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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 35, v. 1: "Va'yakheil Moshe" - The medrash says that leaders of klal Yisroel should follow Moshe in assembling the bnei Yisroel and also gather audiences on Shabbos to hear lectures on the Torah. This way future generations will learn to also lecture on Shabbos. This medrash requires clarification. Why the stress on future generations? Isn't there sufficient benefit for the generation of the Midbor in assembling and hearing lectures on Shabbos?

The Masas Binyomin answers that although one must refrain from actual work on Shabbos it is quite difficult for a person who is totally involved in business for six days of the week to stop cold in his tracks to the point that even his thoughts forsake his work and gravitate to the holy subjects that one should concentrate upon on Shabbos Kodesh. Therefore lectures were instituted. However, the need for this was not for the generation that lived in the desert for forty years. The people had all their physical needs attended to miraculously. The gathering of the masses to hear Torah lectures was to train the future generations which would be involved in mundane work, "ish tachas gafno v'ish tachas t'einoso."

Ch. 35, v. 1: "Kol adas Yisroel" - These words exclude taking donations from the "eirev rav," the mixed multitudes of Egyptians who left Egypt with the bnei Yisroel. They caused the bnei Yisroel to sin with the golden calf, so Hashem did not want their donations for the Mishkon. (Zohar)

Therefore, before the sin of the golden calf the mitzvoh of keeping Shabbos holy was predicated on the creation of the world (Shmos 21:11). This could include the eirev rav, as all of humanity relates to the creation of the world in which it exists. After the incident of the golden calf Hashem wanted to exclude them from their connection to Shabbos and the reason given in the second rendition of the Ten Commandments was that the bnei Yisroel were enslaved in Egypt and Hashem took them out of Egypt (Dvorim 5:15). This excludes the eirev rav who were not slaves. (Tiferes Y'honoson)

Ch. 35, v. 2: "Sheishes yomim TEI'O'SEH m'lochoh" - Why is working during the six weekdays mentioned in the reflexive form "work shall BE DONE?" This might be a strong allusion to the opinion of the SMa"G that "amiroh l'aku"m d'o'reisa," it is a Torah prohibition to tell a non-Jew to do a prohibited act on Shabbos. For six days work may "BE DONE" for you by others, by non-Jews, but on the seventh day, Shabbos, not only may you not do work, but it may also not BE DONE for you by others through "amiroh l'aku"m." (Yismach Moshe)

Ch. 35, v. 2: "U'va'yom hashvii y'h'yeh LOCHEM kodesh" - Besides all the sanctity which you imbue into your Shabbos through increased prayers, increased time learning, through the restrictions on working, your LOCHEM, your involvement with the physical on Shabbos, enhanced meals, etc., should also be holy. (CHID"O in Nachal K'dumim)

Ch. 35, v. 2: "Sheishes yomim ...... u'va'yom hashvii y'h'yeh lochem kodesh,"

v. 5: "K'chu mei'itchem trumoh" - Here the Torah first mentions Shabbos and then the building of the Mishkon, the reverse order of parshas Ki Siso, where Shabbos is mentioned after the command to build the Mishkon (31:13).

The Chasam Sofer answers that before the sin of the golden calf there was no need to mention Shabbos first. However, once the sin had taken place an atonement was needed. This could be afforded through the building of the Mishkon as mentioned in the M.R. Shmos chapter 51 and Medrash Tanchumoh chapter 8. This would make the donations of some people tainted with a personal agenda of gaining forgiveness. Hashem wanted everyone to be able to give donations for the Mishkon with no ulterior motive.

The gemara Shabbos 118b says: Rabbi Chioh the son of Abbo says in the name of Rabbi Yochonon, "Whoever keeps the Shabbos properly, even if he sins with idol worship as the generation of Enosh sinned, he is forgiven, as it is written in Yeshayohu 56:2, 'Ashrei ENOSH ...... shomer Shabbos MEICHAL'LO.' Do not read 'meichal'lo,' but rather 'mochul lo,' - he is forgiven." Here Hashem mentions Shabbos first, after the sin of the golden calf has taken place, so that people will consecrate and keep the Shabbos, thus attaining an atonement for their idol worship to the golden calf. Now they can donate to the Mishkon purely for the sake of Hashem.

The Chasam Sofer adds that we similarly find that the Rabbis have instituted two sets of sounding the shofar on Rosh Hashonoh, the "sitting" set and afterwards the "standing" set. Since the main blowing is the "standing" set, why did the Rabbis institute the "sitting" set earlier? He answers that since the blowing of the shofar arouses great mercy in Hashem and brings Him to judge us favourably (See Zohar on Vayikroh 23:24.), our intention during the sounding of the shofar would very likely be tinged with our interest in our personal benefit of receiving a favourable judgement. The Rabbis therefore instituted that first there be a set of shofar blasts that will arouse Hashem to mercy and then we can blow the second set purely with the intention of fulfilling Hashem's mitzvoh, "Rachamono omar 'tiku'" (gemara Rosh Hashonoh 16a).

Ch. 35, v. 2: "Kol ho'oseh VO m'lochoh" - Earlier in 31:14 we find "Kol ho'oseh VOH m'lochoh," in the feminine form. Tosfos on the gemara K'suvos 5a d. h. "Shemo yish'chat BEN ofe" says that there is a text of these words which reads "BO ofe" rather than "BEN ofe." This would indicate that the word Shabbos is male.

Tosfos says that this presents no difficulty as Shabbos is both male and female, and either form may be used. Tosfos brings two sources for Shabbos in the male form, our verse and Yeshayohu 56:2 "Meichal'LO." The female form is found in Shmos 31:14, "M'chal'leHOH," and "VOH."

Rashi has the text "BEN ofe" and makes no mention of Shabbos being a male word. Indeed, Rashi on Yeshayohu 56:2 d.h. "Zose" says that the male form "Meichal'LO" refers not to Shabbos but either to GUARDING, "shimur," of Shabbos, or the DAY, "yom," of Shabbos. One must assume that Rashi would learn our verse the same way and say that "VO" refers to the words "u'va'YOM hashvii" mentioned earlier in this verse, although Rashi makes no mention of this.

How many words in Loshon Hakodesh do you know that have the characteristic of appearing in the male and female form? Please bring Tanach sources for all words in both male and female forms. Which words in Tanach have a mixture of male and female in the self-same word, a sort of androgenes?

Ch. 35, v. 3: "Lo s'vaaru eish b'chol moshvoseichem b'yom haShabbos" - Why was the m'lochoh of kindling a fire singled out as a Shabbos restriction since there are 39 different headings of m'lochose which are forbidden?

1) Rabbi Yosi says that this teaches us that the sin of kindling a fire on Shabbos is punishable by lashes only and not by stoning as are other m'lochos (gemara Shabbos 70a)

2) This teaches us that one may not kindle a fire to melt lead on Shabbos which is needed for carrying out the death penalty of "sreifoh." (gemara Sanhedrin 35b)

3) Since lighting a fire from an existing one for food preparation, "ocheil nefesh," is permitted on Yom Tov, the Torah points out that kindling a fire on Shabbos is prohibited. (Rashbam)

4) One might think that kindling a fire is permitted as it is a destruction of the fuel which feeds it. Nevertheless, it is prohibited when it creates an accomplishment in its application. (Sforno)

5) The M.R. Breishis chapter 82 says that Hashem did not create fire during the six days of creation. (It was created on the night after Shabbos as per the gemara 54a.) Since Hashem did not cease from the m'lochoh of kindling a fire that first Shabbos, one might think that kindling a fire is permitted on Shabbos. (Tiferes Y'honoson)

6) This alludes to one refraining from kindling the fire of argument on Shabbos. This is a day when people refrain from work and have time to socialize. This could lead to heated arguments. (Akeidas Yitzchok)

7) The gemara Shabbos 119b says that where there is desecration of the Shabbos fire wipes out the community. This is taken from Yirmiyohu 17:27, "And if you will not hearken to Me to sanctify the day of Shabbos ...... and I will kindle a fire in her gates which will consume the mansions of Jerusalem and it will not be extinguished." Our verse is alluding to this by saying "Do not cause a fire to be kindled which will consume your homes by desecrating the Shabbos." (Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh and Kli Yokor)

8) This teaches us that one may not kindle a fire in his home but a fire may be kindled in the Beis Hamikdosh for the needs of processing sacrifices (gemara Shabbos 20a). (Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh)

Ch. 35, v. 22: "Va'yovo'u ho'anoshim AL hanoshim" - Rashi and the Sforno translate AL as "next to," as we find in Breishis 14:6 and Dvorim 6:6. The Sforno adds that the men had to come along when the women donated their materials because there is an halacha in Y.D. 248:4 that one may not accept a donation of considerable value from a married woman since her property belongs to her husband and he might not agree to have it donated.

Rashi alternatively explains that the men came to donate the jewellery while it was still "on" the women.

A third explanation: The men came SECONDARY to the women with their donations. Not one woman sinned with the golden calf and therefore no woman required an atonement afforded by the building of the Mishkon. Their motivation was purely for the mitzvoh. Not so the men. Some of them were tainted with the sin of the golden calf and required atonement afforded by the building of the Mishkon. Therefore their donations had an ulterior motive and were secondary to the women's donations. (Shaa'rei Simchoh)

A fourth interpretation of the word AL is that it be taken literally. The Medrash Shir Hashirim 4:20 says that after the sin of the golden calf, even those who did not die were tainted with this sin which was akin to idol worship. At this point the women did not allow their husbands to have marital relations with them. The building of the Mishkon was an atonement for the sin of the golden calf. Only when the donations for the Mishkon took place did the women allow their husbands to resume relations with them, thus "Va'yovo'u ho'anoshim AL hanoshim." (Rabbi Y. Bernstein z"l)

Ch. 35, v. 22: "V'chol ish asher HEINIF T'NUFAS zohov laShem" - Why is the word HEINIF used specifically by the donation of gold and by no other material?

The Imrei Shefer answers that the M.R. chapter 51 and the Medrash Tanchumoh chapter 9 say that the donations of gold for the Mishkon are an atonement for the gold given for the making of the golden calf. The word form HANOFOH is used by sacrifices which are an atonement. Therefore, specifically by the gold donations this word is used to indicate that the donations of gold afford atonement similar to a sacrifice.

There is a difficulty with this explanation. We find the expression "U'n'choshes haT'NUFOH" in Shmos 38:29. The Meshech Chochmoh explains that the reason for the word form HANOFOH used by gold and copper specifically is because there is a law that items created for mundane purposes may not be used for building the Mishkon or for its vessels. We only find two materials that were personal items of the donours. They are jewellery and the copper mirrors used for the laver (kior).

If an item that was created for a mundane use was changed in form it is considered a new item and may be used for the Mishkon. The golden jewellery was melted and recast. The copper mirrors were soldered together to form the laver. Each of these acts was an ELEVATION from its previous use, hence the use of the word form HANOFOH specifically by gold and copper.


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