פ’ תצוה – זכור תשע”ז
Volume 17, 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.
להעלות נר תמיד
“To kindle the lamp continually…” (27:20)
The Imrei Emes once asked R’ Chaim Brisker the following question: Midrash Tanchuma (Tetzaveh 3) says that the Menorah in the Temple was lit from Rosh Hashana until the next Rosh Hashana. It always remained lit, and would not be extinguished until the following year. However, we see from this week’s parsha that there is a mitzvah to light the Menorah daily. How could this halacha be observed if the Menorah would never be extinguished?
R’ Chaim Brisker answered based on a ruling of the Rambam, that a person who adds oil to an existing light on Shabbos is liable for transgressing the prohibition of making a fire on Shabbos. We see from this halacha that once can effect a “lighting” by adding even a little oil to a pre-existing flame. This is precisely what transpired in the Mishkan and Temple. Every day, a small amount of oil was added to the light that was already burning. According to the halacha, this would still qualify as a lighting and fulfill the mitzvah.
The ethical take-away from this exchange is that one can affect a “lighting” by adding a little oil to a pre-existing flame. In other words, even if we ourselves aren’t able to do heroic, enormous acts of Torah and mitzvot, and even if we add a little mitzvah light to a pre-existing, large flame, it is still deemed precious to Hashem. (Short & Sweet)
ויקחו אליך שמן זית זך כתית למאור להעלת נר תמיד
“They should take for you pure olive oil, pressed for illumination, to kindle the lamp continually.” (27:20)
QUESTION: It would have been sufficient to just say “They should take for you pure olive oil for the light,” why the words “katit” and “leha’alot neir tamid”?
ANSWER: The first Beit Hamikdash lasted 410 years, and the second lasted 420 years. During the entire 830 years the menorah was kindled every day. We all hope to merit speedily the third Beit Hamikdash, which will last forever. The elaboration in the pasuk is a remez – hint – to this. The word “katit” (כתית) – “beaten” – has in it the letters “כ” and “ת”, which equal 420, and the letters “י” and “ת”, which equal 410. The oil should be “כתית” – for 830 years of lighting the menorah. Afterwards, will be “leha’alot neir tamid” – the third Beit Hamikdash – in which the candles will be lit forever. (Ba’al Haturim)
ועשית מזבח מקטר קטרת
“You must make an altar for burning incense…” (30:1)
One reason why the passage about the Inner Altar is placed at the very end of all the discussions pertaining to the Mishkan and all that was in it, is in order to indicate that the Inner Altar has a unique status, above and beyond all of the other furnishings of the Mishkan.
What was different about the Inner Altar was that every other ritual that was performed in the Mishkan had spectators. When the incense burned on the Inner Altar, however, there was no one present – only the priest burning it and G-d Himself. Furthermore, we are taught that it was specifically this private service that caused the Divine Presence to be most felt in the Mishkan.
This lesson of the incense is very relevant in our modern and loud world. The ultimate in holy living, and especially in areas of kindness and charity, is when no one is present, when we exhibit generosity without publicity, purely because it is the right thing to do. (Likutei Sichot)
ויהי בימי…ותען אסתר…לכל זרעו
“And it was in the days…so Esther answered…all his descendents” (Esther 1:1, 5:7, 10:3)
QUESTION: The Megillah contains a total of 167 verses. The middle verse is the one beginning “Vata’an Esther – and Esther answered” (5:7). Thus, at the beginning, end and midpoint of the Megillah is a vav. What is the significance of this?
ANSWER: The letter “ו” (vav) can be spelled fully in three ways:
1) “ואו”, which has the numerical value of 13, the same numerical value as that of the word אחד – one. Thus, the letter vav represents Hashem, who is truly the only One.
2) “ויו”, which has the numerical value of 22 and thus represents the Torah, which is written with the 22 letters of the aleph-beit.
3) “וו”, having the numerical value of 12, and thus represents the Jewish people, who consist of 12 tribes. (Vedebarta Bam)
ודבר שלום לכל זרעו…ויהי בימי
“Concerned for the welfare of all of his descendents…And it was in the days…” (Esther 10:3, 1:1)
QUESTION: Torah is never ending, and the end and the beginning are linked together. What is the connection between the last and first words of the Megillah?
ANSWER: The first word ויהי (Vayehi) has the numerical value of 31, and the last word זרעו (zaro) has the numerical value of 283. Together, the two words equal 314, which is the numerical value of מרדכי היהודי (Mordechai HaYehudi). The first and last words are an indication that the Megillah was written by Mordechai from beginning to end. (Nachal Eshkol)
This week’s Divrei Torah are sponsored by Rochelle & Leo Goldberg, Michael & Lauren Zuckerman and Shellie & Steve Zuckerman in memory of Howard Zuckerman, Tzvi Yaakov ben Pesach Yehudah z”l. For future sponsorship opportunities please call Steve Zuckerman at 516 652 5266 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or Rabbi Lichter at email@example.com. Sponsorships in memory of or in honor of someone are $50.00 per issue.