Oroh V'Simchoh

Meshech Chochmoh
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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 27, v. 20: "V'yikchu EI'LECHO shemen zayis zoch" - The word EI'LECHO deserves elucidation. See the words of the Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh. The MESHECH CHOCHMOH explains that EI'LECHO, similar to the word L'CHO, often means for your benefit. See the words of Rashi on Breishis 12:1, Lech L'CHO. Here too, having the oil for the kindling of the menorah is for the benefit of Moshe. The Mechilta section Pis'cha chapter #1 says that Hashem spoke to Moshe only by day. However the Ibn Ezra on Bmidbar 8:2 explains that this limitation to day only is limited to when there were no lights illuminating the night. The logic behind this might be similar to the rule of judgements of monetary matters beginning to be deliberated only by day, as per Choshen Mishpot 5:2, derived from the words, "V'ho'yoh b'YOM hanchilo es bonov" (Dvorim 21:16). Yet if the courtroom is illuminated it is permitted to begin the court proceedings at night (Sefer M'iros Einayim ad loc s.k. 37).

Hence Moshe benefited from the illumination of the menorah by receiving prophecy even at night. This obviously benefited all the bnei Yisroel as well. However, after Moshe's death there was no such benefit and the only reason for lighting the menorah was that it was a statute from Hashem to do so, hence "chukas olom l'DOROSEICHEM" (verse 21).

Ch. 28, v. 8: "V'cheishev afudoso asher olov k'maa'seihu" - The gemara Z'vochim 88b says that the wearing of the eifode garment atones for the sin of thoughts of idol worship. In general we do not consider the thought of sinning as a sin itself as per the gemara Kidushin 39b, but in regard to thoughts of accepting a false god the thought is also considered a sin. This is alluded to in the words of this verse. "V'cheishev" - and the thought, "afudoso," - of the sin of idol worship for which the eifode garment atones, "k'maa'seihu," - is as harsh as actually doing the sin. (Nachal K'dumim in the name of Rabbeinu Efrayim, MESHECH CHOCHMOH)

Ch. 28, v. 10: "Shishoh mishmosom al ho'evven ho'echos" - The gemara Yerushalmi Sotoh 7:4 says that Biyomin's name appeared on the "eifode" stones with the first two letters Beis-Nun on one stone and the last letters of his name on the other stone. This seems to be alluded in the word MIshmosom, a section of their names, indicating that a name is not complete on one stone. Indeed on the words "Shishoh mishmosom" the Targum Yonoson ben Uziel also says ""Shiso min k'tzas shmos'hone," six of part of their names.

Why was Binyomin's name chosen to be the one to be split between the two stones? The MESHECH CHOCHMOH answers that this is indicated in Dvorim 33:12, "U'vein kseifov shochein," regarding Binyomin the verse says, "and between the two shoulders (of the Kohein Godol) he rests."

Ch. 28, v. 20: "V'yoshfei" - The gemara Kidushin 31a and Yerushalmi Pei'oh chapter #1 relate that the "yoshfei" stone of the breastplate was once lost and the Rabbis pursued a replacement. They came upon a non-Jew named Domo the son of N'sino, whose father had such a stone. When they came, his father was asleep and the key to the safety box in which he kept his precious stones was on a cord that was wrapped around his neck. Retrieving the key would require waking his father in the middle of his siesta. Domo, out of respect for his father, refrained from waking him and lost the sale.

The MESHECH CHOCHMOH writes that it is most befitting that the lesson of how far honouring one's parents goes is learned from a tale involving the "yoshfei" stone. All the brothers who were involved with the sale of Yoseif caused their father much pain. Yoseif, as well, by not communicating with his father, also fell short in properly honouring his father (see Ramban on 42:9 d.h. "Va'yizkor"). Only Binyomin was not deficient in honouring his father, thus his stone was involved in this story.

The Baal Haturim points out that the numerical value of "yoshfei" equals that of "Binyomin ben Yaakov." Possibly, according to the Meshech Chochmoh it is well understood why the mathematical value of "yoshfei" is that of "Binyomin ben Yaakov," of both the son and his father, to indicate that specifically Binyomin was the most devoted son of Yaakov.

Ch. 29, v. 42: "Olas tomid l'dorosheichem pesach ohel mo'eid lifnei Hashem asher ivo'eid lochem shomoh" - Some Rabbis drive from these words that the word of Hashem emanated to Moshe from the top of the outer copper-clad altar. Others derive from "v'dibarti itcho mei'al hakaporres" (Shmos 25:22), that it emanated from the top of the lid of the Holy Ark, and "asher ivo'eid lochem shomoh" refers back to "ohel mo'eid lifnei Hashem" of our verse.

The MESHECH CHOCHMOH suggests that these two opinions are in tandem with the disagreement between Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi and Rabbi Yochonon in the gemara Megiloh 27a. They disagree if the words in M'lochim 2:25:9, "habayis hagodol" refer to a house of Torah study or a house of prayer. If it refers to a house of Torah study then one may convert a house of prayer into a house of Torah study, but not the reverse, since it is called "hagodol." If the verse refers to a house of prayer, then a house of Torah study may be turned into a house of prayer, but not the reverse. If we posit that prayer is greater then it is logical to assume that Hashem's voice emanated from the top of the altar, the symbol of sacrifices, and prayers are in the place of sacrificial service. If Torah study is greater, then it is logical to assume that Hashem's voice emanated from the top of the Holy Ark, which contains the Ten Commandments, which symbolize Torah study. The MESHECH CHOCHMOH expands upon this thought in his work Ohr Somei'ach al hoRambam hilchos Talmud Torah 1:2.


See also Sedrah Selections, Chasidic Insights and Chamisha Mi Yodei'a

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