Points to Ponder

Terumah 5776


And you shall make for me a Mikdash (25:8) – What was the uniqueness of the Beis HaMikdash? Rav Soloveitchik ztl. explained that the Mishkan, Beis HaMikdash – and even Maamad Har Sinai – taught us to respect boundary lines. Whereas animals need fences to know boundary lines, humans are supposed to be able to suffice with knowing their limits. They should not need coercion to keep the Mitzvos – they should be able to do so simply by knowing the place and theirs within it.

And I will dwell among them (25:8) – Rashi notes that Hashem will dwell in the hearts of each and every one of them. Why is the building of the Mishkan (or any centralized location for Tefillah) a means to get to each and every Jew? What about the non-kohanim who are not a part of the daily service? What is the means to get into each of THEIR hearts? Rav Pinchas Teitz ztl. noted that when Naomi was testing Rus’s resolve for Giyur, the first thing she mentioned, according to the Midrash, is that we do not allow Theaters and stadiums. Why was this the first point that she mentioned? Rav Teitz answered (Hapardes 1989) that when one converts, it should not be seen as some sort of ceremonial  exercise. He added that she told Rus that we forbid theaters and stadiums in our Shuls. We do not merely strive in our service of Hashem for a nice impression but rather for active participation – for each person from his or her place. When you are active, a part of an active Tefillah and Yiddishkiet the Shechina can rest on the hearts of each person.

And you shall make me an Aron (25:10) – Why is the Aron the first of the Kli HaMishkan ? Rav Schachter Shlita informed us that the Aron was like the power center of the Mishkan. Without it, there is no Mikdash or Mishkan. That is why Yoshiahu HaMelech hid the Aron before the Churban – so that in the future, the Aron’s presence would be at Har HaBayis – under the Beis HaMikdash if not in it, in order to provide the inspiration that takes an ordinary place and makes it the Beis HaMikdash.

And you shall coat in pure gold both inside and out (25:11) – Daas Zekanim notes that the same must be said of a Talmid Chacham – he must be pure inside and out. Rav Koppelman ztl. asked – where does one begin – on the inside or on the outside (the clothes of aTalmid Chacham)? Thus, the Torah tells us first inside then outside. First, one begins with the internal strivings of being a Talmid Chacham. Thereafter, one can grow to the outside, of the Talmid Chahcam appearance. If one begins the other way, he appears to be a faker.

And the Keruvim shall have their wings spread…facing one another (25:20) – The Gemara (Bava Basra 99a) notes the difference of opinion as to which way the Keruvim were to face. However, at the time of the Churban, it was clear that the Keruvim were locked in an embrace. How could this be, if the Churban was an indication that Bnei Yisrael wee not Osin Ritzono Shel Makom – sohuldn’t they have not faced each other? Rav Yitzchak Kolitz ztl. explained that when the face was for Bnei Yisrael – to get them to do teshuvah, then the embrace was withheld. However, when Goyim came into the Heichal, Hashem didn’t want THEM to know or think that he had forsaken his people and so, the Keruvim bespoke the truth – that Hashem and Bnei Yisrael were tight.

And I shall make myself known to you there and I will communicate with you from atop the Kapores (25:22) – Ramban explains that whole purpose of the Mishkan was precisely for the fact that it should be a place of meeting between man and Hashem. Rav Dr. Benny Lau Shlita noted that the intimacy and love between man and Hashem must not be lost in the grandeur  of the building process. Sanctuaries cannot be structures without the fundamental basis in the promotion of a closeness between man and Hashem in this world. Sometimes we forget that. It is the purpose of what Shul is about.

See them and make them according to their design that you behold on the mountain (25:40) – There is a Braisa (Menachos 29a) that notes that Gavriel Hamalach demonstrated to Moshe exactly how the Menorah was to be constructed. Alternatively, the Braisa suggests that the menorah descended from Shomayim. How are we to understand Gavriel’s role in light of the fact that the menorah came down ready-made. Why have Gavriel do the extra activity? Rav Belsky ztl. understood that the Torah is teaching us about three critical components involved in the attainment of Torah knowledge. First, there was revelation of the form of the menorah just like there was a revelation on Har Sinai. Then, Gavriel’s teaching similar to the learning and transmission methods of Mesorah  involved in Torah study. Then, the menorah came down from Shomayim in full form similar to the idea that Torah is given as a gift to he who fully toils in it.

Haftorah:  This house which you are building if you follow my path… that I spoke with Dovid my servant then I shall dwell among the children of Israel (Melachim I: 8) – So which was the reason for the Bayis? Was it dependent on the keeping of Hashem’s path or the keeping of Hashem’s promise? Rav Moshe Shmuel Shapiro Ztl. explained that it was twofold: if Bnei Yisrael follow Hashem so He will fill them entirely. If not, He will keep His promise to Dovid’s family. To be able to BUILD, that requires an entire nation – and one that follows His word. To have Yiruhalayim maintained, this can be part of the continual promise to Dovid – but it is not ever-lasting or all encompassing.