Parshat Terumah

A Student Publication of the Isaac and Mara Benmergui Torah Academy of Bergen County
Parshat Teruma 4 Adar 5762 February 16, 2002 Vol.11 No.19

In This Issue:

Dr. Joel M. Berman
Yehuda Goldin
Jerry Karp
Willie Roth
Halacha of the Week
Food For Thought
-By David Gertler
The Parameters of Kol Isha
-By Rabbi Howard Jachter

This week’s issue of Kol Torah has been sponsored by Shuky Gross in honor of Koby Sterman’s Bar-Mitzvah and in honor of Shuky publishing his first issue of Kol Torah.


by Dr. Joel M. Berman

"Maet Kol Eesh Asher Yadavnu Libo Tikchu Et Trumotai"...from every man whose heart motivates him you shall take my portion.” (25:2)
Since in truth everything belongs to Hashem, what were Bnai Yisrael really giving? Torat Moshe answers; the only contribution a person can really make is a willing contribution. Anything given otherwise is valueless since the silver and gold already belong to Hashem. He explains, “from every man whose heart motivates him,” only from he who gives happily and willingly; “you shall take my portion,” from him you will accept a contribution, and from those who aren’t contributing willingly don’t take.

What do we get in return for a willing contribution? “Everything is alluded to in the Torah,” Licha Midai D'lo Ramiza Beoraita. The Chatam Sofer finds an answer hinted to in the letters of three words in the next Pasuk Zahav Kesef Vinichoshet “gold, silver, and copper.”

Zayin stands for the seventh day of the week, Shabbat; Hay stands for the fifth day of the week; Bet stands for the second day of the week; Chuf for Kippur; Samuch for Sukkot; Pey for Pesach and Purim; Nun for Neirot (Chanukah); Chet for Rosh Chodesh, including Rosh Hashana; Shin for Shavuot, Shemini Atzeret, and Simchat Torah; and Tet for Taanit (fast days).

These letters represent all of the days of the year on which we read Torah. We learn from this that only the person who gives willingly of himself will acquire Torah. I recall two Talmidim who learned in Yeshiva for a few years. One donated time every day to teaching junior Chavrutot, the other refused claiming that he had too much to learn and his time was too precious. By the time they left, I noticed that the one who donated his time had been transformed into a Mensch, a real gentleman. Closer inspection showed that he had incorporated Torah because he gave willingly of himself. Your (quality) Chessed hours are a great way to start.

The Ark and All its Splendor

by Yehuda Goldin

In this week’s Parsha, the Torah shows us the importance of the Aron, as it is the first and most prominently holy article in the Mishkan. More Pesukim are devoted to the Aron than any other holy article. The Midrash expounds on this and shows that just like the Torah came before everything else, so too in the building of the Mishkan, the Aron came before all of the other holy articles.

The Aron’s prestige is clearly seen as we examine the Pesukim that describe it.
The Parsha concerning the Aron starts with the Pasuk, “And they shall make an Ark of Shatim wood; 2½ cubits shall be its length, 1½ cubits its breadth, and 1½ cubits its height” (25:10). Many Meforshim ask the same question: Why use the words, Viasan Aron, “and they shall make an ark,” instead of, Asah Aron, “make an ark.” The Torah uses the third-person plural instead of the second-person singular version of the verb “make.” Why write this command in plural when the rest of the instructions, starting in the next Pasuk, “And you shall overlay it (Vitzafit) with pure gold” (25:11), are written in singular?

The Midrash quotes Rabbi Yehuda in the name of Rabbi Shalom who says that when the Torah writes Viasu in plural, it is coming to teach us that all of Bnai Yisrael were instructed to occupy themselves with the Aron to qualify for receiving the Torah. Ramban infers from Rabbi Yehuda’s statement that all of Bnai Yisrael should participate in the building of the Mishkan because of its sacred role in housing the broken tablets. However if one was unable to directly help build the Mishkan, one should donate money to the Mishkan, help Betzalel, or think about the construction of the Mishkan.

The Ohr Hachaim gives a more elaborate explanation of every Jew’s involvement with the Mishkan, by mentioning the concept of labor division in all that was necessary to fulfill the Torah’s words. The change of the wording from third person plural to second person singular illustrates that the essence of the Torah can only be fulfilled by Bnai Yisrael as a whole. No single individual can perform all of the laws of the Torah. For instance, the Kohen does not perform a Pidyon Haben, a Yisrael or a Levi cannot bring Korbanot, etc. As a whole, however, Bnai Yisrael can keep the entire gamut of Jewish observances. For this reason, the Torah states, “They shall make an Ark.”

The Ibn Ezra gives a much simpler interpretation to the words of the text. He says that the Torah was simply continuing the wording used earlier: Viasu Li Mikadesh, “They shall make Me a sanctuary (25:8).” Another explanation, given by the Baal Haturim, is that since the Luchot are housed in the Aron, one must build an ark for them. The physical Aron, into which the Luchot are placed, is symbolic of the internalization of Torah within each member of Bnai Yisrael. Why was the Aron the first item that we were commanded to construct? To teach us that a person should begin each day by learning Torah before he proceeds to his work.

One can see the importance of the Aron and its relevance to every Jew’s life. We were commanded to construct the Aron before we were instructed to construct anything else, to teach us the very valuable lesson that we should begin the day by learning Torah. This is very important, as everyone should make a set time to partake in the study of Torah every day.

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 Livonah, frankincense, and the twelve loaves of the Lechem Hapanim. The bread clearly represents nourishment and the Livonah represents one’s satisfaction in something, as one is pleased by the good smell of the Livonah. 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 Zar, the gold crown connected to the rim of the table (called the Masgeret), also has an important meaning. The Gemara in Menachot (96a) tries to explain what purpose the Masgeret served. One explanation is that it served to hold the legs of the Shulchan together. Rav Hirsch explains that since the Zar was 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 Zar holds up the Shulchan. Rav Hirsch shows us that to make our actions effective, they must be done with total purity.

Lean On Me

by Willie Roth

Etz Cahiim Hi Limachazikim Bah “It is a tree of life for those who grasp it.” This is recited every time we return the Torah to the Aron. However, what does it really mean? The Torah Sheleimah cites the Midrash Lekach Tov, who explains that the Kerashim, or poles of the Aron, mentioned in the Parsha symbolize the people that support the Torah. The Torah Sheleimah quotes R’ Yosef Ben R’ Yosef Nechemias who says that whoever supports the learning of Torah gets the reward of actually learning Torah.

This idea is very similar to that of Yissachar and Zevulun. The Aron is Zevulun who learns Torah, and Yissachar who supports Zevulun’s learning is the poles. Without Yissachar’s support, Zevulun would not be able to learn Torah. So too with out the poles, the Aron would not be able too stand. That is why there is a Halacha that you are not allowed to remove the poles from the Aron. Chazal says that when the Torah says, “They shall make an ark” in plural and not in singular form (Shemot 25:10), it means that every member of Bnai Yisrael has a part in the Torah. Therefore, if a person is not able to learn Torah because he must work or because he cannot conceptually understand it, he can support people who do learn Torah and get the reward for learning Torah.

Similarly, in Devarim 27:26 it says that people who do not uphold the words of Torah should be cursed. That is why a person should participate in Torah by learning it supporting it, or doing both. In addition, once a person learns Torah he must pass it on” with other less fortunate people so that they could partake in the learning of Torah, and thus fulfilling to Pasuk of “and they shall make an ark.”

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).

Food For Thought
1) 25:15 states, Lo Yasuru Mimenu, “[the poles of the Aron] were never removed,” but in Bemidbar Sinai 4:6 the Torah says that before they moved the Aron, Visamu Badio, “the poles should be inserted.” How can this contradiction be resolved? (Also compare the comments of the Ibn Ezra to Shemot 25:15 and Bemidbar Sinai 4:6.)

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