Subscribe to a Weekly Series

Posted on March 13, 2024 (5784) By Rabbi Yissocher Frand | Series: | Level:

These divrei Torah were adapted from the hashkafa portion of Rabbi Yissocher Frand’s Commuter Chavrusah Tapes on the weekly portion: #1285 “It’s A Siman Min HaShamayim” – Is There Such A Thing? Good Shabbos!

The following thought on Parshas Pekudei comes from the sefer Nachalas Eliezer, written by Rav Eliezer Cohen, who was a Mashgiach in the Gateshead Yeshiva in England.

The Medrash says as follows on the words “Eleh pekudei haMishkan” (These are the reckonings of the Tabernacle) (Shemos 38:21). “At the time you made the Golden Calf and danced around it, you angered Me with the words “Eleh Elohecha Yisrael (This is your god O Israel) that brought you up from the Land of Egypt” (Shemos 32:4). Now that you made the Mishkan with the word eleh, my anger has been appeased, as this eleh atones for the earlier eleh.”

This is a Medrash that obviously requires some kind of an explanation. First of all, was the aveira (sin) of the Eigel HaZahav (Golden Calf) based on the fact that they used the word “Eleh“? The aveira was the fact that they made an Eigel HaZahav altogether, a pseudo avodah zarah. The expression “I was angered with the word eleh” seems a bit imprecise, to say the least. Also, what kind of atonement is it that they used the same word when building the Mishkan? Is this some type of gezeirah shavah? eleh-eleh?

The truth of the matter is that the Peirush Marzu on the bottom of the Medrash interprets this Medrash: The word eleh has a certain connotation. It has the connotation of “I am proud of this!” How do we know that? The Marzu writes that another Medrash says: Rav Yitzchak said, at the time of Creation, it is written “Eleh toldos hashamayim v’ha’aretz (These are the products of the heaven and the earth) when they were created on the day that Hashem, G-d made earth and heaven.” (Bereshis 2:4). The Creator praises them. He says, as it were, “Look! Look at My world. Look at what I have created.” The Creator praises the work of His Hands. This is the connotation of using the word eleh – Look at my accomplishment!

Now we can begin to understand the above-cited Medrash. Of course, it is horrible that they built an Eigel HaZahav. But it added insult to injury when they proclaimed “Eleh Elokecha Yisrael asher he’e’lucha m’Eretz Mitzrayim” as if they were proud of what they did. The Gemara (Berochos 19a) says “If someone sees a Torah scholar commit an aveira at night, don’t suspect him the next day – for he has certainly already done teshuva for his aveira of the previous night.”

We all slip up. If someone sees a talmid chochom who did an aveira at night, he clearly feels bad about it. Without a doubt, by the next morning, he has already done teshuva. A talmid chochom may have been momentarily grasped by his Yetzer HaRah, but he immediately makes amends and goes on with his life. On the other hand, the pasuk says “(Why do You stand aloof) when the wicked man glories in his personal desire and the robber praises himself that he has blasphemed Hashem?” (Tehillim 10:3). The rasha is proud of what he did. He regrets it not, but rather he brags about his wicked deeds.

This is the difference. Of course, the Egel haZahav was wrong, but dancing around the Egel and proudly saying “Eleh Elohecha Yisrael” really angered the Ribono shel Olam.

They were desperate. They thought they lost their leader and they did not know who would lead them. Fine. They made an Egel haZahav. Very Bad. But at least there would have been some extenuating circumstances to find some justification for their succumbing to their sense of desperation. But when they danced around it and pointed to it (eleh) with glee – that showed that there was no regret whatsoever. That is what angered the Almighty.

Eleh pekudei haMishkan shows that they were proud of having built the Mishkan. The money contributed, and the effort put into all the work of construction was something about which they felt very good, and they wanted to brag about it. That was the atonement for the aveira of the Egel.

Transcribed by David Twersky; Jerusalem [email protected]

Edited by Dovid Hoffman; Baltimore, MD [email protected]

This week’s write-up is adapted from the hashkafa portion of Rabbi Yissochar Frand’s Commuter Chavrusah Series on the weekly Torah portion. A listing of the halachic portions for Parshas Vayakeil/Pikudei is provided below:

  • # 047 Pikuach Nefesh: To Save a Life
  • # 090 The Melacha of Carrying
  • # 138 The Melacha of Tying Knots on Shabbos
  • # 185 The Melacha of Writing
  • # 231 Making a Siyum
  • # 275 Electricity in Halacha
  • # 321 Leap Year and the Second Adar
  • # 365 The Melacha of Tearing
  • # 409 The Melacha of Melabain (Laundering)
  • # 453 Wearing A Watch on Shabbos
  • # 497 The Tefillah of B’rich Sh’mei
  • # 541 Learning Kabbalah
  • # 585 The Melacha of Trapping
  • # 629 Sitting in Judgement on Shabbos
  • # 672 The Mishebeirach in Halacha
  • # 673 Putting A Sefer Torah in the Aron
  • # 717 One Hundred Brachos A Day
  • # 761 Killing Two Birds with One Stone
  • # 805 Baruch Sh’omar, Ashrei and Yishtabach
  • # 849 Saying L’shem Yichud – A Good Idea?
  • # 893 The Unique Parshas Sh’kolim
  • # 937 Magnetic Forces
  • # 980 Siyum M’sechta: For The Past Or For The Future?
  • #1024 Turning That Old Dress Into A Cover for a Sefer Torah?
  • #1068 “This (Aron Kodesh/Ner Tamid/Window) Is Donated By”…A Good Idea
  • #1111 Paying the Baal Koreh/Chazan/Babysitter for Shabbos
  • #1154 Does The Husband’s Early Kabolas Shabbos Affect His Wife?
  • #1197 Hachana Issues: Loading Dishwasher on Shabbos; Defrosting For Yom.Tov Sheni
  • #1241 The Case of the Mishloach Manos That Was Delivered to the Wrong Person
  • #1285 “It’s A Siman Min HaShamayim”: Is There Such A Thing?
  • #1328 A Fascinating Muktzeh/Tevilas Keilim Shaila
  • #1329 Finishing a sefer of Tanach: Does It Warrant a Seudas Siyum? And Other Siyum Issues
  • #1416 Does the Prohibition of Not Taking Medicine on Shabbos Still Apply in Our Day and Age?
  • #1461 What Do the Urim ve’Tumim and Scrabble Have to Do With Each Other?
  • #1504 Must You Share Your Trade Secrets Recipes Methods? If You Don’t Can I Steal Them?
  • #1505 Giving Tzedaka for Kavod and Other Tzedaka Questions
  • #1547 Can I Buy/Bake Chometz Before Pesach With the Intention to Sell It With The Chometz

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 [email protected] or visit for further information.