פ’ תצוה – זכור – תשע”ה
Volume 7, 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, and Growth Through Torah by Zelig Pliskin.
ואתה תצוה את בני ישראל
“And you shall command the Children of Israel.” (27:20)
QUESTION: Why is the name of Moshe not mentioned in Parshat Tetzaveh?
ANSWER: Moshe died on the 7th of Adar, which usually falls during the week when Parshat Tetzaveh is read. Since his passing took place during the week of Tetzaveh, his name is not mentioned. Even in a leap year, the Magen Avraham (580:8) says that those who fast on the 7th of Adar should fast in the first Adar because there are opinions that the year Moshe died was a leap year and that he died in the first Adar. (Me’or Einayim)
According to Rabbi Chanina Bar Pappa, Moshe was born in a leap year in the first Adar (Sotah 13b). Thus, since his birth and death occurred exactly on the same day, we can conclude that he died in the first month of Adar. (She’alas Ya’avetz)
והטור השני נפך ספיר ויהלם
“The second row: nophech, sapir and yahalom.” (28:18)
The stone of Yissachar was a sapir, which has special significance pertaining to Yissachar, the tribe that was distinguished for its Torah study. When spelled without a yud, which is unnecessary for proper pronunciation, the word ספיר also spells ספר, book, an allusion to the ספר תורה, Torah scroll, which will always be before the children of Yissachar. The letter yud has the numerical value of 10, an allusion to the Ten Commandments, which, as many commentators explain, contain within them all the commandments of the Torah.
Furthermore, since the tribe of Yissachar is the one that studies the Torah, it follows that they will be the ones to come the closest to Hashem. In Parshat Mishpatim, the verse tells us that the area beneath Hashem’s Throne of Glory appeared like a brickwork of sapir stones (24:10). The Tribe of Yissachar was represented upon the Ephod with one of these same stones, a symbol of their special closeness to Hashem’s Throne, achieved through the study of His Torah.
The stone of Zevulun was a yahalom. The people of Zevulun were the businessmen who supported the Torah study of Yissachar. What led them to this destiny?
The people of Zevulun transported merchandise on the sea. The Sages teach us that most sailors are pious (Yerushalmi Kiddushin 4:11), because their profession constantly puts them at great risk. As the saying goes, there are no atheists in a foxhole. The great piety of Zevulun’s people led them to the realization that there would be no better way for them to serve Hashem than by using their resources to support the Torah learning of Yissachar. The letters of יהלם can also spell להים, to the sea, for it was because they were seafarers that they gained their spiritual strength. (Kol Dodi)
“Its sound shall be heard.” (28:35)
The bells on the me’il teach us an important lesson. The sound they emitted was a gentile one; nonetheless, every move the Kohen Gadol made would cause the bells to ring, symbolizing that everything he did produced a result. No action was wasted. We too must realize that our every action brings about an outcome, even if only a gentle and subtle one, and it is our duty to ensure that it be a positive one. (Rabbi Gifter)
ועשית ציץ זהב טהור ופתחת עליו פתוחי חתם קדש לה’…והיה על המצנפת אל מול פני המצנפת יהיה
“Make a forehead plate of pure gold, and engrave on it the same manner as a signet ring, holy to G-d…so that it can be near the front of the turban.” (28:36)
The turban, which is on top of the priest’s head, atoned for arrogance and conceit. But there is a time and place for pride and that is when a person is proud to do the will of the Almighty. That is alluded to in our verse. When pride is “holy to the Almighty” then it can be on top of a person’s head. When you are proud of your Torah values, you will not be ashamed to fulfill the commandments even if others who do not appreciate them will mock or insult you. Arrogance is a trait that is detrimental to one’s spiritual development and causes many difficulties when dealing with people. But when you are proud of doing good deeds you will be motivated to continue to do the right thing. (Growth Through Torah)
פרשת זכור – זכור את אשר עשה לך עמלק
“Remember what Amalek did to you.” (Devarim 25:17)
QUESTION: Why is the command of remembering the wickedness of Amalek written in singular, and not “Zichru…lachem” in plural?
ANSWER: Amalek attacked the Jews when they camped in Refidim. The word “refidim” (רפידים) is related to the root word of “pirud” (פירוד) – “disunity and separation”. When the Jewish people are not unified, it is possible for Amalek to creep in.
Therefore, the Torah says in singular “Zachor – remember – what Amalek did lecha – to you – to stress that Amalek attacked when there was disunity and when everyone was concerned only about himself. By remembering this all will live in harmony and thus prevent a renewed attack by Amalek. (Rabbi Simcha Bunim of P’sishcha)
Purim and Megillat Esther
לעשות אותם ימי משתה ושמחה ומשלח מנות איש לרעהו ומתנות לאביונים
“They should make them days of feasting and joy, and of sending portions one to another, and gifts to the poor.” (Esther 9:22)
QUESTION: Why did Mordechai institute this as a way to celebrate the miracle of Purim?
ANSWER: Haman derided the Jewish people telling Achashveirosh that though they were only one nation among many nations, they were “mefuzar umeforad bein ha’amim” – in total disharmony among themselves. They lacked love and compassion for their fellow Jews. To counteract this claim, Esther said to Mordechai, “Go gather together all the Jews” (4:16), and stress to them the importance of unity and Ahavat Yisrael.
Since the decree was caused by Haman’s allegation that there was disunity among the Jewish people, Mordechai instituted that on Purim we exchange edibles with friends and give gifts to the poor to demonstrate our love for one another. (Manot HaLevi)
QUESTION: The Rambam in Hilchot Megillah (2:17) writes: “It is better to increase in gifts to the poor than in sending portions to one another.” If so, why in the verse is sending portions to one another mentioned before gifts to the poor?
ANSWER: When giving tzedakah to the poor, it is very important that one should be extremely careful not to embarrass the recipient.
When Mordechai instituted Purim as a day of giving gifts to the poor, he was greatly concerned lest it become known as the poor’s day to receive handouts. Therefore, he also instituted the exchanging of portions among friends so that an observer would be unable to distinguish gifts to the poor from gifts to friends. To conceal the gifts to the poor, the Megillah preceded it with sending portions to one another. (Vedebarta Bam)
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