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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 25, v. 2: "Da'beir el bnei Yisroel v'yikchu li trumoh" - Speak to the bnei Yisroel and they shall take for me an elevated donation - Medrash Hagodol derives from these words that only the BNEI Yisroel and not the BNOS Yisroel are asked to give a half-shekel. One might then mistakenly believe that if a woman voluntarily offered an item or money for "bedek habayis," upkeep or the like, that it would not be accepted. The verse therefore goes on to say "tikchu es trumosi," you shall take My elevated donation, without mentioning "from the bnei Yisroel," to teach us that a voluntary donation is accepted from a woman as well.

The words "bnei Yisroel" likewise exclude a non-ben Yisroel's being responsible to give a half-shekel. Once we have included accepting women's voluntary donation we might likewise think that it would also be accepted from a non-ben Yisroel. However, "asher tikchi mei'itom" excludes even a voluntary donation for upkeep from a non-ben Yisroel. Similarly, we do not accept a donation even for building or upkeep of the outer walls and outer gates, as we find in Ezra 4, "Lo lochem v'lonu livnos bayis lEilokeinu." Another verse that supports this is in Nechemioh 2:20, "V'lochem ein cheilek utz'dokoh bIrusholayim."

I do not understand why we need an exclusion of non-bnei Yisroel from the half-shekel offering. The Torah always addresses only the bnei Yisroel when commanding to do this or that, except when there is a clear indication to the contrary. If so, what need is there to say "bnei Yisroel" and not a non-ben Yisroel?

Ch. 25, v. 4: "V'argomon" - And wool dyed argomon colour - Some popular English translations call this purple. This is inaccurate. The mistake probably comes from the Yiddish translation, "perpel vol." This is not purple. It is a reddish colour called "segol" in modern Hebrew.

Ch. 25, v. 4: "V'solaas shoni" - And crimson - We find these words switched around, "ushni solo'as" (Vayikra 14), and also "im yaadimu chatola" (Yeshayohu 1) without "shoni," and all these terms mean the same thing (see Ibn Ezra).

Ch. 25, v. 4: "V'izim" - And goats - This is the literal translation, but the intention is goats' hair. The B'eir Mayim Chaim explains that goats are mentioned rather than goats' hair because the goats' hair was spun while still connected to the goats, as mentioned by Rashi on 35:26 (gemara Shabbos 99).

Ch. 25, v. 5: "Vaatzei shitim" - And acacia wood - Rashi cites Rabbi Tanchuma, who questions how the bnei Yisroel acquired so many beams of this wood in the desert (See Baalei Tosfos, who say that it grows in the desert.) He answers that Yaakov foresaw the need for this wood for the future building of the Mishkon. He took this type of tree along with him to Egypt, and upon leaving, the bnei Yisroel took along "atzei shitim."

The size needed for the building of the Mishkon was quite large, especially if we calculate an "amoh" as approximately 24 inches, as per the Chazon Ish. You cannot hide this up your sleeve. If so, how could the bnei Yisroel logically explain their need for such an item for a three-day hiatus into the desert? The B'eir Yitzchok answers that the bringing of these items actually strengthened their claim. If they were planning to leave and to never return, they would obviously be going to an inhabitable land. There would be no need to shlep such bulky, heavy (some say that they were as light as cork) items (50 lb. weight limit per bag). But if they were planning to return, then they might be bringing along wood to make temporary shanties.

Ch. 25, v. 12,13: "Arba tabos zohov, Va'dei atzei shitim" - Four rings of gold, Poles of acacia wood - A collection of opinions about the rings and poles:

1) There were four rings and two poles. The rings were attached near the top of the Holy Ark. (Rashi)

2) There were four rings and two poles, but the rings were attached close to the bottom. (Ramban)

3) There were eight rings and two poles. The Holy Ark had legs and four of the rings were attached near the top. The two poles were placed into these rings to enable carrying the Holy Ark. The other four rings were attached to the legs and were only ornamental. (Ibn Ezra)

4) There were eight rings and two poles. The Holy Ark had legs and four of the rings were attached near the top and were only ornamental. The other four rings were attached to the legs. The two poles were placed into them to enable carrying the Holy Ark. (Ramban's version of the Ibn Ezra)

5) There were eight rings and four poles. Four of the rings were attached at the corners and four along the sides. All the rings were used to accompany the four poles. Two of the poles remained permanently in place, as per verse 15, and two were placed into the other four rings when there was a need to transport the Holy Ark. Whether the rings that permanently retained the poles were higher or lower than those that were used when traveling is not known. (Tosfos on the gemara Yoma 72)

6) There were eight rings and two poles. Small rings were attached to the Holy Ark and four others, which were both larger and broader, were attached to those rings. The poles were placed into the larger rings. (Rabbi Yoseif Bchor Shor)

7) There were eight rings and two poles. Small rings were attached to the Holy Ark at the corners. Their purpose was to have a grip on the Holy Ark when there was a need to fix it. This allowed for it to be lifted, somewhat like a handle. Another four larger rings were attached on its broad side at the top of the bottom quarter of its height (1/4th way up). They were placed 2 and handbreadths away from the corners. It was into these four rings that the two poles were inserted. (Rosh)

8) There were eight rings and two poles. Four of the rings were attached at the corners, while another four were attached three handbreadths inward, on the walls of the Holy Ark. All the rings were the same size and on each side all were in a row. The two poles were each inserted into four rings. The prohibition of verse 15 is limited to removing each/either of the poles from more than two rings. (Malbim)

Ch. 25, v. 30: "Lechem haponim" - Bread with a ponim - Some explanations:

1)The breads were not flat. They had bends that allowed for sections to be parallel to the walls of the Mishkon. They thus had "faces" to the walls and ceiling of the Mishkon. (Rashi)

2)The "face" refers not to the bent facets of the bread, but rather to the open section on top. Theoretically, if one were positioned inside a bread, he could FACE out from there. (Variation on Rashi by the B'eir Mayim Chaim, to alleviate a question the Ramban has on Rashi)

3)Bread the was "lifnim," inside the Holy Sanctuary. (Targum Yonoson ben Uziel as explained by Haksav V'hakaboloh)

4)Bread that is "l'FONAI tomid." (Ibn Ezra)

5)Bread that is one fist-breadth thick. (Rabbeinu Bachyei)

6)Bread that is shaped rectangular and has numerous face(t)s. (Rambam hilchos t'midim umusofim 5:9)

Ch. 27, v. 9: "Klo'im" - Sheets - Rashi describes them as being meshwork, laced throughout with openings. Some support Rashi's explanation by citing Targum Yonoson ben Uziel on Yeshayohu 33, "bal porsu neis," "v'lo efshar l'mifras alohi klo'a'yo." This refers to ship sails. The sheeting is made of "klo'im."

Others say that this comparison is beyond comprehension, as everyone knows that sails that are needed to catch the wind must be very solid, as there is very little functionality when the sheets are full of openings. The wind just passes through without offering much thrust.

Rabbi Avrohom ben hoRambam says that the use of the word "klo'im" refers to the sheets being tightly attached, as must be the case by ship sails.

The Rada"k offers that it refers to the images of cherubs being sewn into or painted onto the sheets.



See also Oroh V'Simchoh - Meshech Chochmoh on the Weekly Parsha, Chasidic Insights and Chamisha Mi Yodei'a

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