פ’ ויקהל תשע”ט
Volume 27, Issue 10
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.
קחו מאתכם לה’ כל נדיב לבו יביאה את תרומת ה’
“Take from yourselves a portion for Hashem, everyone whose heart motivates him shall bring it, as a gift to Hashem.” (35:5)
The seemingly redundant language, repeating twice the concept of terumah, as well as the subtle change from “teruma La‘Hashem”, a portion for Hashem, to “terumat Hashem”, the gift to Hashem, underscores an essential point – the only thing one can give to Hashem is one’s enthusiasm. The verse opens “kechu meitchem teruma La’Hashem”, take from yourselves a portion for Hashem, referring to “kol nediv lebo”, your motivation and generosity. This is truly “teruma La’Hashem”, a gift to Hashem – not His gift to us – since Hashem does not influence man’s free will.
On the other hand, pure motives and great ideals don’t mean much unless they are accomplished by concrete acts such as bringing a gift of gold, silver, copper. While these materials actually belong to Hashem, nonetheless, bringing a gift is indicative of your sincere heart, your true donation. (Chasam Sofer)
וכל חכם לב יבאו ויעשו את כל אשר צוה ה’
“And all the wise-hearted among you shall come to do all that Hashem has commanded.” (35:10)
The Vilna Goan interprets the verse “The wise at heart will receive commandments, but the chattering fool shall be punished (Mishlei 10:8) as follows: The wise man does not speak much about the mitzvah, rather he gets up and does it. A fool does not stop talking about the mitzvah, how important it is, how he is going to do it and what it entails, but he will always face one obstacle or another and never manage to do it.
The Torah warns the donors at all times: And all the wise-hearted among you shall come and do all that Hashem has commanded – less talk and more deeds. The wisest of all wisdom is not to be too wise but to do all that Hashem has commanded without deliberation. (Dvash Hasadeh)
חח ונזם וטבעת וכומז
“Bracelets, nose-rings, finger-rings and earings…” (35:22)
The medieval Biblical scholar Rabbi Avraham Ibn Ezra translates this list of items slightly differently, as “earrings, nose-rings, finger-rings and bracelets.” The four items that the women donated allude to the four aspects of proper child-rearing and Jewish education:
Earrings: Listening carefully to children’s conversations with their peers, for children learn how to talk from their elders’ example; if something is amiss in how they speak, it means something is amiss in how their role models speak.
Nose-rings: Developing a keen sense of “smell” to determine if children’s friendships with other children are beneficial.
Finger-rings: Pointing children to the proper path, by gently guiding them to adhere to the Torah’s teachings and not to follow harmful paths.
Bracelets: Being strong-armed – for even if children are well-behaved, it is necessary to be firm with them in order to foster their enthusiasm for their studies. (Lubavitcher Rebbe)
איש ואשה אל יעשו עוד מלאכה לתרומת הקדש
“Man and woman shall not do more work toward the gift of the Sanctuary…” (36:6)
It is important for a person to keep busy and not sit around lazily. R’ Yehudah ben Beseira tells us that even if a person has no need to work and has all his work done for him by his servants, he should find something constructive to do. For example, if he has an empty field that he does not need, he should work it anyway, to keep himself busy, as the verse states, “Six days shall you work and accomplish “all” your work.” The word “all” is telling us that a person should keep busy even if he does not need to for his livelihood. R’ Yose adds that sitting around idly leads to death.
This advice is important for men and for women alike, and that is why our verse chose to highlight that everyone was involved in working for the Mishkan, saying, “Man and woman shall not do more work.” Our verse could have used one word, “Vayicalu – and they were restrained [from bringing]. Instead, it adds a word, writing “Vayicaleh Ha’am” – and the people were restrained. It does this to tell us that every member of the nation, even the children, were involved. Children, too, need to be kept busy. (Avos DeRabbi Nassan 11:1)
והמלאכה היתה דים
“But the work had been enough…” (36:7)
There are thirty-nine primary types of labor that are forbidden on Shabbos. The number thirty-nine is hinted to by the number of times the word melacha (work), in its various grammatical forms, appears in the Torah. While the word actually appears forty times, one of those references is not counted, because it is not really referring to work. There are two opinions as to which verse should not be included in the count; it is either our verse, or the verse describing Yosef going to the house of Potiphar to do his work. If the verse about Yosef is referring to actual work, the “work” mentioned in our verse is not one of the thirty-nine because it is not referring to the actual building of the Mishkan, but to the task of bringing its materials. (Teachings of the Talmud, Shabbos 49b)
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