פ’ תצוה תשע”ט
Volume 27, Issue 8
INSIGHTS from the SEDRA
Insights from the Sedra is a project of the Scholar’s Kollel of Great Neck. It aims to provide several questions and answers about the Sedra, culled from various commentaries, including the following: Baal Haturim, Darash Moshe, Vedebarta Bam by Rabbi Moshe Bogomilsky, Torah Treasures by Dov Furer, Wellsprings of Torah by Alexander Friedman, and Kol Dodi by Rabbi Dovid Feinstein, Great Torah Lights by Rabbi Yitzchak Meir Goodman, Something To Say by Dov Wasserman, The Vilna Gaon, Growth Through Torah by Zelig Pliskin and The Call of the Torah.
חקת עולם לדרתם
“An eternal decree for their generations…” (27:21)
The Midrash HaGadol and Midrash Tanchuma both observe that although we no longer possess our Temple, we still have our synagogues and house of study. By keeping their eternal lights constantly lit, we are preparing for the future light of the messianic kingdom, of which the prophet said: And the nations shall walk at your light, and kings at the brightness of your rising (Isaiah 60:3). That is the significance of the ner tamid, the everlasting light, in the synagogue. It is a vestige of the ner hama’aravi, western light, of the Temple, a symbol of the eternal flame of faith and of spirit, forever inextinguishable in the sanctuaries of Israel. (R’ Munk)
“For glory and splendor…” (28:1)
Seventy years after Nevachadnetzar exiled King Yehoyachin from Yerushalayim, the Persian king Achashveirosh made a lavish royal banquet in Shushan, the capital of his kingdom. At the banquet, he displayed the riches of his glorious kingdom and the honor of his splendorous majesty.
The word tiferet tells us that he brazenly wore the holy garments of the Kohen Gadol, which our verse refers to as vestments…for glory and for splendor. Those garments had been looted from the Beit HaMikdash by his wife’s grandfather, Nebuchadnetzar. (Megillah 12a, Teachings of the Talmud)
ואתה תדבר אל כל חכמי לב אשר מלאתיו רוח חכמה
“And you shall speak to all the wise-hearted people whom I have invested with a spirit of wisdom…” (28:3)
Hashem commanded Moshe to tell the craftsmen that he invested them with a spirit of wisdom. Once informed of their innate potential, these wise craftsmen were surely able to create Aharon’s vestments. As the classic ethical work Chovos HaLevavos notes, “Every human has hidden potential and talent. In the same manner that seeds must be sown, plowed and harvested, so too someone else must nurture the potential talent in his peer. (Chasam Sofer)
ונתת אל חשן המשפט את האורים ואת התמים
“Into the breastplate of judgement, shall you place the Urim and the Tumim…” (28:30)
The Choshen, the breastplate of the Kohen Gadol, contained the Urim VeTumim. This was a slip of parchment with the Name of Hashem on it. The slip was placed inside the fold of the Choshen. When a significant question faced a leader of the Jewish nation, he would consult the Kohen Gadol, who wore the Choshen, with the Urim VeTumim inside. In response to the question, the letters on the stones of the Choshen would spell out the answer.
It is called אורים, from the word אור, light, because the Urim VeTumim enlightens the Jewish nation with its words; and תומים, from the word תם, perfect, because the Urim VeTumim indicates the perfect path to follow. (Yerushalmi Yoma 7:3, Teachings of the Talmud)
אשר אועד לכם שמה לדבר אליך שם…ונודעתי שמה לבני ישראל
“Where I will meet with you there, to speak to you there…and I will meet there with the Jewish people…” (29:42-43)
There are many interesting comments in the sefarim explaining the absence of Moshe’s name from this parsha, which are very well known. In the rare volume Birkas Avraham, Rav Avraham Shapira notes the excessive use of the word “there” in the above verses, two of which are in the poetic form of shamah. He feels sure this was Hashem’s way of placing His beloved Moshe into the parsha, for these are the three letters of his name.
It is interesting, noted the Vilna Gaon, that in most years when there is only one Adar, this parsha is read on the Shabbat following the 7th of Adar, the yahrtzeit of Moshe. It is as if the Torah omits his name during the week of shiva. Then, we reach Purim, and the name of G-d is omitted from the Megillah. Could it be that both omissions have one link?
I believe the following argument may have some merit: We know that G-d had hidden His “face” in Mordechai’s time – he received no direct prophecy. The Gemara quotes the verse of “I will hide (אסתיר)My face” as the hint of Esther (אסתר) in the Torah. In the absence of G-d’s direct intervention or direction, Mordechai and Esther bravely acted on behalf of the Jewish people. The lesson to be learned is that we cannot sit with folded hands and await miracles. When we are in danger, heroic people must take up the battle for Jewish survival, and G-d will help them.
Perhaps, too, when a generation is lacking a Moshe to be the great spiritual force to rally the Jewish people to Torah and mitzvot, any dedicated and motivated Jew can step forward and claim the mantel of leadership, by becoming one of the great scholars of that generation. Thus, the opening word of this parsha, “and you,” may be seen as addressed to any committed Jew who diligently seeks the crown of Torah and, upon acquiring it, becomes the spiritual head of the people in his generation. As chazal state, “The crown of Torah is open to all – let he who wishes to have it come and claim it.” Could this be the thread that connects both omissions? (Great Torah Lights)
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