אל מול פני המנורה Facing the face of the menorah (8:2) - Rashi explains that the side candles had a flame that faced inward toward the center. Yet, in Parshas Teruma Rashi notes that the candles themselves faced the center. Rav Pinkus ztl. explains that there are 2 different ideas expressed here – one regarding the structure of the menorah and the other in terms of the flame – in Terumah we speak of the structure and here we speak of the flame itself.
מבן חמש ועשרים שנה ומעלה יבא לצבא צבאThis is what you do for the Leviim from 25 and above they shall serve in Ohel Moed (8:24) – Rashi notes that elsewhere the age for working in the Mishkan was 30 not 25. He points out that there was a 5 year apprenticeship for the Leviim. He adds that one learns that learning takes 5 years of success before one can give up. But why does a Kohein not get the internship while the Levi, whose job is easier, gets 5 years? Rav Bernard Weinberger ztl. suggests that a Kohein is retired as a result of mum while a Levi is retired at age. There is a limit to the time a Levi serves. Thus, in order to make sure that the Levi makes the most of his time, a solid intern period was demanded.
למה נגרע Why should we lose (9:7) – The relatives who buried Nadav V’Avihu were exempt from bringing Korban Pesach based on the principle of Oisek B’Mitzva. Why would a second chance make any difference if they were Patur? Rav Nosson Tzvi Wachtfogel ztl. explains that it wasn’t the obligation that inspired the people, it was the opportunity to be close to Hashem in the moment of sharing Korban Pesach that they wanted. Through no fault of their own, they lost out. They wanted him to give them the second chance at the closeness.
והיית לנו לעיניםYou will eyes for us (10:31) - Why did they need Yisro’s advice or guidance when all of their travels were conducted based on Divine instruction? Rav Eliyahu Meir Bloch explains that unlike tzaddikim such as Moshe and Aharon who were born righteous, Yisro was unique in that he was self-made and self-taught. Many Jews had difficulty looking to Moshe as a role model, as his greatness seemed so far removed from them. Moshe therefore asked Yisro to stay and serve as an example of what every person can become if he only recognizes and uses his latent potential.
וכי תבא מלחמה בארצכםWhen a war shall come in your land (10:9) – Rav Shlomo Goren ztl. blew shofar at the time of the capture of the city of Yirushalayim. Rav Schachter Shlita explained to us that Rav Goren held that the time of the 6 day war was a Milchemes Mitzva and the blowing of the Shofar was part of the way that a Jew prepares for a Milchama. Ergo, one should know that the blowing of the Shofar at the different Yom Haatzmaut and Yom Yirushalayim events are really just a Zecher to that time when the blowing of the Shofar elevated the status of Tefillah to Zaakah. Rav Schachter added that there is a difference between the blowing of Rosh Hashana (Tekiya Terumah Tekiya) and the one of war (Teruah, Tekiya, Teruah). He quoted Rav Soloveitchik ztl. who said that the former is the story of man – who was created Yashar.
ואצלתי מן הרוחI will take from your spirit and give it to them (11:17) – Rashi explains that this was done because in that moment Moshe was like a candle – whose flame gives over and yet is not diminished. Rav Wolbe ztl. asks why Hashem needed to use Moshe. Why not give the Zekanim their power directly? Rav Wolbe answers that to properly receive Torah, one needs to get it from a source – from a Rebbe who makes the Torah power come alive.
אם יהיה נביאכם ה' במראה אליו אתודע בחלום אדבר בו If someone among you experiences Divine prophecy, I will make Myself known to him in a vision; I will speak to him in a dream (12:6) – Why are most Nevuos seen in dreams? Rav Kook ztl. explained that dreams perform a vital function in the world. Great dreams are the very foundation of the universe. Dreams exist on many levels. There are the prescient dreams of prophets, and the conscious dreaming of poets. There are the idealistic dreams of great visionaries for a better world; and there are our national dreams of redemption — “When God will return the captivity of Zion, we will be like dreamers” (Ps. 126:1). While some foolishly take pride in being ‘realists and insist on taking into account only the present state of the world — a partial and fragmented view of reality, it is our dreams which liberate us from the limitations of the current reality. It is our dreams that accurately reveal the inner truth of the universe.
Haftorah: ויהושע היה לבוש בגדים צואיםYehoshua was wearing dirty clothes (Zecharia 3:7) – How can the Bigdei Kehuna that are supposed to be for Kavod, be turned in a dream into filthy clothes? Rav Moshe Shmuel Shapiro ztl. notes that the clothes is really symbolic of his children who were unworthy. He adds that we see that filth and sin are synonymous and that this is how we are to feel about each sin as it comes up.