Shalom to all. I am sorry that I have not had the time to write more blogs recently. IY”H with the upcoming Pesach vacation I hope to add many more. The reason for this, of course, was because I have been devoting a lot of time to my family and my students, in addition to finalizing the details of “Core Emmuna 2: G-d & Me” which will be available, with HaShem’s help in a few weeks time at most.
In addition I am already at work on Core Emmuna books 3 and 4, and I am in the midst of translating book 1 into Hebrew, so that my children and students who are Hebrew speakers can benefit from these works as well if there is anyone who wants to help with the translation of these books – please send me a message.
So as not to make a blog with no Torah whatsoever:
In this weeks parsha the Torah speaks of how to use the menorah, (the Candelabra of the Holy Temple), it does this despite the fact that it discussed the actual construction of the menorah in LAST WEEKS PARSHA. The obvious question is, therefore, why? Teach a keli, (utensil) – do it to the end! Why stop in the middle and then pick up the topic again somewhere else?
The answer seems to be that there is the form of the Mikdash, and then there is the function of the Mikdash. Like most mitzvos, in order to do them you have to have “the mitzvah thingy” first. There is no mitzvah, per se, to make tefillin, there is a mitzvah to wear them, which you can’t do if you don’t have them. There is a mitzvah to sit in a sukkah, but we hold that there is no mitzvah to make a sukkah. But you just can’t do the mitzvah without the “mitzvah thingy”.
The same holds true with the Mikdash. One of my Rabbeim, haRav Osher Weiss, shlit”a, in last weeks Thursday night shiur on parshat Terumah, spoke of how most of the Rishonim hold that there is no specific mitzvah for the construction of each individual keli, just the general mitzvah of ועשו לי מקדש ושכנתי בתוכםת “And they shall make for me a Mikdash, and I shall dwell among them”.
IN all instances of the instructions the Torah first describes how to make the keli, (utensil) and it then tells you generally how it is used.
The Aron, (ark) was special in that it had only one function and was not, technically part of the Mishkan. It was for this reason that the second Beit haMikdash was functional even without it. Therefore the Torah says how to make it, and then it says “place the edut, (testimony) into the ark”. Done.
The shulchan, (show-bread table) is then described, and they are instructed how to use it. Followed by the Menorah and its instructions. The details of the Mishkan are then spelled out. However, the actual details of how to use the mishkan are much more complex, (which is why a significant amount of the rest of the Torah describes it). The outer mizbeyach (altar) is then described. Followed by the Chatzar, the courtyard of the Mishkan.
That’s the preparation of the “mitzvah thingy” of the Mikdash/Mishkan. Now, we shift gears into something deeper: The laws of purity.
Immediately after the commandment concerning the oil for the menorah, the Torah jumps into a description of the consecration of the Kohanim, the priests. For the sake of their consecration they require special clothing, which is immediately described in detail. That is the “mitzvah thingy” of the Kohanim. They CANNOT do the avodah of the Mikdash without it. This is followed by the entire consecration service of the Kohanim, as that is what made them special among the nation, and gave them the right to perform the avodah of the Mishkan. Once they were consecrated, the Torah then describes the one aspect of the avodah that was forever, never changing on any day of the year: the korban tamid. That was the first (and last) sacrifice done every single day, therefore it is discussed immediately after their consecration. This is followed by the commandment to build the golden altar, as our sages, ob”m, tell us that it was only due to the Kohanim’s consecration that the gold altar gained significance. As our sages, ob”m, taught us in the Midrash Rabbah (34:3) that of the three “crowns of Israel” the “crown of Kehuna” was given forever to the children of Aharon haKohen. Immediately the Torah describes how it is used, even though it doesn’t tell us yet how to actually make the ketoret.
So, now we’re back to square one. Why is the mitzvah of the “pure oil” stuck in the middle between the Mishkan and the Kohanim?
The answer is because it is what gives the Mikdash that “special something”, purity. It is the purity of the oil that makes the light of the menorah special, not just “another candle”. After all, as our sages, ob”m, taught us, we don’t light the menorah for its light (HaShem has no problem “seeing” in the dark, after all), but for it’s purity. The menorah is made of pure gold, the oil is zach, literally the first drop of oil from every olive. It is the purity and pureness that is the “special something” that makes the Mikdash special.
Unfortunately life and shabbos preperations call so i’ll leave this idea up to YOU to finish
have a great shabbos