Points to Ponder

Tetzaveh/Zachor 5778

And they should take pure olive oil for you to light a Ner Tamid (27:20) – Why is the Ner Tamid connected to Aharon? And why before he is selected to become Kohein Gadol? Rav Neriah ztl. pointed out that sometimes the ends highlight the road from the beginning. Here, the entire purpose of the Mishkan was to raise the light of the Torah. That light was to be highlighted by Aharon HaKohein. However, this mission had to be apparent from the moment that the Mishkan was established. Hence Aharon was to light the Ner Tamid from the beginning.

And you should speak to those with the wisdom of the heart (28:3) – Throughout the construction of the Mishkan, we find the term “Chochmas Lev” utilized. On the one hand, one needs to question why it appears so often as an essential requirement fo those working on the Mishkan? Moreover, the location of Chochma is in the brain, not the heart, so why the stress on the Chochma of the heart? What is it? Rav Zeidel Epstein ztl. suggested that the true test of Chochma here is in the action. Actions need to be motivated and thus, the Torah speaks to us of the Chochmas Lev. It is not enough for a person to KNOW what to do. A real person who possesses true Yiras Shomayim, will be ready to demonstrate that Yiras Shomayim and the motivation for that demonstration comes from the heart – not the head.

And they shall make the Eiphod (28:6) - Rashi comments that he didn’t have a mesorah about the Eiphod but his heart told him that it looked like the aprons that the women wore. Rav Schachter Shlita pointed out that Leebe Omer Lee is not a common right of everyone who has a position. Only one whose heart is full of Torah can say Leebe Omer Lee.  He would add that everyone has Eirusin with the Torah but only the true Geonim (like the Griz) had Nisuin with the Torah.  Only one with intimate relations with Hashem and his Torah can declare Leebe Omer Lee.

The belt with which it is emplaced, which is on it, shall be of the same workmanship, it shall be made of it. (28:8) – The Ben Ish Chai ztl.  derives an important educational principle from this possuk. One’s children are referred to as Begadim. ( Consider Hasiru ha’begadim ha’tzoim meialav) Here that metaphor is extended  in the following manner:  The Cheishev ha’Eiphod, belt of the Eiphod, which is on it, must be made k’maaseihu, of the same workmanship (as the Eiphod), unlike the Kispos ha’Eiphod, shoulder straps, which are sewn on. The Cheishev was mimenu yiheyeh, made of it. When one seeks to impart the Torah-way of life to his children, the appropriate path by which they will achieve character trait refinement and develop strong erudition, he must teach by example, by personally living a Torah-life.

And Aharon shall carry the names of Bnei Yisrael on his heart (28:29) – Why would the names of the Shevatim be on the Choshen? Why not simply take the names of the Avos? Kedushas Levi ztl. explains that when one individual is selected from a group for a position of importance we are inclined to conclude that that one individual is chosen, and all the others are rejected. The chosen one is loved, and the rejected are despised. Here too, we might erroneously presume that Aaron was the Almighty’s favorite, and the rest of Israel somehow inferior to him. Therefore, the names of all the tribes of Israel were engraved upon the breastplate, indicating that all of Israel was equally beloved by the Almighty.

And you shall dress Aharon and his sons with him (28:41) – Why is Moshe to perform this act that on the surface seems to be beneath his station? Rav Moshe Feinstein ztl explains that when Kedusha needs to be infused, it must emanate from one who has it already. At that time, the only one who could effect such Kedusha was Moshe Rabbeinu, hence the instruction to him.

And you shall make a Mizbeiach for Ketores (30:1) – Why isn’t this Mizbeiach listed earlier with the Shulchan and Menorah? Ramban explains that this is a reminder that there are times that the regular order of things will not be enough and in these situations there will be Ketores that will have the power to stop plagues – in that this will bring Kavod to Hashem like the Ketores. Rav Wolbe ztl. explained that the Ketores is a combining of Midas HaDin with Midas HaRachamim. Sometimes one does not earn the prize or connection to Hashem but with a little Rachamim Hashem grants it. Rav Wolbe compares it to students who are not fully prepared for the shiur but with a little Rachamim from the Rebbe, the doors to the storehouses of Torah can be opened.

Asher Korcha (25:18) – Rashi explains one of the translations of Korcha was that he cooled you off. Rav Nissan Alpert ztl. explains that the people lost their Hislahavus in Avodas Hashem – even the most devout among them. Rav Nissan added that there are 3 types of Amalek – the philosophical which attacks our belief system, the desirous (which entices Am Yisrael) and the Amalek that tries to cool off the work of the Jewish nation.

Haftorah: I have been consoled since I have made Shaul king (I Shmuel 15:11) – Why is Hashem so quick to dispense with Shaul when Dovid HaMelech too, sins – perhaps even more seriously than Shaul? Rav Chaim Eliezeri ztl. explains that when Shaul was caught by Shmuel, he chooses to blame the people for his lack of leadership. One cannot be a leader if he is unable to take responsibility for the role.