Join our weekly Peninim on the Torah list!

דבר אל בני ישראל ויקחו לי תרומה

Speak to Bnei Yisrael and let them take for Me a portion. (25:2)

“Them” refers to the people, to those in charge of collecting funds. It definitely does not refer to Moshe Rabbeinu and Aharon HaKohen. They could not be the collectors, because If Moshe and Aharon were to come knocking on someone’s door and state that they were going door-to-door collecting money, would anyone be so audacious as to say, “no!”? Certainly not. One does not turn his back on the leaders of Klal Yisrael. This is not the way Hashem wanted the Mishkan to be built. It had to be the product of free-will contributions. Furthermore, as Horav Reuven Karlinsky, zl,…

Continue Reading

ויקחו לי תרומה מאת כל איש אשר ידבנו לבו תקחו את תרומתי

And let them take for Me a portion from every man whose heart motivates him you shall take My portion. (25:2)

Horav Gamliel Rabinowitz, Shlita, interprets this pasuk homiletically, employing it to establish the guideline for tzedakah, charitable giving. Ish asher yidvenu libo; a man whose heart compels him to give, who gives sincerely, has attained a lofty achievement. We all give, because we can, because Hashem has commanded us to give. Do we give out of shame, afraid of what our friends will say? Do we give out of a sense of guilt? How does one reach the plateau of honest, heartfelt giving? He must believe that it is not his money that he is giving to the poor man,…

Continue Reading

ועשו ארון עצי שטים ... וצפית אתו זהב טהור ... ועשית עליו זר זהב סביב

They shall make an Ark of acacia wood… You shall cover it with pure gold … and you shall make it on a gold crown. (25:10,11)

The zer zahav, gold crown, was an attachment which symbolized the kesser Torah, crown of Torah (Yoma 72b). Chazal (Shemos Rabbah 34:2) teach that three kessarim, crowns, exist: Kesser Malchus, crown of Monarchy; Kesser Kehunah, crown of Priesthood; and Kesser Torah. The crown of Monarchy is symbolized by the zer, crown, that was on the Shulchan, Table. The crown of Kehunah is symbolized by the zer on the Mizbayach, Altar.  Interestingly, concerning the construction of the crown of both the Shulchan and Mizbayach, the Torah writes, V’asissa, “You shall make l’misgarto, for its molding (Shulchan);” V’assisa lo, “You shall make…

Continue Reading

ועשית שנים כרובים זהב

You shall make two Keruvim of gold. (25:18)

The Baal HaTurim writes: Keravia, like children (corresponding to the pasuk), Ki naar Yisrael v’o’haveihu, “When Yisrael was a lad, I loved him” (Hoshea 11:1). The Alter, zl, m’Kelm explains the connection between this pasuk and the Keruvim, who had the countenance of children, as alluding to the youthful manner, the approach one must maintain with regard to Torah study. We are to approach Torah study and mitzvah performance with raananus, youthful vitality. Excitement, passion, freshness: these are appellations that apply to youth. Horav Yisrael Salanter, zl, explains the above pasukim (from Hoshea) that Hashem especially loves Klal Yisrael when…

Continue Reading

ובשביעית יצא לחפשי חנם

And in the seventh, he shall go free, for no charge. (21:2)

Overcome with economical woe, a Jew ignores the degradation that he will bring upon himself and resorts to theft to elevate himself from his sorrowful economic state. He is caught, and found lacking in funds with which to make restitution. As a result, he is sold into slavery. In the event that the value of the theft equals or exceeds the estimated value of his six years of work, he is sold as a bondsman. Jewish slavery is unlike any other form of restriction of personal freedom. The Jewish bondsman is treated quite well. Nonetheless, he is still a slave,…

Continue Reading

כי יתן איש אל רעהו כסף או כלים לשמר

If a man shall give money or vessels to his fellow to safeguard. (22:6)

Our parsha presents the laws concerning people who are entrusted to safeguard someone else’s property. If the pikadon, object (money or vessels) is lost, stolen or damaged, the liability of the shomer, custodian, varies according to the degree of his responsibility. For example, one who receives no compensation (shomer chinam) is responsible only if he had been in the position of safeguarding the article in his charge. One who receives compensation (shomer sachar) or a leasor (socheir) is responsible for loss or theft, unless it occurred in a situation beyond his control, an oneis. A borrower (shoeil) is responsible under…

Continue Reading

לא תהיה לו כנושה

Do not act toward him as a creditor. (22:24)

Hashem’s act of creating the world was an act of altruism. The Almighty needs nothing. He simply wants to do good, to benefit others. To this end, he expects His People to emulate His ways by identifying with the needs of others and looking for ways to alleviate their travail. It is important to underscore that travail comes in all forms and sizes. Just because an issue does not bother me does not mean that it would not bother anyone else. Our barometer for success is measured by what we do for others – not by what we do for…

Continue Reading

לא תזבח על חמץ דם זבחי

You shall not offer the blood of My feast-offering upon leavened bread. (23:18)

The Korban Pesach must be slaughtered on Erev Pesach, after all chametz has been disposed of. The Sefer HaChinuch explains that setting a designated time for the fulfillment of all matters is their source of preservation. Thus, concerning Korban Pesach — which is a seminal mitzvah included among a group of mitzvos affiliated with the liberation from Egypt and setting the stage for our nationhood — time and order are essential. The Torah gives preordained times for each and every component of the celebration of this Festival and its accompanying rituals. No commandment related to this time frame encroaches on…

Continue Reading

וישמע יתרו ... את כל אשר עשה אלקים למשה ולישראל עמו

Yisro heard… everything that G-D did to Moshe and Yisrael, his people. (18:1)

Was Yisro the only one who heard about Hashem’s wondrous miracles on behalf of the Jews? Shamu amim yirgazun… “Nations heard, they were anguished” (Shemos 15:14). The entire world heard, but only Yisro responded actively to the message. He came to join the Jews, realizing that the deities he had worshipped until now were a sham. We all hear, but we do not all listen. The sound enters our ears, but not our brain. Hearing without cognitive processing does not relay the message, leaving the person as if he had never even heard. Horav Chaim Vital, zl, writes that the…

Continue Reading

לא יהיה לך אלהים אחרים על פני

You shall not recognize the gods of others in My Presence. (20:3)

The prohibition against having any other gods is quite simple: A Jew believes only in Hashem as the Only Source of anything in his life. To ascribe power of any form to any other entity is pure idol worship. The Sefer HaChinuch considers this the ikar gadol, great/primary principle concerning upon which all the mitzvos are dependent. As Chazal (Sifri, Parashas Re’eh 11:28) state: “Whoever concedes to avodah zarah, idol worship, it is as if he has denied the entire Torah.” Essentially, a Jew by his very faith in Hashem must be totally committed only to Hashem, realizing and acknowledging…

Continue Reading

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our weekly Peninim on the Torah list!

You have Successfully Subscribed!