`` Sedrah Selections

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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 35, v. 2: "Sheishes yomim tei'o''seh m'lochoh uva'yom hashvii yi'h'yeh lochem kodesh Shabbas Shabbosone laShem" - Six days work shall be done and on the seventh day it shall be holy for you a total rest for Hashem - The Holy Chofetz Chaim once came to a town where a ben Yisroel owned a very large factory. Among his workers were many bnei Yisroel. Unfortunately he kept the factory operating every day of the week, even on Shabbos, although he himself did not go in to work on Shabbos itself. Apprised of the situation, the Chofetz Chaim paid him a visit and tried to persuade him to close down his factory for Shabbos. The response the Chofetz Chaim received was, "Rebbe, I profit approximately 4,000 rubles on a daily basis from the factory. Do you want me to lose such a large sum every week?!" The Chofetz Chaim answered, "Why does the Torah say that work shall be done for six days, and not just get to the point, 'the seventh day shall be holy a day of total rest for Hashem?' Also, why does it say 'tei'o'seh,' in the reflexive form, rather than 'taa'seh'? Lastly, why does the Torah say 'yi'h'yeh LOCHEM kodesh,' in the plural form? The plural and the reflexive teach us that it is not sufficient that each person singly refrain from working on Shabbos, but that we should also not have work DONE FOR US by others, our workers. Lastly, it is only through "shmiras Shabbos" that we merit to have success during the six days of work. If you want "sheishes yomim tei'o'seh m'lochoh," then you must treat the seventh day as "kodesh Shabbas Shabbosone laShem."

"A very nice vort," said the factory owner, "but do you think that the Torah is my factory manager?" At this point the Chofetz Chaim left. A short while later the dreaded Bolsheviks entered the town and expropriated the factory, took away all the owner's wealth, and he barely escaped with his life. He eventually wrote a letter to the Chofetz Chaim in which he included, "I now know that all that you told me was the absolute truth." (Darkei Mussar, although there the verse in parshas Ki Siso (34:21) is brought without some of the nuances, as they can only be derived from our verse.)

Ch. 35, v. 3: "Lo s'vaaru aish b'yom haShabbos" - You shall not ignite a fire on the day of Shabbos - When Rabbi Meir Simchoh haKohein, the Mesech Chochmoh, was but a child, the "chappers," in essence legalized kidnappers, came to his town to round up children for czar Nikolai's army. The youngsters were forcefully conscripted for decades. The time and place of swooping down on a community was kept top secret, so that no one could escape their dreaded net. Through Heavenly intervention Meir Simchoh's mother became aware of an impending "visit" to their town just before it was about to take place. She immediately hid him in a clothing closet, almost smothering him under layers of assorted garments. It was on a Friday night that the unwelcome visitors came to take young Meir Simchoh for enrollment. They were b"H unable to find him and left. The houses of the time were very flimsy and there was a narrow space between two of the boards that were part of the Cohen's house exterior wall which were the back of the closet in which he was hidden. At the time that the "chappers" were searching for him, Meir Simchoh was quite scared. However, during the time that they were searching he was facing the inner side of this wall and was able to peer through the space between the two boards and saw a sliver of the outside. In his view he saw two bnei Yisroel igniting matches and then lighting lamps in the street. This was his first exposure to the desecration of the holy Shabbos. He related afterwards that although up to this moment he was totally emotionally absorbed in the great danger that loomed over his head, when he saw "chilul Shabbos" he totally forgot his own situation and was overwhelmed by the emotional pain he felt by witnessing the desecration of Shabbos, which he said he remembered for the rest of his life. (Hadoroh Shel Torah)


Ch. 38, v. 21: "Mishkan ho'eidus" - The Tabernacle of testimony - Rashi says that the Holy spirit of Hashem that descended upon the Tabernacle served as ample testimony that Hashem had forgiven the bnei Yisroel for their sin with the golden calf, as otherwise Hashem would not allow the "Sh'chinoh" to rest upon it.

The Yorim Moshe asks, "How is this conclusive? The gemara Yoma 56b derives from the words 'hashochein itom b'soch tumo'som' (Vayikroh 16:16), that even if the bnei Yisroel ch"v defile themselves through sin, Hashem still 'rests' within them. It is thus possible that the bnei Yisroel were still burdened with the sin of the golden calf and the Holy Spirit could still rest upon them."

Rabbi Yoseif Sho'ul Natanson in Divrei Sho'ul Tinyona answers that although it is true that Hashem rests His Holy Spirit upon the bnei Yisroel even if they are sullied with sin, but when it comes to a dedication, starting off from new, defilement is not tolerated. We find this by the oil used for the rededication of the Mikdosh at the time of the Chanukah miracle. Although defiled oil would also be acceptable, as "tumoh hutroh/d'chuyoh b'tzibur," when it comes to the dedication, "chanukas habayis," only ritually pure oil could be used. Similarly, we find that the people who removed the corpses of Nodov and Avihu from the Mishkon were their cousins, Levites (Vayikroh 10:4,5). The Baal Haturim asks, "Why not have their own brothers remove them, since a Kohein may defile himself to any of seven close relatives (Vayikroh 21:2), including a brother?" He answers that since this took place on the day of their "chinuch," initiation into K'hunoh, they had the elevated status of Kohein Godol, who may not defile himself even for any of the seven close relatives. We again see from here that in the situation of "chinuch," there is zero tolerance for defilement. Since Hashem rested His Holy Spirit upon the Mishkon at the time of its initiation, it is conclusive that He had forgiven them.

Ch. 39, v. 9: "Rovua hoyoh koful ossu es hachoshen ze'res orko v'ze'res rochbo koful" - It was four sided doubled they made the breastplate a hand-span was its length and a hand-span was its width doubled - Why is the word "doubled" doubled? Had the verse left out the second "koful" we might think that the breastplate was square in its original state and then doubled over, leaving us with an object that is a hand-span by a hand-span. By adding the second word "koful" we clearly understand that the hand-span squared dimension is after it was folded, doubled.

If so, why wasn't this information conveyed earlier, in parshas T'tza'veh, when Moshe was told to create the breastplate (28:16)? There the word "koful" only appears once. Moshe was not only verbally told the details of the Mishkon, its vessels, and the priestly garments, but was also given a prophetic vision of how they looked, so he saw that the breastplate was a hand-span squared after the folding. (Da'mesek Eliezer)



See also Oroh V'Simchoh - Meshech Chochmoh on the Weekly Parsha, Chasidic Insights and Chamisha Mi Yodei'a

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