פ’ תרומה תשע”ט
Volume 27, Issue 7
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.
ועשו ארון עצי שטים
“And they shall make an Aron from shittim wood…” (25:10)
The first command concerning the construction of the Mishkan was to make the Aron. It contained the light of the world, for the Tablets of the Law and the Torah rested inside. Similar to creation, where light preceded everything else, so too the allegorical light of Torah comes first. The Aron is comparable, in a small format, to what light is to the universe as a whole. It is the source of truth, called upon to dispel the darkness that obscures the spirituality of man. (Rabbi Munk)
Aron comes from the word ohr, meaning light. Ohr is referring to the Torah that is in the aron, as it says, כי נר מצוה ותורה אור – for the mitzvah is like a candle and the Torah, light. (Maharal)
אמתים וחצי ארכו ואמה וחצי רחבו ואמה וחצי קמתו
“Two and a half amos its length; an amah and a half its width; and an amah and a half its height.” (25:10)
Why do all the measurements of the Aron have a half of a measurement – two and a half amos in length, one and half amos in width, and one and half amos in height? The reason is to teach us that the only way to acquire the Torah is for the person to realize that he is not a complete person. There is no room for ga’avah. (Ba’al HaTurim)
ועשית שנים כרבים זהב מקשה תעשה אתם משני קצות הכפרת
“You shall make two cherubim of gold, hammered out from both ends of the cover.” (25:18)
Rashi, based on the Gemara (Sukkah 5b), informs us that the cheruvim were images of young children. We must understand the significance of these images and why G-d chose this particular location for His important message to us. Rav Yissachar Dov of Blez states that there lies in this a great principle for Jewish education. Since the Aron and the Tablets symbolize Torah, we learn that only if it is transmitted faithfully to the children can we continue to be blessed with the glorious presence and love of G-d. However, we must still understand the meaning of the wings spreading upward.
Rav Yissachar Dov further clarifies a most interesting statement of Rambam in his Book of Mitzvot in recording mitzvah number 11: “…we are commanded to learn Torah and to teach it, and this is called ‘study of Torah,’ as is stated ‘You shall teach your children.’” Clearly, the Rambam has told us that one who learns for himself and does not educate his children in Torah has accomplished only half the mitzvah. (Something to Say)
ופניהם איש אל אחיו אל הכפרת יהיו פני הכרבים
“And their faces shall look one to another; towards the Ark-cover the faces of the Cherubim shall be…” (25:20)
QUESTION: The Gemara (Bava Basra 99a) asks why in the Mishkan the cheruvim faced each other, whereas in the Beit HaMikdash “uf’eneihem labayit – their faces were to the walls of the house” (Divrei HaYamim 3:13). The Gemara answers: When the Jews fulfilled Hashrem’s wish, the cheruvim faced each other. When they conducted themselves contrary to His will, then the cheruvim faced the wall. What is the connection between the direction of the cheruvim and the will of Hashem?
ANSWER: The Gemara’s explanation of the direction the cheruvim faces may be explained as a metaphor: “Each man facing his brother” (the literal translation of “ish el achiv”) can be taken as a symbol of the brotherly relationship between one Jew and another. This complies with the will of Hashem, who desires that a Jew always be concerned for a fellow Jew.
“Facing the walls of the house” means that one turns his back on the other and is totally preoccupied with what takes place within the walls of his home. Such selfish behavior is contrary to G-d’s will. (Kesav Sofer)
ועשית מנרת זהב טהור
“And you shall make a Menorah of pure gold…” (25:31)
The Midrash opens its commentary on the Torah by quoting the verse from Tehillim (119:130): “The opening of Your words gives light.” The Vilna Gaon explains this comment by focusing on the literal meaning of this passage in Tehillim. “The opening of Your words” means the words in the initial verse in each of the five Books of the Chumash. “Gives light” means that these words allude to the Menorah that illuminated the Sanctuary.
The first verse of Bereshit has seven words, hinting at the seven arms of the Menorah (the shaft and the six branches). The first verse of Shemot has eleven words, corresponding to the eleven knobs. The first word of Vayikra has nine words, alluding to the nine flowers. The first verse of Bamidbar (including the unit 1) has eighteen words, corresponding to the height of the Menorah which was 18 handbreadths. The first verse of Devarim has twenty-two words, corresponding to the twenty-two cups. (Divrei Eliyahu)
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