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Posted on March 4, 2005 (5765) By Shlomo Katz | Series: | Level:

Parshas Vayakhel


Volume 19, No. 22
24 Adar I 5765
March 5, 2005

Today’s Learning:
Shevi’it 5:5-6
O.C. 324:11-13
Daf Yomi (Bavli): Berachot 5
Daf Yomi (Yerushalmi): Bava Batra 3

After reading in the last three parashot about the command to build the Mishkan / Tabernacle and its vessels, we read in this week’s parashah of the actual construction. In all, observes R’ Gedalyah Schorr z”l, there are seven parashot that discuss some aspect of the Mishkan’s construction. Likewise, we are taught that there are seven “Heavens.”

The purpose of the Mishkan was to be a “home” for Hashem. With each of these seven parashot, the Shechinah descended from one of the seven Heavens until it reached the Mishkan.

We read in this parashah that Bnei Yisrael brought so many donations for the Mishkan that Moshe had to proclaim, “Dai!” / “Enough!” The Gemara says similarly that when Hashem created the universe, it would have expanded indefinitely had He not said, “Dai” / “Enough!” (This is why one of G-d’s names is “Sha-dai.”) What does this mean?

R’ Schorr explains that the act of creation involved Hashem’s restricting His Light in order to make room for, i.e., to allow for the possibility of, a physical world. However, He struck a fine balance so that it is still possible to find Him within the physical world. Had He not commanded the physical world to stop expanding, that balance would have been lost and there would be no possibility of man’s recognizing G-d’s Light.

In contrast to the creation of the physical world, which caused Hashem’s presence to be hidden, Bnei Yisrael’s construction of the Mishkan caused Hashem’s presence to be revealed in this world. Here too, however, there is a limit, and it was necessary to say “Enough!” Otherwise, Hashem’s Light would overwhelm us. (Ohr Gedalyahu)

“On six days, work may be done, but the seventh day shall be holy for you, a day of complete rest for Hashem.” (35:2)

Why does the Torah use the passive voice, “Work may be done,” instead of the active voice, “You may work”? R’ Moshe Shmuel Glasner z”l (1856-1924; rabbi of Klausenberg; known as the Dor Revi’i) offers two answers:

The Midrash states that although craftsmen from Bnei Yisrael went through the motions of building the Mishkan / Tabernacle, the Mishkan in fact (miraculously) stood up on its own. The Midrash says that the same thing occurred when King Shlomo “built” the Bet Hamikdash.

We know that construction is not permitted on Shabbat, but one might think that this type of building is allowed. Therefore the Torah says that even passive work is permitted only on the six days of the week, but not on Shabbat.

Alternatively, one can answer our question as follows: It is G- d’s Will that man work to earn his sustenance. However, one of man’s constant challenges is recognizing when he has worked enough to fulfill G-d’s Will and when he is working to earn money for luxuries. The Torah uses the passive voice to emphasize that man should have a more casual attitude towards working. Only the person who has such a proper attitude can fulfill the next part of the verse, “the seventh day shall be holy,” says R’ Glasner. A person who is too wrapped up in his work may observe the Sabbath because he knows G-d demands it. However, his Shabbat will never be holy.

(Shevivei Eish)

“The men came with the women; everyone whose heart motivated him brought bracelets, nose-rings, rings, body ornaments. . .” (35:22)

The anonymous medieval commentary Da’at Zekeinim Mi’ba’alei Ha’tosafot states: Because the women did not give their jewelry willingly to make the Golden Calf and they did give it willingly to make the Mishkan, they merited that Rosh Chodesh was set aside as a holiday for women. Why Rosh Chodesh? Because the Miskhan was assembled on Rosh Chodesh (as related in next week’s parashah).

R’ Yissachar Ber Rotenberg z”l (the Voidaslaver Rav in Brooklyn; died 1988) observes: The Midrash from which the above comment is apparently drawn does not mention that the women gave willingly for the Mishkan, only that they did not give for the Golden Calf. However, the Da’at Zekeinim apparently understood that the women’s mere refusal to give up their jewelry for the Golden Calf was not sufficiently meritorious. Perhaps the women merely wanted to keep their jewelry. Only when they willingly gave it for the Mishkan was the righteousness of their previous behavior evident.

(Yarbeh Torah)

“But the melachah / work had been enough for all the work, to do it — and there was extra.” (36:7)

R’ Chaim bin Attar z”l (the Ohr Ha’chaim Hakadosh; died 1746) explains: Although Bnei Yisrael donated more materials than were needed for the Miskhan, Hashem caused a miracle to occur such that everything that was donated was used. Why? Due to his love for Bnei Yisrael, Hashem did not want any person to feel that his donation had been rejected.

One could also interpret the verse in the opposite way, writes R’ Yisrael Dan Taub shlita (the Modzhitzer Rebbe in Bnei Brak) in the name of his ancestor R’ Yechezkel of Kozmir z”l. The verse could mean that although Bnei Yisrael brought exactly enough materials for the Mishkan, Hashem caused a miracle and there were leftover materials.

What would have been the purpose of such a miracle? R’ Taub explains that, in order to promote humility, Hashem wanted each person to feel as if his donation had been the extra one. Why? Because the purpose of the Mishkan was to atone for the Golden Calf. Our Sages teach that haughtiness is a form of idol worship. Accordingly, the atonement for idol worship is humility.

(Yad Le’banim Al Pirkei Avot p.141)

“The wise-hearted among those doing the work made the Tabernacle . . . they made them with a ma’aseh chosheiv / woven design of cherubs” (36:8)

Why does this verse follow immediately after the verse quoted above, “But the work had been enough for all the work, to do it — and there was extra”? R’ Eliyahu Hakohen z”l of Izmir (died 1729) explains:

The Midrash states that the Mishkan stood up on its own. Thus, all the work that had been done by the craftsmen was, in fact, “extra.” However, Hashem rewards one’s sincere intention to do a mitzvah as if he actually did the mitzvah. This is alluded to by our verse: The work of the wise-hearted was ma’aseh chosheiv, which literally means, “A work of thought.” Although there was no need for the work of the wise-hearted, since the Mishkan “built” itself, nevertheless Hashem rewarded them for their thoughts.

(Semuchin L’ad)

About “Today’s Learning”

Having reviewed the history of the Daf Yomi program in last week’s Hamaayan, we present here an overview of the Mishnah Yomit, Halachah Yomit and the Talmud Yerushalmi Daf Yomi study programs which are “advertised” in the “Today’s Learning” section on the front page of each issue of Hamaayan.

Mishnah Yomit is a program of daily mishnah study. Every day, participants study two mishnayot. A complete cycle through the Six Orders of the Mishnah lasts about six years. (The last siyum / completion occurred on this past Shemini Atzeret.) The program was founded in 1947 by R’ Yonah Shtenzel z”l as a commemoration for the victims of the Holocaust.

The first listing in “Today’s Learning” is the Mishnah Yomit. Today’s listing, “Shevi’it 5:5-6,”means: Tractate Shevi’it, chapter 5, mishnah 5 and mishnah 6.

Halachah Yomit is a program for the daily study of those halachot which a Jew is most likely to need in his lifetime. A complete cycle lasts slightly more than three years.

The Halachah Yomit cycle consists of two parts. By way of background, the 16th century work Shulchan Aruch, the universally accepted code of Jewish law, consists of four divisions. These are: Orach Chaim (including laws of prayer, Shabbat and yom tov), Yoreh Deah (including laws of kashrut, niddah, mikvah, Torah study, honoring parents, charity, vows, and mourning), Choshen Mishpat (civil laws), and Even Ha’ezer (marriage and divorce). The well-known work Mishnah Berurah is a commentary on the Orach Chaim section.

The first part of the Halachah Yomit cycle involves the daily study of three paragraphs of Orach Chaim. However, because there are many laws that every Jew must know that are not found in Orach Chaim, time is devoted to studying those subjects from the 19th century work Kitzur Shulchan Aruch / the “Abridged Code of Law.” This study progresses at the rate of five paragraphs a day, although not always consecutive paragraphs. The selection of which paragraphs of Kitzur to study was made by the Chazon Ish z”l.

The second listing in “Today’s Learning” is the Halachah Yomit. The listing, “O.C. 324:11-13,” means Orach Chaim, chapter 324, paragraphs 11-13. (These particular paragraphs deal with feeding animals on Shabbat.)

The third listing in “Today’s Learning” is the Daf Yomi, the daily study of a page of the Bavli / Babylonian Talmud. The latest cycle began last Wednesday.

Talmud Yerushalmi Daf Yomi, the fourth listing in “Today’s Learning,” is the daily study of a page of the Jerusalem Talmud (as opposed to the more popular Talmud Bavli). There is a page for every day except Tishah B’Av and Yom Kippur. This program was founded by the Gerrer Rebbe, R’ Simcha Bunim Alter z”l.

Copyright © 2005 by Shlomo Katz and

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