subscribe.gif (2332 bytes)

by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

Back to This Week's Parsha| Previous Issues

For sponsorships and advertising opportunities, send e-mail to:SHOLOM613@ROGERS.COM


Ch. 27, v. 20: "V'yikchu ei'lecho shemen" - And they shall take to you oil - Why doesn't the verse say, "V'yaasu," and they shall make, as it says by the other items that were prepared for the Mishkon? The raw materials for other items was available and there was therefore a command to make the items. There were no olive trees in the desert and all the olive oil that was to be given for the Mishkon was that which was available, at hand. The command was therefore to bring, not to make. (Ramban)

Since each lamp of the menorah should have a half-log of oil, if we were to calculate daily lighting for close to forty years we would arrive at a sum of oil that was over 35 tonnes of oil. It is quite surprising that the bnei Yisroel would bring such a vast amount of oil out of Egypt. This issue is further exacerbated according to the Rambam who posits that the menorah was lit in the morning as well.

Perhaps we can apply the great chidush of Rabbeinu Efrayim to arrive at an explanation. He says that daily meal offerings were brought from manna that the owners who would donate it thought in their minds that it should taste like wheat flour. We might likewise say that people donated manna which they thought should take on the taste of olive oil. Just as Rabbeinu Efrayim has no concern of manna which has the taste of flour not being actual wheat, we can also apply this here.

The Medrash Tanchuma says that on the eve of Rosh Hashonoh the menorah was lit in the desert and the flames remained lit until the following year. This would reduce the required volume of oil by 364/365ths. The Imrei Emes, based on the Medrash Tanchuma, asked Rabbi Chaim Soloveitchik how the daily requirement of kindling the menorah could be pushed aside by this miracle. Rabbi Chaim answered that we see from the gemara Shabbos that if one has an already lit fire burning and he added even a minimal amount of fuel to it on Shabbos, he has transgressed the prohibition of "mavir," burning (see Rambam hilchos Shabbos 12:2). If so, he responded, we can say that a drop of oil was added daily. Some finely honed Talmudic minds question this answer, as we might differentiate between "burning" on Shabbos, a transgression of Shabbos, and the requirement to "kindle."

Ch. 27, v. 20: "L'haalos ner tomid" - To bring up a continuous light - Rashi in the previous parsha states that Moshe was perplexed when commanded to create the menorah. At that point Hashem told him to cast the ingot of gold into a fire and a complete menorah, with all its details emerged. It is interesting to note that since Hashem knew that Moshe would be unable to complete the task, He nevertheless commanded Moshe to create the menorah. Obviously, the intention was for Moshe to try his best and Hashem would then do the rest.

It seems that the actual lighting follows through with this same theme. The mitzvoh to kindle the menorah included remaining by the lamps even after they were lit until the flames would shoot upwards, again an action that is not the direct doing of the kindler. The one who kindled the menorah would actually do just the beginning, the igniting, and the rest would be completed by Hashem through His laws of nature. (n.l.)

Ch. 28, v. 3: "V'atoh t'da'beir el kol chachmei leiv asher mi'leisiv ruach chochmoh v'ossu es bigdei Aharon l'kadsho l'chahano li" - And you shall speak to all wise of heart whom I have filled them with a spirit of wisdom and they shall make Aharon's vestments to sanctify him to make him priestly for Me - The verse tells Moshe to address those who are wise of heart, in the plural, and changes to the singular form, "mi'leisiv," I have filled HIM. Hashem told Moshe to exhort the craftsmen, hence the expression "t'da'beir," that they not fill themselves with pride when they will successfully complete the creation of the splendid vestments. Hashem said, "Tell them that I have filled the heart of EACH ONE of them with a spirit of crafting wisdom to be able to do the task." Thus each one will have the intention of creating the garments for the sole purpose of having Aharon wear the garments and becoming sanctified and attaining the halachic status of serving Hashem as a Kohein. (ChasaN Sofer)

Ch. 23, v. 3/ Ch. 23, v. 8: "L'chahano li" - To make him priestly for Me - What is the stress of "for Me?" would we ch"v entertain the thought that Aharon would serve as a priest for any other deity? Although there is a disagreement if the vestments of regular Kohanim contained shatnez, the Rambam rules that there was shatnez even in their garments, not just the Kohein Godol's. In hilchos kilayim chapter #10 he rules that although Kohanim are permitted to wear shatnez in their priestly garments, they must shed them immediately upon finishing their service as the permit to wear them is limited to when they are actively doing their service, based on "assei docheh lo saa'seh."

Rabbi Noson haKoheinAdler says that the dictum, "A person should involve himself in Torah and mitzvos even without the proper intent" (gemara Psochim 50b) applies only when the mitzvoh being performed is not an "assei docheh lo saa'seh" mitzvoh. If it is of this latter type then if he performs the mitzvoh with improper intent he is left with only the sin. This is why our verses say "lchahano LI," to indicate "lishmi," only when there is proper intention for the mitzvoh. If the Kohein does not have the proper intention then he has lost the positive mitzvoh and is left with the negative precept of wearing shatnez.

Ch. 29, v. 33: "V'ochlu osom asher kupar bohem" - And they should eat them that bring about an atonement through them - This is a mitzvoh for the Kohanim to eat items that are sanctified and designated for Kohanim's consumption. Sh.O. O. Ch. 53 says that one should not be the prayer leader against the will of the congregation. If one who does this the congregation should not respond "omein" to his blessings. The Mogein Avrohom writes that one should not enter into a conflict to perform any mitzvoh. We can derive this from the gemara Yoma 39 which says that when negativity entered the "lechem haponim" and there was only enough for each Kohein to receive the volume of a bean. The modest restrained Kohanim would back off while the aggressive hungry Kohanim would grab a bigger portion of the "lechem haponim." Eating the "lechem haponim" is a mitzvoh, and to avoid conflict the more righteous Kohanim would refrain from combating the aggressive Kohanim. We clearly see from this that to avoid conflict we should even refrain from fulfilling a mitzvoh. (Par'p'ro'os laTorah)

This is all the more applicable to being the "baal t'filoh" on a yahrzeit or the like. The intention of leading the congregation is a merit for the departed soul. There is no merit in entering a fray to lead and pray.



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

Back to This Week's Parsha| Previous Issues

This article is provided as part of Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Permission is granted to redistribute electronically or on paper,
provided that this notice is included intact.

For information on subscriptions, archives, and
other Shema Yisrael Classes,
send mail to
Jerusalem, Israel