax: 845-368-1528 Questions? info@jewishdestiny.com Israel
Office P.O. Box 23671 Jerusalem, Israel 91236 052-833-9560 Fax: 02-586-8536 Questions? scubac@netvision.net.il RabbiWein.com © 2009 The
Destiny Foundation

Rabbi Berel Wein
Weekly Parsha
Giving away some of one’s material wealth is never an easy thing. Our
instinct tells us that what is mine, earned through my efforts, should
always remain mine and in my possession. In the phrase of the rabbis, we
have “a jaundiced eye” towards others and we resent their imposing
themselves upon us for continued help and financial donations. We do not
even think ourselves to be selfish for thinking and behaving in this fashion.
After all there is a rabbinic opinion in Avot that states that what is mine is
mine and what is yours is yours and that this viewpoint is a balanced and
median one. Yet there is another opinion expressed in that very same
mishna in Avot that declares such an attitude regarding one’s possessions
to be the trait of the wicked people from the locality of Sodom. This is in
line with the Torah’s early description of human nature as “being evil from
its earliest youth.”
The Torah recognizes human nature for what it is. Man is born as a wild
donkey, selfish, screaming, kicking and grasping. The Torah came to
adjust human nature to seek higher goals and greater moral and social
stature. We cannot completely alter human nature. But we can refine it and
direct it towards noble goals and higher purposes.
The Torah recognizes that what is mine is mine and what is yours is yours
and yet it points out that this seemingly logical balanced view eventually
leads down the slippery slope of Sodomite behavior. One must therefore
train one’s self in the art of giving and donating one’s wealth to others, be
>:\D nO·¯D – trcdk trcd ihc 29
they individuals in need or worthy institutions and causes such as the
I unfortunately recently spent over a month confined to a sickbed until the
infection that I had came under control and I was able to start walking
again. The problem was that during that month of complete physical
inactivity my back and leg muscles atrophied, so that even though I wished
to walk upright and normally again I could not do so without great pain
and difficulty. Eventually, I slowly returned to my normal health and my
muscles again became reacquainted with bearing my not inconsiderable
This physical rule applies to charitable giving as well. One who does not
give charity regularly will find that the generous hand muscles that sign
the check and open the wallet have atrophied so that even when one
wishes to give, it is painful and sometimes even impossible to do so.
Therefore the Torah places great emphasis in this week’s parsha upon the
ability to give freely and voluntarily to the great cause – the holy
It almost becomes the primary commandment in the Torah, in terms of the
attention devoted to it in the holy text itself. This is because most of the
other commandments of the Torah require discipline and control, not to
give into our base natures, but here the Torah demands that we completely
overcome our natural state of what is mine is mine and what is yours is
Here we are required not to merely channel or control our nature but rather
to change it completely. And that requires constant effort, training and
habitual behavior.
Shabat shalom, Rabbi Berel Wein
U.S. Office 386 Route 59 Monsey, NY 10952 845-368-1425 | 800-499-WEIN (9346) Fax: 845-368-1528 Questions? info@jewishdestiny.com Israel
Office P.O. Box 23671 Jerusalem, Israel 91236 052-833-9560 Fax: 02-586-8536 Questions? scubac@netvision.net.il RabbiWein.com © 2009 The
Destiny Foundation

Rabbi Dr. Tzvi Hersh Weinreb-OU
Person in the Parsha
Parshas Terumah: "Charity"
Scholars have long disagreed about what distinguishes human beings from
the rest of the animal world. Some have argued that it is man's intelligence
and use of language that distinguishes him; hence the term Homo Sapiens.
Others have maintained that it is the fact that he uses tools that makes man
distinct from other living creatures; hence, the term Homo Faber. There
have even been those who have put forward the opinion that man alone of
all the rest of the animal species engages in play; hence, the term Homo
This disagreement is the basis for my personal practice of stimulating
debate by asking groups with whom I interact the question, "What
distinguishes the Jewish people? What makes us unique and different from
other human groups?"
Here too a number of opinions abound. There are those who will
instinctively respond, "We are the people of the Book." By this many
mean that we are the people who follow the ultimate book, the Bible.
Others simply mean that we are a bookish people, tending to be
intellectually oriented, and certainly read a lot more than most other
Another response that I have heard when I pose the question about what
makes the Jewish people distinct, is that we alone among other faith
communities think of ourselves as a family, as a mishpacha. I always find
this response especially gratifying, because it recognizes a feature of our
people of which we can all be proud.
There is another answer which I sometimes encounter, and that is that the
Jewish people are a giving people, that it is our generosity that
distinguishes us from others, that charity or tzedakah is our highest value.
This point of view is emphatically expressed, with a degree of irony, in a
passage in the Tractate Shekalim of the Jerusalem Talmud which reads:
"Rabbi Abba ben Acha said: One can never fully understand the character
of this nation. When they are asked to contribute to the Golden Calf, they
give. When they are asked to contribute to the Holy Tabernacle, they
This can be seen as an indication of indiscriminate giving, and the Talmud
emphasizes that it reflects a deeper tendency to be responsive to all
appeals for help, often without paying sufficient attention to the merits of
the cause.
The first indication of the charitable instincts of our people is to be found
in this week's Torah portion, Terumah (Exodus 25:1-27:19). In the very
first verses of this Parsha, the Almighty instructs Moses to gather gifts
from the people in order to construct the sanctuary in which He is to dwell.
He goes so far as to itemize the materials which will be necessary. The list
begins with gold and silver and extends to spices and incense and precious
The people respond willingly and generously, and establish a precedent of
charitable giving for all future Jewish generations. Indeed, the Talmud in
the passage just referenced, insists that the gifts of gold donated to the
Holy Tabernacle were intended to atone for the gifts of gold which were
molten into what became the Golden Calf.
This year, and in most calendar years, the Torah portion of Terumah is
read about a week prior to the holiday of Purim. This holiday too is all
about giving. The very celebration of this joyous day consists, as we will
read in the book of Esther, of "sending gifts to one another and presents to
the poor." (Esther 9:22)
There is an interesting contrast, however, between the practice of giving
on the holiday of Purim and the proper strategy for giving during the rest
of the year. On Purim we must not prioritize our gifts. We give to
"whomever extends his hand". We are permitted to be indiscriminate in
our giving, without judging as to who is more needy and who is less so.
But when it comes to the distribution of charity during the rest of the year
we are instructed to be far more careful about our practices of giving. It
might indeed be our ethnic tendency, as the passage in the Jerusalem
Talmud above suggests, to give to idolatrous causes as freely as we give to
sacred ones. But we must realize that that tendency is typically based on
impulse, on the emotions of the moment, whereas proper charitable giving
requires planning and intelligent thought.
These days there are numerous causes which beg for our resources. I
hasten to add that few, if any, of them are "idolatrous". Quite the contrary,
most of them are legitimate and even important. But charitable giving,
according to our rabbis, requires triage; that is, careful determination of
which causes have priority. The rabbis even have set down rules for how
to make that determination.
The importance of realizing that not all charitable causes are of equal merit
is well illustrated by a homiletic insight which I found in a book written by
my respected colleague, Rabbi Daniel Feldman. The book is entitled
Divine Footsteps: Chesed and the Jewish Soul. I quote:
"The Vilna Gaon... homiletically understood the verse, 'thou shall not…
close your hand against your destitute brother' (Deuteronomy 15:7), as an
instruction about the evaluative responsibility contained within the
tzedakah imperative. When our hand is closed in a fist, all fingers appear
to be the same size. However, when the hand is open, it becomes clear that
the fingers are all of different length... Appropriate giving will always
require a judgment call..."
We are often moved by appeals which tug at our heartstrings and which
prompt us to what some have called "emotional giving". But all of us, no
matter how wealthy we are as individuals, and no matter how strong are
our finances as organizations, have limited resources. We must attempt,
although we can never be absolutely certain that our judgments are correct,
to discern the priorities of the moment, and to distinguish between urgent
overriding needs and causes which, despite their may great merit, must be
lower down on our list of priorities, and indeed which may, because of the
paucity of our resources, have to be eliminated from that list entirely.
These are difficult decisions, no doubt, but necessary ones. Proper charity
must be given with an open hand and with an open heart. But it must also
be given with an open mind.
Rabbi Pinchas Winston
Parshas Terumah: To Dwell Within You
Let them make Me a sanctuary, so I can dwell amongst them . . . (Shemos
The Hebrew term Shechinah refers to the Divine Presence that “dwells”
amongst man. God is everywhere at all times. However, in some places,
and at some times, He makes His Presence more palpable than it is in other
places, and at other times.
This sounds like a simple thing. Between human beings it is - just like
talking face to face is a relatively simple task. So, when we hear that God
spoke with Moshe Rabbeinu, we figure, what’s the big deal? “If God
wants to talk to me face to face,” some people say, “all He has to do is call
me. I’m all ears.”
Perhaps. But, it is not only our ears that God has given us in order to talk
to us. Prophecy is not simply a matter of God deciding to talk to man, who
is always ready to hear. Just the opposite! God hasn’t stopped talking to
man ever since He started. Man, in spite of his ears, seems to have lost the
ability to hear Him.
Hence, the Talmud says:
Eliyahu said to me: “My son, what sound did you hear in this ruin?” I
answered: “I heard a Divine Voice, cooing like a dove, and saying, ‘Woe
to the children, on account of whose sins I destroyed My house, and burnt
My temple, and exiled them among the nations of the world!’ ”
He said to me: “By your life and by your head! Not only now is it
exclaimed, but three times a each day it is exclaimed!” (Brochos 3a)
Rebi Yehoshua ben Levi said: “Every day a Heavenly Voice emanates
from Mount Chorev, announcing: ‘Woe to them, the people, because of the
affront to the Torah.’ ” (Pirkei Avos 6:2)
What? You can’t hear it? Neither can I, nor billions of other people for
that matter. What’s that? You think that we can’t hear the voice because
there really isn’t one, and that the above rabbis were only speaking
figuratively? Does that really make a difference? After all, do you really
think that prophecy took advantage of vocal cords and ear drums?
30 >:\D nO·¯D – trcdk trcd ihc
It’s God’s message that counts, and if He thinks you’re ready to hear it,
then He will make you know it—in your head. You will see it with your
mind’s eye, and hear it with your mind’s ear. People just inches away
don’t have to, and probably won’t be able to, see, or hear it.
So, we’ve been asking the wrong question all along. We’ve been asking,
“Why doesn’t God speak to us?” when the real question is, “Why don’t we
listen to God?” Life, from start to finish, is one long, ongoing dialogue
with our Creator, ready to become two-sided the moment we’re prepared
to jump into it and listen.
How do we do this? The answer is in this week’s parshah, because
becoming a God-listener is the same thing as becoming that which God
can dwell within. And the secret to becoming that, the parshah says, is
giving terumas haleiv—gifts of the heart.
Obviously a gift of the heart means giving it whole-heartedly, out of a love
for the recipient. However, literally, it means the gift itself should be the
heart, and least spiritually-speaking, as it says:
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O
God, You will not despise. (Tehillim 51:17)
Practically-speaking, what does this mean? It means that there are two
ways to give something, the first, more common way being to simply
relinquish ownership of something to someone else. Once done, the
relationship between the giver and the gift ends, and each go their own
separate ways.
The second way of giving is to use the gift as a means to give a part of
oneself to another. After the giving is complete, the previous owner and
the gift do not part ways, but rather, it is the fact that they remain attached
that makes the gift so valuable to its recipient. It is not the object that
counts, but what it represents that makes it so valuable to all parties
Thus, the Talmud states in a few places that:
Whether you give a lot or a little, what matters is that your heart is directed
towards Heaven. (Menachos 110a)
When it comes to roommates, it is possible for odd couples to live
together. However, when it comes to a person’s heart, the only odd couple,
so-to-speak, is God and the yetzer hara, and to the extent that the yetzer
hara fills a person’s heart is to the extent that God will not; God only
dwells in a person’s heart by personal invitation, that is, as a function of a
person’s free will.
There is a big difference between God “being” with a person, and God
dwelling within a person. God can help or manipulate anyone, good or
bad, in a number of ways. He can get into a person’s head, or the heads of
those around him, or just create circumstance that force a person down a
particular path, to his good or to his detriment. A person does not have to
be righteous at all for that to happen.
But for God to dwell within someone, the person has to be devoted to God.
He may still have a yetzer hara, but it is more like an unwanted guest than
a time-sharing partner. He is not easily fooled by the yetzer hara, and the
moment he senses its presence, he does whatever he can to manage it, to
harness it for good, rather than for sin. In such a person, God can and will
dwell, even in these non-prophecy days.
This is a deeper understanding of what Dovid HaMelech meant when he
One thing I ask of God, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of
God all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of God and to seek
Him in his Temple. (Tehillim 27:4)
On a simple level, Dovid HaMelech is just dreaming of being free of all
worldly concerns, so that he can focus all of his attention on God and work
on his relationship with Him. On a deeper level, he is talking about turning
himself into a dwelling place of God, for there is no better way to dwell in
the House of God than to actually become one.
It’s extremely hard to do with a yetzer hara, especially if a person isn’t
even trying to reign it in. Then again, a person with such a frame of mind
probably has no understanding of what he is missing by not working to
spiritually perfect himself. On the contrary, he is probably quite content
giving in to his yetzer hara, “within reason.”
What about the person who is struggling with his yetzer hara, but wants to
become a dwelling place for God? The Talmud already answered that
question: If the realization leads him to ask God for help against his yetzer
hara, then he is well on his way to becoming a dwelling place for the
Divine Presence (Kiddushin 30b).
As God has said:
I created the yetzer hara, and I created Torah as its spice. (Kiddushin 30b)
With Torah, a person can outsmart his yetzer hara, even win it over to the
side of holiness. Just to be moving in this direction is already a personal
invitation to God to dwell within a person, and as the Talmud says:
One who comes to sanctify himself a little, they sanctify him a lot.
(Shabbos 104b)
Perceptions, Copyright &copy 2013 by Rabbi Pinchas Winston and Torah.org. Questions or comments? Email feedback@torah.org. Join the Jewish
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Aish.Com - Rabbi Ken Spiro
Jewish History Crash Course
Crash Course in Jewish History Part 35 - Destruction of the Temple
We left off the story in the last installment with Vespasian being made
Caesar and returning to Rome. His son Titus now takes over the siege of
Titus attacks just after Passover in the year 70 CE, battering the city with
his catapults which propel a rain of stone, iron and fire onto the
population. By then, the city defenders are weakened from hunger and
perhaps even more so from internal strife. Even so, it takes Titus two
months of intense fighting before he is able to breach the walls of the city.
The date for this event is 17th of the Hebrew month of Tammuz. To this
day, religious Jews fast on the 17th of Tammuz in commemoration of this
Roman historian, Deo Cassius, reports:
"Though a breach was made in the wall by means of engines, nevertheless
the capture of the place did not immediately follow even then. On the
contrary, the defenders killed great numbers [of Romans] who tried to
crowd through the opening and they also set fire to some of the buildings
nearby, hoping thus to check the further progress of the Romans.
Nevertheless, the soldiers, because of their superstition, did not
immediately rush in but at last, under compulsion from Titus, they made
their way inside. Then the Jews defended themselves much more
vigorously than before, as if they had discovered a piece of rare good
fortune in being able to fight near the Beis HaMikdash and fall in its
A horrific slaughter ensues with the Romans taking the city, literally
house-by-house. One of the excavations that testifies to the destruction is
the famous "Burnt House" which is open to visitors in Old City Jerusalem
today. Here the skeletal remains of a woman's arm were found where she
died on the doorstep of her house, a spear still in her death grip.
It takes him three weeks, but Titus slowly works his way to the Beis
HaMikdash Mount. Now a duel to the death ensues, and finally, four
months after the Romans had begun this attack Titus orders the Second
Beis HaMikdash razed to the ground. The day is the 9th of Av, the very
same day on which the First Beis HaMikdash was destroyed.
Deo Cassius again:
"The populace was stationed below in the court and the elders on the steps
and the priests in the Sanctuary itself. And though they were but a handful
fighting against a far superior force, they were not conquered until part of
the Beis HaMikdash was set on fire. Then they met their death willingly,
some throwing themselves on the swords of the Romans, some slaying one
another, others taking their own lives and still others leaping into the
flames. And it seemed to everybody and especially to them that so far
from being destruction, it was victory and salvation and happiness to them
that they perished along with the Beis HaMikdash."
All of the neighboring countryside is denuded of whatever trees remained
from the siege to create the giant bonfire to burn the buildings of the Beis
HaMikdash to the ground. The intense heat from the fire causes the
moisture in the limestone to expand and it explodes like popcorn,
producing a chain reaction of destruction. In a day's time, the magnificent
Beis HaMikdash is nothing but rubble.
History As Destiny
The destruction of the Second Beis HaMikdash is one of the most
important events in the history of the Jewish people, and certainly one of
the most depressing.
It is a sign that HaShem has withdrawn from (though certainly not
abandoned) the Jews. Although the Jews will survive -- in accordance with
the promise that they will be an "eternal nation" - the special relationship
with HaShem they enjoyed while the Beis HaMikdash stood is gone.
Sadly, this period of time, perhaps more than any other reflects the maxim
that Jewish past is Jewish future, that Jewish history is Jewish destiny.
There's no period of time that more closely reflects what is going on today
in Israel and among the Jewish people worldwide. (See Part 33). We are
still living in the consequences of the destruction of the Second Beis
HaMikdash, spiritually and physically. And the same problems we had
then are the same problems we have now.
States the Talmud (in Yomah): "Why was the Second Beis HaMikdash
destroyed? Because of Sinas Chinam, senseless hatred of one Jew for
What is the antidote to this problem which is so rampant in the Jewish
world today? The answer is Ahavas Chinam, the Jews have to learn to love
their fellow Jews.
There's no hope for the Jewish people until all learn how to communicate
with each other, and respect each other, regardless of differences.
HaShem has no patience for Jews fighting each other. It's extremely
important to study this period of time carefully because there are many
valuable lessons that we can learn about the pitfalls that need to be
"Judea Captured"
Before setting fire to the Beis HaMikdash, the Romans removed anything
of value. Then they harnessed a group of Jewish slaves to take these
>:\D nO·¯D – trcdk trcd ihc 31
priceless artifacts to Rome. Their arrival in Rome is memorialized in
engravings of the Arch of Titus, still standing there today near the Forum.
It was the tradition in the Roman Jewish community that Jews would never
walk under that arch. On the night of May 14, 1948, when Israel was
declared a state, the Jews of Rome had a triumphant parade and marched
under the arch. Their message: "Rome is gone, we're still around. Victory
is ours."
But at the time it was a horrible disaster. Hundreds of thousands of people
died, many more were enslaved. There were so many Jews flooding the
slave market after the Great Revolt that you could buy a Jewish slave for
less than the price of a horse. Israel was in despair.
Jerusalem has been conquered, the Beis HaMikdash has been destroyed,
but it was not over yet.
A group of about 1,000 Zealots escaped and made their way into the desert
where they holed up in the great fortress on top of a mountain plateau
called Masada.
Masada was built by Herod, the Great, as a place of refuge for him. As
such it was practically self-sufficient. With its own water collection system
and storage houses that could feed an army for years. What's more, the
fortress was practically inaccessible from below and easy to defend.
Indeed, the Zealots manage to survive there for three years.
If you go visit the ruins of Masada, you will see the remains of the fortress
as well as the ramp that the Romans built, using Jewish slave labor, in
order to capture Masada.
Josephus reports on the capture of Masada in 73 CE and the narrative
resembles in some way the capture of Gamla. Here, too, the Zealots killed
their own families, then each other until finally, there was only one man
left, and he committed suicide.
For the modern state of Israel, Masada is a symbol of Jews who chose to
die as free men rather than be enslaved or executed by the Romans, and is
held up as a Zionist ideal. Up until recently, Israeli soldiers would go up to
Masada to be sworn in, and call out for the mountain to hear and echo
back: "Masada will never fall again!" (We will discuss this in greater detail
in future installments on modern Zionist history.)
Back in 73 CE when Masada, the last Jewish stronghold, fell, the Romans
could finally declare an end to the revolt.
Congratulating themselves on asserting the Roman might against the
defiant Jews, the Romans also minted coins depicting a weeping woman
and proclaiming Judea Capta, "Judea Captured."
But was it?
Jewish Survival
The land was no longer under Jewish control, but it had not been since the
days of Chashmoneans anyway. True, the Beis HaMikdash, the center of
Jewish worship and the symbol of Judaism's special connection to the one
G-d, was gone. But Judaism - along with all its unique value system -- was
alive and well.
Thanks to the foresight of Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai, the center of
Torah learning at Yavneh thrived. It was here that the rabbis put together
the legal/spiritual infrastructure which would allow the Jewish people to
survive without many of the normative institutions which were the
backbone of Judaism: Beis HaMikdash and its service, the High
Priesthood, the monarchy. It was here that the rabbis institutionalized
public prayer as a replacement for the Beis HaMikdash service and made
the synagogue the center of Jewish communal life.
But most importantly, it was here that the rabbis devised a way of making
sure that Judaism lived on in every Jewish home. In the coming years,
when the Jews would be dispersed the world over - doomed for two
thousand years to have no common land, no centralized leadership, and
aside from Hebrew scriptures, no common language - they would carry
with them their Judaism undiminished.
But that was yet to come.
Next: Timeline
Author Biography: Rabbi Ken Spiro is originally from New Rochelle,NY. He graduated from Vasser College with a BA in
Russian Language and Literature and did graduate studies at the Pushkin Institute in Moscow. He has Rabbinical
ordination from Yeshiva Aish HaTorah in Jerusalem and a Masters Degree in History from The Vermont College of Norwich
University. Rabbi Spiro is also a licensed tour guide by the Israel Ministry of Tourism. He lives in Jerusalem with his wife
and five children where he works as a senior lecturer and researcher on Aish HaTorah outreach programs. This article can
also be read at: http://www.aish.com/literacy/jewishhistory/Crash_Course_in_Jewish_History_Part_35_-
_Destruction_of_the_Temple.asp Copyright © 2001 Aish.com - http://www.aish.com

Aish.Com - Rabbi Noach Weinberg ZT”L
48 Ways to Wisdom
Way #19 Minimize Sleep
You go to wake up your roommate at 7 a.m. He grunts, "Thanks, I'm up."
You return five minutes later to find him sound asleep. You shake him
again, "Get up already!" Half-opening his eyes, he says, "Yah, yah," and
drops right back to sleep.
Has this ever happened to you? Unfortunately, it's a fairly accurate
description of the way most of us lead our lives. We may say, "I can't
afford to waste time anymore. This is it! I'm going to start applying
myself." An hour later you've forgotten the whole thing. You went back to
"Bi-miut Shayna" literally means "minimizing sleep." The desire for living
is the struggle against sleep. On a deeper level, it's about waking up to life.
Staying alert is a constant struggle in life. We have insights. We make
resolutions. But will we stay awake for more than a moment?
The Purpose Of Sleep
Of course, sleep has a positive aspect in that our bodies need it to function.
Sleep gives you a chance to become re-energized. It unravels tension and
allows you to heal, both physically and emotionally.
Never treat sleep as an end unto itself. Don't look at sleep as the reward for
a hard day's work. Look at sleep as a way to recharge your batteries for a
new day of growth.
Don't sleep longer than necessary, and don't "love sleep." If you love
sleep, you'll yearn to get more of it and wind up sleeping your life away.
The best way to take advantage of sleep's recuperative powers is by
napping. When you find yourself stymied, take a 20-minute nap. Any
longer than that and it's a struggle to regain momentum.
Find the right balance. In general, sleep as little as necessary. Fight the
desire for comfort. Minimize sleep -- and maximize awareness.
The Thrill Of Living
Sleep can be a mirage. The proof is that when you're full of excitement
and energy, you simply can't sleep. Did you ever wake up at 4 a.m. to
climb a mountain before sunrise? You're not sleepy. You're awake and
bubbling with excitement, freshness, zing!
If life is a bore, you feel more like sleeping. Someone who loves life
doesn't want to go to sleep at night. He just keeps on going until he falls
asleep -- then jumps out of bed the next morning like a lion.
Children are a perfect example. From the moment a baby opens his eyes,
he's up like a shot. "Another day ... new adventures ... so much to discover
... so much to experience ... waaaah!!!! Take me out of my crib!"
And did ever try putting a baby to sleep? No way! He's afraid of missing
all the excitement.
To capture this zest for living, you need to focus on the deeper purpose
and meaning of life. Look for fascinating, fulfilling activities. Learn how
to create joy in living, instead of just "waiting for it to happen." You are
excited. You are looking forward to a new day. You are fully alert.
Why do adults often crave sleep? Responsibilities weigh us down. We
want to crawl into bed and hide under the sheets just to get a breather.
Underneath it all, do you think it is good to be alive? Or are you trying to
escape from the struggle of life? If being alive is good, then sleep is an
How Much Sleep Do You Need?
Fit sleep into your schedule, don't schedule your day around sleep. Work
out logically how much sleep you need to function well. Are you getting
more than you need? Keep a record of your sleep patterns for one month,
and calculate the average. Unless you make a conscious decision of how
much you need, you're just drowsing along.
Drowsiness is not being alive. It robs you of existence.
The Rambam writes that eight hours sleep is maximum, unless you are
sick. If you train yourself to sleep less, so much the better. You'll have
more conscious time to accomplish, learn, and become wiser. The Vilna
Gaon, the greatest rabbi of the last 500 years, would sleep only four 30-
minute intervals each day -- a total of two hours of sleep each 24-hour
Don't be afraid of sleeping "less than average." A person can actually be in
peak physical condition with a minimum amount of sleep. Military recruits
are sometimes kept on a regimen of two or three hours of sleep per night.
You don't hear them say, "I'm getting delirious ... My bones are dissolving
... I'm going crazy!" And when they finish boot camp, they're in tip-top
physical shape!
Techniques For Less Sleep
There are various techniques to keep yourself awake. Stand instead of sit,
or put your feet in cold water or on the cold floor. My father would only
allow himself to sleep in a bed one night a week, on Friday night.
In the times of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, the High Priest stayed
awake the entire night of Yom Kippur by doing push-ups. Exercise of any
sort will keep your body and mind energized.
Push yourself to get less sleep. Don't be afraid. You won't die. What's the
worst that can happen? You'll get tired and fall asleep!
Early in the morning try coaxing your body out of bed: "C'mon. Let's get
up! Otherwise we're going to miss today's awesome experience of [fill in
the blank]."
A cozy body has difficulty getting up in the morning. Just throwing off the
covers can rouse you out of bed. Some people even sleep on the floor,
because a person doesn't cling to the hard floor the way he clings to a
cushy bed.
Each morning when you wake up, rethink, revise and reevaluate what
happened yesterday. Learn from your mistakes. Anticipate a fresh start.
You'll be more excited to be awake.
The Second Wind
Were you ever involved in an absorbing project and stayed up all night?
Though you began to feel tired, you forced yourself to go on. Eventually
you got a second wind, a point when your mind became clear, refreshed
and alert again.
The second wind only comes when we are deeply involved in a activity.
Those who are bored just fall asleep...
To harness the power of "second wind," learn how to throw yourself into
things. When I was a student, we would challenge each other to stay up all
32 >:\D nO·¯D – trcdk trcd ihc
Thursday night studying. Try picking such an activity for yourself. It's a
proving ground, a test area, for how to struggle against sleep.
Avoid The "Zombie Life"
The struggle against drowsiness and fatigue is the struggle for meaning.
You can go through an entire lifetime and at the same time be unconscious
to much of the world around you. Don't walk, talk, or eat like a semi-
conscious person. Stay alert.
We use just a fraction of our potential. When we are excited about a
project, our creative juices and mental faculties are awake. Fight
drowsiness. Pay attention to what you're doing at all times.
Watch out for zombie-ism. Don't walk around with "nothing" going though
your head. Sometimes you are waiting in line at the supermarket and your
head is completely dead, without a thought in your mind. Shake your head
to stay awake. Pump yourself: What am I doing? Where am I going? And
why am I going there?
In Judaism, our basic drive is to gain clarity. "Wake up" to the purpose of
your life. Let go of illusions about fame, romance, etc. Don't get the shock
of a cold bath when you graduate college and find out that not everyone
automatically becomes a stock-optioned executive.
You want greatness. You want to be good. You want to help humanity.
What are you going to do about it? Tackle the big issues and get real
answers. Ask yourself: "What am I living for, and what do I want to do
with the rest of my life?"
Don't just think about tomorrow or next year, but do a long-range forecast:
What do I want inscribed on my tombstone? Will it say that I graduated
college, made a million dollars, and owned a large house? Or will it say
that I helped and cared for humanity?
Figure out the pleasure of being alive. If your ideals are high and far-
reaching, you're not going to want to sleep away your life. You don't want
to quit this game of living. You want to be great. Recognize that. Sure,
living is a struggle. But boy, is it exciting!
You Can Change
We all have moments of awareness, an immediate recognition of "a-
haaaaa." You hear something that makes sense. You have a first crack of
light -- an insight, a truth, a moment of recognition that life can be
beautiful. This is the pleasure of learning wisdom. The light bulb goes on,
and as far as that idea is concerned, you've been asleep until now. It's an
exhilarating sensation of waking up.
We can have such moments of clarity ... and then fall asleep again. You
may finish reading this and say, "Yes, that's a good point. I should think
this through and make a plan. After all, greater awareness in life is
something I'm interested in."
These thoughts are flittering through your mind. But as soon as you close
the book, it's back to sleep.
When you have an insight, capture it. Like the time you were driving a car
and felt drowsy. You fell asleep for a moment and veered off the road.
You caught yourself and for that moment you were wide awake. You
remember that adrenalin shock. You are not going to let it happen again.
When you gain a moment of clarity, immediately make a decision. Decide
that you can change, that things can be different. "This is important and I
am going to think more about this."
The Jewish term for spiritual awakening is "teshuva," which means to
straighten out. Look at the damage your mistakes have caused, and
consider how you've lost out as a result.
No matter how old you are, you can change. You can find truth and act on
it at any age.
Recognize that waking up is your battle. Now go out there and win.
Why Is "Minimizing Sleep" ("Waking Up") An Ingredient In
• The struggle of life is the struggle to be awake.
• Decide that life is good. Otherwise you'll go to sleep.
• Get the maximum out of your body. But don't torture it either!
• Don't miss out on life's opportunities and pleasures by oversleeping.
• Watch out for "zombie-ism." Don't walk around devoid of thoughts in
your head.
• Too much sleep dulls the mind.
• Tiredness is a habit. Break it.
• Unless we take practical steps to stay awake, sleep is going to overcome
• Whenever you learn something new, wake up to the recognition that
you were partially asleep before.
• If you learn how to live with joy, sleep vanishes.
• In the "final sleep," what do you want inscribed?
Author Biography: Rabbi Noach Weinberg is the dean and founder of Aish HaTorah International. Over the last 40 years, his visionary educational programs have
brought hundreds of thousands of Jews closer to their heritage. Copyright © 2002 Aish.com - "The 48 Ways to Wisdom" is culled from the Talmud (Pirkei Avos
6:6), which states that "the crown of Torah is acquired by 48 Ways." Each of these is a special tool to help us sharpen our personal skills and get the
most out of life. Rabbi Noach Weinberg is the Dean and Founder of Aish HaTorah. His popular cassette series on the "48 Ways" has sold thousands

The following columns on last week’s parsha were received after publication
1. Rabbi Boruch Sholem Abish Dvar- Beshalach page 32
2. Chicago Kollel Parsha Encounters page 33
3. Chicago Kollel Halacha Encounters page 33
4. Rabbi Mordecai Kamenetzky Parsha Parables page 34
5. Rabbi Label Lam Dvar Torah page 34
6. Rabbi Ben-Zion Rand Likutei Peshatim page 34

Rabbi Boruch Sholem Abish
Dvar Mishpatim
Financial Laws
In this week's Parshah of “Mishpatim”, we find the Parshah starting with;
“AND these are the laws you (Moses) shall place before them”. Rashi and
other commentaries immediately take note of why a Parshah starts with
“AND”. To which they answer that indeed this week’s Parshah is a
continuation of last week’s parshat Yisro, telling us that just as the 10
commandments come from Mount Sinai so too all the laws in this week’s
Parshah come from Sinai publicly given to Moshe, and transmitted throughout
the generations.
How interesting. One normally associates financial laws as a series of fine
tuning by man made gov’t as to allow for the smooth functioning of society.
(As an aside if we do not ascribe to Divine truth we eventually fall into the
quagmire of Zeroth law of robotics.) Judaic law couldn’t be any further than
that. Firstly, financial laws are not reactive; rather they are a series of laws
given on Mount Sinai all at once. Secondly, these laws are not for societal
harmony, as much as for each individual’s personal development. You will be
surprised to hear not all financial rules follow perceived logic, some are divine
decrees, for example a rule of when one borrows from one’s own employee,
he is less accountable than someone who is not the boss. So one merely
follows what the Torah expects of us. Interestingly this is shown in the very
first decree. One is forbidden to petition a secular court for redress against
someone else, although there are certain extenuating circumstances, which one
needs to ask a competent rabbinical authority before we publicly demonstrate
that we give primacy to man made laws over Hashem’s.
Let’s peruse just a sample of these laws. These laws that are an obligation to
1) Indentured servitude. 2) Parental rights and obligations. 3) One should be a
servant to Hashem and not a human boss. 4) Criminal restitution and effects,
and potential consequences. 5) Limitations of rights of Slave-owners requiring
them to be decent and not betray the slave’s humanity. 6) Legal patrimony. 7)
Husbands obligations in marriage. 8) Consequences of murder vs. protection
to the perpetrator. 9) Administration of Judgement regardless of perpetrator’s
delaying tactics. 10)Kidnapping; a capital offence. 11) Contrasting intentional
murder and criminal negligence with unintentional murder. 12) The courts
obligation to apply justice to all under all circumstances and to all people. 13)
Personal injury and restitution. Sub-categories of Personal Damages, Pain and
suffering, Disability short term and long term, Shame and embarrassment, and
Medical bills. 14) The importance of saving a life, even if one has to set aside
the Shabbat. 15) Indemnifying those acting with permission of the law; i.e. a
court agent, doctor, a father or teacher disciplining a child, or even a slave-
owner. 16) Killing one’s slave is a capital offence. 17) Tort law. 18)
Parameters of force majeure vs. negligence in application of tort laws. 19) The
obligations and responsibilities of various levels of watchmen. Specifically; an
unpaid watchman, including doing a favour for a few moments, the paid
watchman including a hired guard, the almost unlimited liability of a borrower,
and the liabilities of the renter. 20) Formulas in assessing damages; i.e.
limitations, unexpected animal behaviour, and who is responsible for salvage
and recuperation of dead animal, or if I damage the front of a Smartphone, do I
pay for the screen or can owner cause me to buy a new one and I keep the old
one. 21) Financial damages If someone’s animal causes death. 22) Rustling
cattle and consequences. 23) Homeowners almost unlimited rights vs. home
invasion or burglar. 24) Restitution and punishment of theft and robbery and
court’s responsibilities for an indigent thief. 25) Burden of proof and quality of
evidence. 26) The practice and requirements of swearing, used primarily as a
defence and not as a proof to extract. 27) Be honest. 28) Legal arguments. If
someone admits to partial responsibility and only part owing, we assume
although he still has basic trustworthiness, in all likelihood the plaintiff is
right, and the defendant knows he is guilty so he will not deny it outright. and
figures he’ll pay up when he can. So we obligate him to swear in hopes of
backing down. Taking this logic one step further, if defendant admits to half,
however here it is and I now owe you nothing; he is believed. The rule of
‘Migui”; such as believe me when I claim I repaid the loan for I could have
denied it outright. Or consider; one can successfully deny he owes a loan,
however if the plaintiff can prove he borrowed it, the defendant is then guilty
for he has been shown to be dishonest. Court/ Beth–din follows a whole slew
of behavioural assumptions. What we take from all this, and the fact that there
are so many laws listed, is that financial and interpersonal obligations are a
part of what makes our nation a holy and special nation. We are moral and
ethical not because we arbitrarily decide or we fear the law, rather because we
>:\D nO·¯D – trcdk trcd ihc 33
are a holy nation onto Hashem. May we succeed in sanctifying ourselves, and
merit the study of Torah, and Hashem’s blessing. Shabbat Shalom J
© By; Bryan Abish. For comments / free subscription or to unsubscribe; bryan@thedvar.com
Subject; Dvar. If you like it pass it on.

Community Kollel
Parsha Encounters
Parshas Mishpatim: Use or Abuse
By Rabbi Baruch Klagsbrun
A Project Of Chicago Community Kollel
This week we will read Parshas Shekalim, the first of four special Torah
portions read at the maftir aliyah, beginning on the Shabbos before Rosh
Chodesh Adar. The Halachah seforim discuss the significance of each of these
four parshiyos, and explain why they are read at this time of year. While each
has its own relevance, the four readings should also be viewed as parts of one
unit, conveying a broader message for us.
Reb Moshe Feinstein zt”l, in Darash Moshe (Drush 25) addresses this issue,
and makes the following observation. Hakadosh Boruch Hu bestows three gifts
on people which can become vehicles for serving Hashem when they are used
properly. Unfortunately, however, they are frequently misused. The gifts are
wealth, power, and wisdom. Wealth can be used for all kinds of charitable
causes, i.e. supporting those who study Torah, feeding and caring for the
destitute, building yeshivos and shuls, etc. But if the wealthy man views his
wealth simply as a means to fulfill his own wants and desires, he will find that
not only will he never be satisfied, but he will actually be worse off than his
poorer neighbor who is satisfied with his meager possessions and does not set
his sights on attaining things beyond his reach. At best, the affluent man will
end up wasting his life chasing after one material item after another. Worse
still, from his perspective, would be a sudden loss of money, through bad
investment, theft, or other means, leaving him without recourse to meet his
most basic needs. This scenario has played itself out time and again in the
history of the world, and yet not many step back to learn the lesson – no matter
how much wealth one accumulates, the Ribono Shel Olam can take it all away
in an instant.
A selfish desire for power may lead to disappointment as well. Whether in the
form of physical strength, or political control, one can spend his entire life
trying to use his power to lord over others, and then in a moment lose it all.
Revolutions and other political upheavals can suddenly change the politician’s
fortune and add his name to the long list of ‘has-beens.’ The physically strong
can be felled without notice by illness or accident.
While the pursuit of wisdom is certainly a superior pursuit, those who spend
their lives in pursuit of wisdom run the risk of thinking too highly of
themselves in comparison to less intellectual individuals. What should happen
is that the wiser a man becomes, the more he realizes that there is so much
more to know. A person who attains a level of wisdom and decides that he
now has the answers to all of mankind’s queries, will ultimately seem foolish
when the next generation of intellectuals proves him wrong. In the end, the
wisdom will not stand the test of time.
The pasuk in Sefer Yirmiyah (9:22) states, “Al yishallel chochom…
hagibor…oshir” “Let not the wise man glorify himself with his wisdom, and
let not the strong man glorify himself with his strength, let not the rich man
glorify himself with his wealth.” This pasuk is referring to these three groups
of people, reminding them that shleimus -perfection of man- lies in none of
these pursuits. Hashem tells us that “only with this may one glorify himself –
contemplating and knowing Me, for I am Hashem.”
Reb Moshe zt”l links these three errors to the first three of the four parshiyos.
Parshas Shekalim is a reminder to view, and use, our money properly. Zachor,
in which Amalek relied on his strength to attack Klal Yisroel, highlights the
inherent flaw of this belief. Parshas Parah, with its description of the ultimate
(seemingly) illogical chok, reminds us that our wisdom is limited. If we learn
these lessons well, we will then be zocheh to geulah, as symbolized by Parshas
Rabbi Klagsbrun, a rebbi at Yeshivas Tiferes Tzvi, learns with the Zichron
Aharon mechanchim chaburah at the kollel.
Chicago Community Kollel
Halacha Encounters
Defining a Chillul Hashem
By Rabbi Moshe Revah
We are all familiar with the term chillul Hashem. It is used to threaten children
to behave in public places, or motivate us to keep our homes neat when
repairmen are called. Many people wonder if it is permissible to take
advantage of store sales when doing so might cause Jews to be viewed as
cheapskates. People avoid ostentatious, boisterous and other discourteous
behaviors for fear of causing a chillul Hashem.
Nevertheless, it is sometimes unclear if a behavior constitutes a chillul Hashem
or if the opposite is true. A case in point would be the following example. A
person boards a plane on Friday and delays on the ground prevent the aircraft
from departing on time. As the hours tick by he realizes that if he continues on
this flight he will end up desecrating the Shabbos. He respectfully asks the
stewardess to deplane before the departure. The stewardess raises the roof; the
chaos eventually causes a further delay of the flight. All the passengers are
aware of what is occurring and the reason for the delay. Similar situations
occur frequently, where due to halachic concerns one must request special and
specific changes which cause delays and annoy many people. Does this
behavior constitute a chillul Hashem (Jews are obstinate, uncompromising,
and out-of-date)…or not? Another example involves a group of Jews who
would like to daven with a minyan; after obtaining permission, they gather in
the back of a plane or major supermarket (in a place where they would not
annoy anyone) and they proceed to daven very publicly. Is this a chillul
Hashem? If a driver accidentally cuts off another driver, does his behavior
belong to this most serious category?
One may even question why we worry at all about the impression we make on
the non-Jews. The fact that we have to act according to the morals of the non-
Jews around us is readily proven from the halachos of Aveidas Akum
(Shulchan Aruch, Choshen Mishpat, 266:1). Should his distorted view of
morality, which changes based on the latest fads, actually affect the way we
act? Why should the Torah’s uncompromising and unchanging morals be
affected by the rapidly shifting and deteriorating standards of the general
population? Shouldn’t we be setting the standard rather than acting as if we fit
The answers to these questions are based on the fundamental understanding of
what kiddush Hashem and chillul Hashem really are. The Rambam mentions
three different types of chillul Hashem. We are most familiar with the meaning
of chillul Hashem as defined by the third category. Anyone who acts in a
manner which fails to meet the standards expected of him, and thus causes
people to view him with condescension and even speak badly about him (as a
high-ranking Jew, and therefore Jews in general) has caused a chillul Hashem.
Therefore, we see that chillul Hashem involves acts which cause a lack of G-
dliness in this world. Our perceptio0n of Hashem, His Torah, and the way
He’s running the world is diminished by such actions. As the deputies of
Hashem on this world, we are responsible for demonstrating His true glory by
acting in the ways that Hashem commanded us. Any act that is demanded by
the Torah and Hashem essentially results in a kiddush Hashem because that is
the way that Hashem would want His world run. Any act that goes against His
wishes and detracts from His honor causes a lack of His glory in the world and
is considered a chillul Hashem.
In a nutshell, glorifying Hashem’s name vis-a-vis desecrating Hashem’s
Name. In a perfect world run by the Torah, would Hashem sanction this act or
Often, we ensure that the non-Jews use us as a beacon of morality. We want to
be certain that we are representing the one true G-d properly. Therefore, since
dressing properly and neatly is part of our moral code (see the mussar sefarim
which discuss at length the attributes of cleanliness, orderliness, etc.), it would
be a chillul Hashem to dress publicly in ragged, stained clothes (whether or not
that is the current style). That would not be the world G-d envisioned.
Similarly, keeping a neat home or behaving properly in public are not mitzvos
or aveiros per se, but do cause people to notice and comment on Jewish
behavior. As such, our behavior is a reflection of the Torah and Hashem
himself, and we have to uphold that image (noblesse oblige).
Now we can return to our examples. In the case of the airplane seat
assignment, we can ask ourselves a simple question. In a perfect world, where
Torah is the guiding light, would this action be sanctioned or not? The answer
is that if the person dealt respectably with the stewardess as he explained his
predicament and kept his cool during the entire incident, then his behavior
would cause a big kiddush Hashem! In a perfect world run by the Torah, that
would be the correct Torah hashkafah! The fact that certain people get
annoyed and believe that he is detracting from the honor of the Jews because
he is being uncompromising, doesn’t change the reality that his behavior is in
accordance with the Torah’s wishes. (You can tweak the example to fit your
personal level of observance; the point is that if a mitzvah is being done in a
proper manner then that is the greatest kiddush Hashem, even if not everyone
agrees with your practice.) In our second example, it is also clear that a
mitzvah is being performed. In a perfectly run, Torah world, gathering for a
minyan in such a situation would be the norm and people wouldn’t get
annoyed. So, if permission was obtained from a flight attendant and the
minyan is being held in a manner which will not annoy or endanger others,
davening with a minyan would constitute a kiddush Hashem.
R’ Shimon Schwab zt”l writes that even though we are all in galus, the Torah
is not in galus. Practically, this means that we should be unassuming and not
call attention to ourselves by showing off our money and power to our non-
Jewish neighbors (that would be a chillul Hashem). However, we can certainly
create a kiddush Hashem, even publicly, by doing mitzvos and acting
according to Torah principles. We should be proud of our heritage and our
way of life. We are not hiding the fact that the Torah commands us to daven
three times daily or that we only eat certain foods. Obviously, forming a
minyan, which is only a ‘better way’ to daven, is only permitted if it’s done in
a manner which doesn’t cause anyone any inconvenience. However, just doing
a mitzvah publicly doesn’t automatically mean that we are drawing attention to
ourselves and that it is a chillul Hashem. Wear your tallis in public on your
walk on Shabbos! Be proud of being Jewish and following the Torah’s laws!
The aforementioned example of Aveidas Akum can be explained according to
a teshuvah written by Hagaon R’ M. Feinstein ztz”l and printed in Shu’t
Chelkas Yaakov (3:48). He details at length the circumstances under which we
should take the non-Jewish view of morality into account. Briefly, R’ Moshe’s
explanation is that anything which can be viewed by the non-Jews as being
part of the Torah’s ethical code should be taken into account when faced with
a possible question of chillul Hashem. Based on this rule, if we were
determining our position on certain moral issues which are currently under
debate, we do not have to worry that the non-Jews might view Judaism as
being rigid and out-of-date, since the true Torah hashkafah would be to oppose
the morals espoused by contemporary free thinkers. Hashem’s perfect world
would not include such thinkers. However, with regard to practices which
break no laws or halachos but run against a person’s ‘moral feelings’ we must
consider whether or not the non-Jews’ feelings stem from their perception of
how the Torah would rule (based on a solid grasp of the standard morals of the
Torah) and possibly take their opinions into account. Therefore, if an action is
34 >:\D nO·¯D – trcdk trcd ihc
permitted legally, yet rubs people the wrong way (such as the recently
published Wal-Mart Gemach idea), and it became known that Jews in
particular were taking advantage of the “cheapskate” loophole, engaging in
such a practice would indeed be grounds for a chillul Hashem. (However, as I
wrote earlier, every return should be evaluated independently as to its potential
effect on the employees’/ owners’ impression of Jews.)
Rabbi Moshe Revah is a full-time member of the kollel.
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky
Parsha Parables
Dedicated in memory of Horav Nesanel Hakohen Quinn zt"l 28 Shevat By
The Hirsch Family and the Henry and Myrtle Hirsch Foundation
Parshas Mishpatim: Conversion Aversion
This week's portion if filled with commandments. Indeed throughout the
Torah, Hashem sets forth for us commandments. There are positive
commandments, (mitzvos asei) laws that tell us what to actively do, e.g.
lay tefillin, learn Torah, eat matzah of Passover. Then there are laws that
tell us what not to do, (mitzvos lo sa'asei), to observe by restraint - e.g. do
not eat chametz on Passover, do not eat non-kosher, do not wear shatnez
(a mixture of wool and linen), and to not eat chametz on Passover.
Most of the time, the Torah does not specify reasons for the commands,
especially the negative commandments. But this week, the Torah explains
one of its commandments, no less than two times.
"Do not taunt or oppress a Ger (newcomer) because you were strangers in
the land of Egypt" (Exodus 22:20).
"And you shall not oppress a stranger, for you know the feelings of the
stranger, since you were strangers in the land of Egypt" (Exodus 23:9).
According to most commentators, the verse refers to the Ger -- a convert
to Judaism. Rashi explains that the Torah forewarns the Jewish nation
from being cocky toward anyone who would join our people. "After all,"
Rashi expounds, "the stranger can easily remind us of our since-forgotten
experience in Egypt, where we, too, were strangers."
However, something bothers me. The Torah's set of values is pure and
unmitigated by personal partiality. So let us ask. Does it truly matter that
we were once strangers? Isn't taunting a newcomer, any type of ger? Why
must the Torah add our Egyptian experience to the equation? We were in
Egypt 210 years! This commandment was given to an entire nation. Even
if the average age of the receivers of the Torah, were 50 years old, that
would mean their family had been in Egypt 160 years, before they were
born! That's the equivalent of an American who was born in 1950 being
told to understand the feelings even if family had emigrated in 1790!
What's going on?
The Story
A friend told me the sad story of a convert to Judaism who had lived in a
large, very religious community for quite a number of years, yet he
somehow did not fit in. When his children got older it was difficult to get
them into a school that felt would be appropriate for them.
For some reason, each school to which he had applied told him that they
felt their school would not be appropriate, and that he should look at a
different institution.
He turned to a lay person to help, and despite all the man's entreats, no
school would accept him. Together the convert and his friend went from
school to school, each time hearing another excuse. Finally, he decided to
move to a more accepting community. Before he left, he lamented.
"Before I converted, everyone warned me how hard it is to be to be a Jew.
But," he sighed, "no one told me how hard it would be to be a convert!"
The Message
Maybe the Torah is trying to tell us how long a person remains a convert.
Even after 210 years we were still treated as newcomers, slaves, and
lower-class. We were derided and mocked despite being in Egypt for
more than 200 years. Indeed, we may be told to be cautious of the ger, but
the torah tells us, how deep those feelings run. And how long it may take
until one is accepted. Good Shabbos! ©2013 Rabbi Mordechai
Rabbi Label Lam
Dvar Torah
Parshas Mishpatim: Another’s World
If you see your enemy's donkey lying under its burden would you refrain from
helping him? You shall surely help along with him. (Shemos 23:5)
You shall surely help along with him: Heb. וֹמִ ע בֹזִ עַ תּך בֹזָ ע. This הָ ביִזִ ע is an
expression of help… (Rashi)
The phraseology here always troubled me. How does the word “azov” which
is usually associated with “abandonment” suddenly come to mean “helping”
here? Why is it repeated, “azov, tazov- imo”.
I was there at the Bris at Yeshiva that wintry morning. The baby received his
beautiful Jewish name, Yaakov, after Reb Yaakov Kaminetsky ztl. Who had
passed away that year just months earlier. The bagels and lox were great and
the room was crowded with important guests. It was warm and pleasant
beyond description. One of the biggest treats, however, was the opportunity to
bask in the glory of someone known as the Tzadik of Monsey, Rabbi
Mordechai Schwab ztl. who was honored with Sandik. (I remember my Rebbe
telling me once, a lot of people are called a Tzadik, perhaps potentially we all
are, but “he’s a real Tzadik!” Just to have met him or interacted with him was
a life altering experience.) Well, Reb Mordechai needed to leave right after the
Bris and before the meal to return to his Yeshiva, Beis Shraga. An hour later
after the event I had the privilege to meet up with the individual who had the
merit to drive Rabbi Mordechai Schwab to his destination.
While we were all inside the building and enjoying the festivities a heavey wet
storm was dropping many-many inches of sloppy wet snow outside. By the
time the driver was securely belted in along with Rabbi Schwab and another
passenger, a large accumulation of snow was blanketing the parking lot. The
driver described his frustration at trying to move the car up a slight incline but
how at one point his wheels started to spin. There was no choice but that the
other passenger had to go out of the car to give a push so that they could
extricate themselves from the deepening hole the tires were polishing. Anyone
who drives in snow knows the routine, how you rock and roll from reverse to
drive and then the big push to liberate.
This is where the story gets interesting. The driver described with awe and
wonderment how amazed and impressed he was about what happened next.
The elderly Rabbi Schwab was standing behind the car ready to push. For the
next few minutes a spirited “discussion” unfolded. The driver refused to allow
Rabbi Schwab to push. He insisted that the Rabbi sit in the car while they
“take care of the situation”. Rabbi Schwab absolutely refused to budge. He
stood there with his hands on the back of the car with snow falling all about
him and he was unmoved by their appeal about his honor or age. He repeated
over and over again, while waiting for the driver to engage the car, “Azov,
tazov imo!”
They could not prevail with logic or passion. He just stood his ground
repeating emphatically, “Azov tazov imo” –“you shall surely help along with
him!” With Rabbi Schwab’s help they extricated themselves and the driver
remained stunned by his stubborn insistence to do what was right!
Maybe azov, abandon means to abandon one’s selfishness and to merge totally
with another’s situation. Imo – is to be with the other person. “Be with the
person!”Identify with their pain! Maybe Rabbi Schwab was just answering
them in their debate, justifying his choice, by the refrain, “Azov tazov imo”, or
perhaps he was reminding himself to overcome his own feelings of coldness
and natural resistance and to make the effort to actually enter another’s world!
DvarTorah, Copyright © 2007 by Rabbi Label Lam and Torah.org. Questions or comments? Email feedback@torah.org. Join the Jewish Learning
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Rabbi Ben-Zion Rand
Likutei Peshatim
Volume 27 Number 18 February 9, 2013
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Inspired For Teshuva
“And these are the judgments that you shall place before them.” Shemos
The altar and the offerings brought upon it were a vehicle for repentance.
It served to restore the position of those who had sinned and strayed from
the correct path due to their errant ways. The entire process of bringing an
offering was referred to as a “¡a¬p” because it allowed a person to come
close to Hashem and to His service. This was all true when the Beis
HaMikdash was functioning, and the service of the offerings was in place.
However, today we are lacking this vital tool in the repentance process.
Nevertheless, the potential to do teshuva is still viable, as the leaders of
the generation and the Torah scholars still represent role models for
everyone to follow to become inspired and motivated to return to our
Father in Heaven.
Rav Meir Shapira of Lublin points out that this is one of the intentions
of the Torah’s instructing us to place the Sanhedrin next to the altar. This
symbolizes that the altar in the Mikdash, and the judges and Torah
authorities who serve in the Sanhedrin, basically serve the same role of
providing the manner by which teshuva can be accomplished.
Furthermore, the altar was filled with dirt, and it had a copper plate along
its surface. This, again, represents another element where there is a
parallel between the altar and the leaders of the Sanhedrin. They should
possess a character of humility and simplicity, so that they do not trample
upon the heads of the Jewish nation, and so that they should not cast an
unnecessary aura of fear upon the people. Outwardly, though, they should
represent a sense of pride and honor for the service of Hashem. They
should carry themselves with integrity and courage, as representatives of
the community and its ideals. These are some of the symbolic lessons
which are indicated in having the Sanhedrin situated near the altar in the
Beis HaMikdash.
Serious Business
“An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a hand for a hand, a foot for a
foot.” Shemos 21:24
The Gemara (Bava Kamma 84b) clearly points out that the verse does not
mean to say that we actually inflict a wound upon the person guilty of
injuring another person, but rather that he is assessed a monetary penalty
for his actions. Why, then, does the Torah use an expression which seems
to describe a barbaric act of inflicting an injury upon the one responsible
for the physical harm of his fellow Jew, when this is clearly not what the
Torah actually prescribes?
Chazon Ish explains that we find that the laws of the Torah are
sometimes not designed to be actually implemented as much as they are
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aimed at teaching a moral lesson. For example, we are taught (Gemara
Makkos 7a) that a Sanhedrin that actually puts someone to death even
once in seventy years is considered a killer’s court. In other words, the
laws of capital punishment, including the details of cross-examination of
the witnesses and thorough analysis of evidence, are taught not so much in
order to carry out such a judgement, but rather in order to illustrate the
Torah’s perspective of the ultimate value of life itself. We are to study
these laws and to come away with a profound appreciation of how
precious life is, even in terms of the right to life of a murderer!
This lesson is once again found in our verse, in terms of the nature of
personal injury. The Torah expresses the seriousness of one person’s
injuring another by ruling that monetary restitution must be made to the
one who was injured. However, the Torah underscores the severity of the
situation by stating this law in extreme terms, and heightens our
sensitivity by stating that it is as if the guilty party should actually be
culpable of paying for his irresponsibility with “an eye for an eye”.
Although this literal translation is not technically accurate, nevertheless,
the impact of the expression is powerful and carries a significant message
with it.
Achieving Levels Of Perfection
“And people of holiness shall you be to Me, and flesh in the field that
has been torn you shall not eat; you shall throw it to the dog.” Shemos
If you are holy and abstain from the repugnances of carcasses [of
unslaughtered animals] and from animals that have been mauled, then
you are Mine, but if not, you are not Mine. – Rashi
In Pninei Da’as, Rabbi Eliyahu Meir Bloch notes that the message of
the verse can be understood on an additional level. If any individual
achieves a level of holiness, he might feel complacent in what he has
accomplished. The Torah here is instructing us that even as a person
pursues spirituality, and as he grows to understand and appreciate deeper
levels of Torah, the objective of one’s growth must be to enhance the
Name of God in the world. It is therefore not conceivable for a member of
Klal Yisrael, who has the talent and ability to influence and inspire others,
to differentiate between his personal agenda and that of the community at
large. He must strive and aim to perfect all of the Creation, and to bring
the world to its fulfillment of Hashem’s will. As the verse states
(Yeshayahu 43:7): “That which is called in My Name and for My honor, I
have created it, I have formed it, I have fashioned it.”
A person who is conscientious about his health would never be satisfied to
care only about his head, and not to feel pain or notice if his arm or leg
were injured. A person must care for his entire body, and if even one limb
or organ is endangered, his entire body suffers the trauma of the wound.
This is the way it must be for a person in matters of spirit and holiness as
well. He must be sensitive to sanctify the Name of Hashem throughout the
world. As the verse states: “You must become people of holiness - for
Me”, meaning for My sake. When a person develops an appreciation of
the will of Hashem, he understands that he must work and strive to
improve the condition of all Creation, and to do all that he can, both
personally and communally, to bring it to higher levels of perfection.
Scheduling The Festival Of Sukkos
“And the Festival of the Harvest of the first fruits of your labors that
you sow in the field, and the Festival of the I ngathering at the close of
the year, when you gather in your work from the field.” Shemos 23:16
This pasuk reports that Sukkos is qonn ãn,, which is n1wn nnxa ,
seemingly toward the end of the year. But we know that Sukkos is in
Tishrei, which is in the beginning of the calendar year! Even if we
consider Nissan as the first month, Sukkos would still be toward the
middle of the year, not at its end!
Sefer un¬1n n1p answers with a Midrash in Parashas Pinchas. Hashem
wanted to give Bnei Yisrael a holiday for every month of the year. Nissan
would be Pesach, Iyar would be Pesach Sheini, Sivan would be Shavuos.
After that would be a great holiday when the n¡n were brought down!
On the 17th of Tamuz the 1nIn 9ãv happened, and they lost the holidays
of Tamuz, Av, and Elul. In Tishrei they were paid back by getting 4
holidays: A version of Rosh Hashana (which really belonged in Tamuz),
Yom Kippur (which really belonged in Av), Sukkos (which really
belonged in Elul), and Shemini Atzeres in Tishrei. According to this
Midrash, Sukkos was really supposed to be at the end of the year, right
before Tishrei, which had always been known as the first month since it
was the birthday of ¡¡wn¬n u1n . That’s why the pasuk here (before the
sin of the Golden Calf happened) calls it “the end of the year”. But after
the 9ãv in Parashas Ki Sisa (22:34), everything was switched around,
resulting in the order of the holidays that we have today, Sukkos is listed
as being scheduled at the beginning of the year, not at the end.
Halachic Corner
Parashas Shekalim
Rosh Chodesh Adar will take place tomorrow, Sunday, and Monday,
Machar Yom Rishon v’Yom Sheni
In order to be considered present for a minyan, at least ten men must be in
one place, including the chazan. Even if they are unable to see each other,
as long as they are in the same room they count as a minyan. However, if
part of the minyan is in one room and the other part in a different room,
even if there is an opening between them, they cannot join for a minyan
because the opening is considered a separation and then it becomes like
two separate rooms. (n¨o p¨o n¨1 'o n¨¡n 1¨o) If nine men are in one
area of the room, and one man is standing behind a screen (e.g. a
mechitza), the purpose of which is to separate the men from the women,
he can join in the minyan. However, if the room is used as a bedroom and
the screen is used to separate the bed from the holy articles in the room
(e.g. tefillin or a Sefer Torah), he may not join in the minyan. If part of the
minyan is standing in the doorway of the room, some hold that this is
considered to be like standing outside and they cannot be counted
('1 p¨o uw). The Magen Avraham holds that it is like standing inside the
room and they may be counted, as it is no worse than a small court that
opens up into a larger court, which is considered one large domain.
Questions for Thought and Study
1. Why is the Jewish slave called an "ª¬1v 11v" " but not an
"ª9n¬wª 11v" "? See Ohr Hachaim and Malbim to 21:2
2. What is the q¬ãn" (literally “fist”) listed in Pasuk 21:28? See Ramban
3. Pasuk 22:17 says "nªnn n9 nswJo" - “A sorceress should not be
allowed to live.” What about a sorcerer (male)? Where is he alluded to in
the pasuk? See Ba’al HaTurim
4. What is added by including the word "9a" (“all” or “any”) when
discussing causing anguish to a widow or orphan? See Ramban 22:21
5. Why are Bnei Yisrael warned about Shabbos in Pasuk 23:12, right after
being warned about Shemitta right before? See Rashi 23:12
6. What prayer is similar to the words that Bnei Yisrael said in Pasuk 24:3
~ ¨nwv1 'n ¬a1 ¬wn uª¬11n 9a¨ - and the words mentioned in Pasuk
24:7 ~ ¨vow1¡ nwv1 'n ¬a1 ¬wn 9a?
1. Ohr Hachaim says that it would embarass 9n¬wª by associating his
name with slavery. The other explanation is that the word "ª¬1v" was the
term used for Bnei Yisrael before they accepted the Torah. Since this
slave acted as if he did not accept the Torah, he is called an ª¬1v 11v" .
2. One explanation is that it is a fist, in contrast to a stone, which is an
inanimate object. Another explanation is that an ;«rd&t" is a clod of
earth, which is soft, unlike a hard stone.
3. The word "nswJo" can be arranged to be ¨qwJon" (“the male
sorcerer”), indicating that a man can be just as guilty as a woman. The
pasuk speaks about a woman because it is more common.
4. This is to include even an orphan or widow who is rich. They still have
suffered and are tormented by the death of their loved one.
5. One should not think that since the whole year of Shemitta is like one
long Shabbos that the laws of regular Shabbos do not apply during the
Shemitta year.
6. The 12 brothers spoke to Yaakov the six words
"1nn 'n ªp|9n 'n 9n¬wª vow" and Yaakov answered "1v¡ u-
9¡v9 ¡n\J9o 1¡1a uw (\¬a" which was also six words.
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The Gemara (Shabbos 49a & 130a) states that the wearer of
Tefillin must have a heb ;ud – a clean body, such as that of Elisha
ohpbf kgc. Abaye says that heb ;ud means one may not pass wind
while wearing Tefillin, and Rava says it means one may not sleep
while wearing them. The Gemara explains that Elisha was
referred to as ohpbf kgc because of his extraordinary dedication
and Mesiras Nefesh for the mitzvah of Tefillin, which had been
proscribed by edict. When Elisha was caught wearing Tefillin on
the street, a miracle occurred and his Tefillin changed into dove
wings. The Meforshim note that despite the impressive story, there
is no proof that Elisha in particular maintained a heb ;ud while
wearing his Tefillin, and Tosafos suggests that such a miracle
would not have been performed for him if he had not been
scrupulous regarding Tefillin. R’ Moshe Steinwurtzel ZTL (Am
HaTorah 3:1) does not find Tosafos’ theory compelling, noting
that Elisha may have had another Zechus which had protected
him. Rather, the proof that Elisha was careful to keep a heb ;ud
comes from the fact that Elisha was Machmir to wear Tefillin all
day even in the face of danger. Since all men are obligated to wear
Tefillin, at least briefly, they are expected to keep themselves
clean during that time, and we will not suspect them of failing to
do so. However, if one seeks to wear them during a time when he
is not obligated, especially where there is vbfx, we must be
assured that he will exercise the requisite care. Otherwise he has
no right to be Machmir. Yet, the Rema (j”ut 38:4) states that if
one fears he cannot refrain from improper thoughts he should not
put on Tefillin. How can one exempt himself from Tefillin this
way ? Do such thoughts render his ;ud not heb? Can one sit in the
bathroom all day and also be exempt from Tefillin ? The Gemara
(Pesachim 112b) states that if one wishes to do a mitzvah and
keep a ruvy ;ud he should make sure to always be married. Perhaps
being unmarried is a somewhat constant state of not being ruvy
which requires more vigilance. The lhsa ,tp (13) notes that ruvy
can mean heb, such as ruvy cvz ,rubn ,hagu, which required gold
that was clean of impurities (heb), not spiritually pure gold.
When would someone daven Shemona Esrei if he is unsure if he
already said it, but would not say it if he was sure he hadn’t ?
(Should one bentsch without vmr if he can’t say it ?)
Rivevos Ephraim (5:226) says that since bentsching is D’Oraisa
and vmr is D’Rabonon, he should bentsch without vmr (for which
he is an xubt anyway), since the cuhj to repeat bentsching for
having left out vmr is also D’Rabonon, and the first is not kyc.
One who acquires new items for use by himself and his household
must recite the brocho of chynvu cuyv. The same is true if he
receives such as gifts. However, gifts must be utensils or clothing
– not money, which can be embarrassing to receive. (MB 223:20)
The Gemara (Sanhedrin 88b) states that a Zakein Mamrei is held
liable only where he attempts to add onto a mitzvah that originates
in the Torah, but is detailed by the Chachomim - ohrpux hrcsn,
and has an element that can be added to. The Gemara assumes
that Tefillin is the only such mitzvah, where one attempts to add a
fifth section to the existing four compartments of the Tefillin, but
asks: why do we not simply look at the four as performing the
mitzvah, and ignore the added fifth as if it doesn’t exist ? The
Gemara answers that the outer section of the Tefillin must be
exposed to the air, and if there is a fifth section, it will cover the
fourth and render the Tefillin invalid. Tosafos (Menachos 35a)
notes that some people have a custom to wrap the Tefillin strap
onto and across the base of the Tefillin box itself. Does this not
block the outer section’s exposure ? Tosafos answers: 1) it isn’t
considered blocking unless it is physically fastened (which a strap
is not); and 2) perhaps the requirement of exposure to the air only
applies to the Tefillin Shel Rosh, but not the Shel Yad; and 3) the
strap only covers a small area – both sides of the section are still
exposed. The Acharonim raise a question regarding the small
square cover (with a big hole on the top) which is placed over the
Tefillin Shel Yad, covering it to protect the Tefillin’s square shape.
Is this cover deemed a blocker ? It would certainly seem,
according to Tosafos’ first answer, not to be, since it isn’t fastened
onto the Tefillin. However, the ha ,rua, (1:513) advises against
leaving the cover on, citing Rashi’s quote of the Gemara (Yoma
72b) which says that Betzalel made 3 Aronos (arks) for the
Mishkan – a gold one placed inside a wood one inside a gold one,
to fulfill the Posuk: ubpm, .ujnu ,hcn, which left the middle one
“goldplated” on the inside and outside by the other two, without
being connected to either one with nails or glue. Thus, to render
something “fastened” does not require actual connectivity, but
may be established by proximity as well. However, most Poskim
do not prohibit placing the cover over the Tefillin Shel Yad,
provided it is not there when the brocho is said.
A Lesson Can Be Learned From:
R’ Yosef Chaim Sonnefeld was always careful to greet everyone with a
smile and a brocho. One Motzai Shabbos, he met someone who said
“Gut Voch” to him as he passed, and R’ Yosef Chaim replied “Gut Yahr”,
as the custom is always to return more in one’s greeting than one
received. Since R’ Yosef Chaim had received a brocho for a good week,
he returned a brocho for a good year. However, a moment later, R’
Yosef Chaim turned around and hurried back, catching up to the man,
whom he began to shower with additional blessings. R’ Yosef Chaim
then explained to him that under normal circumstances, their earlier
exchange would have been sufficient. However, as it happened, Rosh
HaShanah was coming up in a few days. As such, his earlier brocho of
“Gut Yahr” was in fact less than the brocho of “Gut Voch”, as the week
would last 7 days regardless, while the year would be coming to a close
before then. He therefore wished to fulfill the custom of giving more
than he received with additional berachos.
P.S. Sholosh Seudos sponsored by the Schmerhold family. Matanos
L'Evyonim for Gomlei Chesed may be given to me before/on Purim.