פ’ תרומה תשע”ז
Volume 17, 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, and Growth Through Torah by Zelig Pliskin.
ויקחו לי תרומה
“Take for Me a portion…” (25:2)
Terumah means a contribution for sacred purposes, something which the Israelites gave for building and maintenance of the Sanctuary; and our Sedra, in detailing the plans for its construction, describes the form that these contributions should take. There were three kinds of Terumah:
(i) Shekalim: The annual contribution of a half-shekel that was to pay for the sacrifices;
(ii) The once-only payment of a half-shekel to provide for the sockets of the Sanctuary;
(iii) The provision of the materials and the coverings of the Sanctuary, which again was a once-only contribution, ceasing, once it was built.
The first, in other words, was a perpetual offering, persisting all the while the Sanctuary and the Temple existed, and still commemorated today, in the donation of half of the common unit of currency, before Purim. The second and third, however, were limited in time to the actual period of construction.
What interest, then, can they have for us today? The answer is that the Torah is eternal, meaning that its every detail has some relevant implications for all Jews at all times. And especially so for the details of a Sanctuary, for we read of it, “And they shall make Me a Sanctuary, and I shall dwell in them,” whose meaning is that G-d’s presence will rest not only in the Sanctuary itself but also in the heart of every Jew. So that even if the physical building is destroyed, a Jew can construct his own sanctuary of the soul, as an inward correlate of the once-external place. And each detail of its construction will mirror the precise practical directives contained in this and the subsequent Sidrot. (Lubavitcher Rebbe)
ויקחו לי תרומה מאת כל איש אשר ידבנו לבו
“Take for Me a portion from every man whose heart impels him…” (25:2)
The Midrash states that the poor do more for the ba’al habayis than the ba’al habayis does for the poor (Ruth Rabbah 4). How can that be? Rav Shlomo Breuer tz”l writes by the command to donate to the Mishkan, the Torah employs the word vayikchu – “and you shall take,” rather than vayitnu – “and you shall give.” By “giving” something to another, whether physically or financially, we are in fact “taking” something for ourselves. The same word is used regarding the first act of chessed mentioned in the Torah: Yukach na me’at mayim…v’ekchah pas lechem – “Let water be taken…I will take bread” (Breishit 18:4-5). Shouldn’t Avraham have said that he would “give” water and bread? The answer is that Avraham was teaching us an eternal lesson: When you help someone else, you are in fact not giving, but taking.
Similarly, the Aron was to be carried by the Levi’im on two poles, each inserted through rings, one pole on each side. However, the Gemara tells us that, in actuality, the Aron didn’t need carriers, for it really transported its bearers (Sotah 35a). A miracle occurred whereby the ark carried its own weight, easing the load of its bearers.
Rav Nosson Adler tz”l suggests that the same is true in a Yissachar-Zevulun partnership. The Zevulun appears to be “giving” by supporting the Yissachar, but in fact he is the one who is “taking.” This is a classic example of the “Aron” supporting its bearers. The Torah that the Yissachar learns is in fact supporting the Zevulun. (Torah Gems)
ועשו ארון עצי שטים אמתים וחצי ארכו ואמה וחצי רחבו ואמה וחצי קמתו
“They shall make an Ark 2 ½ cubits in length, 1 ½ cubits in width, and 1 ½ cubits in height.” (25:10)
QUESTION: Why did all the measurements of the Ark include fractions?
ANSWER: The Ark, which contained in it the Tablets, represents Torah study. The measurements teach that people who learn Torah must always bear in mind that regardless of how much they learn, they do not master it all. The extent of their knowledge is only a fraction of the vast teachings and depth of the Torah.
It is also for this reason that the first page of every Gemara is daf bet (folio 2) and not daf aleph (folio 1). This reminds the Torah student not to conceitedly think that he has mastered it, for he still lacks knowledge of the first page. (Kli Yakar)
ועשית שנים כרבים זהב
“You must make two golden cherubim…” (25:18)
The infant-like faces of the cherubim signified that our intrinsic bond with G-d is akin to the essential bond between parent and child. Despite any fluctuations that might arise in their relationship, the bond between parent and child can never be broken. The fact that the cherubim were situated above the Tablets of the Torah and faced each other signified that by studying the Torah, we can reach the root of our Divine soul, allowing our consciousness to merge totally with G-d. The infant faces of the cherubim also alluded to the fact that the Torah as we know it is a diluted, simplified version of the heavenly Torah, G-d’s infinite wisdom. G-d contracted His infinite wisdom into a form we can understand and digest, much as an expert teacher contracts his grasp of a subject in order to convey it to his pupils. The fact that the cherubim’s wings were spread protectively over the Ark alludes to the fact that the Torah-education of young children ensures the preservation and continuity of the transmission of the Torah. (Likutei Sichot)
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