Torah

   (9:1) “Vayehe Bayom Hashimini Koroh Moshe L’Aharon U’Vanav U’Lziknai Yisroel-It was on the eighth day that Moshe called to Aharon and his sons and to the elders of Israel.” Rashi comments that it was to announce that it was by divine command that Aharon entered the Mishkon and served as the high priest. That they not say he did this on his own authority. But even though Moshe proclaimed that he was acting only at Hashem’s behest, how could he make the people believe him if they had doubts? The Tiferes Shlomo writes that Moshe had within himself the spirit of the entire nation. When he served Hashem with all his heart, all the people were inspired with him. When he announced that he was carrying out Hashem’s command, the people felt a surge of enthusiasm at the service that was about to be carried out. When they became conscious of this spirit of holiness, they realize that it could be possible only because it was indeed Hashem’s command that was being performed. (Otzar Chaim)

  (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?

  R.Avigdor Miller gives the following explanation. Based on the Mesilas Yesharim he explains that in this world happiness is fleeting. In order for us to focus on the next world, Hashem’s plan is to interject sadness into people’s lives as a sobering experience. To teach us that you must always remain focused on the principal that true unadulterated joy will only come in the next world. What better time to insert this lesson than the most joyous day in the history of creation.

   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.

    But perhaps we can suggest an alternative explanation. Man was created on the sixth day. He sinned on that same day and death was introduced into the world. However that sentence was delayed. In fact man was not expelled from Gan Eden until after Shabbos (MiMochros HaShabbos) which was actually the “Eighth” day of creation. We now have come full circle. Now we return to the “Eighth” day, the day the Shechina returned to this world for the first time since it left on the very first Eighth day!

“Vayehe Bayom Hashimini-And it was on the eighth day.” is equal to 504 in gematria. The same as the word “V’Solachtah- I have forgiven you.”

   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 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.

This could explain the small “Mem” in the word Mokdah in Parshas Tzav (6:2)

   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 

of Masser Bereishis. Seven represents the Tevah, the physical laws of the world, and Shimini represents above the physical, beyond the laws of nature.

    But perhaps we can suggest an alternative explanation. Man was created on the sixth day. He sinned on that same day and death was introduced into the world. However that sentence was delayed. In fact man was not expelled from Gan Eden until after Shabbos (MiMochros HaShabbos) which was actually the “Eighth” day of creation. We now have come full circle. Now we return to the “Eighth” day, the day the Shechina returned to this world for the first time since it left on the very first Eighth day!

“Vayehe Bayom Hashimini-And it was on the eighth day.” is equal to 504 in gematria. The same as the word “V’Solachtah- I have forgiven you.”

   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 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.

This could explain the small “Mem” in the word Mokdah in Parshas Tzav (6:2)

   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. 

   (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-Lamed Aleph” which is the reverse of Hashem’s name Aleph Lamed (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-"Aaron’s remaining son’s”  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. Animals 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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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 as day the many laws it reviewed.

   (1:1) Vayikra el Moshe Vayidabaer Hashem Aylav-He called to Moshe and Hashem spoke to him.” Why does the Torah begin with “He spoke to Moshe”? It should have said “Hashem called Moshe and He spoke to him.”Why is the caller anonymous?

  The omission of Hashem as the subject at the beginning of the verse is most remarkable. The Tzror Hamor writes that the calling was the highest attribute of Hashem and is basically beyond definition in human terms. This being the first communication between man and G-d after the establishment of the Mishkon, the dwelling place of the Shechina in this physical world, it was a calling that could have been received by all of Israel. Instead only Moshe heard it. Even if someone was standing along side of him, only Moshe heard the voice. The Torah thus draws our attention to the supernatural element in this call.

   But perhaps we can say the following. Sefer Vayikra which is mostly about the Temple sacrifices, is the middle Sefer. It connects the first half of the Torah (Bereishis, Shemos) with the second half (Bamidbar

Devarim). As such it details how to come closer to the creator of everything. This was the mission of Moshe Rabeinu. In essence then, the verse begins “Vayikra el Moshe-meaning this Sefer Vayikra is el Moshe given over to Moshe. 

   This, the third Sefer in the Torah, begins with the word Vayikra-Calling. Rashi says that really every time Hashem would communicate with Moshe it was always preceded by a calling. Why then would it be singled out here? The Ramban writes that after reading how the presence of Hashem filled the Mishkon at the end of Sefer Shemos, and Moshe was no longer able to speak with Hashem at will, it became necessary to mention that Hashem called Moshe before speaking with him.

   The first word in Sefer Vayikra contains a small Aleph in it. Rashi says it is a term of endearment. The letter Aleph equals one and represents Hashem. When spelled out Aleph Lamed Phey, it equals 111 which happens to be the amount of verses in this weeks Parsha. This hints to the importance of the reduced Aleph. After Klal Yisroel reached the tremendous closeness to Hashem at Mount Sinai the sin of the Golden Calf was a devastating blow. It lowered them to a level that we might have thought impossible to return from. Here at the beginning of Sefer Vayikra Hashem is giving Klal Yisroel the means to return back to that former closeness. But it cannot be accomplished at once. There has to be a gradual ascent to the lofty level they once attained. By using a small Aleph  Hashem is saying that He is making Himself attainable to them. The Aleph also stands for Ohr. They could not have handled the same Ohr they experienced before. But the small Aleph shows Hashem’s love by demonstrating His willingness to work with us, to help bring us back again to the closeness we once had.

   As mentioned the first word in Sefer Vayikra contains a small Aleph in it. Had that letter been omitted it would have spelled the word Vayikor. 

This word has two connotations, one is from the word Kereh meaning chance meeting, the second is Keri a form of Tumah. Moshe being a tremendously humble didn't want to use the Aleph in the word Vayikra and asked to have it written without the Aleph meaning it was a chance calling. Hashem told him he must include the Aleph. To compromise Moshe made it small.

  The question is, there are two other places where Hashem called Moshe with this word. By the Sneh (Shemos 3:4) “Vayikra Aylav Elokim Mitoch Hasneh-Hashem called him from within the bush.” And once again at Har Sinai. (Shemos 19:20) “Vayikra Hashem L’Moshe El-Rosh Ha’Har-Hashem called to Moshe at the top of the mountain.” Why is there no mention of a small Aleph there? One answer given is that our Parsha took place after Moshe was commanded to make the second Luchos. Hashem showed him a quarry of sapphire beneath his tent and told him to chisel out the second tablets from there. He was permitted to keep the excess sapphire which made him greatly wealthy. Therefore we can now learn humbleness from him. For a person without wealth has no problem being humble.

   Perhaps we can also suggest that the first calling was for the purpose of bringing Moshe to his destiny, to his life’s mission of leading Klal Yisroel out of Egypt. And the second was in order to receive the Torah. Both of these cases required his rising to the greatness that the situation demanded. Both cases were that of Hashem speaking through fire from an other worldly dimension. In our Parsha we find the first case of Hashem calling to Moshe after the Mishkon was completed. It was from the place that the Shechina rested on this earth. Here was to begin the teaching to Klal Yisroel, how to come close to Hashem through the Korbonos. The word Korbon comes from the root

place that this lesson can be effective. A Korban has the ability to humble its owner. The owner of the sacrifice must view the animal being brought as if it were he himself being brought. Moshe already was the most humble person who ever lived. The lesson was not intended for him. For him the writing of the word Vayikra with the small Aleph, at this point, would only serve to teach Klal Yisroel this lesson.

    Another understanding of the small Aleph is in the connection between Purim and Pesach. We know that this Parsha is usually read between these two holidays and the reason we celebrate Purim in the second month of Adar of a leap year is to connect the two Ge’ulahs. In the Megillah we read that Klal Yisroel confirmed what was previously undertaken. They re-accepted the Torah. But that was not enough. They also understood through the miracles that happened on Purim through Tevah, that this is how Hashem worked for them all along. From the very start of the Exodus story Hashem manipulated the events. When Pharoh said let us make a final solution regarding the Jews everything he attempted was turned around to have the opposite effect. He wanted to prevent the Jews from increasing in numbers by instituting harsh labor and instead the harder they worked the more they increased. When he was informed that the savior of Israel was to be born that day he ordered all babies o be drowned, even the Egyptians. But what was the result? Moshe’s mother placed him in a basket and placed him in the Nile River where he was adopted by Pharaoh’s very own daughter therefore becoming his grandson. What better place to groom the greatest leader of Klal Yisroel than in the house of the greatest leader of the world at that time?

            Just as in the story of Purim all of the events against Klal Yisroel were turned into their salvation. The events of Pesach were also Divinely orchestrated. This is the lesson that must be learned between Purim and Pesach and this is why there is a small Aleph in the word  Korav to bring close. The word Aleph means to teach. Its small size implies that in order to effectively teach, one must first learn to be humble. Here is the first 

Vayikra. The word Vayikra with a small aleph can be read as V’yikor meaning a chance encounter. But we learn from Purim that there is no such thing as a chance encounter. Even when it looks as though Hashem is not there the small Aleph testifies that He is there whether or not it is obvious.

      The Parsha begins with Hashem telling Moshe about Korbonos-Sacrifices. The Torah writes (1:2) “Odom Ki Yakriv Mikem-When a man among you brings an offering to Hashem.” When an offering is brought to atone for a sin it must be from his own possessions. The person bringing the Korbon must also know for what sin he is bringing the Korbon. What if he doesn't know that he committed the sin? How can he atone for it? He may atone by understanding how Hashem operates in this world. When something bad happens to a person it is for a  reason. Sometimes its a warning to a person that he needs to make a change in his life. If he bites his tongue maybe he has spoken Loshen Hora. Or if he bangs his foot maybe he was running towards doing an Avera. But Hashem warns a person in the very same thing that the person sins (Mida Keneged Meda). Thats why the Posuk uses the word “Mekem” the letters of which stand for Mida Keneged Meda.

  (1:2) “Adom Ki Yakriv Mikem-When a man brings a Korban from among you” Rashi says that this verse teaches us that a person bringing a Korban must not bring from stolen property. The word Adom is used to teach us that just like Adom, to whom everything belonged, did not bring stolen animals for a sacrifice, so too  we must not bring from stolen property. However the Gemarrah (30a) learns this from the word Mikem that it must be “from your own property” why does Rashi learn from Adom?

   Rashi wants to add another dimensio

minds of people. They create the false impression that they are not ordinary sinners. Rashi addresses this type of behavior by learning from Adam. Just like Adom, who brought a sacrifice at a time when there were no other people in the world whom he had to impress, so too our deeds should be sincere without any ulterior motives.

    The Kli Yakar writes that when a ram was brought they included both of its horns. This represents the rebellion of sin against man and against G-d. When Adom brought the first sacrifice he brought a unicorn because the only sin there could be was against Hashem.

   The Oznayim L'Torah writes that the use of the word Adom/Man teaches us that when a person brings a sacrifice there is always more than the individual involved. All of mankind has a share in it.

   The Shelah asks how can we use Adom as an example? It was not a case of someone overcoming his desire and refraining from stealing. It was not possible for Adom to steal, there was no one to steal from! Instead he explains that Adom himself was the korbon.     

   Hashem created man at the end of creation. He was the pinnacle of creation that had the ability to connect the spiritual and physical worlds. There are three aspects to every part of creation. Olam, Shana and Nefesh. Olam means the physical world. Shana means time and Nefesh is the spirituality of everything. Adom had all three. He was the embodiment of all the future souls, he was in the perfect place, Gan Eden and time was his as well since he was meant to live forever. All of this was lost after the original sin. Each of these three are found in the Hebrew word for smoke (Oshon) . Ayin for Olam, Shin for Shonna, and Nune for Neshama.

   That level of perfection was regained at Matan Torah where the Torah writes that the mountain was smoking (Oshon) but was lost again after the Chet H’eigel. And again it was partially regained when the Mishkon stood. The Mishkon was the place in the world, the Korbonos were n to this lesson of not stealing. There are people who commit sins and immediately run to bring a Korban so they will appear to be pious. By doing so they are stealing the 

brought at specific times and Aharon was the embodiment of the Neshamas of Klal Yisroel.  

   The smoke from the Korbonos would rise straight up to the heavens. No wind could disperse it. Of the three aspects to every part of creation. Olam, Shana and Nefesh, we are directed to inject Kedusha into each of them. The entire area of Korbonos relates to "Dimyon"(fantasy). Man was created with two Neshamas. One that  Hashem blew into man, the higher more elevated soul and the other is called "Nefesh Habahamas" the basic life force, the animal instinct. The Seforim say that this Nefesh is  found in the blood (Dam). The word Dimyon comes from the word Dam. The purpose of man is to take his Aleph which represents intellect and rule over the "Dam". Aleph and Daled-Mem equals "Adam" (man). When man commits a sin he is leaving his intellect and following his Dimyon or fantasy. A person can rationalize a sin by using a fantasy to justify his action. So when we slaughter an animal we are atoning for the fact that we let our base tendencies rule. This could be why the main part of the Korbon is the sprinkling of the "blood".

   (1:7) V’nosnu B’nei Aharon Hakohen Aish-The sons of Aharon the Kohein shall place the fire.” The word “V’nosnu” is a palindrome, it is read the same way backwards and forward. Regarding the giving of charity it is said that what you give comes back to you. Here perhaps we can apply the same principal. The fire that the sons of Aharon brought was not necessary for the fire came from above. But what was given was also returned in the form of atonement.

   (1:9) “Eishe Raiach Nechoach L’Hashem-A fire offering, a satisfying aroma to Hashem.” This idea of satisfying aroma is given additional meaning by R. Eliezer Askenazi. He says that when the Torah uses this expression, it is not to have us appreciate the great value of the sacrifice, on the contrary, it is to have us appreciate its inadequacy. Since the person bringing the offering might think that  his sin is pardoned, the 

Torah informs him that this is not so. This sacrifice is only a satisfying aroma, a hint of what that person could do in the future. A pleasing aroma from afar hints at the existence of an object that is even better than its aroma. So too the sacrifice is an indication of the Maasim Tovim to come. Therefore the word Aroma is used to designate something whose approach is felt before it is actually present. The Korban is merely giving evidence of what he intends to do.

   Rashi explains based on a Midrash that Hashem has Nachas Ruach from the fact that His word was spoken and his children comply. The question is if that is the case why is this term only mentioned here and only in regard to certain sacrifices? Every Mitzvah performed is a case of “His word spoken and his children complying.” Why are these sacrifices singled out?

  If we look at the first mention of a concept in the Torah we can glean a better understanding of its root. At the end of Parshas Noach we find the first mention of a “satisfying aroma.” After the flood, when Noach emerged from the ark, he brought a sacrifice which was totally consumed. Perhaps we could suggest that this phrase is used only in a case where there is no gain for the one performing the sacrifice. Every subsequent mention of a “satisfying aroma” is either by a Korban Olah or Mincha each of which is totally consumed. The owner has no share in the sacrifice. Giving of themselves with nothing in return is the ultimate expression of sacrifice.

   However there are several discrepancies with regard to how this phrase is expressed. Of the 33 times it appears in the Torah it is spelled with a “Vav” in the word “Nichoach” only 3 times. The other times it appears without the “Vav”. But in the first mention of this “satisfying aroma” in the Torah, the root of this concept, we see a unique spelling, different than in every other incident. There it uses the letter “Hey” as the definite article in front of the word Nichoach (Reach Ha'Nichoach) 

which has a total numerical value of 307 with the letters, which is the same as the amount of words in the chapter of the ultimate sacrifice, the ultimate giving of one's self – The Akeidah.

   (1:9) The Ramban in his explanation of the Korbonos quotes from Tehillem (50) the first Posuk “The Almighty, Hashem, G-d spoke and called the earth from the rising of the sun to its setting.” The Ramaban mentions “The complete Name on a complete world.” R’Wolbe  explains the meaning behind the Ramban’s words. Korbonos are a means to create a complete world which thereby allows the complete Name of Hashem to rest upon it. They bridge the huge divide that separates the body and the soul, between the physical and the Creator. When an animal is consecrated it he has taken the basest creature and transformed it into something appropriate to be offered to the Creator himself.  The offerings were brought to the Mishkon.  The place where physical was transformed into spiritual, and therefore the Mishkon was deemed a complete world. It was there that the complete Name resided.

   (2:13) “V’chol Korban Minchascha B’melech Timloch-You shall salt your every meal offering.” Salt preserves food and sacrifices preserve the world. The Ramban writes that salt has two properties: It is destructive, for it prevents plants from growing; and it is helpful, for it preserves food. The Covenant of Salt teaches that the sacrificial service, if performed properly and sincerely, preserves Israel, but if the service is neglected, it brings about destruction and exile.

   (3:1) “Im Zochar Im Nekeiva Tomim Yakrivenu- Whether male or female - unblemished shall he offer it.” The only sacrifice that has the option of both male and female offerings is the Shelamim. The word Shelamim means whole, it brings peace to the world. In order for something to be whole it must contain two opposites, male and female. By bringing this sacrifice we bring two opposites together.

    The Ramban writes That the Shelamim is called “whole” because it 

was not motivated by sin, but rather by a desire to reach perfection.

   According to the Korban Aharon the peace expressed by the Korban Shelamim  is the harmony between the Heavenly world of spirit and the earthly world of materialism. One who brings a Shelamim seeks to unite the two worlds. Panim Yafos comments that unlike the Olah offering that represents man’s yearning to be united with Hashem, because the entire offering is burnt on the Altar, the Shelamim serves two purposes. Part goes to Hashem and part goes to the Kohanim and the owner. This symbolizes Hashem’s yearning to unite with us.

   The Korbonos were only permitted in the Beis Hamikdosh. It was strictly forbidden any other place. Why? Because the temple in Jerusalem was spiritually connected to Hashem more than any other place. It remains the place where heaven and earth kiss. Since the Temple site was so firmly connected to Hashem the laws of nature were less applicable. The Gemara says there were ten miracles that were visible daily there. When Benei Yisroel came to Jerusalem there was enough room for everyone. This was only possible because the temple area was detached from this physical earth more than any other place. Therefore a Korbon that was offered in this chosen place had the ability to elevate a person who had committed a sin. The reason an animal can accomplish this is because a persons possessions are spiritually connected to his soul. The reason that the wife, child and salves of a Kohen are permitted to eat Trumah is because they are part of his soul and all of a persons possessions are connected to his soul. Therefore when you bring a Korbon your bringing a part of your soul closer to Hashem through this bridge the Beis Hamikdosh.

   (4:2) "Nefesh Ki Secheteh-If a soul sins." Why here is the sinner referred to as "Nefesh" while at the start we read Adom Ki  Yakriv? The Oznayim L'Torah writes that this verse is discussing unintentional sins. It is the impossible to tell by observing the body whether the sin was 

intentional or not. Therefore whenever the Torah speaks of intent it speaks in terms of the soul. The Tzor Hamor writes that sin originates from the body of man, Adomoh but without the soul it is just an inanimate object. There are always two partners to the sin. Neither one would be able to sin without the other. The soul would not be drawn to sin were it not for the earthly desires of the physical body. While the body would never think of sin without the desires of the soul. By combining the two we have the possibility to sin. We began Sefer Vayikra speaking of the physical body Adom. We then move on to the higher plane where the thought brings on the action.

(5:17) "Im Nefesh Ki Sechtoh V'asisah Achas M'kol-Mitzvos Hashem Asher Lo Seiasenah-And if anyone sin, and do any of the commands which Hashem commanded not to be done." This verse seems to be redundant? If someone sins, he IS doing something that Hashem did not command? Why the repetition? What the verse means to convey is that when a person does a Mitzvah without the proper intent, he is committing a sin by doing one of the commandments not the way Hashem wants it done.

(5:21) “Nefesh Ki Secheteh-When a soul commits a sin.” By accusing someone wrongfully the soul loses some of its spiritual light. This phrase reflects that loss sustained by the soul. Every soul depends on continuous spiritual input from celestial forces called Shefa Nishmasa, in order to sustain itself spiritually inside the body. The only soul which does not enjoy this continuous spiritual input is one whose Nefesh has become guilty of criminal sins which results in it’s being cut off. (Ohr H’Chaim)

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   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) “V’Yoviu es Ha’Mishkon el Moshe-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 to the 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 "Ka’sher Tzivoh Hshem es Moshe-As Hashem commanded Moshe" 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, the prayers of Shimoneh Esrei are 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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   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.

   Before the sin of Adom and Chavah they lived an idyllic existence, without having to work at all. All of their needs were provided for them with no effort on their part. Once they sinned and were driven from Gan Eden, they needed to perform the thirty nine Melachot, the various activities that must be done to prepare food, clothing and shelter. On Shabbos we return, to some extent, to the existence of Gan Eden by refraining from these thirty nine Melachot, as though reenacting the idyllic conditions in which Adom and Chavah lived before the sin, when they didn’t have to perform any work.

   Chazal teach us that when Benei Yisroel stood at Har Sinai and proclaimed “Naaseh V’Nishmah”they removed the spiritual defects of Adom and Chavah’s sin. At that moment they rose to the level of Adom and Chavah in Gan Eden. They were then destined to return to the idyllic existence of Gan Eden, where they would once again not need to perform any work. This changed with the sin of the Golden Calf. When the people sinned, they repeated in a sense, the sin of Adom and Chavah in Gan Eden in that they lost once again that idyllic existence. This time the fate of the world’s existence stood in the balance. Chazal teach us that the world was created on the condition that Benei Yisroel would accept the Torah. For more than 2,000 years after the world’s creation until Matan Torah, creation was not complete. It was like a painting whose ink was still wet. The world was not ready to stand on its own because its continued existence was in doubt, dependent on Israel’s acceptance of the Torah. If so the sin of the Golden Calf, which reversed the spiritual effects of Matan Torah, rolled back the process of creation. Thus the world’s very existence suddenly came back into question.

   The process of building the Mishkon, which served to atone for the sin of the Golden Calf, meant recreating the world. The world had to be created anew since the spiritual effects of Matan Torah had been reversed. In fact the Gemarrah Magillah writes that the day of the inauguration of the Mishkon was as joyous as the day of the world’s creation!

   From this we can understand why the command of Shabbos was repeated before the people were instructed to build the Mishkon. Building the Mishkon was essentially repeating the process of building the world. Therefore just as the world’s creation included Shabbos, the construction of the Mishkon had to include Shabbos as well.

   (35:2) “ Sheshes Yomim T’ash 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.were 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.

   (35:22) “Vayovoyu H’Anoshim al H’Noshim-The man came on the women.” To donate towards the Mishkon. The men were above the women because after the sin of the Eigel, in which the women did not participate, the men were now Baalei Teshuva and thus higher than the women.

   (35:23) “V’chol Ish Asher Nimtzeh Ito-Every man with whom was found.” Why is this term used here? The Ramban writes that everyone had gold and silver. But these items were not common by everyone. Not everyone possessed acacia wood or colored ram skins.

   (35:25) “V’chol Isha Chachmas Lev B’Yodeha Tavu-Every wise hearted woman spun with her hands.” Of course she would use her hands? Why was this necessary to mention? To teach us a very important lesson. It is not enough to be wise in theory, but one must also act upon that wisdom.

   (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 Mishkon. "

   (35:3) “Vaymalu Oso Ruach Elokim B’Chochah-Hashem filled him 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. This enabled him to know where the donation should best be used. 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-the name of 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 Hora. 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.

   We need two Shabbosim to bring the Moshiach this 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.

   The Kol Torah writes that Betzalel was uniquely connected to the Aron because he was Moser Nefesh for the honor of the Aron. Where do we find this? When Moshe instructed him about the order of construction, Betzalel corrected him (35:31) to which Moshe announced “He is correct Betzalel is truly in the shadow of Hashem.” Speaking before his Rebbe could have cost him his life.

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VA'EIRA

   (6:2) “Vayidabaer Elokim el-Moshe Vayomer Aylav Ani Hashem-Hashem spoke to Moshe and said to him I am Hashem.” The parsha begins where last week’s parsha left off. After having begun his mission to free the Jewish people, Moshe complains to Hashem that he has been sent in vain, for instead of helping them he had only made it worse for them. Now Hashem tells him that although the Avos only knew Him by the name Kael Shakai, a name that implies working within nature, they never complained as Moshe did. He would now introduce to the world the name of Hashem that is never pronounced as it is spelled, the name that refers to the aspect of Hashem as beyond the laws of nature and time.

  The reason that Moshe’s arrival was followed by an immediate intensification of the slavery is because there are two considerations that needed to be addressed before Klal Yisroel could leave Mitzrayim. One is that before Egypt could be punished they had to reach their full measure of sin. The second is that Klal Yisroel should not be allowed to fall into the 50th level of Tumeh out of which there was no escape. They were supposed to remain in bondage for 400 years but now after only 210 years they were teetering on the brink of that 50th level. How would they be able to survive another 190 years? But if Hashem intervened by preventing them from falling into the 50th level, that would be tantamount to removing their free will? Therefore Hashem, using the name of past, present and future, sent Moshe. His presence there aggravated Pharoh to the extent that he not only refused to acknowledge Hashem or let his people go, he actually made it far worse. Pharoh said the people have too much time on their hands. (5:7)“Lo Sosifune Losase Teven- I will no longer supply them with straw to make bricks.” By taking away their ability to perform the requested tasks, Pharoh was in essence removing their free will. The letters of the words Lo Sosifune can be separated to read Lo Es Sof Nunn-Their end will not be 50. This final act of cruelty enabled Egypt to reach their full measure of sin and triggered the beginning of their punishment. Klal Yisroel would no longer need to complete the 400 years of slavery and could be saved from falling any further into the 50th level of Tumeh. The Gematria of  Sof Nunn equals 190. By removing 190 years Hashem removed the possibility of  Sof Nunn. 

     (6:8) “V'Hevasi Eschem el-H'artez-And I will bring you into the land.” Interestingly enough except for Calev and Yehoshua that entire generation never entered into the Promised Land. Of the 600,000 people who left Egypt only two entered Canaan. The Meshech Chochma writes that it was worth performing all the miracles and wonders in Egypt and the desert so that two righteous people could reach the promised goal. From this we learn that true believers should not despair when it seems that only a few select people are following the righteous path. For the sake of those few, the light will shine forth, as it did then for the two righteous people who entered the Holy Land.

   (6:8) “V’Nosati Otah Lachem Morasha-I will give it you as a heritage.” When Hashem assures Bnei Yisroel that He would lead them out of Egypt and to Eretz Yisroel He adds that the land would be “Morasha/an everlasting inheritance. As opposed to the usual term “Yerusha” the Torah here used the word “Morasha” the only other place this is found in the Torah is in Devarim (33:4) “Morasha Kehilas Yakov-An inheritance for the congregation of Yakov.” What is the difference between “Yerusha and Morasha” and why is it found specifically by Eretz Yisroel and Torah?

   Rav Gifter explained that most assets a person receives as an inheritance comes with no restrictions or responsibilities. Once a person inherits something he can do what he wants with it. If he chooses he can sell it, give it away, or even destroy it. It’s his choice. But a Morasha however is not something that is given, but rather entrusted. It is given only for the purpose of guarding and preserving it so it can be transmitted to the next generation. The Torah and Eretz Yisroel are not given as a Yerusha but as a Morasha. We are charged with the responsibility of preserving them and transmitting them intact to the next generation.

    (6:12) “Va'ani Aral Sifasayim -And I have sealed lips.” Why was it that Moshe had a speech impediment? The Maharal explains that Moshe was different than everyone else from the time he was born. When a child is in its mother’s womb Chazal say that he is taught the entire Torah and is able to see from one end of the earth to the other. At the time of birth a Malach comes and taps it on the upper lip and causes it to forget all that it has learned. What is really going on here? The Maharal explains that when the child is first conceived it receives its Neshama from Hashem long before the physical body is developed. At this point it is connected to its roots (Hashem) and is unencumbered by the physical restraints that the body places on it. Therefore it is able to know the entire Torah and to perceive the entire world from one end to the other. The time of its physical completion is when it acquires the ability to speak. This is the apex of human development. It is what sets man above all of the other creations. The power of speech is the synthesis of the spiritual and physical worlds. Through speech abstract concepts of thought can be materialized into the physical world. So it is at this point, just as the baby is coming into the world that these two concepts meet in the power of speech.

   Moshe was different in that his spirituality was not so connected to his physical. He was more closely related to the spiritual world than any other person. The Maharal uses the term Nivdal meaning separate, when describing Moshe. This manifested itself in his power of speech. He was lacking in this area because he was not connected as other people. This also would explain how the name “Moshe” was the one name that remained with him even though this was not the name given him at his Bris. The name Moshe which means drawn from the water best describes Moshe because water represents the physical. And Moshe was taken out of the physical. This also might explain how at times Benei Yisroel was able to hear the voice of Hashem coming through the throat of Moshe Rabeinu.

   (6:12) “Vayidaber Moshe Lifnei Hashem Laymore Hain Benei Yisroel Lo Shomu Aylai V’ayech Yishmaeini Pharoh-Moshe said to Hashem Benei Yisroel won’t listen to me how will Pharoh?” In the beginning of the Parsha Moshe said to Hashem that if Benei Yisroel won't listen to me how will Pharoh? Rashi says this is one of the ten Kal Vichomers in the Torah. But really this should not be a good Kal Vichomer because we said earlier in Posuk 9 that they won't listen to Moshe because of their distress and hard labor? Pharoh had no hard labor it should not be an equal comparison. The answer is that Benei Yisroel knew that the Golus was to last for 400 years. Moshe came and said “Pokod Pokadity” the numerical value of Pokod equals 190. So he was telling them that the Golus would be shortened by 190 years due to the intensity of their hard labor. So when he say's they won't listen to Moshe it means they won't believe that the hard labor will shorten their Golus.

   Alternatively these words can be read as follows. If Bnei Yisroel won't listen to me that would be a tremendous embarrassment. What would be if Pharoh does listen to me, how much more of an embarrassment would that be?

 (7:9) “Kach es Matcha V’Hashlech Lifnei Pharoh Yihe L’sanin-Take your staff and cast it down before Pharoh and it will become a snake.”  When Moshe spoke to Hashem at Har Sinai Hashem told him to throw down his staff and it turned into a snake (Nochosh). Here in our Parsha it says that Moshe threw down his staff and it turned into a serpent (Sanin). Why 

the change in Loshon? The serpent is a sea creature. This was meant to be a message to Pharoh that just like sea creatures which have indiscriminate violence, you and your people will be punished through water because the way they treated Benei Yisroel was also with indiscriminate violence. Also since the Egyptians worshiped a serpent this was a stronger sign for Pharoh than a snake would have been. Another reason is that Pharoh was referred to as Tanin (a serpent).

    This could also explain why Rashi writes (4:21) that when Hashem sent him to Mitzraim and told him to perform, “the signs that  I have placed in your hands,” he says this does not refer to the three signs shown at Har Sinai. “Because we don’t find that he performed these signs before Pharoh.” But we do see that the turning of the staff into a snake was done in front of Pharoh? It could be that at Har Sinai Hashem revealed the Nochosh to Moshe . This was no ordinary snake, but the root of the most terrifying evil that exists. Chazal say that Moshe was so terrified that he ran away from the sight of it, even though he was standing in the presence of Hashem. Hashem revealed Himself to Moshe and as a counterbalance to that revelation he also revealed this manifestation of evil. This was necessary in order to strengthen Moshe’s Emunah when he was to enter Pharoh’s palace, the center of tremendous Tumeh in the world. It was not for nothing that the elders, who began accompanying Moshe on his way to Pharoh, one by one strayed off until there was none of them left. As they entered the palace the stone lions began snarling at them. Black magic was everywhere. The entrance to Pharoh’s throne was constructed very low in order to force anyone entering to bow to him. But when Moshe came the entrance way miraculously expanded to Moshe’s height.

    Moshe told Aaron to cast down his staff and it turned into a snake. Pharoh was unimpressed. He then called in the little children to perform the same trick. The question is since Moshe grew up in Pharoh’s house didn’t he know that this would not impress him? Didn’t he know that even the children could do this? The Nefesh Hachaim writes that black magic is really the hand of Hashem in its hidden form. Hashem allows it to work in order to hide his power in the world. What Moshe intended to show was not turning a staff into a snake. That just hides Hashem in this world. Instead he turned the snake back into a staff. That was something black magic could not duplicate. That was revealing Hashem in the world. So when Moshe’s staff ate the other snakes it really silenced the crowd and sent a message to Pharoh that all of their tricks would be revealed to be no more than Hashem hidden in the world.

    After Hashem spoke to Moshe it say's he should take the Mateh (staff) of  Hashem with him. Later he tells Aaron to take his Mateh and throw it down before Pharoh. Still later it is called Moshe's Mateh? Who’s staff was it? What was the need for there to be a Mateh in the first place? Where did it come from?

  This was the first supernatural sign that was to be shown to Pharoh. It was meant to not only send Pharoh a message, but to define the mission that Hashem was sending them on and validate that it was of a divine source. Why then was the Mateh turning into a Sanin chosen?

    This Mateh came from the Eitz Hachaim. It was given by Hashem to Adam who passed it on to Shais and then on to the Avos. After Yosef had it, it was hidden among the Treasures of Pharoh. When Yisro fled Egypt he took it with him where it became stuck in the sand for years until Moshe came to Midyan. Moshe was the only one able to remove it from the sand. When Hashem made Moshe his messenger to liberate Benei Yisroel, He gave him a sign. A messenger who comes without a token from the one who sent him is not as readily believed as one who comes with a token. But what was the message?

   Reb Yosef Salant in his Be’er Yosef, answers based on the Ramban regarding the guilt of the Egyptians for enslaving the Jewish people. The Ramban explains that the Egyptians were held accountable even though Hashem told Avraham that his descendants would be enslaved, because they went beyond using the Jews as unpaid laborers. The Egyptians made the lives of the Jews miserable by forcing them to do back breaking, meaningless labor, beating them and killing the Jewish babies.  The Be’er Yosef explains that the role of a staff is to do exactly what the holder of the staff wants, no more and no less. To be an extension of the hand. The Egyptians acted like snakes going beyond what was required. By turning Aharon’s staff into a snake they were in essence showing Pharoh what they had done wrong.

      We proclaim in Aleinu  “Shehu Noteh Shomayim V’yosed H’aretz-He bent the Heavens and founded the Earth.” In creating the Olam, which comes from the word Helom meaning hidden, He hid Himself. The word Mateh-staff comes from the word Noteh-to bend. When a person travels down a road he will never lose his way if the road remains straight. The moment the road begins to veer off to the right or left he no longer can see where he came from. The Mateh represents the veering off from the source.

   Hashem created two trees and placed them in the garden. These were two paths for man to choose from. The path of the Eitz Hachaim which is the Torah, the straight path, the path of truth, or the Eitz Hadas the path of the Nochosh, of deception and lies. “You can be like Hashem” the snake told Chava. When Moshe stood before Hashem at the burning bush Hashem told him to throw down his staff and it turned into a snake (Nochosh). Here in our Parsha it says that Moshe threw down his staff and it turned into a serpent (Sanin). Why the change in Loshon?

   Chazal tell us the source of all future history is rooted in the first days of creation. The first place we find this word Sanin in the Torah is on the fifth day of creation where the Torah writes that Hashem created the great Saninim. Rashi comments that the world would not have been able to exist if both male and female were left alive so the female was killed and salted away for the righteous in the future. What does this mean? It is interesting to note that the only places that the word Boroh-created is found are on the first day of creation, by man on the sixth day, and here by the creation of the Saninim. This represents the three major revelations by Hashem in our world. The first was by Brias Olam where His presence was clearly manifested. The second time was by Yetzias Mitzraim which was a sort of recreation of the world. The third will be by the ultimate revelation at the end of days. Therefore we may suggest that the Saninim represents this type of revelation that only occurred twice in the world since creation. Had they both been allowed to exist, the world could not have continued, just as the Ohr Hagonuz the primordial light, was hidden away for the future, so too the Saninim were hidden away because they both would have revealed too much.

       When Moshe spoke to Hashem at Har Sinai Hashem told him to throw down his staff and it turned into a snake (Nochosh).  This was no ordinary snake, but the root of the most terrifying evil that exists. We see that Moshe ran away from the sight of it, even though he was standing in the presence of Hashem. This was meant to prepare him for his mission to Mitzraim, the place where sorcery and black magic prevail. The Nefesh Hachaim writes that black magic is really the hand of Hashem in its hidden form. Hashem allows it to work in order to hide his power in the world. This is the path of the Eitz Hadas, of the Nochosh. What Moshe intended to show instead was the Saninim, a revelation of Hashem in this world. This was the message that he was bringing to Pharoh. This was the message all of the 

Macos were to convey. That was something black magic could not duplicate. That was revealing Hashem in the world.  The Gematria of the word  Sanin is 510 the same as the word Yashar-straight.

     When Aharon threw down the Mateh the Egyptians wondered whether it had really always been a snake that just had the illusion of being a staff. Later when they saw the very same Mateh being used by the Makeh of Blood they realized that it must be a staff since water negates any magical illusions. This is why it is referred to as the Mateh of Aharon.

    By the Makeh of blood all the water in Mitzraim became blood. If this is so how were the magicians able to duplicate this? Where did they get the water from? When the Egyptians came to Goshen they saw that the water was unchanged but when they took any it would become blood. Only if they bought it would it remain water. This is hinted at in the word Daam (blood) Which is used here in the plural meaning Damim the same word which is used meaning money.

   (6:14) “Ayleh Roshei Beis Avosom Beni Reuvein Bechor Yisroel–These were the heads of their fathers houses; the sons of Reuvein the firstborn of Israel.” We find that there is no mention of the names of the heads of the fathers houses here only by Levi does the Torah say (6:16) “V’ayleh Shemos Benei Levi- And these are the names of the sons of Levi.” The Shelah writes that there is a concept of feeling another man’s sorrow and pain. Just as we are to share in our fellow man’s Simcha so too must we share our brother’s pain. The tribe of Levi was not subject to the same intense labor the rest of Klal Yisroel suffered through. The way in which they could share in their fellow man’s suffering was by giving their children names which were expressions of that suffering. Gershon, Merrai and Kehas are such names. Gershon is from the words Ger Shom- A stranger there. Merrari-is from the word Maror-Bitter, and Kehas is an expression of silencing their speech. This is what the Torah is expressing here with the words “V’ayleh Shemos Benei Levi- And these are the names of the sons of Levi.”  Moshe and Aaron, who are accepting the role as leaders of the nation, had to come from a tribe that was able to share their brother’s pain.

   The Shelah goes on to say that this explains the conversation Moshe had with Hashem by the Sneh. (3:14) Hashem told Moshe that His name is AKIYEH asher AKIYEH, meaning that He will be with them in this pain and in the future pain they will experience. To which Moshe says “Why mention future pain to Klal Yisroel now?” Hashem agreed and said just tell them. AKIYEH has sent me. What does this mean? Can we possibly say that Hashem did not say the right thing? The Shelah explains that this really was meant for Moshe not Klal Yisroel. Moshe was not in Mitzrayim during the Shibud. For him to have the sympathy needed he was told now about the future events.

   (6:26) “Hu Aharon U’Moshe Asher Omar Hashem-This is Aron and Moshe who Hashem spoke with..” Rashi says there are times when Moshe is listed first and times when Aharon is listed first to show they were both equal. But how can this be? We know that Moshe had no equal? But they were equal in regard to becoming the greatest person they could be, in reaching their full potential. Aharon was the greatest Aharon he could have been. R. Moshe Feinstein said we measure a person not by who they are but by how much of their potential they have reached.

  (7:11) “Vayasu Gam Haim Chartumai Mitzrayim B’Lateihem Kain- And they too-the Necromancers of Egypt- did so with their incantations.” The Malbin writes that they themselves were transformed into snakes and were eaten by Aaron’s staff.

   There is a constant mentioning of  bringing the staff. After seeing the staff of Aaron devour the sorcerers themselves, the mere sight of the staff instilled tremendous fear in the Egyptians.

   (7:18) “V’Hadaag Asher Bayore Tomus-The fish that were in the river died.” During the flood non of the fish died. The Me’am Loez writes that the reason the fish died here was because the fish also participated in the crime. The fish instilled in the water an ability to perform sorcery when the Egyptians would drink from the Nile.

   (7:19) “Vayomer Hashem el-Moshe Dabaer el-Aaron-Hashem spoke to Moshe saying speak to Aaron.” Moshe was told to begin the first plague by telling his brother Aaron to warn Pharoh. The reason, as Rashi points out, is that Moshe could not strike even the inanimate waters, since he once was protected by them and had to display Akorus H’Tov. The question then becomes, how could Moshe bring so much destruction to Pharoh?  Should he not display the same Akorus H’Tov to Pharoh who raised him?   

    All of the plagues were now being showered upon Pharaoh and Mitzrayim because of their lack of Akorus H’Tov. Everything that Pharoh was, his wealth, his countries existence, all were due to what Yosef had done for them. But this was not only not acknowledged, it was repaid with slavery and cruelty.  This lack of Akorus H’Tov was at the root of their sin. Hashem repays Midah K’neged Midah. Every day Pharoh would be faced by the very person who was raised in his home from childhood, and now stood before him making demands for his people. This best showed Pharoh what ingratitude really looks like.

   As the Torah begins the narrative of the Ten Plagues a question arises regarding the first two plagues? Turning water, their God, into blood and having the Nile spew forth frogs. Both seem to have had the ability to be duplicated by the Egyptian sorcerers? Now if the purpose of the plagues was to display the unique power of Hashem over all of creation, why use something that can so easily be performed by the lowly Egyptian sorcerers? Rav Eytan Feiner offers a beautiful insight into the reasoning. The Egyptians were now forced to perform a sacrilege on their own God, the Nile, which was the very water supply that sustained them! By replicating the plague performed by Aharon they were in essence striking the very object of their worship. At the very start Hashem is displaying the tremendous foley of all their beliefs saying this is your God, now slap him in the face! By turning the source of their sustenance into blood it totally negated it as a Deity .

   (7:21)“Ve'Hadagah Asher- Ba'yor Mase'ah - The fish-life that was in the river died.” We don’t find that any of the fish died during the Great Flood? The reason for this is that in the days of the flood all land life forms corrupted their ways by mating outside of their species. The fish, being below the surface, were not influenced by the actions of man and did not corrupt themselves and did not sin. In Egypt however the fish did sin by eating the Jewish babies that were thrown into the Nile. For this reason they deserved to be punished here. (Toldos Yitzchak)

   (7:21)“Ve'Hadagah Asher- Ba'yor Mase'ah - The fish-life that was in the river died.” By the plague of Blood, the Torah tells us that the fish died. Why did Hashem see fit to destroy one of his creations? We don't find this to be the case by the plague of the wild animals? Instead we see they were sent away so that the Egyptians would not benefit from the hides. The Meam Loez writes when the Egyptians saw the dead fish they knew that the blood they were witnessing was not an illusion. It showed  that this blood was prevalent throughout the water not just at the surface. For if the blood was only at the surface, the fish would have been able to remain alive by simply swimming into deeper waters.

   (8:5) "Rak Bayor Tisharnoh- Only in the river will they remain."  During the plague of frogs we find that some frogs die while others remained alive in the Nile? Three reasons are given by the Oznayim L'Torah. One- To show that even their God, the Nile, could 

not save itself. Two - So that the Egyptians would realize the gravity of their of casting Jewish babies into the Nile. Each time they would hear the croaking in the future it would be a reminder of that sin. Three-These were the frogs that jumped into the Egyptian ovens to sanctify Hashem's name. They survived and returned to the Nile.

   (8:6) “Vayomer L’Mochor- He said tomorrow.” The Zohar writes that Pharoh knew Black Magic only operates between noon and midnight. By telling Moshe to remove the plague tomorrow he was testing him to see if Moshe was authentic or if he knew as well how to use the black arts.

   (8:9) “Vayomusu Ha'tzfardim - And the frogs died.” Again we find that Hashem saw fit to destroy one of his creations. Why? Because only frogs that did not die were the ones that jumped into the ovens. Hashem wanted to make this distinction to teach that whoever serves Hashem will ultimately not lose out. The frogs multiplied beyond their nature and it was the excess frogs that died because after serving their purpose they were no longer really needed.

   When Hashem brought the plague of Dever to Mitzraim the Torah tells us that by Benei Yisroel not one animal died. The words used are “Lo Mase Echod.” In the next posuk it says Pharoh sent scouts to verify this and it uses the words “Lo Mase Ad Echod” implying that all but one lived? This one belonged to the son of the on woman who had relations with a Mitzri. When Moshe saw a Mitzri hitting a Jew and Rashi says he looked and saw what was going on in the field and in the home. He understood that this Mitzri would make the Jew leave his home at night so he could be with his wife. The son of that union was really not a Jew because before Matan Torah the child is determined by who the father was. After Matan Torah the child follows after the mother. So this child was not a Jew therefore his animal died. But that was all Pharoh had to see. Even though 99.999% of the Jewish cattle lived, as long as he saw one exception it was enough for him to not believe.

   (8:12) “V’Hoyo L’Kinim B’chol Ertetz Mitzrayim- It shall become lice throughout the whole land of Egypt.” The lice came to punish the Egyptians for preventing the Jews from bathing. The Jews remained sweaty and filthy from their work making bricks, and were subject to attacks by lice. Now the tables were turned and it was the Egyptians who were plagued by lice.

   (8:13) "Etzbah Elokim" The name Elokim is used instead of Hashem by the advisers to say that this was a natural phenomenon and could have been predicted by the astrologers. This is why pharaoh changed his mind about releasing them. After this the sorcerers no longer tried to duplicate the Macos. The word Etzbah is an acrostic for Ein Tzarich  Bedika Ode-There is no need for further inspection.  From here on the word Chartumim is spelled without a letter "YUD". This hinted at the ten measures of sorcery sent to this world of which they now lost all they had. 

Why do the magicians not have power over things below a measure? Because that is the Shiur for Tumeh. The word for Shiur has the same letters as Siorah (Barley) This indicates that the sorcery is dependent on and is limited by physicality and is not rooted in the spiritual. (Maharal)

   (8:27) The Oznayim L’Torah writes that the wild animals did not die like the frogs to keep the Egyptians from profiting on the hides. The frogs multiplied beyond their nature and the excess were killed because they were not needed, however the wild animals returned back to where they came from.

   (9:3) “Yad Hashem” This is the only place where the “Hand of Hashem” is mentioned. The reason is because the Posuk mentions five types of livestock.

   (9:6) "MiMikneh Benei Yisroel Lo Mase Echad-From the Cattle of the Children of Israel none died" The question asked is from where did Yisroel get cattle? They were slaves? One answer given by the Ohr Hachaim is that they bought cattle with the money they received from selling water to the Egyptians during the plague of blood. Its also possible that some of the smart Egyptians tried to avoid the death of their cattle by selling them to the Jews. The words "From the cattle" implies that some of their cattle were killed. The animals owned outright by the Jews did not die, but those animals owned by Jews in name only died.

   (9:11) “Lo Yochlu H’Chartumim Lamode-The Nacromancers could not stand” Why are the magicians singled out here? They shut themselves in their homes out of embarrassment. Because although their remedies helped others, they could not help themselves.

   (9:14) “Ki Bepam Hazos Ani Sholeach Es-Kol-Mageifosai El-Leibecha - For this time I shall send all My plagues against your heart.” First of all why is Hashem telling Moshe to say that he will send all of his plagues when the next plague that was sent was Borod (hail)? Secondly what is meant by the term “against your heart?” Rashi explains that this refers to Macos Bechoros- The Plague of the Firstborn, rather than the hail, about which Moshe was now warning Pharoh. The Maharal explains that this was the first of the last set of plagues that culminated in the Plague of the Firstborn. Thus Rashi's reference is to the plague that was the climax of the current series. The Ohr Hachaim explains that up until now Pharoh thought that all of the plagues were preformed either through Moshe's superior knowledge of black magic or his ability to know when certain natural phenomena was to take place. But after seeing the plague of Borod in which both fire and water coexisted and through which there was tremendous damage to the food supply, and even death to the people and animals, Pharoh realized that it was Hashem and not Moshe that was at work. Through this realization, it was as if “all My plagues” were ow being inflicted at the same time.

   Perhaps another approach could be that since, from here on in it was Hashem's decision not Pharoh's as to when the people would be freed, it became all My plagues. In essence what Hashem was saying was that just as the previous plague of Dever came because I hardened your heart, you can no longer let them go, I will bring all my plagues even if you wish to let them go because Hashem took away Pharoh's Bechira (freedom of choice). Now it was automatic that “all my plagues” would be inflicted. This would also then explain the reference to “Against your heart." Pharoh's heart was now taken out of the equation.

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    (1:1) “V’Ayleh Shemos-These are the names Why name the entire Sefer Shemos.? We know the Ramban calls it the Sefer Geulah, Exodus, which makes sense since it is the thrust of the narrative. Moreover the first five verses seem to be a repetition of the end of Sefer Bereishis? It even has more information over there than it does here? The Tolner Rebbe addresses this and says that this opening section of the second book of the Torah is coming to teach us the secret of how to survive the impending Golus. After all Egypt was the paradigm of all future exiles and redemptions. Based on what was suggested in Parshas Vayeche, when Yakov wished to reveal the Kaitz. The Posuk says (49:1)“Vayikra Yakov el-Bonav Vayomeru Heasfu Vagidah Lochem es Asher Yikrah Eschem B’achris Hayomim-Yakov called for his sons and said “Assemble yourselves and I will tell you what will befall you in the End of Days.” We would expect some profound message in the closing chapter of this Sefer. Rashi is of the opinion that Hashem prevented Yakov from divulging the final Geulah, since we don’t see it revealed in the next words spoken by Yakov. Instead he appears to go on to something else namely the blessings of the tribes. But perhaps we can suggest that hidden in those blessings Yakov actually does reveal the final days.

Vagidah Lochem es Asher Yikrah Eschem-I wil tell you what will befall you.” The word Yikarah is spelled with an Aleph instead of a Hey. Literally meaning calling not happening. Yakov was teaching them the calling of the end of days. Instead of disclosing the time of the final Geulah Yakov calls each of the tribes by name. One of the reasons Yisroel would be redeemed from exile is that they did not change their names. The book of Exodus is called Shemos-Names. Right at the start of the Golus the exit plan is put into place. We know that Yakov died in the year 2255. If you add that number to the total Gematria of all of the names of each of the Shevotim (3745 counting Menashe and Ephraim instead of Yosef) you arrive at the number 6000. Yakov was saying “Assemble yourselves” in other words only through the Achdus-unity of Klal Yisroel (add up each of your names together) will we arrive at the Kaitz. Not changing their names was essential.

    Perhaps we can say that this is why the second of the Five Books is called Shemos/Names because it is the names that will bring us the Geulah.

 (1:1)“Ve-ayleh Shemos- These are the names The “Vav” in the first word of this Sefer indicates a connection to the previous book. Here at the beginning of their servitude we are shown one of the ways out. There were three things that are credited to the children of Israel for having remained intact. They are their names, clothing and language. These first words hint at this fact by telling us “V’Ayleh Shemos-And these are the names.” They have kept the same names as before.

   (1:1)“Ve-ayleh Shemos Benei Yisroel Haboim Mitzraimah- These are the names of the children of Israel who are coming to Eygpt.” Many commentators attempt to explain the terminology of these words. Why is their coming written in the present tense? We know that in Parshas Vayigash these same words were written, now several decades later, the words “who are coming” simply could not apply? But to understand this we need to explore another question. Why was it necessary for Klal Yisroel to go through this ordeal in the first place? What gain was there in them having to perform hard labor? In fact their labors bore no fruit. The store houses they built were built upon quick sand. There was nothing to show for their efforts! It would seem that the entire Egyptian exile was a failure. Klal Yisroel, at the time of their descent to Egypt, were on a very high spiritual level. Yet 210 years later they emerged on the 49th level of tumeh.

   The Arizal writes that the reason Klal Yisroel went through this Egyptian holocaust was because they needed to correct the misdeeds of a previous life. The generations of Jews in Mitzraim were a reincarnation of the generation of the Tower of Bavel. He learns this from a Gezerah Shoveh. With regard to the Tower of Bavel the Torah writes that they built the tower from Chomer and Leveinim -Mortar and bricks. This same phrase is used for Klal Yisroel in their hard labor. But what is this connection?

     The generation of the Tower attempted to challenge the spiritual world, to actually wage war against Hashem. They took the physicality of this world and made it paramount. They built a virtual skyscraper in ancient times! But even the greatest skyscraper is incapable of reaching Heaven. Why did Hashem need to intervene? The answer is that they could have affected the spiritual world because of the fact that they we're united, they were of one tongue. They were able to tap into the spiritual world to serve the physical. The mistake they made was making the physical the Ikar (primary) and the spiritual the Toful (secondary). This is what the generation of Jews in Mitzraim needed to correct. They needed to endure 210 years of intense physicality, hard labor in the purest sense with no recognizable fruits, all for the sake of refining them to emerge as the light unto all nations. They needed to make the reversal of priorities. They needed once again to make the spiritual the Ikar (primary) and the physical the Toful (secondary). This was a result of their adherence to the three things that saved them from a permanent exile. They did not change their names, their language and their clothing. The name of a person connects him to his essence, his soul. Language is the expression of that connection. And clothing is the statement that the physical side of man is secondary when clothed properly.

   With this we may answer the first question of why the Posuk says they are “coming to Mitzraim” instead of saying “they came.” Mitzraim is the root of all future exiles. It therefore contains offshoots of the very elements that we find in our lives today. The quality of life we enjoy today is unparalleled by any previous generation. We run the risk of placing our physical existence above the spiritual reality. In every generation it is as if we are coming to Mitzraim. We must make sure not to let the physical become the Ikar (primary) and the spiritual the Toful (secondary).

    Why is it that Benei Yi

great that what we see may only be a remnant of the light from that star which is only now reaching us. The same can be said of the Avos. Even though they are no longer here their light  still has an effect on us today. Another answer is that we know Hashem calls out the stars each night by name because he knows the nature of each individual star and he uses them to affect and manipulate the physical world. So too are Klal Yisroel compared to stars because He knows the nature of each individual and how each one of us affects the physical world.

   But perhaps even more compelling is that although the stars are invisible by day, they exist in their place. It is we who cannot see them, because of the illumination of the sky. The same is true of the righteous, they exist after death but we cannot see them from our dimension. So too our ancestors may not be visible at times but their affect still exists.

   (1:5) “Vayehe Kol Nefesh Yotzei Yerech Yakov- Every soul that came out of the loins of Yakov.” The term Yerech Yakov is somewhat unique in the Torah. Avraham had Toldos as did Yitzchok, Yishmael even Essav. Why here is this different expression used? Perhaps we can say the following. The numerical value of the words Yerech Yakov is equal to 412 the same as Yom Kippur. We know there is a concept of Yisrael Af Al Pi Sh’chatah Yisrael Hu- A Jew remains a Jew even if he sins.” This began only with the descendants of Yakov. But what of those sins? Yom Kippur is required for this concept to work. In addition the words “Kol Nefesh Yotzei Yerech Yakov-Every soul that came out of the loins of Yakov.” Is equal to 1002 or “Hashiveinu L’Maan Shemecha- I will bring you back for the sake of the name.” We might suggest that the name here refers not to Hashem’s name but rather the names of Benei Yisroel that were not changed.                                                                                              

   (1:9) Vayomer el-Amo He-nei Am Benei Yisroel Rav Veatzum Mimenu - And he said to his people Behold the nation of the children of Israel are many and strong from us. Even though they had multiple births the children of Israel were considerably stronger than the Egyptians. Another interpretation is that they became strong “Mimenu” from us. Meaning that the strength of Benei Yisroel should be attributed to the fact that Mitzraim supported them. They used our resources to become a great nation. This could also explain why in Posuk 5 the Torah repeats that there were seventy souls that came to Mitzraim a fact that was reported at the end of Parshas Vayigash. Why was it necessary to repeat this especially since here we do not find the names of the seventy listed as it was in Vayigash. The answer could be that the Torah here wanted to emphasize the fact that they began with only seventy souls and became this multitude of people “Mimenu” from us! (Ohr Hachaim)

(1:10) “Havah Nischachma Lo - Let us outsmart them.Bereshis Rabbah writes that there was a long standing tradition that Benei Yisroel would overpower Canaan. This was supposed to take place after the Jews numbered six hundred thousand. Pharoh referred to this ancient prediction when he observed the rapid growth in numbers of Benei Yisroel. This is what the Posuk means by “He-nei” (Behold). In other words they began to realize that this prophecy had begun to come true. “Havah Nischachma Lo - Let us outsmart them.” They will move back to Canaan and destroy our Canaanite brothers. The first decree that Egypt made against this was to ban any Jews from leaving the country. The origins of anti-Semitism were formed then and for all times. The first sign of this was when the Jewish people refused to intermarry with the Egyptians. The outcome of this was the decree on the male babies. Their intentions were to extinguish the males so that the female Jews would have no choice but to marry outside of their faith.

   The words (1:10) “Havah Nischachma Lo - Let us outsmart them.” go along with the words (1:12) “ V’Kasher Yanu Osoh Kain Yirbeh - The more they oppressed them the more they increased.” In fact the gematria of the words ““Havah Nischachma Lo” equal 571 the same as the words promised by Hashem that the Jews would leave “B’rechush Gadol-With great wealth.”

(1:12) “ V’Kasher Yanu Osoh Kain Yirbeh - The more they oppressed them the more they increased.”  The Torah writes that “as they afflicted them, so they multiplied.” But Shevet Levi was not subjected to the hard work in Mitzraim that is why even to this day the Leviim are very small in numbers. They didn’t grow like the other jews because they weren't as physically oppressed. The words Ka’asher Yanu- is in the future tense because it means that even in the future whenever someone will afflict the Jews, the Jews will grow and get stronger.

   The Zohar explains that when one must endure persecution the good which may have been mixed with the evil, is distilled from the evil joining other areas that are totally good. By the same token the evil of that mixture joins other areas of pure evil. The Torah here tells us that the more persecution Yisroel suffered the more good was released from what had been only a mixture of good and evil previously. With the release of that good Yisroel merited to have more children. Hence the Torah adds the words “Vechain Yifratz” (and so they spread out).

    Yocheved gave birth to Moshe at the age of 130. When Sarah gave birth she was 90 it was considered a tremendous miracle, but here its not even brought down in the Posukim? The answer is that here by Yocheved (in Mitzraim) every Ledah (birth) was not Derech Hatevah-ie-they were all giving birth to 6 at a time strong and healthy children with many Nissim. By Sarah it was normal times and therefore a woman giving birth at age 90 is a big Ness.

   (1:16)Vayomer Beyaledchem - Im-Bain hu Vehamiten Oso V’Im-Bas He V’choyah - He said when you deliver the Hebrew women- If it’s boy, kill him; if it’s a girl, let him live.”

The Gemarah in Sotah says that when the handmaids were told to kill the baby boys and let the girls live they were also told how to tell if it was a boy or girl before the child was completely out of the mother. The reason for this is because they had to justify the death of a child by saying it happened during birth, there is nothing we could have done. So Pharoh told them if the head comes out facing up it’s a girl, face down means its a boy. The Midrash says that the reason for this is man is in his ultimate state while united with a woman, during which the man is on top facing down and the woman is facing up. Also the children were raised by Hashem. After they were born the parents would take them out to the fields and the ground would swallow them up. When the Egyptians would try to kill them they would disappear under ground. That’s why it says at the Red Sea the children were pointing and saying “Zeh Kali” sroel are compared to the stars? One answer is that just like the stars, whose light we see, may actually have burnt out years ago. The stars distance may be so 

because they recognized Hashem from when they were being raised. This also is why Pharoh said the word “Henei” in Posuk 1:9, because suddenly six children returned to their parents when they became old enough. So where there were one thousand Jews, suddenly there were seven thousand Jews. This cycle kept repeating itself until suddenly “Henei -Behold” Benei Yisroel became a multitude.

     When Moshe was born why was it necessary to put him in the Nile? Why couldn’t they just hide him? The answer is that Miriam wanted the astronomers to think that Moshe was cast into the Nile like all of the other Jewish babies and thereby stop the killing. In fact this is what happened. The astronomers ran to tell Pharoh that the savior of Israel had been cast into the Nile.

   (1:20) “Vayitav Hashem L’Miyaldos Vayorev H’om Vayatzmu Miode-Hashem benefited the midwives and the people increased and became very strong.” When the midwives refused to kill the male babies Hashem rewarded them. But the verse here expresses that the people increased and became very strong? What connection is there to rewarding the midwives? R.Frand writes that he once heard in the name of R.Eliya that a cousin of his had a premature baby that needed to be in a hospital for several weeks after it’s birth. When the baby was released the father went to R.Eliya to ask how he could express his gratitude to the doctors? He was told that each year on the birthday of the child he should bring him to the hospital and show the doctors and nurses what their efforts accomplished. This is what the Torah is telling us here. The reward for the midwives would be to see the babies they saved grow and become very strong.

   (2:2) Vatizpineihu Shloshah Yerachim-She hid him for three months.”  The word for months in this verse is not the usual Chodesh but rather Yerech. This is a word that is more connected with a lunar cycle than a solar cycle. In a lunar cycle we have alternating months of 29 to 30 days. This was to repay the suffering Moshe had to endure being placed in the raging  waters of the Nile. Moshe’s rescue from the Nile would therefore fall out on the 6th of Sivan, the day of Matan Torah.

   (2:3) “ Vlo Yochloh Ode Hitzfino-She could no longer hide him.”  Rashi explains that Moshe was born premature at 6 months and a day. Therefore after three months Amram remarried Yocheved the Egyptians came looking for him. Why didn’t they think of the possibility of a premature birth? The Daas Zekainim M’Baalei Tosefes explain that Yocheved was already three months pregnant when Amram remarried her. Therefore when Moshe was born prematurely it was only three months after their wedding. When the Mitzriim came to look for the baby, Moshe was already three months old and able to be placed in the basket.

   (2:4) Miriam stood from afar to see what would happen to her brother. Where was his mother? It was Miriam who prophesied that he would be the savior and so she wanted to see what would become of that prophecy.

    Yocheved acted cleverly by placing Moshe in the water. Through this sacrifice she was hoping that the astrologers would thus be fooled and end the drowning of all the Jewish babies. Thereby saving countless Jewish lives. ( R.Bachaya)

    When Pharoh heard that the Jewish savior was about to be born he ordered all babies to be cast into the Nile. He was told that it was unclear if the child was Jewish or Egyptian. The reason for that is because since Batyah raised him as her own child she was viewed in the stars as a his mother. We learn from here that one who raises a child is considered as if she gave birth to it.

  (2:5) “V’Tered Bas Pharoh L’Rchotz-The daughter of Pharoh went down to Bathe.”Why would the daughter of Pharoh bathe in public by the Nile? Did she not have a place to bathe in the palace? Chazal say that she went to bathe there because she had been stricken with leprosy. However the moment she touched the baby Moshe she became cured. 

   "Vatishlach es Amasah-She stretched out her hand." Chazal say that her hand miraculously extended. The question is what made her stretch out her hand in the first place? She didn't know that a miracle would be performed for her? The answer is that we learn a tremendous lesson from here. When a child is at risk we don't stop to evaluate whether or not we can succeed and give up if the situation seems hopeless. But rather if we sincerely do all that is in our power Hashem will make the impossible possible.

   Why was it necessary for Moshe to have trouble with his speech? Because when the Benei Yisroel heard Moshe speak the words of Hashem they knew that it was coming from Hashem and not from Moshe.

   (2:6) “V’Hinei Hnar Bocheh-Behold the child was crying” This refers to Moshe’s brother Aharon who was standing at the shore. The Gematria of “Nar Bocheh” equal Zeh Aharon Hakohen.

   (2:11) Vayigdal Moshe Vayetze el-EchavVayar B'Sivlosom Vayar Ish Mitzri Makeh Ish Ivri M'echav-Moshe grew up and went out to his brethren and observed their burdens, and he saw an Egyptian man striking a Hebrew man. Vayifen Koh V'Koh Vayar ki Aiyn Ish Vayech es-H'Mitzri Vayitmineihu B'chol- He turned this way and that and saw that there was no man, so he struck down the Egyptian and hid him in the sand.” When Moshe grew up he left the house of Pharaoh to see the condition of his fellow Jews. “Vayifen Koh V'Koh he struggled with his Egyptian side and his Jewish side and saw Vayar ki Aiyn Ish he saw that there is no man. In other words he understood that a person cannot be two sided. Vayech es-H'Mitzri Vayitmineihu B'chol so he struck down the Egyptian side of himself and buried it in the sand. (Abarbanel)

   (2:14) “Vayomer Achein Nodeh Hadovor-He said indeed the matter is known.” When Moshe took action against the Egyptian who was beating a Jew, someone from Klal Yisroel revealed the matter. The Midrash explains that now Moshe understood why the Jews deserved to suffer so. They were tale bearers. The question is why is this the reason for their suffering? There were many other sins committed by the Jews that had sunk them down to the 49th level of Tumeh? The answer is that Hashem created the world to operate Midah Keneged Midah (measure for measure). What this means is that a person is only punished through the same act 

with which he sinned. If that person never spoke badly about anyone in his entire life, the accusing angel can never say anything bad about that person when he stands in judgement. Therefore only through Loshen Horoh can the prosecutor accuse them. If not for their evil speech no mouth would ever have been opened against them.

   (2:21) “Vayoel Moshe Losheves es Ho’Ish-Moshe desired to dwell with the man.”Moshe thought that he would be safe with Yisro since Pharoh treated “Priests” well. Due to the fact that Yisro had seven daughters, Moshe knew he would be accepted.

  Moshe lived two thirds of his life among gentiles. He had to set the example for every Jew to follow. People might say “I can not be like a Moshe, I was not raised by the Gadol Hador. The response is that Moshe was cut off from his people at childhood. Only from his inner strength did he become the “Man of G-d.”

   How could Moshe be the one to bring down Pharoh when he owed him a tremendous debt of gratitude, so much Akoras Hatov? Moshe was raised on Pharoh's lap? However Hashem is the true Judge of man. When Pharoh forgot the Akoras Hatov he owed to Yosef, for saving not only his country but the world. Measure for measure he was repaid by having the very child he raised not exhibit Akoras Hatov to him as well.

   (2:23) “Vayomos Melech Mitzrayim Vayianchu Bnei Yisrael Min H’Avodah-And the King of Egypt died and the Jewish people sighed from their work.” What does the death of the King have to do with he Jewish people sighing? The Egyptians knew that if the Jews would ry to Hashem He would answer their prayers and free them from slavery. Therefore they made the Jews work extremely hard. Whenever a supervisor would see a Jew crying, he would beat him.

But when Pharoh died all of the Egyptians attended the funeral leaving the Jews to cry out to Hashem. 

   (3:18) “V’Atoh Nailcha-Nah Derech Shloshes Yomim Bamidbar V’Nizbecha L’Hashem Elokim-And now please let us go on a three day journey in the wilderness, and we shall bring offerings to Hashem our G-D.”  The question is why did Hashem use such devious methods against the Mitzriim? First he had Moshe speak to Pharoh about a three day religious holiday as well as borrowing the gold and silver from the Egyptians with no intention of ever giving them back?

   The Gemarrah in Sotah 11 relates how the Egyptians had cleverly entrapped Benei Yisroel into slavery.  They began by rallying the Jews to special duties that were reserved for aliens. Next they secretly ordered the midwives to kill all the newborn males, before the mothers had a chance to realize what was happening. Lastly, the Egyptians were ordered to drown all young Jewish males wherever they might be found. When the Egyptians realized that the king had loosened the restrictions they broke into Jewish homes at night, kidnapped their sons and immediately drowned them.(Ramban)

   Hashem uses the Midah of “Measure for Measure.” Just as the Mitzriim acted deceitfully so to Hashem gradually brought them into their own trap. First he had Moshe speak to Pharoh about a three day religious holiday. Then gradually they became drawn into following them to the Red Sea by borrowing their gold and silver. The Egyptians thought that if Benei Yisroel really intended to steal their valuables, they would have done so, when they had the opportunity during the three days of darkness.

   (3:16) “ Pokod Pokadity - I will surely remember you!.”  When Hashem spoke to Moshe by the burning bush he gave him a sign that the Benei Yisroel would accept. The  words “Pokod Pokadity” would be used by the person who would deliver Yisroel. But if this was given over from generation to generation what kind of sign could it be if everyone knew it?  The  Ramban  asks  this  question  and  he answers  that it was told over that only the true savior would use this phrase.

   The Gur Arye questions this answer because throughout history we see that there were many false prophets who claimed to speak the words of Hashem. Why should this be different? Instead he suggests that this is the reason why Moshe had to be removed from his parents’ home at such an early age. Having grown up in Pharoh’s house this mesorah could not have been handed down to him. He therefore would not know about it.

   This Loshon of  “Pokod Pokadity” is used because the word  “Pokod” is a term used at times for bad and at times for good. When Sarah is informed that she will have a baby the words “Pokod es Sara” is used. When Hashem will remember the sins of the father. The term used is “Pokod es Avon Avous”. Here the word is used because we know that there will be both bad and good. For every negative act that was done to the Egyptians a comparable positive act was done for the Benei Yisroel. This is why the term of Pokod is used here. In addition the fact only one fifth of the nation went out shows that the remembering (Pokod) was both good and bad. It was  good  for  those  Jews  who followed Hashem and bad for the ones who did not.

   According to the Baal Haturim the word Pokod equals 190. The meaning behind this is that only the true redeemer would know that length of the servitude, which was foretold to be 400 years, would be shortened by 190 years. Thus the meaning of this secret phrase reads “Pokod=190, Pokadity I will remove.” Only the true redeemer could explain this phrase to mean the time of redemption has arrived! The Gematria of the phrase Pokod Pokadity is equal to the phrase “Ki Ase Kaitz Higiya-The time of the redemption has arrived.”(778)

   The fact that Moshe had difficulty speaking was a factor in proving him to be the true savior. He had difficulty with the letters “d t l n th.” Therefore the phrase “Pokod Pokadity” would have been virtually impossible for him to pronounce clearly. When Moshe said the words with perfect clarity, the people knew that he was sent by Hashem. (Meam Loez)

   (3:11) “ Vayomer Moshe el H’Elokim Mi Anochi-Moshe said to Elokim “who am I" The use of the word "Anochi" instead of the usual "Ani" indicates that Moshe was asking "what became of the promise made to Yakov when Hashem said "Anochi Imo B'Tzorah-I will be with you in your troubles" and take you out of Egypt? Moshe is asking "Mi Anochi?" Where is G-D? (Shemos Rabbah)

   (3:11) “ Vayomer Moshe el H’Elokim Mi Anochi Ki Aylech el Pharoh V’chi Otzi- Moshe said to Elokim “who am I that I should go to Pharoh and that I should take them out?”  When 

Moshe said “Me Anochi Vechi Otzi” who am I to speak with kings and with what merit should they go out? Hashem answered him that they will in the future serve me on this mountain and receive the Torah. But how can this be an answer? We learned with regard to Ishmael that Hashem judged him as he was at that time. Even though his descendants would kill Benei Israel. We see that a person is not judged by his future actions but rather as he is now. So how could Hashem say that he will take them out of Mitzraim now because in the future Benei Israel would accept the Torah on this mountain? The answer is that Hashem does a tremendous chesed for Israel. When it’s something bad he does not judge them on something they have not yet done. But if it’s something good he counts it as if it was already done.

   Why was it that Moshe thought the Benei Yisroel would not listen to him? Hashem said they would listen? Moshe heard Hashem say that he would harden Pharaohs heart and that Pharoh would not let them go. If after appearing before Pharoh and he would not listen how can I expect Benei Yisroel to listen?

   The Arizal writes that Moshe was a Gilgul of Hevel. Why did Hevel deserve to die? When Hevel brought a sacrifice to Hashem he knew it was accepted because a fire came down and consumed it. Hevel stared at this fire and did not turn away. This is the reason he deserved to die. Moshe was the Tikun of this act because it says that when Moshe first came to the burning bush he turned his face away so as not to gaze at the Shechina. This is alluded to in the very name of  Moshe mem, shin, hey. From (min) Shes and Hevel. The argument that Kayin and Hevel had is not mentioned in the Torah but the Midrash says that Kayin was born with a twin sister Hevel was born with two sisters. Kayin thought that he should be the one to have two wives since he was the bechor. So he killed Hevel. The seforim write that Tziporah was the Gilgul of that sister. So Moshe, by marrying Tziporah, fulfilled what was denied to Hevel. The name Tziporah equals in Gematria the word L’Moshe. Yisro was the Gilgul of Kayin as we learned in the Midrash, Yisro was an  adviser to Pharoh.

    When Moshe was a baby he would play  in the presence of the king. Once while playing he removed the crown from Pharoh and placed it on his own head. Bilam, who at the time was an adviser, told Pharoh that this child was the future Jewish savior foretold by his astronomers and he must dispose of him before he takes over the kingdom. Yisro advised Pharoh to test Moshe with a diamond and a glowing coal. This saved Moshe’s life so it comes out that the Gilgul of Kayin fixed this Chet with the Gilgul of Hevel.

   (3:22) “V’Shoalah Isha Mishechentah U’Migoras Baisah Klei Kesef Ukilei Zahav Usimolos V’samtem al Benechem-Every woman shall ask of her neighbor and those who dwell in her house, silver, gold and raiments and you shall put them on your sons and daughters.

When the women were hiding their newborn babies they would offer gifts to the Egyptians to keep them from reporting the births. Now they were asking for those gifts to be returned.

The Oznayim L’Torah writes that the parents should not feel it immoral to take from the Egyptians and hide what they were doing, rather they should place them on their children to show how those Egyptians who exposed their hiding places were now being paid back.

   (4:1) “Lo Yishmu B’Koli-They will not listen to my voice” But Hashem said they would listen? Moshe did not argue that Israel will not believe in Hashem, he argued that Yisroel will not believe that I spoke with Hashem. We see this from the words exchanged between Moshe and Hashem.

  (B’Koli vs L’Koli) In 3:18 Hashem says “V’shomu L’Kolecha-They will hearken to your voice.” This means they will hear in your voice Hashem’s words. L’Koli implies the words coming from a higher authority. However in this verse the words are “Lo Yishmu B’Koli.” B’Koli hints that the words are mine not Hashem’s. This means that the words are coming from your voice, not from a higher authority, Hashem.

   (4:2) “Vayomer Aylav Hashem Mahzeh B’yadeha-Hashem said to Moshe What is in your hand?” The word “Mazeh”is written as one word but read two, which can be understood as “Mi Zeh-from this.” From this rod you deserve to be punished for slandering Yisroel, saying they will not believe. If not for this skepticism the signs would have been unnecessary and Moshe would have been able to inspire the nation through hisprophecy and conviction. Thus the rod served a dual function. It helped Moshe perform the miracles plus it turned into a snake to remind him that he slandered Yisroel. Later it even became the instrument of his sin striking the rock twice and becoming denied entry into the land.

   (4:9) “V’hoyo L’dam B’yabosheh-And it will be blood on the ground.” Moshe was given the additional sign of turning water into blood. Why was this needed? Seeing  blood sends a serious message. This was not going to be some magic trick or slight of hand. Often the mere sight of blood can cause a person to faint.  Hashem wanted the Jews to know that Moshe was coming to avenge the innocent blood of those cast into the Nile. This would send a stark message that Elokim would be working in the capacity of strict justice and that all of their years of oppression would be avenged.

   (4:14) “Vayichar Af Hashem B’Moshe Vayomer Halo Aharon Achicha Ha’Levi- The wrath of Hashem burned against Moshe and he said “Is there not Aharon your brother the Levite?” Whenever the Torah uses the phrase “Wrath of Hashem” there are consequences involved. Here Rashi points out, that the use of the word “Ha’Levi” implies that Moshe lost the opportunity to be the Kohen Gadol. Moshe was projecting his own inadequacies on to his brother. Moshe’s reasoning for refusing the position of leader was due to the fact that he felt his older brother was more deserving. Had Moshe been passed over for a younger sibling he would have felt resentment. However Hashem testifies that this was not the case. Aharon was coming out to meet him and held no reservations about Moshe leading the nation. This Lev Tov was a trait Moshe lacked and was essential for the priesthood thus it was taken from Moshe.

   (4:17)“V’es Hamateh Hazeh Tikach B’yadecha-And this staff shall you take in your hands.”

The staff that Moshe took with him was one of the ten things created just before the first Shabbos in the twilight of creation. Adom handed it down to Noach and it survived the flood. It 

was further passed on to Avraham, Yitzchok, Yakov and Yosef. After Yosef’s death it became part of Pharoh’s treasure. Yisro, who was one of Pharoh’s advisors, knew there was something unique about it and took it with him when he left Egypt. He placed it in the ground in Midian where no one was able to remove it. Only the savior of the Jews would be able to remove it from the earth. Moshe came to Midian and recognized the engraving on the staff to be Loshon Kodesh. Engraved on the staff was one of Hashem’s mystical names plus an abbreviation of the Ten Plagues that Hashem was to bring to Egypt. Also engraved on the staff were the names of the Patriarchs, the Matriarchs and Yakov’s twelve sons. Although being made of sapphire, it was quite heavy, however Moshe was able to lift it with one hand. This indicated to Yisro that the savior of Israel had arrived. Only someone who could carry the history of a nation with him, would be worthy of that role. He then gave his oldest daughter to him for a wife.

   At the end of the Parsha Pharoh tells Benei Yisroel that they will have to produce the same amount of bricks as before but they will no longer be given straw to make the bricks. For this Pharoh was later punished Midah Kinegged Midah. When he finally agreed to let Yisroel go Hashem hardened his heart. His Bechira was taken away. This is what Pharoh did to Benei Yisroel by taking away the straw he was making it impossible for them to accomplish their task. As we see in the next Posuk they weren’t able to meet their quota. In essence their Bechira was taken away. This is what allowed Hashem to prevent them from falling into the fiftieth gate of Tumah. Hashem took away this choice of falling further into Tumah.

   At the end of the Parsha the Posuk says Benei Yisroel spread out all over Mitzraim to gather straw. The word used is “Vayofetz” the same word used by the generation of the tower of Bavel. When Hashem spread out the Dor’ Hafloga the word used is also “Vayofetz”. The Arizal says that this was a Tikun for that generation. Benei Yisroel are the second edition of the original man. "Atem Keruyim Adom-You are called Man" Their mission in this world was and is to correct the failings of the previous generations. Now a process had begun that would culminate in the Ten Macos which paralleled the Ten Mamoros through which the world was created.

   Perhaps we can suggest that the reason Hashem made it harder for Benei Yisroel at the end of this Shibud was to weed out those who really had Emunah from those who lacked true Emunah. Also to bring out the underlying viciousness of the Egyptians for they would harass the Jews whenever they were found searching for straw in their fields. This was done so they could not later complain about the plagues befalling them by saying "It was Pharoh who refused to let you go, we did nothing to deserve this?" So through this “Mekoshesh KashBenei Yisroel brought out the true nature of the Egyptians. In essence they were gathering the Tumah of the Egyptians. This is hinted in the word “Likoshesh” which equals 730 the same as the word “Titzuraim” which means to harass.

   (4:22) Koh Omar Hashem- Beni Bechori Yisroel-So said Hashem my first born son is Israel.” When Pharaoh refuses to let Yisroel go Moshe is to tell him that Israel is his firstborn son? What relevance does this have here? Besides how can Israel be considered firstborn when they were in fact the last nation of that time to emerge? Rashi says that this is where Hashem confirmed Yakov’s taking of the firstborn rights. The Maharal explains why here is the place to mention this. By Yakov taking the firstborn rights KlalYisroel is able to be the firstborn of the nations. The Chasam Sofer adds that just as Shabbos was the culmination of creation, it was the goal of the original plan. In other words although it was the end, the completion of creation, never the less it was the purpose of creation. So too Klal Yisroel although last on the scene was the purpose as well.

   (4:23) “Henei Anochi Horeg es-Bincha B’chorecha - Behold I shall kill your firstborn son.”

Why is this prophecy told here a full twelve months prior to its happening? It appears that Hashem wanted to supply Moshe with some information which would temper any disappointment he might have at the long drawn out process of the broken promises by Pharoh. With this knowledge Moshe now knew that until he saw the Makos Bechorous there was no reason to believe that Pharoh was ready to give in or that Hashem was finished with him.( Ohr Hachaim)

(5:19) “Lo Sigru M’Livainim-Don’t diminish the quota of bricks.” The word for bricks L’vainim can also be read L’Beinim - To Bonim as in children.The Midrash explains that if they were short bricks the were forced to substitute a child in place of a brick in the wall.

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