Parshat
Teruma

A Student Publication of the Torah Academy of Bergen County
Parshat Teruma            6 Adar I 5763              February 8, 2003              Vol.12 No.17


In This Issue:

Rabbi Hershel Solnica
Chanan Strassman
Ari Clark
Daniel Wenger
Jerry Karp
Rabbi Howard Jachter

This week’s issue of Kol Torah has been sponsored by Dr. and Mrs. Paul Hartstein in honor of their grandchild, Avraham Mordechai Masalansky, on his first birthday Ad Mea Viesrim.




The Art of Taking

by Rabbi Hershel Solnica

Parshat Teruma begins with the phrase, “Viyikchu Li Teruma,” “Take for me a tithe.”  All the commentaries think that the language of the Pasuk was not “Viyitnu Li Teruma”  “Give for me a tithe.”  My Rebbe, Rav Moshe Feinstein zt”l, explained that there is a deeper meaning in giving charity.  When we pay a bill or give Tzedaka, it is natural for our Yetzher Hora to make us wish that we didn’t have to write this check.  When the Mishkan was being built, Hashem wanted Moshe to teach Bnai Yisrael “Viyikchu, Shebiyatzro Hatov Vilimud Torato Umaasav Upaal Shetabao Veyihiyu Tov” “And they shall take: that their desire and philosophy should be that giving is the natural phenomenon of taking.”

The Gemara says, “When Bnai Yisrael said, ‘We shall do and we shall hear,’ immediately Hashem said, ‘Take for me Teruma.’”  The Al Hatorah explains that one must learn this lesson of devotion to Hashem by immediately realizing that we are not givers but we are takers.


Too often, we take our health for granted, and think that our wealth as a sign of our brilliance.  This is absurd!  It takes only one second and we became important in our health, joys, and personal life.

In Kriat Shema we say “Veahavta… Bechol Levavicha” “And we must love… with all our hearts.”  Rashi comments “Bshnei Yitzrecha,” “With both our Yetzer Hara and Yetzer Hatov.”  How do we love Hashem with our Yetzher Hora?  I believe that by grappling with the tendency to attribute all good to our own efforts, we can saddle our Yetzher Hora and turn it into a Yetzher Tov.  Since we are all taking from Hashem, we should give Tzedaka or Chessed in the spirit and in the art of taking.

One Step Ahead
by Chanan Strassman

In this week’s Parsha, Parshat Teruma, the Torah goes into great detail describing the Mishkan's construction.  However, the Parsha leaves us with a question.  The question is not who built the Mishkan because we know that Betzalel was selected as Hashem's "special contractor."  The question is definitely not what materials were to be used or how the Mishkan was to be constructed because the Torah spends the entire Parsha describing what was needed to build the Mishkan and precisely how to proceed with its construction.  The issue is where the Mishkan was built.  In order to build the Mishkan, many rare and exotic materials were needed.  Included on the blueprints were items such as gold, silver, copper, linen, goat's hair, wool with purple dye, wool with blue dye, the skin of the Tachash, spices, olive oil, Shittim wood, and fourteen precious gems.  If Bnai Yisrael are in the middle of a desert, where are they going to come up with all of the necessary materials?

The above items found their way into the hands of Bnai Yisrael through Hashem's divine plan.  For example, all of the gold, silver, and copper came from the Egyptians.  During the plague of darkness, Bnai Yisrael were allowed to enter the homes of their Egyptian masters to seek out any treasure that may have been kept hidden.  This way, when they left Egypt, Bnai Yisrael would know exactly what to ask for from the Egyptians as compensation for their long years of slavery.  Of course, the Egyptians complied and parted with their beloved belongings.  Also, the sea engulfed the Egyptians at Kriat Yamsuf and more gold, silver, and copper were washed ashore in the form of the Egyptian chariots.


Many of the items listed above were also acquired through miracles.  A good example would be the fourteen precious gems.  When Hashem brought the Mann to a Tzaddik, a righteous individual, He included special bonus features.  One such bonus was that the Mann came encrusted with precious gems.  Coincidentally, these precious gems were exactly the kind required for the Mishkan and the Tzaddikim gladly donated them.  Another good example of acquisition through a miracle was the skin of the Tachash.  Hashem only created one of these unique animals, and He created it to appear in the desert exactly when Bnai Yisrael were passing through.  Its multi-colored coat was needed for the Mishkan.

Many of the items listed above were also acquired through miracles.  A good example would be the fourteen precious gems.  When Hashem brought the Mann to a Tzaddik, a righteous individual, He included special bonus features.  One such bonus was that the Mann came encrusted with precious gems.  Coincidentally, these precious gems were exactly the kind required for the Mishkan and the Tzaddikim gladly donated them.  Another good example of acquisition through a miracle was the skin of the Tachash.  Hashem only created one of these unique animals, and He created it to appear in the desert exactly when Bnai Yisrael were passing through.  Its multi-colored coat was needed for the Mishkan.


Even the Avot had a hand in making sure Bnai Yisrael acquired all the necessary requirements for the Mishkan.  For instance, a question might have arisen regarding where Bnai Yisrael were going to find the Shittim wood.  The answer lies about three hundred years earlier when Yaakov Avinu saw with Ruach Hakodesh that Bnai Yisrael would need the Shittim wood for the Mishkan.  He therefore planted the seeds for the Shittim tree all over Egypt and told his children that when they left Egypt in the future, they should bring the Shittim wood with them.  You may also have been wondering where Bnai Yisrael were going to find a 72 Amah (about160 foot) wooden beam.  The answer goes back to Avraham Avinu.  He planted this tree and, in its shade, served his guests and davened.  The tree grew over time and during Kriat Yam Suf the Malachim cut it down and dropped it on the shore.  Bnai Yisrael figured that such a large tree could be used for something important so they brought it with them.  Sure enough, this tree was destined to be the middle beam of the Mishkan.


From here we see how Hashem takes care of everything.  If He took care of such a big thing as the Mishkan, then surely He will take care of the smaller things in life as well.


The Purpose of the Aron
by Ari Clark

In this week’s Parsha, the Torah describes the dimensions of the Aron, the Holy Ark, and its different parts.  In Perek 25 Pasuk 21 it states, “Veel Haaron Titen Et Haedut.”  This seems to be a repetition of what was said just a few Pesukim ago in Pasuk 15.  Rashi answers that since it mentions the Aron first, it means that the Edut should be put in first and then the Kaporet should be put on the ark.

The Ramban asks a question on Rashi.  If the commandment is to teach us of the order of assembly like Rashi said, then it would have made more sense that the Kaporet be put on first and subsequently the Edut because the Aron is only called an Aron when the Kaporet is placed on it.  He also asks, why, with reference to Kruvim, the Torah repeats, “Asher Al Aron Haedut?”  Isn’t it obvious that the Kruvim are on the Aron?  The Ramban answers that when the Torah first mentions the Kruvim, it is not talking about their purpose or why they are on the Aron.  The Torah is trying to show us that all these parts of the Kaporet are one unit.  The job of this entire unit is to serve as the Kisay Hacavod, royal throne, for
Hashem.  This Aron is where the Shechina of Hashem will rest and where Hashem will dwell.

The Building of a Nation
by Daniel Wenger  
Class of 2001

The name of this week's Parsha, Teruma, carries a much deeper meaning than the common translation in the form of a "tithe.”  Although the word Teruma does refer to the portion of one's produce that is set aside to be given to a Kohen, in our Parsha, it takes on a similar, yet much larger implication of a Mitzva.

After being called up Mount Sinai by Hashem to receive His commandments, Hashem lists to Moshe the materials that would be required to build His earthly home.  Hashem explains that these materials are to be collected from the Israelites as a "Teruma" (Shemot 25:2).  Thus, all of the nation will have contributed to the construction of the holiest place on earth.

This week's Haftora echoes this theme directly with a description of the construction of the first Bait Hamikdash.  Several direct parallels of words should be noticed between the construction of the Mishkan and the Bait Hamikdash.  Foremost is the purpose or result of the construction of these buildings.  In our Parsha (25:8) and in the Haftora (Melachim I 6:13), the words "Veshachanti Betocham" and "Veshachanti Betoch Bnai Yisrael," respectively, clearly define an outcome: Hashem would rest His Presence with Bnai Yisrael in those places.  Another common word is "Chochma," loosely translated as knowledge.  Specifically here this refers to a Divine knowledge.  In Parshat Ki Tisa (Shemot 31:3), Betzalel is given this "Chochma" by Hashem so that he may accurately construct several key components of the Mishkan.  Melachim I (5:26) sees Shlomo Hamelech instilled with the Godly "Chochma" with which he orders the construction of the Bait Hamikdash.

Finally, we see the people themselves and their involvement with the construction processes.  In our Parsha, as we stated earlier, the entire nation had the opportunity to donate of their own wealth towards the construction of the Mishkan.  Similarly, the Haftora describes tens of thousands of people employed to the holy work of constructing Hashem's permanent home.  The common thread here is that a largely significant population was involved in the construction of Hashem's holy sanctuary.

Today, we live without a Bait Hamikdash and Hashem is no longer directly noticeable on this earth.  How does one deal with this?  One must give of oneself towards the pursuit of the third Bait Hamikdash.  But the Midrash states that the third Bait Hamikdash is built in heaven, so how can one contribute to its building?  The answer can be seen from the construction of the two above-mentioned houses of God.  One must strive to gain the "Chochma" that is present in this world through learning Hashem's Torah and acquiring the Divine knowledge that lies within.  One must also keep in mind the purpose of this study, which is that Hashem should again rest His Presence in our midst.  The Beatles put it well when they sang "One and one and one is three.”  By giving of ourselves, acquiring "Chochma," and yearning for God's presence, we can merit the arrival of the third Bait Hamikdash Bimheira Biyameinu.


Total purity
by Jerry Karp

In this week’s Parsha, the Torah discusses the many parts of the Mishkan.  One of the more mysterious objects contained therein was the Shulchan, the table that held the Lechem Hapanim.  It is very difficult to understand the need for the Shulchan.  After all, the Lechem Hapanim was not for Hashem.  What was the reason for the Shulchan and the Lechem Hapanim?  Ramban explains that Hashem wanted something upon which to continually bestow His blessing.  God bestowed His blessing upon the Lechem Hapanim, which were always in place on the Shulchan.

Rav Samson Raphael Hirsch explains that there is a deeper meaning to the Shulchan.  The Shulchan always held לבונה, frankincense, and the twelve loaves of the Lechem Hapanim.  The bread clearly represents nourishment and the לבונה represents one’s satisfaction in something, as one is pleased by the good smell of the לבונה.  Therefore, Rav Hirsch says, the Shulchan is meant to represent material benefit, as one receives from food or pleasant smells.  The Shulchan depicts that which allows people to live comfortably.  For this reason, the Shulchan was made of wood.  Wood comes from trees, which are growing, developing, living things.

Additionally, continues Rav Hirsch, the זר, the gold crown connected to the rim of the table (called the מסגרת), also has an important meaning.  The Gemara in Menachot (96a) tries to explain what purpose the מסגרת served.  One explanation is that it served to hold the legs of the Shulchan together.  Rav Hirsch explains that since the  זרwas made of gold, it represents purity.  Rav Hirsch says that before any material growth can take place in a person’s life, the person must already be “pure.”  Material growth must be based on holiness and purity, just like the pure זר holds up the Shulchan.  Rav Hirsch shows us that to make our actions effective, they must be done with total purity.

Food for Thought
by Jerry Karp

1)      Why does the Torah not give the dimensions of the Kesot (shelves) and Menakiot (pillars) of the Shulchan?

2)      Why is the phrase “Kaftor Tachat Shnei Hakanim Mimena” written three times, but the phrase “Shlosha Geviim Meshukadim” written only twice?

If you have a response to these questions, please contact us.
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Halacha of the Week
It is especially important for one who receives an Aliyah to the Torah to quietly read the Aliyah along with the Torah reader (Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 139:2).

 

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