Chamishoh Mi Yo'dei'a

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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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1) Ch. 25, v. 11: "Mibayis umichutz t'tza'penoh" - The Holy Ark was made of three boxes which nestled one inside another. The outermost one was of gold, the centre one was of wood, and the innermost one again of gold. Rashi (gemara Yoma 72b) says that the Holy Ark was assembled in the following manner: The wooden ark was placed into the outer golden one, and then the innermost one was placed into the wooden one. This seems logical, as it requires lifting of only one box at a time. If the innermost box was first placed into the centre one, then these TWO boxes would have to be lifted to be placed into the outermost box.

However, there is a difficulty with this explanation. The words of our verse seem to contradict this. It says that you should cover the wooden ark from the inside and from the outside, seemingly indicating that it is was FIRST covered from the inside.

2) Ch. 25, v. 15: "B'tabose ho'orone yi'h'yu habadim lo yosuru mi'menu" - The gemara Yoma 72a says that we derive from our verse that if one removes the poles from the Holy Ark he has transgressed a negative precept and is lashed. This is mentioned in the Rambam hilchos klei hamikdosh 2:13. If one transgresses this sin is it a one time sin upon removing them, or is a continuous ongoing sin until they are put back?

3) Ch. 25, v. 15: "Lo yosuru mi'menu" - Does one transgress "lo yosuru" by removing only one pole?

4) Ch. 25, v. 37: "V'osiso es neiro'sehoh" - Although many details of the menorah were discussed, i.e. the kanim, gviim, prochim, and kaftorim, "v'osiso" is used here, seemingly indicating some sort of new creation. What is it?

5) Ch. 26, v. 24: "V'yi'h'yu so'amim yi'h'yu samim" - What is "so'amim" and what is "samim?"



Rabbi Chaim of Volozhin once asked his illustrious teacher, the GR"A, a question on an esoteric Kabbalistic subject. The GR"A responded that the depth to which Rabbi Chaim had reached in understanding the subject matter was sufficient. "In Kabbalistic studies one cannot plummet to the total depth of understanding," said the GR"A. To prove his point, the GR"A asked the above question about the order of the construction of the Holy Ark.

He answered that the intention of our verse is that "from internally and from externally" does nor refer to the inside and outside of the wooden ark which is being covered. Rather, it refers to the golden arks. "From the inside (of the outer golden ark) and from the outside (of the inner golden ark) shall you cover it (the wooden ark)." The INNER side of the larger golden box covers the wooden one first, and the OUTSIDE of the smaller golden one covers it second.

The GR"A said that this still leaves us with a question. Why does the Torah express this in such a convoluted manner? Why not simply explain the assembly from the point of view of the wooden ark, and say "from the outside (of the wooden ark) and from the inside (of the wooden ark) shall you cover it?" He said to his student, "This is teaching us the point I made to you regarding the studying of Kabboloh, Chochmas haNistor. The two golden ark components symbolize the Torah, as the Torah is equated to gold (T'hilim 19:11), "Ha'nechemodim mizohov." The plural form "nechemodim" is used to show us that the two levels of Torah are like gold. The two golden arks are the Torah in its two forms, the open and hidden, nigloh and nistor. The outer box, open to view, represents Toras nigloh, the open Torah, PSHAT. The inner golden one, hidden from view, represents Toras nistor, SODE. The wooden ark component symbolizes man, as the Torah says (Dvorim 20:19), "ki ho'odom eitz haso'deh," man is a TREE of the field." The contact surfaces of the two golden arks with the wooden one symbolize the level to which man can fathom the Torah. Man comes into contact with the outer ark, Toras nigloh, on its inside. This indicates that he can understand it to its fullest level, all the way through to its inside. Man's contact with the inner ark, Toras nistor, is limited to its outside, indicative of his limited ability, to only grasp it on the surface. This is why the Torah expresses the covering of the wooden ark from the vantage point of the golden arks rather than from the vantage point of the wooden ark."


It would seem logical to assume that this transgression is similar to most other transgressions in that once it has been done the sin is completed and is not being continuously transgressed until the poles are replaced.

However, the Ritv"o in his commentary on the gemara Makos 21b says otherwise. The gemara says that one can plow a furrow and in this one act transgress eight sins, each of which is punishable by lashes. The gemara asks that there is the possibility of another sin taking place at the same time if while plowing he transgresses "lo yosuru mi'menu." The Ritv"o writes that the person had already removed the poles from the Holy Ark and had now placed them into the plow as handles and is actively plowing. Every moment that he has not returned the poles to their proper place is a separate sin. He probably explains the case in this manner to give the logistics of how the poles were removed and reached a field where one could plow, obviously a distance from the Mikdosh.

The Oruch L'neir strongly disagrees, saying that the moment the poles were removed the sin was done and completed, thus having nothing to do with the plowing which took place later. Instead he offers that the Holy Ark was carried past the field where the plowing was taking place (perhaps on the way to a war site) and the person who was plowing knocked the poles out of their rings with his plow.

Perhaps an allusion to the opinion of the Ritv"o is found in our verse. It says both "B'tabose ho'orone yi'h'yu habadim," and "lo yosuru mi'menu." Could not the second expression have sufficed, saying "lo yosuru min hatabo'ose?" Perhaps the first part of the verse teaches us the guidelines of the negative precept in the second half of the verse. "Do not remove the poles from it," and not only do you transgress when removing them but also every moment that they are still out of their proper place as well, since the verse says "B'tabose ho'orone yi'h'yu habadim."


The Rambam in hilchos klei hamikdosh 2:13 says that one receives lashes for removing even one pole. Commentators ask how the Rambam derives this since the wording of the verse indicates removal of both by use of the plural form, "lo YOSURU." Again with the point just made this might be answered. The words "B'tabose ho'orone y'h'yu habadim," if used as a guideline for the sin of "lo yosuru" also teaches us that "YI'H'YU," - they should BOTH remain in their rings. Thus if even one is removed, the sin has been transgressed.

It would seem according to this that if one pole has already been removed, the removal of the second pole is not prohibited. There is a disagreement among halachic authorities on this point.


The gemara M'nochos 88b cites two opinions as to whether the "neiros," the lamps which contained the oil and wicks were unibody with the menorah or not. According to the opinion that the "neiros" were separate, it is obvious why "v'osiso" is used here and not by the kanin, gviim, prochim, or kaftorim. The Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh says that even according to the other opinion, the "neiros" were not formed out of the large original block of gold that became the menorah, but rather, they were soldered on later, also justifying the use of "v'osiso," specifically by the "neiros."

However, the Breisa d'mleches haMishkon chapter 9 says that the "neiros" were made of the same block of gold as the main body of the menorah, and its ornamentation, the gviim, prochim, and kaftorim may be soldered. This chapter is brought in its entirety and is expounded upon by the Ramban 25:39.


Rashi explains that "so'amim" and "samim" mean the same, that each beam be a duplicate of the other from bottom to top. Rabbeinu Gershom Mo'or Hagoloh on the gemara Chulin 17b says that from TAMIM 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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