Chamishoh Mi Yo'dei'a

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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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1) Ch. 35, v. 2: "Sheishes yomim tei'o'seh m'lochoh uva'yom hashvii yi'h'yeh lochem kodesh" - Six days work shall be done and on the seventh day it should be hallowed for you - Note the differences between these words and those in parshas Yisro (20:9,10), "Sheishes yomim taavode v'ossiso kol m'lachtecho, V'yom hashvii Shabbos laShem Elokecho." There it says "v'ossiso," and you shall do, while here it says that the work will be done, "tei'o'seh. Here it says that the seventh day shall be holy for YOU, while there it says it is "laShem Elokecho." Why these differences?

2) Ch. 35, v. 2: "Sheishes yomim ...... u'va'yom hashvii yi'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). Why the change in order?

3) 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. Is the gender of Shabbos male or female?

4) Ch. 35, v. 3: "Lo s'vaaru aish 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?

5) Ch. 36, v. 7, "V'hamlochoh hoysoh da'yom ...... vo'hoseir." The verse seems to contradict itself. If it was exactly sufficient then it wasn't extra, and if it was extra, then it wasn't exactly sufficient.



The differences can be well understood if we were to say that in parshas Yisro poor workers are being addressed, as indicated by the verse saying that "you will work," while in our verse wealthy business people are addressed, as indicated by the verse saying that the "work will be done (by your workers)." One whose income comes totally by the sweat of his brow, and yet is limited, need not be exhorted to keep the Shabbos in a manner of "lochem kodesh," that the physical niceties of Shabbos be sanctified. Even on Shabbos the poor man has no abundance of pleasures. Rather, he has to be told to rest for Hashem, not just to recharge his drained physical batteries. On the other hand, the wealthy man need not be told to avoid misdirecting his rest to rejuvenate himself, as he doesn't work very hard during the six weekdays anyway. Rather, he is told to make sure that his "lochem," physical pleasures enjoyed on Shabbos, should be sanctified, "kodesh." (Shaar Bas Rabim)


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 atonement was needed. This could be afforded through the building of the Mishkon as mentioned in the M.R. Shmos chapter 51 and Medrash Tanchuma 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 Chiyoh 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 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 judgment. 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).


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 if 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. The Rada"k clearly states that when we find the male form by Shabbos it refers to the YOM.

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 verbal androgenes?


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 (gemara P'sochim 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)


The Sichos Tzadikim says that since the purpose of creating the Mishkon was to have a centre for the Divine Presence to rest, it would require that the donations and building of the Mishkon involve no haughtiness. Arrogance pushes away the Divine Presence. If the materials that were brought would amount to exactly that which was needed, each donour would feel that without his donation the Mishkon would be incomplete, no matter how large or small the donation was. This emotion negates the sanctity of the Mishkon. Only because it was known that there was extra was it sufficient. Now each donour wasn't sure if his materials were used. This kept the donours from feeling that they were indispensable in the creation the Sanctuary.

The Rav of Volomin zt"l applies this thought to the previous verse. Another reason besides Rashi's for the word "V'ha'n'siim" being spelled without a Yud is because the tribal heads knew that their donations, the stones for the Kohein Godol's breast-plate, were being used. They lacked the sense of humility shared by all other donours, who did not know whether their donations were used. (Ma'yonoh Shel Torah)



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

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