Friday, March 10, 2017

Parshas Tetzaveh 5777

 פּרשׁת תּצוה

So, now, with Hashem’s Help, I would like to share with you some beautiful insights: 


1) Let’s just start off with a very all-encompassing thought:  In the Parshios from Terumah to Pekudei, there are certainly a lot of specifics, and details, etc. 


HaRav Adin Steinsaltz shlita compares the Mishkan to a rocket ship (of course there is a big separation between the two….):  So, he discusses the fact that people will work on the rocket for a long time, with all the details, trying to make it perfect.  It needs all these details and specifics to be good enough to make it to space!  So too with the Mishkan, he explains; it needed all the details and specifics to be perfect in order to ascend to Heaven (or bring Heaven down here, so to speak).  


And it is the same with the Garments of the Kohanim, says Rav Steinsaltz shlita:  Just like an astronaut suit must be “perfect”, with all the details, and if anything goes wrong the astronaut will die when he goes out into space (may Hashem save us all), so too with the Garments of the Kohanim; they had to be perfect, down to the last detail. (From Chayei Olam Al HaTorah).  


2) In the book Peninei HaTorah, it is related on the first verse of this Parsha a story about HaRav Yisroel Salanter zt”l:  A student of his once came to him and told him that he wanted to go to Germany to spread Mussar there and help people to do Teshuva.  Rav Yisroel replied; “And with Russia you have already finished?” The student admitted that Rav Yisroel was right and said “If so, I will travel to Russia.” Rav Yisroel replied; “And with Poland you have already finished?” The student admitted that Rav Yisroel was right and the Rav said further: “And with your city, Radun, you have already finished?  And your family you have already returned in Teshuva?  And yourself you have already corrected?” The student realized Rav Yisroel zt”l’s wisdom, and said essentially that yes, he had to first return himself to Hashem.  


Adds HaRav Shabsi Yudelowitz zt”l; this is one of the lessons in the verse: ‘And you’ - you must first correct yourself and return to Hashem wholly; then ‘shall command the B’nei Yisroel’ - then you can “command” others and spread Mussar to them. (From Peninei HaTorah). 


3) Asks HaRav Chaim Shmulevitz zt”l; why in the first verse does it say ‘and they should take to you’?  Why the ‘to you’?  Not only this, but it uses that same language of ‘to you’ when Moshe Rabbeinu was told to bring near Aharon HaKohen and his sons to be Kohanim! 


So, he quotes from Gemara Kereisos (5b) which comments on Tehillim 133:1-2, and explains that when the Anointing Oil was poured upon Aharon, it was as if it was also poured on Moshe Rabbeinu.  Explains Rav Shmulevitz zt”l; because of the great oneness of Aharon HaKohen and Moshe Rabbeinu, when the Anointing Oil was poured upon Aharon his brother - Moshe Rabbeinu felt like it was poured on him.  It was like ‘one man with one heart’.  That is the ‘to you’ as he explains. (From Sichos Mussar). 


4) The first verse says ‘and they shall take to you pure olive oil; pressed (or crushed) for lighting…’ HaRav Shalom Schwadron zt”l says; how do you acquire Torah?  ‘Pressed’ - you must press yourself, toil, work hard, labor in Torah; and then ‘for lighting’ - you will then see the Light of Torah permeate through your life. (Quoted in Peninim On The Torah). 


5) Before we move on to another verse, there is beautiful Chassidishe “nugget”:  The verse says ‘and they shall take pure olive oil, crushed, to kindle the light continually.’ Says the Nikolsburger Rebbe (Rebbe Yosef Yechiel Michel Lebovits shlita), a person must make their hearts pure and without blemish, just like this olive oil was to be, and then not only will they personally shine, they will be able to kindle the eternal spark within everyone else.  


And he adds that the Soul is compared to the Candle of Hashem - and just like when you light other things with a candle, it doesn’t lose any of its flame, so too, if we can ignite other’s sparks, it will not take away any of our inspiration - on the contrary, actually it will add to our inspiration! (From  


6) So, Hashem tells Moshe Rabbeinu to speak to ‘all the wise of heart, whom I have filled with wisdom.’ Says Rebbe Shalom of Koidanov zt”l; only those who understand that ‘I have filled them with wisdom’ i.e. Hashem gave them their wisdom, and it is not from them - only those people are ‘wise of heart’.  


7) Okay; Hashem willing, we will have a couple thoughts on the Me’il:  #1:  So, as we know, there were supposed to be pomegranates and golden bells on the bottom of it - and the bells, of course, would make noise. 


So the Baalei Mussar point out that a person is more aware of what is around them (and Above them) - just more aware in general - when they are making sounds as they go.  For the sounds sort of wake them up.  The sounds of the bells ringing would help to make sure that the Kohen Gadol was very aware of the holy place he was in.  (Told over by HaRav Shalom Rosner shlita on  


8) #2; Says the Alshich HaKadosh, the Ephod is an allusion to the mouth, for the word אפוֹד, if spelled without the ו (as it is at times), is the same as that of the word פּה - mouth.  And indeed, he brings that the Sages teach that the Me’il atoned for the sin of Lashon Hara.  And he explains many lessons for speaking we learn from it (I’ll quote 2 of the 3):  


First, the Torah tells us that it should be the work of a weaver and that it should not be ripped.  Explains the Alshich HaKadosh; this teaches us that a person should not think to themselves that they will cause strife with their mouth and then fix it - rather, they should fix their speech at first! (This learned out from the fact that the Me’il was supposed to never be ripped - even if it could be fixed afterward).  


And another lesson:  The Torah tells us ‘Vi’haya phi rosho bi’socho/And it’s opening (literally - mouth) at the top shall be [turned] inward’.  Says the Alshich HaKadosh: “That his speech and his mouth should be like what is in his heart and in him, so that it should not be ‘one thing in his mouth and one in his heart’!” (This learned out from the “mouth” of the Me’il having to be turned inwards). (This insight is from Vi’Haarev Na).  


9) Okay; so, another one of the Garments to be made was the Tzitz:  It was a golden head plate that had the words Kodesh L’Hashem (Holy to Hashem) inscribed upon it.  


So, the Ksav Sofer (HaRav Avraham Shmuel Binyamin Sofer zt”l) quotes from his father the Chasam Sofer (HaRav Moshe Sofer zt”l), who brings the teaching of the Sages, that the Tzitz atoned for the sin of brazenness.  


And the Chasam Sofer zt”l quotes from Pirkei Avos (5:21) where Rabbi Yehuda ben Teima z”l says ‘Be bold as a leopard….. to carry out the Will of your Father in Heaven.’ (See an incredible explanation of this Mishnah in Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, Chapter 1).  So he explains that the writing of ‘Holy to Hashem’ on the Tzitz teaches us that we must use this trait of brazenness properly - and make it ‘Holy to Hashem’. (From Ksav Sofer Al HaTorah).  


10) One last insight on the parsha, and then, Hashem willing, we will list one insight on Parshas Zachor and Purim, and then another on Purim:  


So Hashem says in the sixth Aliyah ‘And there I will arrange My meetings with the Bnei Yisroel…..’ Explains HaRav Yosef Dov (Yoshe Ber) Soloveitchik zt”l (son of HaRav Moshe Soloveitchik zt”l); Hashem had rendezvous’ with Moshe Rabbeinu there, and later, in the Beis HaMikdash, with us.  But a rendezvous, he says, is really a confidential and private thing (usually that would take place between only two parties).  A multitude of people can’t really have a rendezvous with one individual!  However, the Rav zt”l explains that the Jewish People are really one - we are an individual.   


And he concludes: “A Jew is someone who has a rendezvous from time to time with HaKadosh Baruch Hu.  The Jew will never delay this rendezvous.  He will never break this rendezvous.  He will never postpone this rendezvous.  A Jew never says ‘It is cold today; I would rather put on Tefillin tomorrow.’ Judaism itself is a rendezvous. (From Mesoras HaRav).  


11) As we discussed above, Parshas Zachor and Purim are both about defeating Amalek YM”S (and the Yetzer Hara).  And our Gedolim tell us that Amalek tries to make us not serve Hashem with warmth (‘that he cooled you off on the way’) and bring doubts about Him and Judaism in general into us (the numerical value of the word עמלק is the same as that of ספק/doubt).  And these things go hand in hand.  If, Chas V’Shalom, we do not serve Hashem with passion and warmth, false doubts will come into our heads, may Hashem save us.  


So this time is a reminder to us to try to beat these powers of Amalek (and the Yetzer Hara):  It is a reminder to try to, with Hashem’s Help, overcome those terrible things.  May HaKadosh Baruch Hu help every single person to do so, Amein Vi’Amein. 


12) Now a Purim thought:  Rebbe Elimelech Biderman shlita notes that if we look at the Megillah collectively, we are amazed at the wondrous Miracles!  However, if you look at the individual things of the Miracles of Purim, all of them can be explained according to “nature”.  


Purim, he says, teaches us a brand new faith:  It teaches us that Hashem is always with us, even when things seem like the “natural way of the world” (since everything is from Hashem - even what we would think of as just the norm; such as breathing…..). (This vort is from Torah Wellsprings - Zachor Purim 5777 - an online booklet on the Parshios and Festivals.  It can be found at Be’er Mayim Chaim).  

I wish every single person a wonderful Shabbos full of holiness!

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