Necessity of Obligation and Structure for Spritual Life

The Parshah begins דבר אל בני ישראל ויקחו לי תרומה מאת כל איש אשר ידבנו לבו תקחו את תרומתי, וזאת התרומה וכו'. In these two Psukim, the word תרומה appears three times. Rashi writes that this alludes to שלש תרומות, three different collections, and he writes the following:

אמרו רבותינו שלש תרומות אמורות כאן, אחת תרומת בקע לגלגלת, שנעשו מהם האדנים, כמו שמפורש באלה פקודי (שמות לח כו - כז), ואחת תרומת המזבח בקע לגלגלת לקופות לקנות מהן קרבנות צבור, ואחת תרומת המשכן נדבת כל אחד ואחד.

Besides for the collection of the materials that were used for the Mishkan, there was another collection that was made in the beginning of Parshas Ki Sisa which was the collection of the מחצית השקל for communal קרבנות. The third collection is in Parshas Vayakehl which was also a מחצית השקל and that went for the אדנים, on which the קרשים stood.

The Maharal in Gur Aryeh (See below for quote) asks being that the Torah is only discussing now the collection of the materials for the Mishkan, why would the Torah be alluding to the other collections which seemingly only happened later. So he explains that it must be, the other collections came before this collection of the materials for the Mishkan. The reason is because the other two collections were a חובה and this collection in Terumah is a נדבה. It makes sense for the obligatory collections to precede the voluntary collection being that there is no set amount for the נדבת הלב, there is a concern that a person might use up all his money for the voluntary collection and not have enough for the מחצית השקל which is תרומת חובה. Therefore, it must be that the תרומת חובה came before the Terumah of נדבת הלב.

ואם תאמר, אחר שלא פירש כאן רק תרומה אחת, שהיא תרומת מלאכת המשכן, למה הזכיר שאר התרומות, דאינם שייכים לכאן. אמנם לפי אשר אמרנו למעלה (אות ג) הוי שפיר, שתרומת חובה קודמת, שאין סברא שיתן של נדבה [קודם] ושמא לא יהיה לו של חובה, ולפיכך כתב כאן של חובה לומר להם שעוד תתנו של חובה, שלא יתן לנדבה הכל, ולא יהיה לו של חובה, ואמר להם שיפרישו קודם של חובה

The Maharal is a big chidush, to say that the collection of the מחצית השקל for the קרבנות ציבור and the אדנים was before the collection of the materials for the Mishkan because that order is not how it appears in the Torah. It is especially surprising to say that the collection of the מחצית השקל for the קרבנות ציבור was first because there wasn’t even yet a Mishkan to actually bring those קרבנות that they were collecting for.

Therefore, even if the collection for the materials of the Mishkan was actually first, before the other collections, as it appears in the Torah (not like the Maharal), nevertheless, the Torah wanted to emphasize already here and now the following message. In spite of the fact that this collection was only based on נדיבות הלב and it was only given by people who wanted to give and however much they wanted to give, nevertheless this is not the full picture. We shouldn’t get the false impression that our spiritual life could only be based on generosity of spirit.

The idea is that נדבת הלב, generosity of the heart, is very important and it gives meaning to everything that a person does. However, it is not something that we can rely on, we can’t count on inspiration. The אדנים, the foundation upon which the Mishkan stands on, has to be obligatory. It needs to be a commitment that doesn’t depend on generosity of the heart, rather it needs to be a חובה. Sometimes we are inspired and sometimes we are not. Something that needs to be long lasting can’t rely on inspiration. Therefore, the קרבנות ציבור and the אדנים which are constant and an ongoing Mitzvah need to come from a collection that is a set חובה and can’t depend on ידבנו לבו. Obligation and structure are the most necessary components of developing a reliable and sustainable spiritual life.

However, in order that there should be an element of ידבנו לבו in the Mishkan, therefore the Terumah of the materials of the Mishkan which was a onetime thing, on top of the foundations of the Mishkan, was dependent on ידבנו לבו. The ענין of the Mishkan is אשר ידבנו לבו which is expressed through how much a person is willing to extend himself. The Psukim in Shir Hashirim 3:9-10 referring to the building of the Mishkan and its materials say the following: אפריון עשה לו המלך שלמה מעצי הלבנון וכו' עמודיו עשה כסף רפידתו זהב מרכבו ארגמן תוכו רצוף אהבה מבנות ירושלם. The תוכו, the נקודה הפנימיות is the אהבה and all the physical materials are merely to enclose the אהבה and that connection is made through the effort.

Therefore, in a moment of התעוררות and נדיבות הלב, the Torah wanted to emphasize and teach Klal Yisrael this message that obligation and structure are the most necessary components of developing a reliable and sustainable spiritual life and we can’t rely purely on inspiration and generosity of spirit.

The beginning of the Parshah says ויקחו לי תרומה מאת כל איש אשר ידבנו לבו תקחו את תרומתי and goes on to say all the different materials they needed זהב וכסף ונחשת תכלת וארגמן וכו'. On the Pasuk ויקחו לי תרומה Rashi quoting the Tanchuma says לי לשמי. What is the meaning and message of the לי לשמי?

It could be that since this collection is about ידבנו לבו, so the Torah first only talks about what to collect, the זהב וכסף ונחשת תכלת וארגמן וכו', but doesn’t yet say why or what they are collecting for. The Torah says that they should give the following fifteen materials if their heart so desires and only afterward does the Pasuk say ועשו לי מקדש ושכנתי בתוכם that it’s a collection of materials necessary for a Mikdash. The reason for this was to ensure that it as לי לשמי. The idea is similar to a Rabbi’s discretionary fund that it’s not an earmarked donation because the moment a donation has a particular purpose, the donator feels like it’s his. The person feels like he is giving for this and that specific purpose, but not for the pure sake of giving. However, ויקחו לי תרומה is not giving for a specific purpose rather the giving is purely לי לשמי and it’s specifically through the giving’s of לי לשמי that the Mishkan is created. על דרך דרוש, this can be read into the Pasuk ועשו לי מקדש ושכנתי בתוכם that through all the ויקחו לי תרומה which is the לי לשמי, through that לי לשמי is the Mishkan created- ועשו לי מקדש.

Another explanation for the לי לשמי is from the Rebbe, Reb Heschel in the Sefer Chanukas HaTorah (See below for quote). He explains based on the Gemara in Brachos 63a which says the following:

אמר רבי יוחנן: למה נסמכה פרשת סוטה לפרשת תרומות ומעשרות - לומר לך: כל שיש לו תרומות ומעשרות ואינו נותנן לכהן - סוף נצרך לכהן על ידי אשתו, שנאמר ואיש את קדשיו לו יהיו וסמיך ליה איש איש כי תשטה אשתו וכתיב והביא האיש את אשתו וגו'

The Gemara says that if a person holds back from giving תרומות ומעשרות, then he’ll end up having to come on to the Kohen by bringing his wife as a Sotah. Although the Rebbe Reb Heschel is not differentiating between the Terumah that is given to the Kohen and the Terumah in the Parshah which is the materials for the Mishkan, he must’ve understood that all Terumah is in the same category. So if a person holds back from giving תרומות ומעשרות which will lead to him bringing his wife as a Sotah, the result will be מחיקת השם because the שם ה' is ימחה על המים when preparing the מי סוטה. Therefore, bringing Terumah is a way to ensure that the שם ה' won’t be נמחק. This is the explanation of ויקחו לי תרומה – לי לשמי that the Terumah collection is for the sake of my name, in order that Hashem’s name shouldn’t be erased.

ברש"י ויקחו לי תרומה פירש"י לי לשמי. ויש לפרש על פי מה דאיתא במסכת ברכות דף ס"ג למה נסמכה פרשת סוטה לפרשת תרומה וכו' לסוף נצרך לכהן על ידי אשתו להביא אשתו סוטה לכהן עיין שם. לזה פירש"י לי לשמי דהיינו לפי שאם תשטה אשתו אם כן השם הנכתב בקדושה ימחה על המים שמשקין את האשה אבל אם נותן תרומה לא יבא לידי מדה זו ולא יצטרך להשקות מים המאררים. וזה לי לשמי בשביל כבוד שמי שלא ימחה על המים:

Lastly, an explanation for the ויקחו לי תרומה – לי לשמי is in the Hakdamah to the שב שמעתתא in the paragraph beginning with the letter “yud” which is spelling his name, אריה (See below for quote). He is discussing the Halacha of קבלת מתנה of a אדם חשיב that it’s as if the אדם חשיב is giving the giver something even though the אדם חשיב is actually receiving something. But the Ran in Kiddushin qualifies this and says this is only if the אדם חשיב is keeping it, meaning it’s not a מתנה על מנת להחזיר. But if the person is giving a מתנה על מנת להחזיר to the אדם חשיב, then it’s not considered that the אדם חשיב is giving the giver something. The idea is that if a person isn’t giving לשם שמים and he wants to be rewarded, that is a מתנה על מנת להחזיר. So although it would make sense for the Pasuk to say ויתנו and not ויקחו, nevertheless the Pasuk says ויקחו to show that when a person is giving something to Hashem- לשם שמים, it’s really a “taking”- ויקחו, because giving something to an אדם חשיב is really taking. But if a person is giving something not לי לשמי but because he wants to be rewarded, that is like a מתנה על מנת להחזיר in which case it is not as if the אדם חשיב is giving the giver something and its not viewed as if the giver is taking. So if it’ll be a לי לשמי, then it’ll be a ויקחו because it’ll be as if the giver is really taking.

והר"ן בפ"ק דקידושין הקשה וכו' ובקידושין מסקינן דמקודשת אם נתנה היא לאדם חשוב בהאי הנאה דקיבל מינה, וע"ש שכתב ליישב וז"ל דכי אמרינן דאדם חשוב כי מקבל מתנה מקרי הנאה הני מילי היכא שמקבל מתנה גמורה, אבל כשהיא על מנת להחזיר אין הנותן מתחשב בשביל כך וכו' ועיין בב"ח חו"מ סימן ק"ל שהוציא מזה דאם נותן ע"מ להחזיר לאדם חשוב לא מהני, אע"ג דמתנה ע"מ להחזיר שמה מתנה אין הנותן מתחשב בכך ע"ש וכבר כתבו בתולדות יצחק ואלשיך ויקחו לי תרומה כי ראוי לומר ויתנו, וכתבו דבאדם חשוב קבלתו כנתינה והנותן הוא הלוקח כ"ש הבורא ית"ש שמה שנותנים לו כאילו לוקחים ממנו ע"ש והנה בכל המצוות אם אומר הריני נותן פרוטה ע"מ שיחיה בני הרי זה צדיק גמור ומתנתו מתנה ואף שהיא ע"מ להחזיר, ה"ה כאן בתרומה אף אם נותן בשביל איזה פרס הוי נתינה, עדיין יקשה לנו היה לו לומר ויתנו כמ"ש בתולדות יצחק ואלשיך, ולא שייך לתרץ כמ"ש המפרשים דנתינה לאדם חשוב הוי כקבלה כיון שהוא ע"מ להחזיר וכמ"ש בשם הר"ן, לכך פירש"י לשמי, ושלא ע"מ לקבל פרס, ואז שייך ויקחו כנ"ל.

Effort Creates חשיבות

When listing the materials collected for the Mishkan, the Psukim say זהב וכסף ונחשת, ותכלת וארגמן ותולעת שני ושש ועזים, וערת אילם מאדמים וערת תחשים ועצי שטים, שמן למאר בשמים לשמן המשחה ולקטרת הסמים, אבני שהם ואבני מלאים לאפד ולחשן.

The Ohr Hachaim asks being that the Psukim are listing the order of materials starting with the most חשוב down to the least חשוב, why are the אבני שוהם ואבני מלואים listed last. These precious stones should’ve been listed in the beginning, amongst the זהב וכסף ונחשת?

The Ohr Hachaim says three answers, but the third answer is that since Chazal say that the עננים brought the אבני השוהם, so this contribution was בלא טורח ויגיעה ולא חסרון כיס, without any effort and difficulty. Something that comes without effort lacks חשיבות.

Similarly, it says the Gemara says לא יגעת ומצאת אל תאמין יגעת ומצאת תאמין. But There are some people that are brilliant who are barely יגע but they get it instantly and then there are people who sweat and toil but and barely get it. However it is really how you define the מצאת. A person who is brilliant and doesn’t need to toil that much, he might understand it but he won’t make it personal and it won’t make an impact on himself. As opposed to the individual who isn’t as smart but toils and just barely understands it, to him the connection is much deeper and personal.

הושע writes of Hashem’s wrath towards בני ישראל with vivid imagery. He describes the way in which Hashem will act as the revenge of a mother bear whose young children have been snatched from her protection (הושע - י״ג, ח׳). The רד״ק wonders about the choice of animal in the metaphor; why not a lion or leopard? Are they not more ferocious! He explains that unlike other animals, the mother bear is a very active participant in bringing her children into this world. She must bite through a very thick placenta to release the cub from within. Due to her invested effort, she clings to her children more than other animals. The deep love she has for them results in a tremendous pain, and thus fury, in the event of their death. What we learn from mother bear is the reality of how to create a deep connection with something in life. The more we invest, the deeper and more real the connection will be.


The Kiddush was sponsored by Reb Shalom Huss in memory of his father. Once a person continues on to the next world, he is no longer able to do Mitzvos and reach higher levels, he is no longer a מהלך. However, the living are able to make a Brachah לעילוי נשמתו and it can affect the נשמה. The Gemara says about a son ברא כרעיה דאבוה that a son is like a leg of his father which can be understood to mean that one’s father can continue walking through the Mitzvos that his son performs in this world.

Contradiction of זכירות

The Rav said the following in the name of his father Reb Avraham Weinfeld Zatzal. The Pirkeh D’Reb Eliezer in Chapter 44 says the following:

אמר משה זכור את אשר עשה לך עמלק בדרך בצאתכם ממצרים [דברים כה, יז]: אמרו לו ישראל, משה רבנו, כתוב אחד אומר זכור את אשר עשה לך עמלק, וכתוב אחר אומר זכור את יום השבת לקדשו [שמות כ, ח], היאך יתקימו שניהם, זה זכור וזה זכור. אמר להם משה לא דומה כוס של קונדיטון לכוס של חמץ, זה כוס וזה כוס, זה זכור לשמר ולקדש את יום השבת, שנאמר זכור את יום השבת לקדשו, וזה זכור להשמיד ולהכרית את כל זרעו של עמלק, שנאמר זכור את אשר עשה לך עמלק.

Klal Yisrael said to Moshe Rabbeinu that there is a contradiction in Psukim. One Pasuk says זכור את אשר עשה לך עמלק and another Pasuk says זכור את יום השבת לקדשו so how could they fulfill both זכירות. Moshe Rabbeinu answered them with a mashal that one can’t compare a cup of wine and a cup of vinegar and they are each separate cups. The cup wine is to remember Shabbos and be מקדש it and the cup of vinegar for Amalek is זכור לעונש.

There are a few questions one can ask on this Midrash. Firstly, what did Klal Yisrael find so difficult about these two זכירות? There is no expectation on a person to do both these זכירות at the same time so a person should be able to separate his thoughts to fulfill both זכירות. Furthermore, what exactly did Moshe Rabbeinu answer them when he said זה זכור לשמור ולקדש וזה זכור לעונש. This was seemingly obvious that Klal Yisrael already knew. Lastly, what exactly is the meaning of the mashal? It’s only because they are two different substances in the cups, wine and vinegar, that one can drink both? It would seem from the mashal that because these two זכירות are different במהותן that a person can fulfill both.

Reb Avraham Weinfeld Zatzal explained as follows. Regarding the Mitzvah of לא תיקום-taking revenge, The Sefer HaChinuch in Mitzvah 241 writes the following:

משרשי המצוה, שידע האדם ויתן אל לבו כי כל אשר יקרהו מטוב עד רע, הוא סיבה שתבוא עליו מאת השם ברוך הוא, ומיד האדם מיד איש אחיו לא יהיה דבר בלתי רצון השם ברוך הוא, על כן כשיצערהו או יכאיבהו אדם ידע בנפשו כי עוונותיו גרמו והשם יתברך גזר עליו בכך, ולא ישית מחשבותיו לנקום ממנו כי הוא אינו סיבת רעתו, כי העוון הוא המסבב, (ב) וכמו שאמר דוד עליו השלום [שמואל ב' ט"ז, י"א] הניחו לו ויקלל כי אמר לו השם יתברך, תלה הענין בחטאו ולא בשמעי בן גרא.

The Sefer HaChinuch explains the root of the issue of לא תיקום is the lack in Emunah. A person must understand that everything that happens to him, be it good or bad, is all from Hakadosh Boruch Hu and its כגרזן ביד החוצב. When someone does something bad to a person, he can’t have any hard feelings towards him because he has to understand that if it happened to him, it must be for a reason and Hashem wanted it to happen to him. Therefore, there is no room for him to have any hard feelings towards the individual who did him harm.

Shabbos represents the idea that Hashem is not only the creator of the world but also that He runs the world-בורא ומנהיג לכל הברואים. Therefore, Klal Yisrael found it difficult because if they are commanded to be זוכר את יום השבת לקדשו, then they are internalizing the message that Hashem’s hashgacha is on all creations. But if that is the case, then how could they be זכור את אשר עשה לך עמלק and hold onto the hatred towards them for what they did to us if Klal Yisrael is to believe and understand that whatever happens to them, even Amalek, is just the messenger from Hashem?

To this contradiction, Moshe Rabbeinu answered them the זכירה of Amalek is זכור לעונש. The purpose of the זכירה is not for the sake of getting back at Amalek rather it is for the sake of שכר ועונש. Amalek must get punished for what they did to Klal Yisrael. It’s true that Amalek were שלוחים של מקום to carry out what needed to happen against Klal Yisrael. Nevertheless, Amalek still must be held accountable for what they did and therefore the זכירה is only לעונש. That which we arouse within us שנאה is only to fulfil the עונש that Amalek deserves but not because of how we feel towards them.

According to this, the Mashal Moshe Rabbeinu gave can be understood. A person drinks a כוס של יין for his own pleasure. However the כוס של חומץ is not for pleasure rather one drinks it for רפואה so he holds his nose and drinks it quickly. זכירת שבת is compared to the cup of wine which want to embrace which is to remember all that happens is from Hashem. However זכירת מעשה עמלק is compared to the cup of vinegar which is not pleasant but it’s something we must do like for רפואה, so too with Amalek the זוכר לעונש is not pleasant but it’s something that we must do.

We can add that this might be an idea behind what we say on Purim when we say חייב איניש לבסומי בפוריא עד דלא ידע בין ארור המן לברוך מרדכי because for a Jew, it should be difficult to curse someone. Especially if he realizes that the negative which came through him was meant to be. We don’t really know the difference between the Ribbono Shel Olams proxies in doing us good or bad because either way they are merely שלוחים of Hashem. But nevertheless, those that made themselves available for the שליחות of evil have to be held accountable for their bad choices. However, we have no personal feelings about it. Therefore we say its לא ידע בין ארור המן לברוך מרדכי but nevertheless the עונש has to be given.

The Yerushalmi in Megilah 7:3 says חייב איניש לומר ארור המן וברוך מרדכי and the Ran on the Gemara in Megilah that says חייב איניש לבסומי בפוריא וכו' says דאמרינן חייב איניש לומר ארור המן וברוך מרדכי and Rava is adding עד דלא ידע מאי קאמר. Why would we be told to say it and to not know what we are saying? But it must be that although we say it, it’s not because we really connect with it and feel a personal connection with the cursing of Haman but it’s merely because of the above mentioned that the ones who do us evil must be held accountable for their choices.

In the תיקוני זוהר it says that יום כיפורים is יום כ-פורים. On Yom Kippur we say in the davening יום שימת אהבה ורעות יום עזיבת קנאה ותחרות which is the essence of the day. However Purim is a higher level because Yom Kippur is talking about שימת אהבה ורעות between one Jew and another Jew but on Purim we experience this on a higher level because it includes all of humankind. Therefore we bring ourselves to a point of לא ידע בין ארור המן לברוך מרדכי only because the evil needs to be punished but not because we have any personal grudge or need to take place.

Connection of Terumah to Mishpatim

The Parsha begins דבר אל בני ישראל ויקחו לי תרומה מאת כל איש אשר ידבנו לבו תקחו את תרומתי. What is the connection between this Parshah and the previous week which was about Mishpatim? Especially according to those that say the צווי for the בנין המשכן was given after the חטא העגל, it needs to be understood why the Torah set it up in this order?

One explanation could be that now by the building of the Mishkan, they began taking people’s money. So first they needed to know the Mishpatim which dealt with how to deal with people’s money and only afterward could it be ויקחו לי תרומה that they could start dealing with other people’s money. As the Gemara says in the beginning of Perek Lulav HaGazul, the Pasuk says אני ה' שונא גזל בעולם. Therefore the donations should not God forbid be a מצוה הבאה בעבירה rather one must first insure that the money is rightfully owned by the owner.

But perhaps another explanation could be as follows. In the end of Parshas Mishpatim, Klal Yisrael said נעשה ונשמע as the Pasuk says ויאמרו כל הדברים אשר דבר ה' נעשה. But as the statement goes, “Put your money where your mouth is”. So the first צווי after they said נעשה ונשמע is that you have to actually be able to give up what you own. The biggest proof to if they are serious about the commitment of נעשה ונשמע is if they are willing to pay.

This connection is emphasized in the order of things in Parshas Terumah itself. The reason is because the beginning of the Parsha says ויקחו לי תרומה מאת כל איש אשר ידבנו לבו תקחו את תרומתי and goes on to say all the different materials they needed זהב וכסף ונחשת תכלת וארגמן וכו'. But there was no mention what the purpose of this collection was for. Only afterward at the end does the Pasuk say ועשו לי מקדש ושכנתי בתוכם that it’s a collection of materials necessary for a Mikdash. At the time of the initial collection, it was unknown what they were giving זהב וכסף ונחשת תכלת וארגמן for. This is the idea of נעשה ונשמע which is expressing the willingness to do before you understand and know the meaning behind the doing. By giving to the collection before knowing what for, Klal Yisrael were fulfilling נעשה ונשמע. This is the meaning of Rashi on the Pasuk ויקחו לי תרומה Rashi quoting the Tanchuma says לי לשמי. Meaning it’s not a donation for a particular designated purpose rather it is לי לשמי. The Ribbono Shel Olam is asking for it and we have no idea what it is for. That is the לי לשמי.

The Ramban in beginning of the Parsha says that the Mikdash is a מקום for השראת השכינה- a divine dwelling place. This notion is clearly seen in the Pasuk that says ועשו לי מקדש ושכנתי בתוכם that it is to serve as a dwelling place for the Shechinah. However, the Rambam in the beginning of Hilchos Beis HaBchira says מצות עשה לעשות בית לה' מוכן להיות מקריבים בו הקרבנות. But how does that fit with the reason the Torah gives as the purpose of the Mishkan?

The answer is that of course the purpose of the Mishkan is to be the divine dwelling place. But only when a person gives sacrifices of himself does he make a space for the Shechina. Therefore a בית לה' מוכן להיות מקריבים בו הקרבנות means where people will actually bring sacrifices, that is what creates space for the Shechina. Not only by donating for the making of the Mishkan but also the ongoing sacrifices that took place in the Mikdash are what create the space for the Shechina. It’s said that every home is a מקדש מעט as the Gemara says איש ואשה שכינה שרויה ביניהם. But how does it become a dwelling place for the Shechina? Only when the איש and the אשה are willing to make sacrifices, that is what creates the space for the Shechina.

תוכו כברו

By the assembly of the Aron, the Pasuk says וצפית אתו זהב טהור מבית ומחוץ תצפנו (כה,יא) that the inside and the outside should be covered with gold. Based on this arrangement, the Gemara in Yoma 72a says that a תלמיד חכם who isn’t תוכו כברו is not a תלמיד חכם meaning that his inner character must match how he presents himself on the outside. Regarding this statement, the Gemara in Brachos 28a says the following:

תנא; אותו היום סלקוהו לשומר הפתח ונתנה להם רשות לתלמידים ליכנס. שהיה רבן גמליאל מכריז ואומר: כל תלמיד שאין תוכו כברו - לא יכנס לבית המדרש. ההוא יומא אתוספו כמה ספסלי. אמר רבי יוחנן: פליגי בה אבא יוסף בן דוסתאי ורבנן, חד אמר: אתוספו ארבע מאה ספסלי; וחד אמר: שבע מאה ספסלי. הוה קא חלשא דעתיה דרבן גמליאל.

On the day that Rabban Gamliel was removed from being the head and Reb Elazar Ben Azaryah took over, all Talmidim were allowed into the Beis Medrash. Because Rabban Gamliel had a policy כל תלמיד שאין תוכו כברו - לא יכנס לבית המדרש. But once he was removed and Reb Elazar Ben Azrayah took over, he allowed anyone to come in and there is a Machlokes how many benches were added to the Beis Medrash, if it was four hundred or seven hundred. As a result, the Gemara says that Rabban Gamliel was חלשא דעתיה.

How did Rabban Gamliel have a שומר that checked if the Talmid was תוכו כברו because how did he know the תוכו of the Talmid? So they say really the שומר didn’t let anybody in. But those whose תוכו is כברו they were so driven and so badly wanted to be in the Beis Medrash that they managed to get by the שומר. And that which Rabban Gamliel was חלשא דעתיה is that he saw even people who aren’t completely תוכו כברו could become תוכו כברו.

But in actuality, the Aron wasn’t completely gold through and through because it was three boxes and although the outer and inner one were covered with gold, the middle one was just עץ. So how could it be said based on the arrangement of the Aron that a Talmid Chacham must be תוכו כברו if the Aron wasn’t?

The answer could be that we aren’t actually setting the bar so high that the Talmid Chacham needs to be gold through and through. But what it means is as long as the inner motivation is pure, even if it doesn’t flow to his exterior, nevertheless, a person shouldn’t hold back from acting a certain way externally even if it doesn’t match up completely with where he is holding beneath. As long as his real inside motivation is to bring him to the right place. Similarly to what the Chinuch says in Mitzvah 15 that האדם נפעל כפי פעולותיו that a person is impacted by what he does. So as long as a person has the right intentions and he is doing things externally in order to bring himself internally to the right place, then it’s okay. Therefore when it says a Talmid Chacham needs to be תוכו כברו, it doesn’t mean that he needs to be gold through and through, rather it just has to be that his inner motivation for doing things externally is pure. Then, even if the purity doesn’t flow completely from the inside to the outside and his פעולות externally exceed where he is holding internally, it’s nevertheless proper and acceptable and the right thing to do things beyond where he is holding because otherwise he will never make any progress.

When a person thinks about how a Talmid Chacham needs to be תוכו כברו, it can paralyze him because he might feel that he isn’t really holding on that level and therefore he shouldn’t be doing what he is doing because he is not up to that level. But that is not the way to go. Rather as long as there is an internal motivation to do what he is doing on the ברו from himself completely and it expresses something within him, then even if his conscious self stands between that פנימיות-inner motivation and חיצוניות, it’s nevertheless appropriate. Because it is like the עצי שיטים which is in between the זהב מבפנים and the זהב מבחוץ.

But on a deeper level, even when a person’s פנים is not so pure, the פנימיות שבפנימיות of a Jew is always pure. The עצי שיטים is the in-between between the interior of interiors and the exterior. This idea is expressed in the Sefer HaTanya in Mamar 44:

רק שהארה זו היא בבחי' הסתר והעלם גדול בנפשות כל בית ישראל ולהוציא אהבה זו המסותרת מההעלם וההסתר אל הגילוי להיות בהתגלות לבו ומוחו לא נפלאת ולא רחוקה היא אלא קרוב הדבר מאד בפיך ובלבבך דהיינו להיות רגיל על לשונו וקולו לעורר כוונת לבו ומוחו להעמיק מחשבתו בחיי החיים א"ס ב"ה כי הוא אבינו ממש האמיתי ומקור חיינו ולעורר אליו האהבה כאהבת הבן אל האב. וכשירגיל עצמו כן תמיד הרי ההרגל נעשה טבע. ואף אם נדמה לו לכאורה שהוא כח דמיוני לא יחוש מאחר שהוא אמת לאמיתו מצד עצמו בבחי' אהבה מסותרת רק שתועלת יציאתה אל הגילוי כדי להביאה לידי מעשה שהוא עסק התורה והמצות שלומד ומקיים ע"י זה כדי לעשות נחת רוח לפניו ית' כבן העובד את אביו.

How To Meet Ones Creator

Regarding the כרבים, the Pasuk saysוהיו הכרבים פרשי כנפים למעלה סככים בכנפיהם על הכפרת ופניהם איש אל אחיו (כה,כ). The idea that the wings of the כרבים were פרשי כנפים למעלה is that to reach lofty levels, one must yearn and aspire to move upward. But the Pasuk concludes ופניהם איש אל אחיו that the כרבים were facing each other. The message is that if a person wants to move upward, then he has to move horizontally and be able to face another person. Only once a person can remove his own ego and see another will he then be able to meet his creator.

As the Gemara says in Bava Basra 10a about Reb Elazar רבי אלעזר יהיב פרוטה לעני והדר מצלי, אמר, דכתיב: אני בצדק אחזה פניך that he would give Tzedakah before he davened. The simple explanation of the Pasuk is “through righteousness I see your face.” But Reb Elazar read the Pasuk בצדק meaning צדקה that through צדקה he could see the Shechina. The idea is because if one could see the face of another human being, then he could see the Shechina but if he can’t see another human being, than he can’t see the Shechina. Therefore, the way a person is פרשי כנפים למעלה is through ופניהם איש אל אחיו.

Willing To Move

Regarding the poles of the Aron, the Pasuk says בטבעת הארן יהיו הבדים לא יסרו ממנו (כה,טו). The poles of the Aron had to remain in the rings of the Aron permanently as opposed to the other כלים such as the שלחן and the מזבח that there poles were removed while they weren’t traveling. The Chizkuni explains this is because the poles in the שלחן and מזבח were in the way of the constant Avodah that happened with them. However, the Aron was located in the קדש הקדשים which the Kohen Gadol only went in once a year and therefore the poles weren’t in the way of anything.

However, halachikally there is a לאו דאורייתא to remove the בדים from the Aron so it can’t just be for reasons of creating comfortable space. Therefore it could be that when a Jew learns Torah and makes himself into an Aron, he is compared to the Aron because the Aron holds the Torah and the Talmid Chacham learns Torah and holds it within him. However Torah must always be learnt על מנת ללמד. On any level that a person learns, he must make it accessible and available to other. The בדים having to remain in the Aron symbolizes the concept that the Aron must always be ready to move just like one learning Torah shouldn’t only be doing it for himself which is the Aron in its place but he should be learning על מנת ללמד, that the Aron is always ready to move and be carried out to other Jews.



The Kiddush this Shabbos was sponsored by Reb Shalom Huss in honor of his father’s Yahrzeit.

Adar is the month that is very much connected to Yahrzeits. Although Ahron Hakohen’s Yahrzeit is recorded in the Torah, it’s Moshe Rabbeinu’s Yahrzeit that is the focus. The Chevra Kadisha picked ז' אדר, the Yahrzeit of Moshe Rabbeinu, as the universal day for dealing with death and burial. Haman thought that Adar was a month of bad luck for the Jews because of the death of Moshe and it was probably a painful and difficult day for the Jews being that they lost the greatest leader in history. But the Jews pulled it together and on that day they learned a very important lesson. They learned that as a people we must keep moving on and with the death comes a new beginning and opportunity. The death of Moshe was so important not only because of how essential of a leader he was but because the Jews response to his death showed us how we should react by every Jewish death. The Gemara in Megilah 3a says that Haman didn’t know that he died and was born on the seventh of Adar. The Gemara is seemingly backwards as it should have said that Haman didn’t realize that he was born and died on the seventh, but instead it says that Haman didn’t know that he died and was born on that day. But it could be that Haman didn’t understand this idea that death is an opportunity to get to a place and level that wasn’t attainable during the life time of the individual. As the Gemara in Temurah 16b says the day Moshe died, 3,000 Halachos we forgotten and עתניאל בן קנז was mechadesh them through pilpul. This method would never have come to be if not for the death of Moshe. Therefore as painful as a Yahrzeit is in terms of the loss of the past, it also creates an opportunity for growth and in building a future.

This idea is also one of the messages of Purim and why we say עד דלא ידע בין ארור המן לברוך מרדכי because with all the events of Purim brought tremendous potential for growth so we are not even sure if it was a bad thing, everything that transpired, because of the growth that it brought.

In Taanis 29a, the Gemara says כשם שמשנכנס אב ממעטין בשמחה כך משנכנס אדר מרבין בשמחה. Regarding being ממעט בשמחה in Av, that is a Mishnah. But where did the Gemara see it to extend this to the month of Adar, and what is the connection-the כשם. But just like the month Av was a month of destruction, Adar is a time of rebuilding and from destruction comes rebirth. The same simcha we lose in Av can become a source of simcha because it enables growth that wasn’t possible when we were in the past. Just like we said earlier that Moshes passing created opportunity for pipul, so to the galus which came from the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash created a new opportunity for growth.

The Mechaber at the end of Hilchos Rosh Chodesh, סימן תכח, describes a סימן לקביעת המועדים through א"ת ב"ש. He writes that each day of Pesach corresponds to when a holiday during the year will fall out. For example, whatever the first day of Pesach is, Tisha Baav will be on that day of the week. It is understandable that all the holidays are נרמז in the holiday of Pesach as Pesach is in Nissan which is ראש חדשים. (Also as the Gemara says in Rosh Hashanah 4a that Pesach is the ראש לרגלים regarding the איסור of באל תאחר. In order to be עובר the איסור of באל תאחר it needs to be that three רגלים כסדרן pass starting with Pesach). But when it comes to the sixth day of Pesach, he writes that the sixth day of Pesach is the day of the week that the previous Purim was on. Why is it that the days of Pesach hint to all the holidays in the upcoming year but for Purim, it refers to the Purim from last year?

It must be that even though Nissan is technically the first month of the year, there is an element of Adar that makes it the beginning. Adar is at the end of the year, but the end is really the beginning (just like when a person hits rock bottom, he can only go up so it’s really the beginning for growth). Adar is אחרית כראשית because it is the month, with the holiday of Purim, which teaches us that an end can really be a new beginning. The end is already a beginning for the new beginning.

This message can be seen regarding Amalek. In Parshas Balak, the Pasuk says(כד,כ) ראשית גוים עמלק ואחריתו עדי אבד. Although Amalek flourishes in the beginning, but in the end, he withers. But the Jewish peoples greatness is that at the end, we don’t wither rather we renew ourselves and the end is really a new beginning.

The Chasam Sofer in Parshas B’haloscha says in the name of his Rebbe Reb Nosson Adler that the main growth of a Talmud only comes when his Rebbe passes away. As we see by Yisro that he says to Moshe לא אלך כי אם אל ארצי ואל מולדתי אלך(י,ל). Yisro was saying that if he stays by Moshe, then he won’t be a הולך and only once he is אל ארצי ואל מולדתי, away from Moshe, can he be הולך, because once he is away from his Rebbe, then he can shteig.

Rashi in Megilah on 4b says chapter 30 in Tehillim, מזמור שיר, is about Mordechai, Esther, and Haman. The end of the מזמור which says הפכת מספדי למחול לי is referring to Moshe’s death because although it was a tremendous מספד, it turned into a מחול because of all the potential future growth which was now possible as mentioned above. And this is the root of the miracle of Purim because that which Haman thought Adar was a bad month for the Jews because of Moshe’s death was really a good month because of the higher level of growth that were only able to be reached with his passing.

יריעות האהל or יריעות המשכן

וסרח העדף ביריעת האהל חצי היריעה העדפת תסרח על אחרי המשכן (כו,יב)

Rashi says the יריעות העליונות are called the יריעות האהל. In Parshas Vayakhel, the Pasuk says את המשכן את אהלו ואת מכסהו וכו and Rashi says יריעות התחתונות הנראות בתוכו קרויים משכן. Why is it that the upper part of the יריעות are called יריעות האהל and the bottom part of the יריעות is called יריעות המשכן?

The Mishkan is called משכן העדות because of the לוחות which were in the ארון which was the central part of the Mishkan. The לוחות were etched in stone and they represent the past and the foundation, which is תורה שבכתב. But above the ארון is where the conversation and continuous conversation between the בני ישראל and Hashem as the Pasuk says ונועדתי לך שמה מעל הכפורת. That is where the תורה שבע"פ is at. The idea is that the ongoing communication which is to be above the לוחות is because it needs to be built upon the foundation. The יריעות התחתונות which are referred to as משכן represent this idea of the past and the foundation, the תורה שב"כ. But the יריעות עליונות are referred to האהל representing the ongoing communication and relationship between us and Hashem. The bottom being the foundation is called the משכן because it was the משכן העדות, referring to the לוחות, which are to be the foundation and only on top of that can the אוהל מועד be which is the meeting point between Hashem and man and that’s where the continuous communication is. Therefore the top part, which is to be built on the foundation is called the אוהל which needs to be built on the foundation called the משכן.


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