by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS T'TZA'VEH 5767 BS"DCh. 27, v. 21: "Mei'erev ad boker" - From evening to morning - Rashi says that although the winter nights are much longer than the summer nights, a half-"lug" volume of oil was placed into each cup of the menorah every day of the year. This was sufficient to have the lights burn throughout the night for even the longest winter nights, and on the short summer nights there was oil left over, which was simply spilled out.
Daas Z'keinim quotes Rabbi Yitzchok bar Rabbi Avrohom, who says that it is improper to throw away sanctified oil. Rather, the wicks were spun in varying thicknesses throughout the year, finer in the winter and thicker in the summer. The flames were larger in the winter and smaller in the summer. This way all the oil was consumed.
The Rashbam in parshas Emor explains that Sukos is strategically placed at the end of the harvest season so that when a person has his storage houses bulging with harvest he not become too complacent and assured of having all his physical needs supplied. This would ch"v weaken his reliance upon Hashem. It is exactly at this time that one is required to move out of his greatest physical security, his home, to spend a week in a rain pervious, temporary structure, a sukoh.
Symbolically, we might make the same observation about the wicks of the menorah. In the summer, when one is still in great doubt about the outcome of his crops, it is appropriate to have thick wicks (Kabalists, in particular in their writings on Chanukah, equate a wick with a person's physical body), but during the winter, when one's larder is loaded, a thin wick is in place, as a person should feel that he is limited in his physical supplies, as all is dependent upon Hashem's mercy, not one's full pantry. (Nirreh li)
Ch. 28, v. 9: "Ufitachto a'leihem" - And you shall etch out upon them - In this verse and in verse 11, where we have the word "t'fatach," the verse expresses the etching procedure as a straightforward command, "you shall etch." However, by the etching of the names into the breastplate stones the Torah expresses it in a descriptive manner, "Pituchei chosom" (verse 21). This can be explained based on the words of the Ramban in parshas Trumoh 25:7. He cites the gemara Sotoh 48b, which says that the etching of the breastplate stones could not be done with an etching tool, as that would cut away some of the stone, and the Torah requires "b'milu'osom" (28:8), in their fullness, i.e. complete stones. A unique worm called Shamir, was brought, and it crawled along marks made in the shapes of letters, and this caused the stones to crack but not chip away, and thus the names were etched into the stones. The Ramban says that since there is no expression of "b'milu'osom" by the stones placed into the shoulder straps of the "eifode," we may conclude that the names were etched in by craftsmen in the normal manner, with bits of the stones being chipped off.
We now understand why by the "eifode" stones the Torah commands to etch out the names, as the craftsmen did this with their own hands, while by the breastplate stones the Torah only expresses the etching descriptively and not as a command, because the craftsmen did not do any etching. (Rabbi Zvi Pesach Frank in Har Zvi)
Ch. 28, v. 11: "Al shmos bnei Yisroel" - ON the names of the bnei Yisroel - Rashi is bothered with the word "al," as literally, it means UPON. How are the stones upon the names of the bnei Yisroel? He therefore explains that the intention of AL is WITH, - You should etch the stones WITH the names. The Ponim Yofos explains the word AL literally. AL means upon or above. When the names are etched into the stones, the stones are AL, above, the indented names. (I believe that the Daas Z'keinim on verse 8 says exactly the same.)
Alternatively, the Mahari"l Diskin offers that the etching was done from the underside of the stones and was visible from the top. Thus the stones are literally UPON the names.
This explanation is in keeping with Rashi's remark that the etching was done in the manner of a signet ring. Whatever design or lettering done in a signet ring is done in reverse so that it appears forward on the impression material, a wax seal or the like. Similarly here, if the etching was done from below, from the bottom side view it was in reverse.
Ch. 28, v. 11: "Al shmos bnei Yisroel" - On the names of the bnei Yisroel - AL has the numerical value of 100. This is the total number of letters of the names of the 12 tribes on the "eifode" and "choshen" stones. (Nirreh li)
Ch. 28, v. 28: "V'lo yizach hachoshen mei'al ho'eifode" - And the choshen shall not be moved away from upon the eifode - The "choshen" is to be placed upon the Kohein Godol's heart (verse 30). "Eifode," Alef-Fei-Dalet has the numerical value of 85, the same as "PeH," a mouth. This symbolizes that the heart should not be removed from the mouth, that one not say something contrary to what he actually feels in his heart, "echod b'feh v'echod b'lev." (Degel Machaneh Efrayim)
Ch. 28, v. 35: "V'hoyoh al Aharon l'sho'reis v'nishma kolo b'vo'o el haKodesh" - And it will be upon Aharon to do service and its sound will be heard when he enters - "V'hoyoh" is an expression of joy (Medrash). If joy is upon Aharon when he goes to do service, his voice, praying for good for the bnei Yisroel, will be heard. (Nirreh li)
Ch. 28, 40: "L'chovode ulsifo'res" - For honour and glory - This requirement disqualifies Kohanim's vestments that have either worn out or torn. The gemara Kidushin 54a says that nevertheless, one may not derive personal benefit from these disqualified garments, and even has the sin of "m'iloh," deriving personal benefit from a sanctified object. The Mishneh L'melech hilchos m'iloh 5:14 asks why we don't apply the ruling of "Kivon shenaa'sis mitzvoso ein mo'alin bo'hen" (gemara P'sochim 26a). The gemara Yoma 12a says that if not for the words of the verse in Vayikra 16:23 "v'hinichom shom," - He shall leave them there - meaning that once used, the garments used by the Kohein Godol on Yom Kipur should be hidden so that they not be used again, there would be no "m'iloh." It is only by virtue of this verse there is "m'iloh." We thus see that garments that are no longer usable have no "m'iloh."
Rabbi Aryeh Yehudoh Shteinman shlit"a in A'yeles Hashachar on the above gemara Kidushin explains that wearing out or being torn is not the same as "naa'sis mitzvoso." An example of "naa'sis mitzvoso" is the blood that was thrown upon the wall of the altar that later flowed down the waterway out of the Mikdosh precinct. On a Torah level this blood may be used by a farmer to fertilize his field (gemara P'sochim 26a). Here the garment is no longer usable, but not because its mitzvoh is completed. Had it not become torn it could have been used again and again.
In the gemara Yoma 12a, we derive from the verse that the Yom Kipur garments may not be used for another year. It is specifically there that using them for just one Yom Kipur would give them the status of "naa'sis mitzvoso," as the Torah gives this expiry date. It is only because the Torah also adds the requirement of "v'hinichom shom" that the garments' mitzvos are not completed.
"naa'sis mitzvoso" is negated.
Ch. 29, v. 10: "V'somach Aharon uvonov es y'dei'hem" - And Aharon and his sons shall place their hands - Although numerous people were required to place their hands upon the sacrifice, nevertheless, the verse expresses "smichoh" in the singular form, "v'somach." This alludes to the ruling of the Tosefta M'nochos chapter #10, that even if five people offer one sacrifice, and all are required to place their hands upon its head before it is slaughtered, they must do so singly. (Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh)
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