Join our weekly Peninim on the Torah list!

אלה פקודי המשכן משכן העדות

These are the mountings of the Mishkan, the Mishkan of Testimony. (38:21)

The word Mishkan is repeated (Rashi, citing the Midrash), alluding to the two Batei Mikdash (replacing the Mishkan) which were taken from us. The word Mishkan has the same letters as the word mashkon, which means collateral. This intimates (say Chazal) that the two Batei Mikdash are collateral for Klal Yisrael’s sins. When we sinned, we lost them, and they are being held in lieu of our repentance, after which the Bais Hamikdash will be restored to its previous glory. Veritably, in Jewish society, the most important place of worship is one’s own heart. The purpose of the Mishkan’s services…

Continue Reading

ויערך עליו ערך לחם לפני ד' כאשר צוה ד' את משה

He prepared on it the setting of bread before Hashem, as Hashem commanded Moshe. (40:23)

Everything in the Mishkan was carried out precisely as Hashem had commanded Moshe Rabbeinu – no more – no less – no infusion of self. Their personal zeal and enthusiasm in every aspect of their work were completely subordinated to the commands of Hashem. None of the craftsmen made any attempt to inject their own ideas or their own individuality to the construction of the Mishkan. They executed their mission obediently, with scrupulous care and precision, with unabashed joy at having been able to serve Hashem. By doing this, they achieved the sublime moral perfection which characterizes an eved, servant,…

Continue Reading

זה יתנו כל העובר על הפקודים

This shall they give – everyone who passes through the census. (30:13)

The mitzvah of giving machatzis ha’shekel, a half-shekel, each year applies equally to all Jews (men, twenty years old and up), regardless of their financial circumstances. All Jews are the same with regard to the donation that supports the daily korbanos, communal offerings, and other communal rituals in the Bais HaMikdash. As the Sefer HaChinuch explains the shoresh, root, of this mitzvah, Hashem wanted – for the good and merit of Klal Yisrael – that all Jews be equal with regard to the sacrifices (equal representation) that they brought regularly before Him. Shavim b’mitzvah, equal in the mitzvah, because all…

Continue Reading

ויאמר משה אל אהרן מה עשה לך העם הזה כי הבאת עליו חטאה גדולה

Moshe said to Aharon, “What did these people do to you that you brought a grievous sin upon it?” (32:21)

Rashi interprets Moshe Rabbeinu’s question as, “How much trouble did they put you through before you felt compelled to make the Golden Calf for them?” Ramban disagrees, because such a sin is considered avodah zarah, idol worship, which is one of the three cardinal sins for which the law of yehoreg v’al yaavor, one should be killed rather than transgress, applies. In other words, regardless of the yissurim, painful troubles, to which Aharon might have been subjected, he still did not have license to make the Golden Calf. While it is beyond the scope of this dvar Torah to distinguish…

Continue Reading

הראני נא את כבודך

Show me please Your glory. (Shemos 33:18)

The cheit ha’eigel, sin of the Golden Calf, was committed forty days after Hashem gave Moshe Rabbeinu the Aseres HaDibros, Ten Commandments, on Har Sinai. It was a sin for which Hashem wanted to destroy the Nation. While only a small group of people actually sinned, the rest of the nation stood by in apathy, either indifferent or unable to do anything to prevent the sin from occurring. As a result, Hashem held all of them in contempt, and He punished them. Hashem revoked His decree to destroy the nation due to Moshe Rabbeinu’s supplication on their behalf. Following Hashem’s…

Continue Reading

ומשה לא ידע כי קרן עור פניו בדברו אתו

Moshe did not know that the skin of his face had become radiant when Hashem had spoken to him. (34:29)

Rashi observes that, until this point, Moshe Rabbeinu’s face had not become radiant – even after having achieved the spiritual heights necessary to receive the Torah. It was only after he received the second Luchos that he earned the merit of koran ohr panav, radiant face. What about the second set of Luchos made such a difference? Horav Mordechai Gifter, zl, explains that the second set of Luchos were obtained in a manner that distinguished them from their predecessor. Following Klal Yisrael’s sin with the Golden Calf, Hashem was prepared to sever His relationship with the nation and rebuild Klal…

Continue Reading

ויקחו אליך שמן זית זך כתית למאור

And they shall take for you pure, pressed olive for illumination. (27:20)

The oil used for the Menorah had to be absolutely pure from the very beginning (not filtered). Therefore, the oil was made by pressing each olive gently, until only one drop of pure oil emerged. The remaining oil in the olive came out through crushing and was used for the Meal-offering. The Alter, zl, m’Kelm applies the word kassis, pressed, as a metaphor to describe the talmid chacham, Torah scholar, who “pounds” the ground, walking from place to place to study Torah wherever it is available. He quotes Chazal (Bava Basra 8a), “These are the talmidei chachamim who pound their…

Continue Reading

ואתה הקרב אליך את אהרן אחיך ואת בניו אתו... לכהנו לי

Now you, bring near to yourself Aharon, your brother, and his sons with him… to minister to me. (28:1)

Hashem instructs Moshe Rabbeinu to induct Aharon and his sons into the Kehunah, Priesthood, with Aharon becoming the Kohen Gadol, High Priest. At first, Moshe functioned as the Kohen Gadol, but he lost that status due to his rejection of the opportunity to lead Klal Yisrael out of Egypt. He suggested that Aharon, his older brother, become the nation’s leader. In a second exposition, Chazal (Shemos Rabbah 37:4) teach that Moshe was unhappy when Hashem instructed him to induct Aharon into the Priesthood. Hashem countered, “The Torah was mine, and I gave it to you. If not for it (the…

Continue Reading

ועשית את מעיל האפוד כליל תכלת

And you shall make the M’eil of the Eiphod entirely of turquoise wool. (28:31)

Chazal (Zevachim 88b) teach that the Me’il was mechaper, atoned, for the sin of lashon hora. Yavo davar she’b’kol v’yechaper al kol ha’ra, “Let something that emits sound (through the ringing of the bell on its hem) come and atone for the sound of hurtful speech.” [The wearing of Bigdei Kehunah effects atonement only in conjunction with the actual repentance rendered by the specific sinner. Furthermore (Maharal), when the Kohen wears the vestments l’kavod u’liferes, “For glory and splendor” (Shemos 28:2), they introduce a sense of loftiness in Klal Yisrael which counteracts the degradation that results from sin.] Horav Reuven…

Continue Reading

והיו על אהרן ועל בניו בבואם אל אהל מועד... ולא ישאו עון ומתו

They shall be on Aharon and on his sons when they enter the Ohel Moed… and they shall not bear a sin and die. (28:33)

The Torah emphasizes the significance of the Bigdei Kehunah, Priestly vestments, more so than any of the vessels of the Mishkan. The requirement to wear the Begadim, vestments, is such that, if any performance of the Priestly service is without the full complement of the vestments, the offending Kohen is subject to Heavenly death penalty. What more did these garments add to the Kohen’s already exalted state of sanctity, so that without them his service would be considered to be defective? Horav Mordechai Gifter, zl, explains that character traits and abilities are of little to no consequence if one does…

Continue Reading

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our weekly Peninim on the Torah list!

You have Successfully Subscribed!