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Shmini

   (9:1) “Vayehe Bayom Hashimini-And it was on the eighth day.”

The word “Vayehe” always hints to some sadness. Here it is the death of Aharon’s two sons. Nadav and Avihu. Many reasons have been given for their death by many commentators. Actually in Parshas Mishpatim by the giving of the Torah, we learned that Nadav and Avihu gazed at G-d while they ate and drank (Shemos 24:10) for this reason they may have deserved death but Hashem delayed their punishment not to mar the joy of the giving of the Torah. Instead He waited until this day, the day of the dedication of the Mishkon. It’s quite puzzling that this eighth day would be chosen since it is considered the most joyous day since the creation of the world?

   One answer is given by the Dubneh Maggid who gives the following parable. There was once a king who wished to build a great city. He wanted to spare no expense in having the finest of everything. He would bring the best craftsmen to build his palace and the most expensive materials were used. But it would not be complete unless they also included the finest people. So they went to seek out the most competent professionals. They found a doctor who had a reputation for being able to cure all types of ailments. Not long after he arrived, one of the elders of the city took ill. When the doctor went to visit him, he saw this man was gravely ill but the doctor said he would take the position and cure him. But soon after he began treating him he died. The king said to him “What kind of doctor are you? You said you could heal him?” To which the doctor replied “ If the people will think I can heal any type of illness, they will begin neglecting their health and only rely on me to cure them. Thus my coming here would be a disservice to the city. Now that they know that I cannot fix everything they will take heed of their health.”

   The same is true regarding the Mishkon. The Mishkon was a place to reconnect the sinners with Hashem. But if they thought it can cure every sin they would begin neglecting the Torah and Mitzvos that is incumbent upon them. Therefore on the very first day of the functioning Mishkon Hashem needed to demonstrate this fact. This sent the most powerful message to Klal Yisroel. That even the most righteous sons of Aharon Hakohen are not above such judgements.

   (9:1) “Vayehe Bayom Hashimini-And it was on the eighth day.” This was actually the first working day of the Mishkon. Why is it referred to as the eighth day? R. Dovid Feinstein writes that it comes to show how the preparations leading up to the dedication of the Mishkon are just as important as the dedication itself. The Gemarrah in Megillah point out that there are similarities between the wording here and the wording found at the six days of creation. The word “Hashimini” with the letter “hey” indicates a special day just as the word used by the first Shabbos uses the “hey”to express the uniqueness of “Yom Hasheshe” the sixth day of creation. Being that this was the culmination of what the world was created for, to bring the Shechinah back down to the physical world, it means that this was the continuation of Masser Bereishis. Seven represents the tevah, the physical laws of the world, and Shimini represents above the physical, beyond the laws of nature.

   Rashi quotes the Gemarrah that says this day was as joyous to Hashem as the day the heaven and earth were created. We learn this from the similarity of words in Bereishis, which it uses the word “Vayehe”and the opening of our parsha where the word “Vayehe” is used as well. The Shem M’shmuel writes that really this was the first day of the working Mishkon.

   We usually find that the number “eight” is more valued than the number seven. It is known that seven represents nature and eight is considered above nature. However here it seems to be reversed. All of the seven days of the inauguration of the sanctuary the Kohanim had to remain inside the tent of meeting and sacrifices were considered the holiest of holy only being allowed to be eaten in the courtyard of the Ohel Moed. On the eighth day the priests were not restricted to one place and the sacrifice was plain Kodesh and was permitted to be eaten in any place that was free of contamination just as the rest of the year?

   To explain this concept we must look at the words of the Zohar with regard to the eating of matzoh. If matzoh is beneficial to our soul why is it not eaten all year long? He answers with a Moshel of a person who is ill and given a strict diet. Once he has regained his strength and has recovered from his illness he once again permitted to eat whatever he wishes. So too with regard to matzoh. When Klal Yisroel were in their infancy matzoh was required to strengthen their spiritual fortitude. Once strong they were not only permitted to eat chometz they were required to elevate it through consumption. This can also be said of the days of inauguration. For at the outset more caution was called for. Seven represents nature and nature is physicality. Man needs to be cautioned not to drown in physicality. Moshe prepared the Tabernacle for seven days elevating it and preparing it for Aharon to take over. On the eighth day Moshe called to his brother and his sons raising them to the level required to serve in the Mishkon. Only after seven days would this be possible.

   This hints to the very first Shabbos of creation and was a direct attempt to correct the original sin. The intent was that there be a Shabbos after six days of creation. That is, all the work of the seventh day was to be doubled over on he sixth day. Therefore when the seventh day of Shabbos arrived seven days of work had been completed. The intent being for the Shabbos day to sanctify the previous work days to the extent that they would never lose that Kiddusha. That is why Chazal say that had Man waited for Shabbos to come before the first sin, the world would have reached its perfection. The light of Shabbos, which is above nature, would have illuminated all of creation. Here the eighth day served as the completion of the seven inaugural days. But it was not enough to prevent the tragedy that occurred and marred the greatest day since the creation of the world.

   In this weeks parsha we have the final steps in the dedication of the Mishkon. There were ten miracles that occurred on that day. The culmination of which was the fire coming down through the Kodeshe Kodshim across the courtyard to the Mizbeach and consuming the Korbon in front of the entire nation. At that point they all screamed and bowed. Miraculously there was enough room for everyone to bow. The need for that miracle was to teach Yisrael that spirituality is not bound by space. It demonstrated that it was equally possible for the vastness of G-D to reside in a limited small place. In a Tabernacle.

   The parsha begins with the word “Vayehe” which always indicates a form of sadness. Besides the death of Aaron's two sons there was also another sadness associated with the Mishkon. Originally each Jew was to be worthy of the Divine Presence resting on him, but after the chet of the Eigel it was necessary for the Mishkon to be the resting place of the Shechina. So it was truly sad that the Mishkon was dedicated because along with that joy was the realization that they had lost the opportunity for even greater closeness to Hashem.

   After Aaron performed the service he stood in the courtyard in front of the altar awaiting the heavenly fire to descend but nothing happened. At this point he said to Moshe “Why did you put me up to this? It’s obvious that Hashem hasn’t forgiven me for my role in the chet H’eigel.” At which point Moshe and Aaron prayed together and a fire descended and consumed the sacrifice. The question is why did the revelation of the Shechina not immediately follow Aharon’s service? The answer is that by withholding the heavenly fire Hashem demonstrated that His presence cannot be evoked automatically. That by just mixing together certain ingredients one cannot cause the Shechina to appear. Pardoning of sin is not something that is guaranteed by just going through the motions but depends ultimately on the individual and the spirit with which a sacrifice is brought.

   (9:24)"A fire came forth from before Hashem ותצא אש מלפני ה׳

This fire contained five miracles. It came down in a pillar, it was shaped like a lion, it consumed both wet and dry and was without smoke. It was one of the four original elements of creation.  

   (10:1) “Vayikchu Benei Aharon Nadav V’avihu Ish Machtaso-The sons of Aharon Nadav and Avihu each took his firepan.” When Nadav and Avihu saw the great love that Hashem showed by consuming the korbonos they felt a tremendous need to reciprocate. What they did was with the highest intentions. Why then should they have deserved death? The Chidushe HaRim explains that when a person does a mitzvah with tremendous devotion his soul should leave him and cleave to Hashem. The only reason that his soul does not leave is because Hashem commanded the mitzvah and Hashem wants a person to live and do the Mitzvos. But in this case there was no command so they had no merit with which to keep the body and soul from separating. This is why the posuk says of their sin “they brought a fire which had not been commanded.”

   According to Jewish tradition the universe is a composite of the four basic elements, fire, air, earth and water mixed in varying proportions. The basic idea of the four elements is spiritual. They are really the emanations of the four letters of Hashem's holy name.YHVH. The elements as we encounter them in the physical universe are the very outermost expressions of these spiritual emanations. The level of physicality is always the very surface layer of reality that covers the metaphysical that lie concealed underneath.

   The Sefer Nefesh Hachaim explains that as we encounter these elements in an everyday experience, fire always goes up toward heaven. It never burns in a downward direction. It has the capacity to transform all physical objects into smoke. Symbolically, the elements fire represents the drive towards spirituality, a drive to return to the creator and be consumed by a spiritual union with him.

   Earth is at the opposite extreme. It never falls up but always descends down to the bottom of any solution. Symbolically fire and earth are two extremes. Burning passion for spirituality versus total apathy towards any spiritual movement. One of the four elements in man is fire. It is the predominant element, since it energizes him and enables him to move and function. Therefore Hashem's blessing is most needed there. In the temple a constant fire was required from below to mask the fire that descends from above. The aim of the blessing is wholeness, assuring that there is nothing missing and nothing extra. Too much fire can cause haughtiness, while too little can weaken his strength and ability to fulfill his purpose in the world.

   When the sons of Aharon added fire without being commanded it caused a corresponding fire to come down into them that was more than they could handle and they were consumed. For Hashem responds according to the persons actions. This is why their bodies were not affected. The fire from heaven that fuels the soul caused an overload.

   (10:3) "Vayidom Aharon- Aharon was silent" The word "Vayidom" means more than just silent. The root of the word is Domaim which means inanimate like a rock. Aharon was not just silent on n the outside while bursting with pain inside. He was able to be accepting throughout. When a tragedy as great as this occurs it is Hashem speaking. This could be the meaning of Moshe's words of consolation to his brother. "Vayomer Moshe el Aharon Hu Asher Dibaer Hashem- Moshe said to Aharon this is what Hashem said." Do not read it as what Hashem said but rather "This is Hashem speaking."

     (10:3) "Vayidom Aharon- Aharon was silent" What was it that he could have said? The Yalkut says he could have said "Ben Shemonas Yomim Yimol-On the eighth day we do Bris Milah." What does this have to do with the death of Nadav and Avihu? The Gemarrah writes that Avraham Avinu stands positioned at the gates oF Gehenom and prevents anyone circumcised from entering. The message is that there is life after death for those who keep the Torah. The words "Vataitze Aish M'Lifnei Hashem-A fire went out from before Hashem" is equal to 1034 the same as the phrase "Ben Shemonas Yomim Yimol-On the eighth day we do Bris Milah."

   The korbon that was brought on this first day of the Mishkon was to atone for the chet of the Eigel and also the chet of the selling of Yosef. Why was this done here and what is the connection between the two averos? One of the reasons the brothers had for selling Yosef was that they saw in him there would come out Yirovum who later was the one to erect the Avodah Zara in Beis El. When the Jews would go up to the Beis Hamikdosh they had to pass this Avodeh Zara. So now that their own descendants committed this chet of Avodah Zara by the Eigel they had to have a kapora for the chet of Yosef as well.

   According to those who hold that the sin of the Eitz Hadas was committed through the use of the Grape vine, this was the reason Nadav and Avihu are considered to have sinned by becoming intoxicated with wine. Because what they really wanted to do was correct the sin of Adom by using the wine for the correct reason. But they were not commanded to do so.

   Immediately following their deaths we find Moshe speaking to Aharon, stating that “I knew Hashem would be honored through the one’s closest to Him, but I always thought it would be you or me. Now I see that they were even greater than us." Many commentaries debate Nadav and Avihu's sin. They drank wine before entering the Holy of holies. The decided halacha in front of Moshe. They refused to marry. They were anxious to take over the leadership from Moshe and Aharon. How could Moshe think they were greater than Moshe and Aharon? The Sefas Emes writes that before the sin of the golden calf, Klal Yisroel were on the level of Naaseh V'nishma. After that sin they lost that level. Nadav and Avihu being from the tribe of Levi, were not involved with the sin of the golden calf, they remained on the level of Naaseh V'nishma a level where doing precedes hearing. They wanted to lead the nation to this higher level. But the nation was not yet ready for that greatness.

   The Sefas Emes writes that when Moshe consoled his brother he quoted Hashem's words “B’krovaye Akodesh-through my closest I will be honored.” The gematria of B’krovaye Akodesh equals 719. There are only five words in the entire Torah that have the same numerical value. The first four are Ashkis- I will destroy, V’shechasa-He will destroy, Satis-you have gone aside, and Taktir-You shall burn. Each of these can be related to the deaths of Nadav and Avihu in some way, but just as there are four cups on Passover representing the four exiles, there is in every generation those neshamas that have to be sacrificed before the redemption arrives. But there is a fifth word, and there is a fifth cup. The fifth word that equals 719 is V’hashevoso- you shall restore it. Just as there is a fifth cup representing the final geulah, there is a fifth word here representing return to Hashem. The sacrifice of Nadav and Avihu’s neshamas, B’krovaye Akodesh-through my closest I will be honored, show how their sacrifice was not in vain.

Where did these two holy souls go after they left the bodies of Nadav and Avihu? The Arizal says they entered into the body of Pinchas and the three of them became Eliyahu Hanavi. This is precisely what the fifth cup represents, Eliyahu. The gematria of Pinchas is 208 the same as Nadav and Avihu plus Eliyahu H'navi. The negative effects of the fire that consumed Nadav and Avihu was rectified in Eliyahu H'navi who left this world, whole, in a chariot of fire.

   (10:1) “Asher Lo Tzivo-Which they were not commanded.” When Moshe Rabeinu was on Har Sinai receiving the Torah he was challenged by the Angels who believed that the Torah should not be given to man. Hashem told Moshe to respond to them. When his arguments won them over he was given gifts by all of the angels. The angel of death, thinking that his role in the world was completed, gave Moshe the secret of warding off death. Through the burning of incense death can be held at bay. This secret became known to Nadav and Avihu. The Chasam Sofer writes that this is the meaning of the words “Asher Lo Tzivo-Which they were not commanded.” One of the names for the Angel of Death is “Lo” which is the reverse of Hashem’s name (Kael) . It comes out then, that their actions were a result of listening to the Angel of Death! “Asher Lo Tzivo-Which Lo commanded.”They were commanded by the angel named “LO”

   (10:19)"בנים הנותרים-" Even though Moshe directed his speech to Ahron's sons they remained silent. This behavior displayed their merit unlike their brothers who spoke before their Rebbe. That's why they are referred to as the surviving sons.

   The parsha goes on to inform us what animals are permissible to eat. This is one of the proofs to the authenticity of the Torah since it is impossible for any human to have known two thousand years ago every species of animal that exists. Even today scientist are finding out new things about the animal world, yet the Torah wrote specific details about these animals that are the only ones of their kind to have these signs. Recently it was found that the two pipes that are cut in the throat of an animal are connected to the brain by a nerve in the spine. This led the scientific community to claim that the ritual slaughter of animals done by Jews is inhumane. A study was conducted and the results of the scientists were confirmed. Every animal that did not have split hooves or chewed its cud had this nerve in its spine. And every animal that either chewed its cud or had split hooves did not have this nerve.

   The parsha details the events of the eighth day of the inauguration of the Mishkon. This was considered the greatest day since the creation of the world. The Shechina was brought back down to this physical world through the efforts of man. The Parsha go on to describe the tragic events that marred this day with the death of Aharon’s two sons Nadav and Avihu. But the parsha ends with the details of what is permissible as food. The animals that are considered kosher, what signs determine if they are pure, what insects are permissible? It would seem out of place for the Torah to include this in this parsha?

   If we were to take a step back we would see how vital this information is for us right here. From the very beginning food is what caused the very first separation between man and G-d, when Adom and Chava ate from the forbidden fruit. We find that at every turn we use food to create a connection with Hashem. At the birth of a child we make a Kiddush for a girl or a Shalom Zachar for a boy. For a Yartzeit we make a Kiddush. At every opportunity we use food to reconnect. If a person would stop eating for only a few days the body and soul would separate permanently. This is why today in place of the sacrifices we have prayer which comes from the same place as food.

   The Torah has given us the means to reconnect to Hashem. Now we have the instructions of how to maintain that connection. In the chain of life every stage advances over the previous one. The inanimate is consumed by the animal world; they in turn become a part of them. Animal are consumed by man and in turn become a part of him. The greatest merit for an animal is to be consumed by a Tzaddik, to become a part of his mitzvos. Originally man was vegetarian. Only after the generation of the flood did meat become permissible to man. After a generation of corruption where the entire world had to be destroyed the process of correction began. As the souls of that generation transmigrated into other life forms the need for animals to be consumed by man became necessary for their correction. The Torah outlines those animals whose nature and character are kind and gentle, to be the one’s incorporated into man.

11:43-Rashi says, by eating these unclean foods, you will become unclean on earth. And thus Hashem says, I will in turn cause you to become unclean in the world to come! The consumption of these foods impedes a persons ability to elevate and sanctify himself. It creates a barrier between a Jew and his perception of Hashem. Just as painkillers dull the nerves, forbidden foods dull the spiritual antenna.

   (11:44) “V’Heyisem K’doshim Ki Kodosh Ani-You will be holy for I am Holy.”Whenever the Torah writes the word “Holy” referring to man it is spelled without a “Vav”. When referring to Hashem it is spelled with the “Vav” The idea behind it is that all Kidusha comes from Hashem. The letter “Vav” is the letter of connection from above to below. The word Shmini equals Kodesh in gematria. But just as we know how to make Kiddush nowadays this Parsha, with all of the laws of Kasheruth teaches that we must know how to make Havdalah as well

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Charedi Woman to Light Torch During National Yom Ha’atzmaut Ceremony

A  Challenge to the Norm

This article about Racheli Ganot, a Charedi leader in the High-Tech world of Israel, caught our attention.She has been chosen to be one of Israel’s torchlighters for the national Yom Ha’atzmaut Ceremony this year. Ganot, who is turning 40 this year, lives in Bnei Brak and has been working tirelessly over her career to increase the integration of Charedi women in the largely male-dominated and Secular-dominated field of high-tech in Israel.

Rachieli represents a significant symbol in the occupational revolution that is making waves in the Charedi world. Ganot is the Founder and CEO of Rachip, a company that works to develop hardware and software solutions for high-tech companies across the globe. She also trains and mentors other Charedi women in an effort to help them enter the workforce. She enables their entrance by building a surrounding environment for them that is appropriate for their needs.

The Ministry for Culture issued a statement that said that Ganot is a perfect combination of maintaining the traditional values that are unique to Charedi society while at the sam time embracing its innovation and involvement in the larger Israeli society. This is in addition to her monumental work of helping young women enter into the continuously changing and developing world of high-tech in Israel.

 

Chazal tell us that in the zechus of the women of valor in Egypt, we were redeemed (indeed the parsha of shemos begins with the bravery of the midwives.) A secular woman cannot understand how a 'liberated ' and successful lady could treasure znius and traditional values of family.And this is especailly true when so many chareidi men opt for full time learning.It 'doesn't make sense.' But this is the reality of the meaning of  עם קדוש -a "Holy Nation".

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Vayikra

   This week we begin the third and arguably the most difficult Sefer of the Torah. In the account of creation, the word light is written five times, corresponding to the Five Books of Moshe. The Midrash writes that “G-d said Let there be light” corresponds to the Book of Bereshis, in which Hashem busied Himself with creating the world. “And there was light” corresponds to the Book of Shemos, in which Hashem took the Jewish people from darkness to light. “Hashem saw the light was good.” corresponds to the Book of Vayikra, which is filled with many laws. “Hashem separated the light from the darkness”, corresponds to the Book of Bamidbar, which separates between those who left Egypt and those who entered the land. “Hashem called the light day” corresponds to the Book of Devarim, which made clear the many laws it reviewed.

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Pekude

The parsha begins with the words “Eileh Pekuday HaMishkon Mishkon Ha'adus.” The word “Ha'adus” equals 479, the amount of years the Mishkon stood. The word “Mishkon” equals 410, the amount of years the first Beis Hamikdosh stood. The word "Hamishkon" equals 415 plus the five letters in the word Hamishkon equals 420 the amount of years the second Beis Hamikdosh stood. The question is why do we need to add the five letters to complete the total? The reason is because the second Beis Hamikdosh was missing five miracles that the first Beis Hamikdosh had. They were the fire of the Mizbe'ach, the Luchos, the Urim Vetumim, the Choshen and the Shechina.

   The question remains that if the first Beis Hamikdosh stood for 410 years, why is it only hinted after the second Beis Hamikdosh? The Satmar Rebbe says the following. The entire reason for the accounting done in this weeks Parsha is because of the slight doubt that Yisrael had regarding the donations given to Moshe. This was the root of the future Sinas Chinom that destroyed the second Beis Hamikdosh. Therefore perhaps here the Torah hints at the years of the second temple first.

(38:22) "U'Betzalel Ben Uri Ben Chur Lemateh Yehudah Asah es Kol Asher Tzivah Hashem es Moshe-Betzalel the son Uri the son of Chur did everything that Hashem commanded Moshe." Why does the Torah say he did everything that Hashem commanded Moshe? It should have said he did everything Moshe told him to do? But Rashi explains that when Moshe told Betzalel the order of construction, he did it in reverse. First build the furnishings and then the building. However Betzalel understood Hashem's real intentions and Moshe agreed that he was correct. It thus comes out that Bezalel did everything that Hashem commanded Moshe even when Moshe didn’t give it over. The question thus becomes how could Moshe get it wrong? The Meam Loez answers that Moshe was focusing on the order of importance as we see from who carried the various parts. The Aron which housed the Luchos was the most valuable and thus carried by the most honored family of the Levites. Moshe looked at the bigger picture, the purpose of all these various parts which was to create a place for the divine spirit to dwell. That was his focus. But the order of their construction he did not give over to Betzalel.

(38:24) “Kol H’Zahav H’asuy L’Malacha B’Kol Meleches Hakodesh-All of the gold that was used for the Holy work.” In this weeks parsha we find Moshe giving an account of all the donations given towards the Mishkon. It says how much was given and then goes into detail as to how it was all used. How much silver was used for sockets and how much for all the details. But we don't find an account in detail pertaining to the gold? By all the other donations the details are given except the gold? It might be possible to answer based on a Midrash that said the Ark that held the luchos was covered with gold. It had the Cheruvim on top of it that was made of solid gold yet it says when it was carried it was weightless. I once heard from R.Shlomo Freifeld based on a Midrash, that gold was created in this world exclusively for the Beis Hamikdosh. The epitome of the material world is gold, it being the most sought after of physical things. All currencies are based on gold. So when it has come to its ultimate state, to its purpose for being created, it becomes divested from its physical ties and becomes kodesh and therefore weightless. The entire nature of gold’s material value is its weight. By making it kodesh it now transcends any physical connection. It can no longer ever be used for something mundane. This could be why an accounting was given for the donation of gold., but once it was used there could no longer be an accounting.(Nireh Li)

The words "Kol H’Zahav H’asuy L’Malacha B’Kol Meleches Hakodesh" can be translated as Kol H'zahav All of the gold- H'asuy-That was ever created L'Malacha B'Kol Meleches Hakodesh was to be used for Kodesh.

   Why is gold the only material that has such a lofty purpose? Perhaps we can say that it is because of gold’s unique ability to never become lost. Through constant refining gold can be extracted from any material it was mixed with. It can always be refined, recovered. This is likened to Klal Yisroel.   This was the purpose of the sanctuary, to always be able to retrieve the lost souls of Israel scattered throughout the nations of the world.

   The Meam Loez has a different answer. He says that there wasn't enough gold donated to the Mishkon to make all of the vessels. They only had enough for the Aron that held the Luchos and the cover with the Cheruvim. This alone was of tremendous weight. But there was a miracle regarding the gold. No matter how much they took out there was always enough. This he says is why there was no accounting given of the gold.

   The parsha begins with the word “Ayleh” these. We learned that whenever it says "Ve-ayleh " it is connecting the following to the previous. The question is why does it not use the word "Ve-ayleh" since the previous parsha is on the same subject? Perhaps since the previous parsha was dealing with all of the items that were donated for the Mishkon, which was a kapora for the chet of the Eigel, now in order to make a separation the “vav” is omitted. This means to say that the chet of the Eigel is forgiven now we must move on.

   Also the word "Ayleh" is a Remez to the "Ayleh" used by the Chet of the Eigel when the eruv rav showed them the zodiac signs and said these (Ayleh) are your Gods.

   The Zohar has a different approach. He makes the connection between the word Pekude and the words Pokod Pokadity the phrase that Moshe used at the start of his mission and which was the sign that was handed down from generation to generation that their would be a savior someday. Another meaning for the word Pokod counting is also to visit.

   Moshe announced to Benei Yisroel that after they would be taken out of Egypt Hashem would visit i.e.. dwell amongst them. Now at the end of Sefer Shemos the Torah shows how this promise was fulfilled through the building of the Mishkon. So now the words read Ayleh Pekude Hamishkon Mishkon Ha'Adus -This is the accounting of the Mishkon, The Mishkon of the testimony (of Hashem's love for his people) Asher Pokod al-pi Moshe-The visit that came about through the words of Moshe. In other words through the Tefilos of Moshe the Jews were forgiven the sin of the Eigel and now this can be seen by the fact that the Shechina would once again dwell in their midst.

   The parsha deals with the accounting of the Mishkon. This was in itself the Aidus that the chet of the Eigel was forgiven. We see that when a person overeats he is not taking into account the amount of food he is eating. But if he would become sick, the medicine taken would be very much measured. The same is here by the Mishkon which was the cure for the chet of the Eigel. It was measured and accounted for totally thereby testifying to the remedy of their sin.      

   (39:32) “VaTeichel Kol-Avodas Mishkon Ohel Moed Vayasu Benei Yisroel K’Kol Asher Tzivo Hashem es Moshe Kain Asu- All of the work of the Mishkon, the Tent of Meeing was completed, and the children of Israel had done like everything that Hashem commanded Moshe, so they did. Why does the Torah use the word “KiKol”- like everything? In addition the verse seems out of order? First it should say Benei Yisroel had done everything Hashem commanded and then say all of the work was completed? Perhaps to answer both questions we must take note of the word “VaTeichal- the work was completed.” If the Torah had said “They completed all of the work” it would indicate that the craftsman had done all of the work. However, when the Torah says “the work was completed” it indicates that the work was completed on its own.

It is important to realize that without Hashem’s help they could not have made the Mishkon themselves. Human intellect could not grasp the complexity of the various types of work needed to create a microcosm of the universe. A place for Hashem’s Shechina to dwell. However when the craftsmen took the work in their hands and began they were helped from on high and the work was completed by itself. This explains the order of this verse as well as the use of the word “KiKol”. The work was completed without them but they began the process “KiKol” Like all that Hashem commanded Moshe. The same is true of every sacred deed man undertakes. It may seem very difficult and a person may say “How can I perform such a sacred deed? It’s not humanly possible.” But if we do it for the sake of Heaven, we will receive help from on high. And even though a person may have received a large amount of Divine help, he is still given credit as if he himself had done it.

   (39:33) They brought the Mishkon to Moshe to erect for it was impossible for anyone to erect it. Moshe said to Hashem "how can I lift it myself?" Hashem told him to place his hands on the walls and begin to lift it and it will erect itself. That was good for the first time that the Mishkon was erected. What about the other 42 times the entire nation traveled and the Mishkon was assembled and disassembled? Who did it then? There is a story about the Beis Yosef who was struggling with a question on a Tosefes for three days. One night in a dream he was given the answer. When he awoke the next morning he looked at the Tosfes and the answer he dreamed made sense. Later when he went to shul the Rov of the shul was giving a shiur on that Gemorra. He asked the same question on the Tosfes and gave the same answer that the Beis Yosef dreamed. The Beis Yosef was distraught. Here was a simple Rov who apparently had easily come across the answer that had eluded the Beis Yosef for three days! That night he had another dream in which he was told that really it was because of his struggle that the answer came down to this world. Once it was here it was here for everyone. The same is true of the erecting of the Mishkon. Once it was done by Moshe it was no longer that difficult for the rest of Yisroel to accomplish. We see from this a tremendous lesson. That whenever a person attempts to do a difficult command of Hashem he must begin and then Hashem provides the help needed to accomplish even the impossible.

   The Oznayim L'Torah writes since the tabernacle was like the creation of heaven and earth, Hashem insisted that one man Moshe, the man of God erect it himself, just as creation was brought about solely by Hashem. The words Vayichal Moshe es Ha'melocha are equal tothe word Bereishis. (913)

   Rashi says the reason the job of erecting the Mishkon was given to Moshe is because he didn't have a part in the building of the various parts of the Mishkon. But we learned that Moshe made the Menorah? And if you want to say that the Menorah made itself as we have learned Moshe could not understand how to make it until Hashem said throw the gold into the fire and the Menorah will come out. Moshe had to initiate the first act of throwing in the gold and Hashem would do the rest. The same can be said by the erecting of the Mishkon. Because it says that no one was able to erect it since it was so heavy. Hashem told Moshe to place his hands on the walls and they will erect themselves. So why does Rashi say Moshe had no part in the making of the Mishkon? It could be that they are two separate things. One is the making of the Mishkon the other is the making of the vessels. So it would come out that both things are credited to Moshe even though they are both things that he really was unable to do without the help of Hashem.

   In this weeks parsha the phrase "as Hashem commanded" appears eighteen times. This corresponds to the 18 brachos of Shimoneh Esrei. This is to teach us that, even though we no longer have the Mishkon, by saying Shimoneh Esrei it is as if we build our own Mishkon.

   When Moshe told Betzalel to build the Mishkon he said first build the utensils then the structure. Betzalel answered first we build the house then the furniture. To which Moshe replied "were you walking in the shadow of Hashem?" Thereby saying you are right, first the house then the furniture. (Talmud - Brachot 55a)

            How can it be that Moshe was wrong? How could he not give over the directions he heard from Hashem precisely the way Hashem said them? To understand this difficult piece of Talmud requires an appreciation of the Mishkan and its vessels. That in turn depends on understanding the relationship of our bodies to our souls. We live in a physical world, and our soul is confined in a physical body. For that reason, says Sefer Hachinuch, that which we experience physically makes a stronger impression on us and, in turn, motivates our hearts and souls. Thus, for instance, the eating and drinking on Yom Tov is designed to bring out the spiritual joy of our souls. The performance of actions associated with happiness, and not the mental contemplation of happiness, engenders that emotional state. The proper external actions are, according to Sefer Hachinuch, the means by which one reaches the proper inner intention. For that reason, one must occupy himself in the study of Torah - even not for its own sake, for learning will eventually bring him to Torah for its own sake. The Mishkan similarly was a physical environment which exercised the most profound effect on all who beheld it. The physical impression it created was transmuted into a powerful inner feeling.

            Physical actions have another purpose beyond arousing the proper inner attachment to Hashem. Our task in this world is to place our spiritual beings in control of our physical beings. When we act in conformity with our deepest spiritual perceptions, we are actualizing our inner potential. The Ramban explains (Genesis 22:1) that the essence of the tests to which Hashem subjects tzaddikim is that it allows them to realize their spiritual potential in action. Actions performed with the proper intention infuse all realms of the world with spiritual power. This same dynamic relation between external action and inner intent is symbolized by the Mishkan itself. Prior to the sin of the Golden Calf, the Mishkan was not needed for Hashem's presence to devolve upon the Jewish people. With the sin of the Golden Calf, however, the people showed that they needed a physical entity upon which to focus their attention in order to experience Hashem's presence. The Mishkan served this need, and hence only there could Hashem's Presence be felt in its full intensity.

            The commentary Meshech Chochma notes that in Parshas Ki Sisa the discussion of Shabbos follows the discussion of the Mishkan. In Parshas Vayakhel, the order is reversed. Shabbos strengthens our belief in Hashem as the Creator of the Universe. As originally conceived prior to the sin of the Golden Calf, the Mishkan was meant to give external expression to that belief in Hashem. But it was not needed to engender that belief, since Hashem's presence already dwelt on each Jew wherever he was. Since the Mishkan was only to enhance our belief in the same way that Shabbos does, there would at that time have been no conflict between the activities of the Mishkan and Shabbos. Hence, in Parshas Ki Sisa, prior to the sin, the Mishkan precedes Shabbos. After the sin of the Golden Calf however, the Mishkan was needed for Hashem's presence to rest on the Jewish People. Construction of the Mishkan was no longer an expression of Divine service, but a precondition for that service. As such, the activities of the Mishkan and attendant construction work could no longer be permitted on Shabbos. This is hinted to in the fact that in Parshas Vayakhel, after the Sin of the Golden Calf, the discussion of Shabbos precedes that of the Mishkan, from which we learn that the activities of the Mishkan are prohibited on Shabbos. Moshe was first told of the Mishkan before the sin of the Golden Calf. At that time, the structure of the Mishkan itself was of secondary importance, and the vessels through which man would actualize his feelings for God were the principal aspect of the Mishkan. Therefore, Moshe mentioned the vessels first. The Jews were then far above the natural order of the world in which the house precedes the vessels. They needed no majestic structure to house the holiness of Hashem's Presence. Betzalel, however, received the command to build the Mishkan after the sin of the Golden Calf. He realized that Hashem's intention now was to create an environment to inspire inner spiritual feelings which would be actualized through the vessels. Betzalel understood what Moshe did not - that Hashem's original command was specific in its order because Hashem knew that the Jewish people would sin and require the Mishkan in order to experience His Presence. The Maharal explains that the difference between Moshe's view and that of Betzalel was that Moshe looked at the Mishkon as it was in its original state before the chet, when the inner core was more powerful than the outer influence. Betzalel recognized that after the chet the inner core had to be protected from the outside influences. Moshe told Betzalel the order in an unclear manner to show that Betzalel had ruach hakodesh and that he would not only do everything Moshe told him, but also the things that Moshe didn't tell him as well.

   There seems to be a correlation between the phrases in this week’s parsha and the phrases that we find in Bereishis by the creation of the world. It says that they brought all of the various parts of the Mishkon to Moshe and then it says (39:43) "Vayar Moshe es Kol-Hamilacha-Vayvorech Osum Moshe- Moshe saw all of the work and Moshe blessed them." A similar phrase is found after the completion of Ma'aseh Bereshis where we find that Hashem saw all of his creations and blessed them. Also why is it that Moshe was required to assemble and disassemble the Mishkon for seven days? Even on Shabbos? Perhaps we can say that just like the Mishkon was a microcosm of a perfect world, in its creation there was also the parallel seven days. The Shem Meshmuel writes that Moshe attained the highest level that a human can attain when he was willing to sacrifice himself for Benei Yisroel so they would be forgiven the Chet of the Eigel. We see that after this incident the Torah relates how his face, which reveals the inside of a person, changed so much so that it became necessary for him to wear a mask. He was on a level that no man had ever achieved. Now at the end of this Sefer we see the climax of human achievement. Man's mission in this world is to emulate his creator. The completion of the Mishkon was probably the most phenomenal occurrence that mankind had ever achieved. It was through the handiwork of man that a world was created, a world where the glory of Hashem descended in full sight of every Jewish man woman and child. It was through their donations that this miracle happened physically and spiritually, they were able to create a place for the Shechinah to dwell.

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Vayakel

   There is no other parsha in the Torah that begins with the word Vayakel. The Baer Moshe says that this Vayakel corresponds to the Vayakel by the Chet of the Eigel. There it says the nation gathered against Aaron to make the Eigel. We know that the Mishkon was an atonement for the Chet of the Eigel, let the gold they give here by the Mishkon be a kaporah for the gold they gave by the Eigel. But what is this comparison of the words Vayakel? It’s not just a question of semantics.

   The Chazal say that Hashem created the world by using the twenty two letters of the aleph-bet. He looked into the Torah and created the world. The Ari’zal says that each neshama has a corresponding letter from the six hundred thousand letters in the Torah. So when two or more neshamas get together especially for a mitzvah they form certain letter combinations that create spiritual spheres that have an effect on the physical world. When Hashem wants to manipulate events on this world he brings two people together, either for a short time or for a longer period of time like having someone move next door to someone just to create that certain combination of letters. This is why the mitzvah to pray with a minyan is so great. The gathering of letters for a mitzvah produces awesome spiritual structures. But the same is true if the gathering is for something negative. It creates a negative spiritual sphere. This is what happened by the Sin of the Golden Calf. That Vayakel was for a negative reason. The making of the Eigel. This created a terrible spiritual structure especially since the entire nation, all the letter combinations, were involved. In order to combat this there had to be another gathering, Vayakel for a positive purpose, the building of a place for the Shechina to dwell.

   (35:2) “ Sheshes Yomim T’aseh Melocho U’Bayom Hashvii Yihiyeh Lochem Kodesh Shabbos Shaboson-Six days work may be done, but the seventh day shall be holy for you a complete day of rest.”When the Torah uses the word “T’aseh” it implies that the work will be done with or without any human input. This is one of the most fundamental concepts of the Torah. People find it hard to comprehend that refraining from work on Shabbos supports our success at work during the week. However it is important for us to realize that it is not our efforts that bring us abundance and success, they are motions we must go through, but they are not the source of success. Blessings come not from working, but from refraining from work on Shabbat. Shabbos provides the blessing for the entire week. The greater the observance of the Shabbos, the greater the blessing for the remainder of the week. This posuk comes to teach us that if the Sabbath is observed then and only then, will the work be done for you.

   This would also resolve another question. At the end of Parshas Terumah we find the warning not to violate the Shabbat after all of the instructions for the Mishkon.are given. Here in our parsha it is reversed the warning of Shabbos comes before the directives to build the Mishkon. Why? The answer is that after giving over the instructions the Torah emphasized that Shabbos must not be violated. However here, at the onset of the actual construction, the message is that keeping Shabbos is what creates the blessings not only for the construction of the Tabernacle, but for the continuation of creation as well.

(Nireh Li)

   (35:2) “ Sheshes Yomim T’aseh Melocho U’Bayom Hashvii Yihiyeh Lochem Kodesh Shabbos Shaboson-Six days work may be done, but the seventh day shall be holy for you a complete day of rest.” In Shemos 16:23 the Torah mentions Shabbos but there the words Kodesh come after the words Shabbos while here they precede it? Rabeinu Bachya explains that this is related to Tosfos Shabbos the concept of adding sanctity to the Shabbos. What remains to be explained is why the indication to add to Shabbos is placed after mentioning Shabbos in Shemos 16:23 and before mentioning Shabbos here? It would seem that we would be adding to the start of the Shabbos first then adding to the end of Shabbos second. But one of the reasons to add to the Shabbos is because we do not know the exact time when Shabbos begins or ends. However the generation of the Midbar had a changing of the guard between day and night when the pillar of clouds that surrounded the encampment changed for the pillars of fire at night. There was therefore no need for them to have Tosfos Shabbos, but when Moshe Rabeinu died both of these types of pillars ceased. According to most opinions Moshe died on Shabbos afternoon hence the first time that Klal Yisroel were in doubt as to when the day ended was as Shabbos ended. Therefore there was an addition to the Shabbos at its end before there was an addition at its beginning the following Friday.

   (35:3) “Lo Sovaru Aish B'chol Moshvoseichem-You shall not kindle a fire in all of your dwelling places.”Many reasons are given as to why fire is singled out from among the 39 different “m'lochos” R.Yonasan Eibeshitz explains that the first set of Luchos contains reference to keeping Shabbos because in six days Hashem created heaven and earth. Fire however was not created until after the first Shabbos. Therefore the warning comes here.

   (35:27) “V’Hanisi’im Heviu es Avnei Ha’Shoham-And the leaders brought the Onyx stones. A Yud is missing from the word Nesi’im, Rashi explains that because they were lax in donating materials to the Mishkan, opting to wait until everybody else donated, with the intention of filling in whatever was missing. The Kli Yakar writes that they should have anticipated the possibility that people would donate all the needs of the Mishkon leaving them with nothing to bring. Chazal inform us that this almost did happen. Were it not for the clouds that transported the precious stones with the munn they would have had nothing to donate. This is the meaning of omitting the letter “Yud” which transforms the word Nesi’im from leaders into clouds. The question is if they exhibited a lack of alacrity why should they be rewarded by having precious stones fall at their doorstep? If they missed the opportunity to donate it should not be given to them on a silver platter? We must take a step back in order to understand what is being related here.

   When a project is begun the first thing determined is “How much will it cost?” No where did the Torah tell us how much material was needed.   The previous parshas described in detail the various stages of the Mishkon’s construction. The miraculous way the Ark took up no space, the way the women spun the wool while still attached to the sheep. But Hashem is not really interested in the physical structure of the Mishkon. Instead it’s written “Vasu Li Mikdosh V’shchanti B’sochom-Make for me a sanctuary that I may dwell in YOU!” Throughout the parsha we find the words “Kol Nediv Lev-Every motivated heart.” This is what Hashem wants from us, our hearts. Therefore it was the noble intentions of these princes that is being rewarded.

Another question still remains. If the precious stones came to them from the clouds, they really were not donating anything from their own? The answer is that these stones came to them with the Munn. But there was a daily amount that fell according to the needs of that family. Therefore when the Munn fell with the stones, there was less Munn for them that day. This became their sacrifice made towards the Mshkon.

   (35:31)“Vayimaleh Oso Ruach Elokim B’chochma-And Hashem filled him with wisdom.” Betzalel was not just given the wisdom to be able to build the various pieces of the Mishkon. The posuk says he was filled with this knowledge. Usually the term used would be Nosain-to grant or Chonain-to bestow. What is the meaning behind this filling of wisdom? R.Pinchas Oretz, a student of the Sefas Emes writes that when a great Tzaddik works on himself his wisdom is not merely contained in his head, but encompasses his entire being. We see by the blessings that Yakov gave to Ephraim and Menashe that the Torah uses the term “V’sekale es Yodo” when describing how Yakov switched his hands placing his right hand on the younger son. The word Sekale comes from the word Seichel. In other words his hands had a certain daas. At the Akeidah Avraham sent out his hand to sacrifice Yitzchok. Meaning he forced his hand to obey his will. Avraham is gematria 248. Every one of his 248 limbs was conditioned to serve Hashem automatically so his hand refused because this wasn’t really the will of Hashem. Hashem only wanted him to bring Yitzchok up for a sacrifice but not actually become it. Avraham didn’t know this. He thought that his subjectivity was holding him back. This was his son. So he needed to consciously send out his hand. King David had thoughts of going one place but his feet carried him to the Beis Hamidrash. Thus we see how the body can be conditioned to perform on it’s own. This is what was needed in the building of the Mikdosh. The Mikdosh was not just a place for the presence of Hashem to descend. The Torah writes “Vasu Li Mikdosh V’shochanty Besochom-Make for me a sanctuary that I might dwell in you.” The word Besochom-in you means that we each have to make ourselves a sanctuary in our hearts. The Malbim explains each part of the Mikdosh corresponded to one of the 248 limbs of man. He writes that the Aron that housed the Luchos represented the head of man. The Aron was actually made up of three parts, the inner box of gold, the middle box of wood and the outer box of gold. Science tells us that the brain too has three parts to it. There is the Cerebrum, Cerebellum and the Medulla. Each of the various parts to the Mishkon mirrored a different part of man. Now we can understand why Betzalel was filled with knowledge. Every part of his being was to be used to its fullest extent.

   But how did Betzalel merit this gift? The posuk tells us that Hashem chose Betzalel ben Uri ben Chur. He was the grandson of Chur who was killed attempting to prevent the chet H’Eigel. What does it mean to give up life for the sake of Hashem? When a person elevates every part of his body, when each of the 248 limbs become attuned to the will of Hashem there is nothing separating that person from becoming attached to his creator. All of the barriers become removed. This is what Chur accomplished. This is what he gave over to his grandson Betzalel. His sacrifice was not in vain.

   (35:30) Rashi writes that Chur was the son of Miriam. But what about his father Calev? We find that Calev had the Midah of remaining silent, while Miriam had the characteristic of speaking up. Chur was used her characteristic when he to tried to prevent the making of the Golden Calf.

   (35:31) “ Vayimaleh Oso Ruach Elokim B’Chochma, B’Sevunah U’Bedaas-He was endowed with Divine spirit, with wisdom, with insight, with knowledge.”According to Kabbalah Chochma-Wisdom refers to learning received from others; Sevunah-Insight, is the intelligence to grasp something using one’s own mind, based on wisdom previously learned; Daas-Knowledge is Divine inspiration. However, according to some Chochma-wisdom, represents the gift of intelligence, Binah- insight, being closer to reason, implies the comprehension resulting from intellectual analysis and reasoning. Daas-Knowledge designates knowledge in its highest, most perfect form.

   In either case Betzalel possessed all three aspects of wisdom. He grasped the very attributes by which the plans for Creation were established.

   (35:32) “V’Lachshov Machshovos-To devise plans with ingenuity.” He was given the ability to read minds. To know how the items were donated, with what intentions. If given with the right intentions it was used for something with greater Kiddusha.

(35:34) “Ulihoros Nosan B’libo Ohlohav ben Achisomach-And to teach he gave to his heart Olihav ben Achisomach.” We know who Betzalel was. He had the lineage of his ancestors. But who was Ohaliav? Very little is written about him. Rashi says that he was from one of the lowest tribes and was intentionally selected to be joined with Betzalel who was from one of the greatest tribes, Yehuda, Kingship. This was to show that in Hashem’s eyes both are equal if they put in the effort. But we are speaking about the Mishkon here. This is the place where Hashem was to rest his Shechina. This was not something to be given over to an incompetent person just because we want to make a point. But to understand this we have to understand what the Mishkon represents. The Mishkon was a microcosm of the world. Hashem created the world originally with strict Din. The name Elokim is used throughout the beginning of Breishis. Rashi says that Hashem saw the world would not be able to withstand the strict justice so he tempered it with Rachamim by using the name of Hashem that denotes mercy. Here regarding the Mishkon we find the midah of din, but where do we find the midah of Rachamim? The midah of din is found by the posuk introducing Betzalel it says (35:31) “Vayimaleh Oso Ruach Elokim- Hashem filled him with the spirit of Elokim, of strict judgment. By Ohalihav the wording is different.The Torah writes instead (36:2) that Hashem-Rachamim filled his heart with wisdom. The name Ohalihav is the letters of Ayli Ohav-“My G-d loves me.”

     The women of the midbar donated the brass mirrors they had from Mitzraim. Moshe at first was against this because he felt that they were used for inciting the yetzer hara. But in reality Hashem coveted them because they helped the women perform a righteous deed by causing the men to take an interest in them even though they had worked till exhaustion. These donations were used for the Laver which held the drink used for the Sotah a drink that reunited the husband and wife.

   Another question is how were the women able to make donations if all their possessions belonged to the husband they would need his permission to give away anything? It could be that the reason for the husband owning everything is only because he is the provider but in the midbar Hashem was the provider since all their needs were taken care of. So they were equal in what they owned.

   There is juxtaposition in this week’s parsha. In Kisisa when it speaks about Shabbos first the Mishkon is mentioned then Shabbos. Here it speaks about Shabbos first. The reason is because originally before there was a chet of the Eigel they were on a level that they could make a Mishkon and then on top of that have Shabbos. But after the chet it was impossible to make a Mishkon a place where the Shechina rests. So they needed the kidusha of Shabbos to bring them to the level where they could make the Mishkon.

   When they say we need two Shabbosim to bring the Moshiach it means one to build on the other. We read four parshas in Adar. One Shekalim to create achdos in Klal Yisroel. Two Amalek after we are united we can overcome Amalek. Three Parah after getting rid of Amalek we need to purify ourselves. Four Chodesh when we are ready for a new beginning. Like the moon which is always renewed Klal Yisroel is eternal because every end is always a new beginning.

   (35:35) “Milei Osom Chochmas Lev-He filled them with a wise heart.” What does the term "wise heart " mean? Wisdom is not usually found in the heart. But here it was their will to be part of this undertaking that resulted in Hashem giving them the Ruach Hakodesh needed for this undertaking.

(36:7) “V’hamilacha Hayisa Dayom- V’hoser-And the work for the Mishkon was enough and there was extra.” In this weeks parsha we have the culmination of all the donations for the Mishkon. The posuk says that there was enough of all of the materials needed to make the Mishkon and there was extra. Many commentators ask on this posuk. If there was enough what does it mean there was extra? The Or Hachaim says that there was a miracle done here. If a person gave for the Mishkon he didn't want to hear that his donation wasn't accepted because they had too much. So all that was donated became just enough. Another answer is that more silver was given than gold. So they used the extra silver to buy the needed gold that was missing. That is the meaning of “there was extra (silver)” which became enough (gold).

(37:1) “Vayaas Betzalel es H'aron- Betzalel made the Ark.”Why is the Ark singled out as being made by Betazlel? He was involved in making most of the Mishkon? The answer is that in the future no other Ark would ever be made. Even the third and final Beis Hamikdosh will contain the original Ark made by Betzalel.

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