Points to Ponder

Terumah 5777

Take for me a donation from each person that shall desire to give it (25:2) – How could it be a donation (Yidvenu) on the one hand and a requirement to be taken (Tikchu) on the other? Rav Betzalel Rudinsky Shlita paralleled the situation to that of Matan Torah where there was a coercion on the one hand (See Shabbos 88a) and a declaration of Matan Torah on the other. The comparison, he explained, was in the understanding that torah observance was not only based on choice. Torah is a basis and blueprint for life. If you are merely  choosing it, then you can choose against it. That cannot make sense. One needs to know that one MUST live by Torah even if s/he does not WANT to. The same can be said for the building of the Mishkan. Despite the fact that almost all of it can be financed by donation, everyone MUST contribute to it at some level in order to demonstrate the absolute centrality and necessity of the Mishkan in the collective daily life of the Midbar Jew.

They will make for me a Mikdash and I will dwell among them (25:8) – Ramban understands the purpose of the Mishkan was for revelation of Kavod Hashem. Rav Haim Sabato Shlita explains that for this reason, the first element in building the Mishkan is the Aron as it is the place of revelation within the Mishkan. In contrast, the Rambam seems to understand the main purpose of Mishkan to be a place for Avodah. If that is the case, we understand why the ultimate place of the Korbanos is on the same spot of Akaidas Yitzchak. According to Rav Sabato, these ideas are interdependent. For one cannot serve Hashem unless one has the sincerity in devotion to him. This comes about or brings about the revelation. By being aware, Hashem’s sense of Revelation rests within each one of us.


And you shall place a golden rim around it (25:11) – 3 Keilim had this Zer – the Aron, the Shulchan and the inner Mizbeiach. Each paralleled a Keter – the Aron for Keter Torah. The Shulchan which symbolized wealth – Keter Malchus and the inner Mizbeiach – Keter Kehuna. Why does wealth get a Zer? Rav Zilberstein Shlita quoted from the Kli Yakar that the Zer for the Shulchan was not for the wealth but rather for the middah of sufficiency (Histapkus). Hence, adds the Chasam Sofer, although the others had the Zer at the top, the Zer for the Shulchan was on the Misgeret.


Lechem HaPanim (25:30) – The shape of the Lechem HaPanim is discussed in a debate in Meseches Menachos. There a debate ensues as to whether the shape is a canoe-like shape or more of a rectangle. Rav Schachter Shlita once explained that he thought that for this reason, while we use more canoe or rectangular shaped Challos on Shabbos the rest of the year, on Yom Tov there is a custom to use round shaped Challos as in these times, the Challos are not a reminder of the Lechem HaPanim.

Mikshah (25:31) – Only the Menorah and the Aron were made Mikshah – from a single piece. Why? Rav Zilberstein Shlita  suggested that these 2 Keilim represent the Chochma and Torah which only comes with Hashraas HaShechinah. That process can only happen when there is unity. Thus, these Keilim represent unity by coming from a united piece.

And you will make the Mishkan (26:1) – Rav Gifter ztl. noted that the commands for the making of the Aron, Menorah and Shulchan came before the command for the Mishkan. This teaches us that these three items were crucial for Mishkan existence and needed to be there prior.  The Aron needed to be there because the Shechina needed to be in a place of Torah and the central place of Torah is the Aron. All Chochma is needed in order to construct the Mishkan and the symbol of Chochma is the Menorah thus it needed to be there. The Shulchan is the source for all material success that comes from Torah source. Thus, in order to have a successful Mishkan, you needed the source (Aron,)  intelligence (Menorah) and Raw materials (Shulchan) to make it happen. Hence the need to command these three first.

And you shall fold over the 6th curtain toward the Mishkan (26:9) – Rav Schwab ztl. notes that the majority of the Keilim and even the golden Adanim were not seen by the majority of the people. Despite all of the beauty of the different Keilim in the Mishkan nevertheless it was not exhibited and not something shown to others. The message was clear – the gold was something which Klal Yisrael knew existed but it was left inside to teach the concept of  Tzniyus of  Im Elokeicha in that all the beauty of the Mishkan was Bifnim and not Bachutz.

Haftorah: This house that you are building if you walk in my statutes and execute my judgements…then I will dwell in the midst of Bnei Yisrael (Melachim I: 6:12) -  The Midrash Tanchuma tells us that when Shlomo HaMelech introduced the Aron Kodesh into the Beis HaMikdash, all of the woodwork came to life. The wood began to sprout leaves and bore fruit. This miracle stayed strong until Menashe brought an idol into the Kodesh Kodashim at which time the Shechina left and the fruitfulness dried up and disappeared. Rav Aharon Soloveitchik ztl. explained that so long as the Aron and the Shechina was in its proper place in the Beis HaMikdash and Beis HaKnesses, the sanctuary had vitality and a spiritual influence over the people inspiring their lives. The synagogues bore fruit. Once the synagogue has become commercialized, it ceases to be an idealizing force in the Jewish people and becomes the valley of dry bones. We must bring the Torah back to the synagogue if the synagogue is to be a living force. A breath of Torah life can then be infused into the dry bones of the Jewish people.