Chamishoh Mi Yo'dei'a

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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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1) Ch. 25, v. 4: "Us'chei'les" - And blue dye - From what was this dye extracted?

2) Ch. 25, v. 5: "Va'atzei shitim" - And acacia wood - How did they procure this wood in the desert?

3) Ch. 26, v. 15: "Atzei shitim OMDIM" - What is the intention of OMDIM?

4) Ch. 26, v. 28: "V'habriach hatichon" - From where did this exceptionally long pole come?

5) Ch. 26, v. 29: "V'es hakroshim t'tza'peh zohov" - Why was the outside of the "kroshim" clad in gold? The outside was covered with goatskin covers and was out of sight.



The Tosefta M'nochos 9:6 says that only pigment taken from the "chilozone" is acceptable for dying the Kohein's garments which the Torah says should be "t'chei'les." However, the Rambam in hilchos klei Mikdosh 8:13 does not mention the "chilozone" requirement, only that the colour be that of "t'chei'les." It is only in hilchos tzitzis that he mentions the "chilozone" requirement. The Avnei Neizer O.Ch. #15 writes that the Rambam posits that dye extracted from the "chilozone" should specifically not be used for the priestly garments because the "chilozone" is a non-kosher creature, and the Mishkon/Mikdosh building and the priestly garments have the status of "m'leches shomayim," for which only kosher items may be used. Tzitzis, however, only have the status of "tashmi'shei mitzvoh," a lower level, and therefore a non-kosher item may be used. No doubt, according to the Avnei Neizer the Rambam must have had an earlier source for his position, as the words of the Tosefta contradict him.

There is a gemara that seems to be contrary to both the Rambam and the Avnei Neizer. The gemara Shabbos 74b says that we find the activity of knotting in the preparation of the Mishkon by the trapping of the "chilozone." Nets were created by knotting threads together. (Rashi explains that the "chilozone" was used to dye items that had to have the "t'chei'les" colour.)

The Chasam Sofer in his responsa O.Ch. #39 writes that the non-kosher "chilozone" supplying the pigment for "t'chei'les" does not run afoul of the "m'leches Mishkon" requirement of "ore b'heimoh t'horoh bilvad" ruling (gemara Shabbos 28b). This is because the pigment, once extracted from the "chilozone" is not considered "yotzei min hato'mei." It is considered "ponim chadoshos," a new creation, not retaining any of the previous properties.

However, Rabbeinu Bachyei writes, "We do not find silk used as a Mishkon material because it is an extract of a non-kosher creature, a worm. The gemara (Shabbos 28a) says that the "tachash" must have been a kosher animal, since its hides were used as roof-coverings in the Mishkon. The pigment "tolaas shoni" is not an extract from a worm, but rather from seeds that have these worms in them."

We see from his words that not only the actual material of the Mishkon components, but even the pigments, which end up being only colouring, also require a kosher source. Tosfos on the gemara Kidushin 56b d.h. "mina'yon" deals with this issue. Rabbeinu Bachyei might posit like the Avnei Neizer's understanding of the Rambam, that "t'chei'les" for "m'leches shomayim" is not from a "chilozone."

Another possibility is that the "chilozone" itself is kosher. Even though sea creatures are clearly not kosher, as per the verse in Vayikra 11:10, the Rava"d in his preface to Sefer Ha'y'tziroh, nsivos 32 nsiv 8 writes that he does not know if the "chilozone" is a sea creature or a sea plant, since it is alive and moves, but always remains in the same place, implanted in the base of the sea. It seems that he posits that the "chilozone" is a sea anemone. This is clearly not the position of those who prohibit the use of the "chilozone" for the priestly garments, but is a possible explanation for Rabbeinu Bachyei's excluding pigment from a non-kosher source, and not mentioning that the "chilozone" is a problem.


1) Rashi cites the Medrash Tanchuma #9 on our parsha which says that Yaakov planted acacia trees in Egypt and told his descendants that they should be harvested and taken along upon departure for later use in the Mishkon.

2) The Baa'lei Tosfos says that there were forests in the desert from which they took these trees.


1) The gemara Yoma 72a says in the name of Rabbi Choma b"R Chanina that this means that the beams should be positioned so that their end that was close to the roots when growing should also be at the bottom.

2) Alternatively, he offers that they give permanence to their cladding, i.e. they keep their cladding standing. Rashi d.h. "shemaamidin" explains that this means that their gold cladding (verse 29) should be permanently fastened to the wooden beams with nails.

3) Alternatively, Rashi offers that this type of wood was impervious to worm damage, thus their gold cladding would not fall off because of internal rot.

4) The gemara has a 3rd explanation, that the acacia beams are permanent, that they will remain forever. Even though they are now hidden from us, they will be shown to us at the end of days.

5) Rashi and Sforno on our verse say that OMDIM teaches us that the beams should not be placed horizontally one on top of the other to create walls, but rather, they should be placed vertically, OMDIM.

6) OMDIM means taking the wood from growing trees that are alive and standing, and not from dead trees that have fallen, as they are subject to rot and might even already have hidden interior deterioration. (Hadar Z'keinim)

7) Tosfos Hasho'leim writes that they did not change their colour with aging, nor did they deteriorate. Change of colour is not a factor in the cosmetic aspect of the Mishkon because they were gilded with gold, "V'es hakroshim t'tza'peh zohov," (verse 29). However, it explains why Hashem chose this material.

8) OMDIM means from PREPARED trees. Medrash Tanchuma #9 on our parsha says that Yaakov planted acacia trees in Egypt and told his descendants that they should be harvested and taken along upon departure for use in the Mishkon. This has a mathematical allusion. "Hakroshim laMishkon" is the same as "Yaakov Ovinu nota lo'hem arozim b'Mitzrayim." Another indication to this is the word "Hakroshim," with a definitive letter Hei, the specific beams that Yaakov told them should come from the trees he planted. (Kli Yokor)


1) The Daas Z'keinim at the beginning of our parsha says that this rod was originally Yaakov's stick, "Ki v'makli ovarti es haYardein ha'zeh" (Breishis 32:11).

2) Targum Yonoson ben Uziel says that it came from a tree that Avrohom planted in B'eir Sheva. Angels cut it down and threw it into Yam Suf when the bnei Yisroel crossed. It floated and the angels announced, "This is from a tree that your ancestor Avrohom planted." This rod had the miraculous property of becoming flexible. It was 70 "amos" long and when inserted into a wall and upon reaching the end in one direction it made a turn and continued through the next direction, and again upon completing that span it took another turn and spanned the third wall. Upon removal it again became flexible, and when totally removed, it was a straight, stiff, solid pole.


Rabbeinu Gershom Mo'or Hagoloh on the gemara Chulin 17b says that from SAMIM (26:24) we derive that the wall beams should be complete; that the wood should not be scratched or chipped. Perhaps this is why it was required that the wall beams be covered with gold even on the outside (verse 29), even though on the outside it would not be appreciated since the goat skin covers totally covered them when erected. However there would be the fear of the beams getting chipped upon assembly, disassembly, and loading and unloading them for transport.



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

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