Hamaayan / The Torah Spring
Edited by Shlomo Katz
Terumah: Make a Home for G-d
Volume XVI, No. 19
4 Adar 5762
February 16, 2002
Orach Chaim 586:11-13
Daf Yomi (Bavli): Bava Metzia 86
Daf Yomi (Yerushalmi): Terumot 23
This week's parashah is the first of several that discusses the
construction of the Mishkan / Tabernacle. Rambam writes (in
Hilchot Bet Ha'bechirah 1:1): "It is an affirmative commandment
to build a house for Hashem, a ready place to offer sacrifices
and to celebrate three times a year, as it is written [in our
parashah]: `They shall make a Tabernacle'."
R' Shimshon David Pinkus z"l (rabbi of Ofakim, Israel; died
2001) wonders: Why does Rambam offer two reasons for building a
Temple - that it is a place to offer sacrifices and to gather on
the holidays - when the verse that he quotes already provides a
reason? That verse says, "They shall make a Tabernacle so that I
may dwell among them"!
R' Pinkus answers: The Rambam is merely elaborating on the
Torah's reason. How can we cause G-d to dwell among us? The
Shechinah is, in a sense, the soul of the Jewish people. To have
the Shechinah among us requires two things: that we have a
healthy body and that we attract the soul to the body.
The first part of this task is achieved by congregating in the
Bet Hamikdash on the holidays. This unites us as one body, as we
read (Shoftim 20:11), "Then all the people of Israel gathered
together at the city, as one man, as comrades." We also find
that Yerushalayim is referred to (in Tehilim 122:3) as "a city
that is united together."
The second part of the task of bringing the Shechinah to dwell
among us is achieved by offering sacrifices. The Hebrew word
"korbanot" / sacrifices is derived from the root which means
"close," and thus alludes to this idea. [Ramban writes expressly
that this is the purpose of offering sacrifices, though Rambam
appears to disagree.] (Tiferet Torah)
"Viyikchu / let them take for Me a portion . . ." (25:1)
Why does the verse say "Let them take" rather than "Let them
give"? R' Shlomo Ephraim of Lunschitz z"l (see page 4) answers
The Midrash comments about this verse: Thus it is written
(Mishlei 4:2), "For I have given you a good lekach; do not
forsake My Torah." [The word "lekach" is used here to mean
"teaching." However, the root of the word is the same as the
verb "to take" and the same as "viyikchu" in our verse.] Rabbi
Berechiah Hakohen said, "It is the way of the world that when a
person sells something valuable out of his house, he is sad and
the buyer is happy. In contrast, when G-d gave the Torah to
Yisrael, He was happy."
What does this Midrash have to do with our verse? R' Shlomo
Ephraim explains that the Midrash was bothered by our question -
why does the verse say "Let them take" rather than "Let them
give"? In answer to this question, the Midrash teaches that
giving charity (which is the subject of our verse) is similar to
teaching Torah. Why is a person who is forced to sell his home
furnishings sad? Because he is giving up something which is
valuable to him. This is not true, however, when someone gives
charity or teaches Torah. Such a person loses nothing; to the
contrary, one gains by giving charity and teaching Torah. One
gains from these acts because of the reward that he earns;
moreover, one who teaches Torah gains because his interaction
with students sharpens his own understanding.
We read in Mishlei (3:14), "For [the Torah's] commerce is
better than the commerce of silver . . ." King Shlomo compares
Torah study to commerce because unlike a person who sells his
personal belongings, a merchant engaged in commerce is happy when
he makes a sale. However, observes R' Shlomo Ephraim, teaching
Torah is better than engaging in commerce. Once a merchant sells
an item, it is lost to him, and he can never sell it again. A
merchant can have his merchandise or his silver (money), but not
both. Not so one who teaches Torah. He can "sell" his
merchandise and still have it.
(Amudai Shaish: Amud Ha'Torah)
"You shall make two keruvim of gold - hammered out shall you
make them - from both ends of the cover." (25:18)
What did the cherubs that were placed on top of the aron kodesh
represent? R' Shmuel Yehuda Katzenellenbogen-Mintz z"l (Italy;
1521-1597) explains that placing the forms of angels above the
Ark, with their wings spread upwards but with their feet attached
to the Ark, shows that angels are "tied" to, and subject to,
those who study the Torah which lay inside the Ark. This is why
the Torah instructs (verse 20), "Towards the Cover [of the Ark]
shall be the faces of the keruvim." We read similarly (Tehilim
91:11-12), "He will charge His angels for you, to protect you in
all your ways. On their palms they will carry you, lest you
strike your foot against a stone." The midrash asks
rhetorically: "Who is greater - the guard or the one who is
guarded? The one who carries or the one who is carried?"
Clearly, the righteous and those who study Torah, who are guarded
and carried by the angels, are greater than the angels
This may answer another troublesome question, writes
R' Katzenellenbogen. Doesn't the commandment to make cherubs
contradict the commandment (Shmot 20:4), "You shall not make for
yourself a carved image nor any likeness of that which is in the
heavens above or on the earth below . . ."? Some have answered
that real angels do not look like the keruvim, so the prohibition
on making likenesses is not violated. However, a better answer
[according to R' Katzenellenbogen] is that the prohibition is not
violated when one makes a likeness that cannot be served as an
idol. For example, when King Shlomo built the Bet Hamikdash, he
made a kiyor / laver that was supported by twelve golden oxen.
Why did this not violate the prohibition of "You shall not make
for yourself a carved image . . . of that which is . . . on the
earth below"? Because these golden oxen were being made to
"work" supporting the kiyor. Obviously, one could not attribute
divinity to them.
Here, too, because the keruvim are made in a way that shows
that we are greater than they, one could not attribute divinity
to them and the prohibition would not be violated, concludes R'
(Shteim Esrei Derashot No. VII)
"Mikshah / hammered out shall you make them . . ." (25:18)
R' Shimon Shalom Kalish z"l (1883-1954; the "Amshinover Rebbe")
observes: This verse may be translated: "If it is kasheh /
difficult, you shall do it." Do not shy away from a task because
it is difficult. The more difficult it is to do G-d's Will, the
greater the reward.
(Quoted in B'yishishim Chochmah p. 378)
"You shall make curtains of goat hair for a tent over the
R' Menachem Mendel of Premishlan z"l (early chassidic leader in
Eretz Yisrael; died 1793) observes: There are two kinds of
tzaddikim: On the one hand, there is a tzaddik who is the same on
the outside as on the inside. When you look at him, you know he
is a tzaddik. On the other hand, there is a tzaddik whose
righteousness is hidden. To the casual observer, this tzaddik is
a "regular" person.
Which way is preferable? Our verse teaches that the latter is,
for it instructs that "you shall make a curtain to cover your
inner Tabernacle" - your inner holiness.
R' Menachem Mendel writes that this is also the meaning of the
verse (Bemidbar 24:5), "How goodly are your tents, Yaakov, your
tabernacles, Yisrael." The name "Yaakov" always denotes those
Jewish people who are on a relatively lower spiritual level,
while the name "Yisrael" denotes those on a higher level. "How
good it is," says the verse, "when the tabernacle of a `Yisrael'
is hidden under the tent, the covering, of a `Yaakov'."
(Quoted in Torat Ha'chassidim Ha'rishonim: Darchei Yesharim p. 273)
R' Shlomo Ephraim of Lunschitz z"l
R' Shlomo Ephraim was born in Lunschitz (possibly Leczica),
Poland in the mid-1500's. His father's name was Aharon, and his
primary teacher was R' Shlomo Luria (the "Maharshal"). (Our
subject was actually named Ephraim at birth. The name Shlomo was
added during an illness in 1601.)
R' Ephraim's first position was as a rosh yeshiva in Lvov
(Lemberg). After 1604, he headed a yeshiva in Prague and sat on
the rabbinical court of that city with R' Yeshayah Horowitz (the
"Shelah Ha'kadosh"). Among R' Ephraim's prominent students were
R' Yom Tov Lipman Heller, author of the Mishnah commentary Tosfot
Yom Tov, and R' Shabtai Horowitz, son of the Shelah.
Despite heading a yeshiva, R' Ephraim's primary legacy is as a
darshan / preacher. Besides delivering sermons in Lvov and
Prague, R' Ephraim was a regular preacher at the fairs in Lublin
and at meetings of the Va'ad Arbah Aratzot / the Council of the
Four Lands, the semi-autonomous governing body of Polish Jewry.
Among R' Ephraim's works, which are still popular today, are the
Torah commentary Kli Yakar and the homiletic compositions
Ir Gibborim, Olelot Ephraim, Amudai Shaish, Siftei Da'at, and
Orach Le'chaim. He also composed selichot / penitential prayers
to be recited on the second day of Adar, the anniversary of a
pogrom which occurred in Prague on that day in 1611. (R' Ephraim
records that the work Olelot Ephraim was written when he lived in
Jaroslaw and had no library. All of the numerous citations and
quotations to the Talmud, midrashim, and commentaries that are in
that work were written down from memory.)
Legend recalls that when the Maharal of Prague lay on his
deathbed (in 1609), he told his followers, "Go to Lvov and find a
man by the name of Ephraim Olelot. He will be your rabbi in my
place." A delegation from Prague traveled to Lvov and were
surprised, as was their host in Lvov, to find that the Maharal
had appointed a simple laborer to be his successor. (It is not
clear how this legend can be reconciled with the report that R'
Ephraim headed a yeshiva in Lvov.)
Sponsored by Rochelle Dimont and family, in memory of
father-in-law and grandfather,
Rabbi Shmuel Elchanan Dimont a"h
The Katz family, on the yahrzeits of
uncle, Avraham Abba ben Avigdor Moshe Hakohen a"h,
and aunt, Etia (Etush) bat Avigdor Moshe Hakohen a"h
Copyright © 2002 by Shlomo Katz
and Project Genesis, Inc.
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