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ועשית את הקרשים למשכן עצי שטים

You shall make the planks of the Mishkan of shittim (acacia) wood. (26:15)

Rashi comments that Yaakov Avinu anticipated the need for lumber for the building of the Mishkan. Aware that wood was not a commodity one found in the barren wilderness, he planted these trees in Egypt upon his arrival. He instructed his children that when they would eventually leave Egypt – at the end of their exile – they should take the wood with them. Horav Doniel Alter, Shlita (son of the Pinchas Menachem), adds that immediately upon his arrival in what was to be galus Mitzrayim, the Egyptian exile, Yaakov sought to imbue his children and all his future descendants…

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ונתת את הכפרת על הארן מלמעלה ואל הארן תתן את העדת

You shall place the lid on the Aron from above, and into the Aron you shall put the Testimony. (25:21)

Rashi notes that the Torah previously mentioned (Ibid. 25:16), “And you shall put into the Aron the Testimony.” He explains that it is teaching us that, while it is an Aron alone without the Kapores, lid, on it, he shall place the Eidus, Testimony (Torah) into it, and afterwards he should place the lid on it. Ramban argues, claiming that the pasuk indicates the sequence to be Kapores – then Eidus. Rashi clearly is of the opinion that when the Aron was brought into the Mishkan, the Eidus was already inside of it, and the Kapores was above. Once it…

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וצפית אותו זהב טהור מבית ומבחוץ תצפנו

You shall cover it with pure gold, from within and from without shall you cover it. (25:11)

Chazal (Yoma 72b) derive from here that a talmid chacham, Torah scholar, should be consistent; in other words, his inner character must correspond with his public demeanor: Tocho k’baro; his internal rectitude should coincide with his outward conduct. The Torah does not brook hypocrisy. The Aron HaKodesh, which is the repository of the Torah scroll, symbolizes the crown of Torah. As it is covered with gold both within and without, it alludes to the requisite character of a Torah scholar. Horav Yitzchak Zilberstein, Shlita, relates a shailah, halachic query, that was posed to him by an individual who thought that…

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ועשית מנורת זהב טהור

You shall make a Menorah of pure gold. (25:31)

Noticeably, the enjoinment to build the Shulchan, Table, precedes that of the Menorah. In the Kisvei Chasam Sofer, the Chasam Sofer cites a Kadmon, early Rishon, who explains this based on Chazal who rationalize that Zevullun, the brother who engaged in commerce, precedes Yissachar, who devoted himself wholly to Torah study. In order for Yissachar to be able to learn unimpeded by worry over his financial obligations, it is critical that he be supported by the tomchei Torah, supporters of Torah. Likewise, the Shulchan, which represents sustenance, precedes the Menorah, the symbol of Torah. Bearing this in mind, the Ksav…

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מאת כל איש אשר ידבנו לבו

From every man whose heart motivates him. (25:2)

The Chasam Sofer explains the significance of nedivus ha’lev, generosity of the heart/generosity of the spirit, in that it is truly the only thing that a person can give. Whether we accept it or not (we certainly do not act it), everything belongs to Hashem. He shares it with us for the purpose of our sharing it with others. Thus, whatever material assets we contribute and share with our fellow man – we are not giving our money. We are making use of Hashem’s money for our purposes. Therefore, the barometer of devotion is nedivus halev – which is the…

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ויקחו לי תרומה

And let them take for Me a portion. (25:2)

For some, giving tzedakah, commonly translated as charity, is one of the most difficult tasks to perform. Parting with their hard earned (or otherwise) money is a formidable task. The yetzer hora, evil inclination, works overtime to “protect” the “haves” from the “have nots.” On the other hand, the one who has overcome the challenge and gives freely is one of the happiest people. He does not hide or make excuses; he gives with an open hand and feels good about it. In his Sefer, Peh Eliyahu, Horav Eliyahu Hamuvi, zl, offers an innovative explanation for the pasuk, delineating the…

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דבר אל בני ישראל ויקחו לי תרומה

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

When one contributes to a project, he assumes that he is the one who is giving. If so, why does the Torah refer to the donors to the Mishkan with the term v’yikchu li, “they shall take for Me”? What are they taking? The answer, which is reiterated by the commentators, is that spiritual entities play by different rules. When one contributes to the spiritual sphere, he is taking — in the sense that whatever he gives will be stored away in his merit. Some people cannot deal with the concept of giving. They feel that they have worked hard…

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ויהי תאמים מלמטה ויחדו יהיו תמים על ראשו אל הטבעת האחת

They must be coupled together on the bottom, and they must also be coupled together evenly on the top with one (square) ring. (26:24)

The Mishkan had two abutting wall planks, which ran from east to west and from north to south, meeting at the corner of the Mishkan. They are described as to’amim milmatah, coupled together on the bottom. The words to’amim and teumim have the same root, which means twins. Thus, although being two distinct units, separated by the Adanim, silver sockets at the bottom (in which pegs of the planks were placed), they fitted and complemented one another. The tops of the planks had to be tamim, matched up – completely, united by the tabaas, ring, that passed over them. Horav…

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ועשית שנים כרבים ... משני קצות הכפורת. והיו הכרבים פרשי כנפים למעלה ... ופניהם איש אל אחיו

You shall make two Cherubim… from both ends of the Kapores…The Cherubim shall be with wings spread upward… with their faces toward one another. (25:18,20)

The Baal HaTurim writes: Keruvim – Kravya, like young children. He cites the pasuk, Ki naar yoraei v’ohaveihu; “When Yisrael was a lad I loved him” (Hoshea 11:1). The purpose of the Mishkan is to draw and continue hashroas haShechinah, the Divine Presence, into the earthly sphere (thus, bringing sanctity and deeper spirituality into our midst). The primary place where the Shechinah reposed was between the Keruvim, whose facial features were that of young children. The Keruvim aroused Klal Yisrael’s attribute of naarus, an exciting, exuberant and passionate drive to serve Hashem and observe His mitzvos. This is the merit…

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ועשית ארון עצי שיטים ... ונתת אל הארון את העדות אשר אתן לך

They shall make an Ark of atzei Shittim (Acacia wood)… You shall place in the Ark the Testimonial tablets that I shall give you. (25:10,16)

The Aron HaKodesh was the receptacle that contained within it the first Luchos HaBris –which Moshe Rabbeinu broke as a result of the cheit ha’eigel, sin of the Golden Calf – and the second Luchos. Chazal (Berachos 8b) compare a talmid chacham, Torah scholar, who, due to no fault of his own has forgotten his learning to the Shivrei Luchos, Broken Luchos. As we are instructed to place the Broken Luchos respectfully beside the Luchos Shniim, Second Luchos, so, too, are we commanded to respect the elderly Jew whose Torah erudition is sadly now a matter of history. One may…

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