Chamishoh Mi Yo'dei'a

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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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1) Ch. 35, v. 2: "Sheishes yomim" - Six days - Rashi says that Moshe gave the mitzvoh of Shabbos BEFORE the mitzvoh of erecting the Mishkon, to teach that the building of the Mishkon does not push aside Shabbos. Rashi on Shmos 31:13 d.h. "ach" says that from that verse we derive this ruling, and there Shabbos is mentioned AFTER the building of the Mishkon. We see that we derive this point from Shabbos being mentioned AFTER the Mishkon. Likewise, we find the verse "Ish imo v'oviv tiro'u v'es Shabsosai tishmoru" (Vayikra 19:3), from which we similarly derive that although there is a mitzvoh to fear one's parents, nevertheless, if a parent commands his child to do an act that involves desecration of Shabbos, the child may not comply, and there too, Shabbos is mentioned after fearing one's parents. (Placing Shabbos afterwards to bring out this point of information seems to be the logical order. Do this or that mitzvoh, BUT keep the laws of Shabbos.)

2) Ch. 39, v. 30: "Va'yich't'vu olov" - And they wrote upon it - If just one person etched the two words "kodesh laShem" into the golden forehead plate, why does the verse say "va'yich't'vu," in the plural form?

3) Ch. 39, v. 32: "Vatheichel kol avodas haMishkon" - And all the work of the Mishkon was complete - The work was completed near the end of the month Kislev. However, the assembly took place on the 1st day of Nison. Why the 3 month wait?

4) Ch. 39, v. 40: "Es meisorOV vi'seidoseHOH" - And HIS cables and HER pegs - Why the change in gender?

5) Ch. 40, v. 20: "Va'yikach va'yi'tein es ho'eidus" - And he took and he placed the testimonial tablets - Every item was taken and placed, yet this is the only time we have "va'yikach."



This difficulty is raised by Rishonim, among them, Rabbeinu Chaim Paltiel. A careful reading of our Rashi yields a most interesting answer offered by the B'eir Yitzchok. Rashi does not say that Moshe taught the parsha of Shabbos ahead of building the Mishkon. Rather he says "hikdim LO'HEM," he taught it earlier to THEM. Note the name of our parsha, "Va'yakheil." This is one of the very special occasions where Moshe deviated from the norm, of teaching a law first to Aharon and his sons, then to the tribal heads, and finally, to all the bnei Yisroel (gemara Eiruvin 55). Here he taught it immediately to all in a public assemblage. The reason for this is simple. The building of the Mishkon was not a mitzvoh that each person could do on his own, such as tefillin. Rather, it was a communal mitzvoh, and as such, it was taught to all, even the women, and in one go. However, there was no need to relate the mitzvoh of Shabbos in the same assemblage. Why did Moshe first give THEM, "hikdim lo'hem," IN ASSEMBLAGE, the mitzvoh of Shabbos? It must be to teach them to not build the Mishkon at the expense of Shabbos. This is derived not from the positioning of these two mitzvos one to another, but from the fact that Shabbos was taught in "hakheil." This teaches that Shabbos plays a role in the building of the Mishkon. However, we are left with a problem. According to this explanation the ruling is not derived from HIKDIM, but only from the fact that Shabbos was also taught in this assemblage. Why does Rashi mention which mitzvoh came first?

Lekach Tov, an Acharone, answers this. Had Moshe taught them the mitzvoh of building the Mishkon first, some of the people would have been so enthused that they would have immediately run out and begun the task. They would not have realized that Moshe was about to continue with the laws of Shabbos. This is why "HIKDIM lo'hem."

Why this ruling is taught twice remains to be explained. Although the building of the Mishkon being mentioned both in parshas Trumoh and here is explained by Rishonim (Some commentators say that it is a continuation of the parsha in Ki Siso, and other matters mentioned in between were a tangent), the need to repeat that Shabbos is not to be desecrated for the building of the Mishkon, remains to be clarified.

According to the opinion that the command to build the Mishkon took place chronologically ahead of the sin of the golden calf, we might have an answer. In the interim some of the bnei Yisroel had sinned with the golden calf. M.R. says that the building of the Mishkon brings exoneration for this sin. The need for this "kaporoh" was so terribly important that I might mistakenly believe that it must be done post haste, now even at the expense of Shabbos Kodesh. This requires a repetition of this ruling. (Nirreh li)


Rabbeinu Avigdor says that although only one person formed the letters, since Hashem's Holy Name was being created, it required special intention to sanctify His Name, "lishmoh." There were therefore 10 people standing next to the one who etched this word to remind him to do it with the proper intention. Since numerous people were involved a plural term is used. He adds that the same should be done when one writes a Torah scroll. He should leave out every Holy Name and when the Torah is complete, 10 people should be present when all the Holy Names are filled in. Since the need for other's involvement is only for "lishmoh," some question the need for 10 people to be present, as just one or two others would suffice.

Rabbi Yehudoh Chosid brings the original question in the name of his father, and similarly answers that there is a need for others to remind the creator of the "tzitz" to etch the Holy Name with the proper intention. He adds that the same applies to the writing of Torah, tefillin, and mezuzos. Likewise, the sofer should immerse himself in a proper mikveh to add sanctity to the actual writing. The requirement of 10 people and no less is because the writing of the Holy Name is an act that is called "dovor shebikdushoh," which requires a quorum of 10, just like our prayers.

He also offers that "va'yich't'vu" refers to just 2 people, one who etched the word "kodesh," and one who etched the word "laShem."

Note that halacha does not require, and the prevalent custom is not to have anyone present when the sofer writes a Holy Name in a Torah, tefillin, or mezuzoh.

There is an opinion brought in the R'sha"sh on the gemara Yoma 38a that it is advantageous to write all the letters of the Holy Name in one go. Perhaps according to this opinion four people each etched one letter of the four-letter Holy Name at the same time, hence "va'yich't'vu." (Nirreh li)


Hashem wanted to have the Mishkon dedicated on the 1st of Nison, the day that our Patriarch Yitzchok was born. He was a sanctified human offering to Hashem, and the Mishkon likewise serves as the holy location where sacrifices are brought. (Rabbeinu Zecharioh)


The curtain's (male) cables, and the courtyard's (female) pegs (Chizkuni)


This is because the tablets were already housed in a wooden ark. No other items had a special storage receptacle made for them. (Ro'isi)

Rabbi Moshe Midner of Slonim offers that the tablets symbolize the Holy Torah. It is not enough for a person to TAKE the Torah, to learn it for himself only. He must also teach it to others, "va'yikach" and "va'yi'tein."



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

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