Chamishoh Mi Yo'dei'a

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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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1) Ch. 30, v. 13: "Kol ho'oveir" - Everyone who passes - Money was collected for three purposes, for the Mishkon components and priestly garments, for the base sockets, "adonim," and for the communal sacrifices. Did the L'viim donate for any or all of these needs? Detail your answer for each of the three types of needs.

2) Ch. 30, v. 13: "Kol ho'oveir" - The verse says that the rich man shall not give more and the poor man shall not give less than half a shekel. This seems to be iron clad. Yet there is a way of explaining the verses so that each person is free to give as much as he wants. How do we explain this?

3) Ch. 31, v. 13: "Es Shabsosai tishmoru" - My Sabbaths you shall safeguard - Why is this repeated so shortly afterwards, in 35:2, "Uva'yom hashvi'i yi'h'yeh lochem kodesh Shabbos Shabbosone"?

4) Ch. 32, v. 16: "Choroos AL haluchos" - Etched ONTO the tablets. This is problematic. Etching is INTO.

5) Ch. 32, v. 19: "Va'y'sha'beir osom" - And he smashed them - Rishonim are hard-pressed to find a reason for Moshe's smashing the tablets rather than just leaving them in the heavens, since Hashem told him that the bnei Yisroel sinned. Even if we say that the tablets were already given to Moshe, and Hashem would not ask them back, but why not hide them somewhere rather than destroy them?



The gemara Yerushalmi Shkolim 1:3 brings a disagreement regarding the Levites donating, one saying they did, and one saying they did not. Rabbi Aharon Baal Tosfos says that this disagreement is limited to the donations for the communal sacrifices, but for the base sockets the Levites surely did not donate. He corroborates this with the fact that in parshas P'kudei we find that the count of the bnei Yisroel was 603,550 who donated for the "adonim." This count is the total of the bnei Yisroel without the Levites.


Rabbeinu Yechiel notes the subtle difference between "kol ho'oveir" in our verse and "L'chole ho'oveir" in Shmos 38:26, where it relates that the taking of the half-shkolim took place. (It would also seem to be more accurate if that verse would have said "Mikole ho'oveir," since it is mentioning that ˝ shekel was received FROM each donour. This will likewise be answered with his answer to his question.)

Rabbeinu Yechiel says quite a "chidush." The words "kol ho'oveir" in our verse refers to the donour, while "l'chole ho'oveir" refers to the collector. Those who donated gave varying amounts as they saw fit, and not specifically in the form of coins. Moshe took the amassed silver and minted it all into ˝ shekel coins. He gave these coins to officers who gave the coins back to the 603,550 men as a present. Now each person had proper ownership of a ˝ shekel coin. Collectors came for a second round of collecting the exact same silver, just this time it was given as a ˝ shekel coin from each person. We can now say "L'chole ho'oveir," TO each person was given a "machatzis hashekel." This also explains why in Shmos 25:2 we find the expression TAKING twice, "V'yikchu li trumoh ……tikchu es trumosi." The last three words of this verse seem totally redundant. (As well, there is the change from third person to second.) The first word "v'yikchu," is a command that the people take their silver, any amount that they see fit, and give it. The second taking, "tikchu," is in the form of ˝ shekel coins, and is referring to the collectors, (hence second person.) Parentheses around points that Rabbeinu Yechiel did not mention, but seem to also be clarified through his explanation.


The medrash says that Moshe broke the "luchos," which served as a sort of marriage writ between Hashem and the bnei Yisroel. Their turning away and serving the golden calf was as if they were unfaithful to their husband Hashem, as it were. Without this writ the sin is somewhat ameliorated. At this point the bnei Yisroel were extremely concerned about Shabbos observance. If they were now relegated to a non-bnei Yisroel status they were not only absolved from observing Shabbos, but were even prohibited from doing so, as "nochri sheshovas chayov misoh." Moshe therefore reassured them shortly after the incident of the golden calf that they still retained both their status as bnei Yisroel and the mitzvoh of Shabbos. (Rabbi Yoseif Chaim Sonnenfeld)


The Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh answers that the "etzba Elokim," the G-dly power that created the etched writing in the tablets, passed upon the surface of the tablets in the forms of the letters. This removed or shrunk the stone in that area, and at the same time brought about the miraculous phenomenon of the letters being properly read on the other side as well, even though the etching went through and through. Thus the "choroos" was ON the tablets only.


Rabbeinu Yechiel offers that they became very heavy in Moshe's hands when the letters etched into them flew away, and this kept him from running quickly to stop the sinning. Every moment counted and he simply threw them down. Moshav Z'keinim offers that this was Moshe's calculation, that since the Holy Name of Hashem is erased by the Sotoh procedure to bring harmony into one home, surely to bring peace between Hashem and the bnei Yisroel it is appropriate to smash the tablets, even though Hashem's Holy Name would be destroyed (If the letters left there is no destruction of Hashem's Holy Name). Rabbeinu Chaim Paltiel offers that Moshe did this, and specifically "vaashabreim l'einei'chem" for the dramatic affect, and hopefully for a teshuvoh response. However, Moshav Z'keinim is not very impressed with any of these answers since the gemara Y'vomos 62a says that after sinning, the bnei Yisroel were considered as apostates, and as such, they were not deserving of receiving the tablets.



See also Sedrah Selections, Oroh V'Simchoh - Meshech Chochmoh on the Weekly Parsha and Chasidic Insights

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