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15th Day of Shevat, 5745
Rosh Hashanah for Trees

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Eve of l9th of Adar, 5745

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23rd Day of Adar, 5745

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Rosh Chodesh Nissan, 5745

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Rosh Chodesh Nissan, 5745

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11th Day of Nissan, 5745

Sichos In English
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Vol. 25 Shevat-Nissan, 5745


Shabbos Parshas Vayakhel-Pikudei
Parshas Parah
23rd Day of Adar, 5745


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  Yechidus
Eve of l9th of Adar, 5745
The Letter sent out by the Lubavitcher Rebbe
Rosh Chodesh Nissan, 5745
 

1. Compared to last Shabbos, which ostensibly had no unique aspects, and seemed to be a week of intermission, in which we had to toil to discover its special quality, this week has many obvious, special aspects.

Most important, it is Shabbos Mevarchim of the month of Nissan. As the Torah describes it:

This month shall be the head month to you. It shall be the first month of the year. (Shmos 12:2)

Since every Shabbos Mevarchim brings the blessings for the coming month, this Shabbos Mevarchim, when we bless the month of Nissan, brings a special aspect of blessing in conjunction with the unique aspects of the month.

This theme of Shabbos Mevarchim is further enhanced with several additional details.

The Torah portion which we read is Vayakhel-Pekudei, which comprises a very long, double portion, and greater spiritual quantity also indicates greater quality. The content of Vayakhel-Pekudei also has an added special quality, for at the end of Pekudei we read: The cloud covered the communion tent and G-ds glory filled the Tabernacle (Shmos 40:34).

This phenomenon is not just a detail of Torah, nor is it an important general rule of Torah, but it is the single most important, all-encompassing aspect of Torah. It relates to the ultimate intention of the creation. As the Midrash says, the ultimate intention and purpose of creation [and the systematic development of all the worlds, spiritual and physical] was that the Holy One, Blessed be He. desired to have a dwelling place in the lower worlds. Where and when was this desire satisfied? With the indwelling and revelation of the Shechinah in the Communion Tent. The glory of G-d filled the Tabernacle, making it the dwelling place of G-d in the world. This presence of the Shechinah was directly related to the Jewish people. As Rashi explains:

And Moshe was not able to come into the Communion Tent But another verse says: ... and when Moshe came into the Communion Tent ..., there comes however a third verse and reconciles [these apparently contradictory verses] for it says here: ... when the cloud abode thereon. Hence you may say: so long as the cloud was upon it, Moshe was not able to come [into the Communion Tent],-but as soon as the cloud disappeared he entered it and spoke with Him [G-d]. (Shmos 40:35)

The fact that the glory of G-d filled the tent set the stage for Moshe to enter and speak with G-d and then teach G-ds words to the Jewish people. Thus the content of Vayakhel-Pekudei plus its great size adds importance to this Shabbos Mevarchim an importance which is connected with the purpose of creation.

We can find an additional quality in this Shabbos, connected to the afternoon, the time of greatest delight, when we will read at Minchah the first portion of Vayikra. The first verse of Vayikra says: G-d called to Moshe, speaking to him from the Communion Tent. Here the Torah clearly states that G-d spoke to Moshe in the Tshrrnnr 1 r

In this first verse of Vayikra we also find that Moshe was beloved by G-d and that G-d spoke to him in a manner that he could understand and absorb His words. Thus the goal of creation, to bring G-dliness to the physical world and the word of G-d to the Jewish people. is effectuated.

The fact that Shabbos Mevarchim Nissan falls on the 23rd of Adar, also adds to the importance of this day.

When Shabbos Mevarchim is the 23rd of the month then Rosh Chodesh will be on the following Shabbos. In this case not only is the Rosh Chodesh blessed by the previous Shabbos, but it is a more intense blessing, since the givers of the blessing and the blessed are on the same level. Additionally the 25th of Adar will fall within the coming week and according to R. Yehoshua, the world was > ared on the 25th of Adar.

These two ideas are interrelated. There is a long standing question: Does the blessing bestowed by Shabbos on the following week include the following Shabbos? On the one hand we can say, yes, for it would be illogical to say that the six weekdays carry the blessing of Shabbos and the following Shabbos whose whole essence is the completion of the week should not also have the blessing bestowed by the previous Shabbos. On the other hand, maybe only the six days need the blessing. but the following Shabbos does not.

When speaking of creation, however, there is the Kabbalistic commentary which says that there was a Shabbos before creation which blessed all the seven days of creation total creation including Shabbos.

Now, when we have a Shabbos Mevarchim which blesses Rosh Chodesh on the following Shabbos, it is clear that the following Shabbos is blessed by the previous Shabbos and when the first day of creation falls in that week, then this enhances this principle, for it must bless all the coming seven days of creation including the coming Shabbos.

What then do we learn from this Shabbos Mevarchim?

The theme of the month of Nissan is redemption we were redeemed from the bondage of Egypt on Pesach in the month of Nissan. Everyone knows this. Even small children younger than five or six participate in the Seder and ask the Four Questions, because they see the differences of the night of the Seder.

Everyone also knows that the preparations for Pesach and the Seder begin before Pesach in some cases, a month before, but at least, two weeks before Pesach. Thus everyone knows that the entire month is connected with redemption.

Now when we say that Shabbos Mevarchim blesses the month of Nissan, we understand that this day has in it certain qualities which are even higher than the month itself the giver of blessing must be higher than the receiver!

When even the simpleton understands that the aspects of redemption begin on Shabbos Mevarchim, then one must not be such a fool as to say that he will wait until Rosh Chodesh for these powers. Certainly he will attune himself on Shabbos Mevarchim, and start involving himself in aspects of redemption immediately.

The idea is, that a Jew must know, that essentially he has no association with exile. The term Yehudi Jew and galus exile are antithetical; they are mutually exclusive. Thus, if he finds himself in a condition of diaspora, he must do everything in his power to extricate himself from the exile, and advance immediately to the true and complete redemption Geulah.

This idea should be clear and strong, based on the clarion call of the previous Rebbe concerning Mashiach:

Here he is come, ... here he stands behind our wall, watching through the windows, peering through the crevices. (Shir HaShirim 2:8-9)

Mashiach is ready and wants to come to redeem us, and every Jew. He is even watching and %Wering to see when the person will finally do some action, so that he can come and redeem us. Certainly you cannot say that you want to remain in galus! You certainly must do everything within your power to reach a condition of being redeemed!

First of all, you must work on your personal exodus everyone knows his own shortcomings you are enslaved to your passions and your craving for honor, food and drink, etc., to the point that you are no longer in control! Money is your lord it controls you and rules you. You follow the dictates of money, and other worldly, hedonistic pleasures. Therefore you must first free yourself of, and redeem yourself from, your inner exile. And you must reach your personal exodus. Then we hope for the redemption of all of Israel.

Shabbos Mevarchim Nissan gives us an additional lesson.

Even before the month of redemption, when we are still in the deep darkness of galus, a Jew must not be discouraged or dismayed. For the endowment of potential power from above has already taken place in all the aspects of redemption.

The story of the Exodus also emphasizes this point.

While still in Egypt, before being redeemed, in the tangible darkness of the galus the Jews were not hindered, for, The Jews, however, had light in the areas where they lived (Shmos 10:23). This aura of brightness which surrounded the Jews accompanied them even when they entered the home of an Egyptian. The Midrash Tanchuma comments:

The light illuminated the way for the Jews .~ and showed them silver and gold utensils, garments and all the treasures of Egypt. Also, that which was covered in boxes, barrels, and hidden places.

Clearly this was a supernatural light which penetrated throughout matter, to reveal the hidden treasures and did not force them to break barriers or locks in order to investigate and find the gold and silver treasures of the Egyptians.

G-d does not perform a miracle in vain. Why was this miraculous light necessary? To carry out G-ds command. Remember that the Holy One, Blessed be He, had commanded the Jews: ... let each man request from his friend gold and silver articles (Shmos 11:2). And they were to accomplish the promise you will despoil Egypt ... like a trap without grain and like a pond without fish (Pesachim ll9a).

In order to effectuate these promises they had to know where everything was. Hence, the need for spiritual x-ray vision. When you think about it, the magnitude of it all becomes clear.

At a time of tangible darkness, the Jew was able to enter the home of the Egyptian, and reconnoiter the possessions of the Egyptian; in this common, lowly and degenerate place, the Jew possessed these miraculous powers, this spiritual light! Why? To fulfill G-ds command!

And if you should wonder that a mitzvah may not be done through the medium of the miraculous, the answer is that here we speak of the preparation for the mitzvah. The mitzvah itself was done in a natural way. [Later, before leaving Egypt the Jews borrowed from the Egyptians those items they had seen.]

This point may be illustrated by a story that occurred with the Alter Rebbe when he was in prison. It happened one night that the Alter Rebbe was being ferried over the water between the two sections of the prison. The moon was out and he wanted very much to recite the Blessing for the New Moon. The Alter Rebbe requested of the officer on the ferry to stop the boat so that he could rise and stand while reciting Kiddush Levanah, for the blessing of the moon is compared to greeting the Shechinah [See Siddur]. When the officer refused to halt their progress the Alter Rebbe caused the ship to become stationary by supernatural means. At that point however, he did not say the blessing. Instead, he gave the officer the opportunity to stop the boat of his own volition. Having witnessed the Alter Rebbes awesome power the officer humbly reconsidered and stopped the ferry. When the ship had been stopped by natural means, the Rebbe rose and recited the blessing for tho moon.

So you can ask, in the final analysis, the officers action of stopping the boat was caused by the Rebbes supernatural powers, and if so, the mitzvah was done through a miracle. But the answer is, that you only need a natural act in the actual deed of the mitzvah itself, the preparation for the mitzvah may be accomplished by miraculous means.

A more profound point now comes to light.

When a Jew has the responsibility to fulfill a commandment of G-d, neither the darkness of Egypt nor the house of the Egyptian can deter him, because he proceeds with the light that penetrates through all barriers. More profoundly, this light enables and empowers the Jew to transform those itwms which were previously in the Egyptians possession, even the buried treasures those sparks of holiness buried in the nadir of concealment, will be transformed to holiness and become the possession of the Jew. In this way the Jew will carry out the directive to despoil Egypt.

In the galus every Jew has the same power not only to carry out G-ds will with the light of the Jews, despite the darkness of galus, but also to convert the galus to assist the Jew, to complete the Divine service of diaspora and to reach a state of redemption. What happened at the Exodus? When he (Pharaoh) lets you leave he will actually drive you out of here. Pharaoh himself helped and assisted the Jews to leave the exile and rise to redemption.

Which teaches us a profound lesson relative to the present diaspora. When a Jew finds himself in the darkness of exile, in the first place, he should not allow himself to be influenced or dismayed by the darkness around him, or by gentiles who surround him, or from the inner goyishkeit, [opposite: Yiddishkeit] which he has developed as a symptom of galus. He certainly has the power and potential necessary to effectuate his Divine service by fulfilling Torah and mitzvos, without being dismayed or disoriented by the darkness of galus. The Jews had light in all their dwellings.

And if you should be required to enter the home of a gentile to encourage him to observe the Seven Noachide Laws, or to purify some spiritual sparks which fell there, or, to reach out to some lost Jewish soul who somehow has fallen to this lowest of all rungs, and finds himself in the home of a Mitzri Egyptian. Even then you carry with you the illumination of the lofty spiritual light. As such, the radiance will also affect everything in the gentiles home, penetrating, and permeating, and revealing the essence the holy spark. If there is a Jew lost in the Egyptians home, his inner essence will be revealed.

Even the gentiles will be influenced to assist the Jew in completing his work and leaving the diaspora.

Thus on Shabbos Mevarchim Nissan we realize our potential, that even while in galus the Jew must be in his work of attaining redemption.

The additional factor, that this week we read Vayakhel-Pekudei introduces another important point, that the success of the community [Vayakhel gathered] depends on the work of the individual [Pekudei count each one]. As the Rambam writes in Laws of Repentance:

If he fulfills one commandment, he turns the scale of judgment in his favor and in that of the world, and brings salvation and deliverance to all his fellow creatures and to himself....

The Rambams intention is not to scare anyone by the awesome potential, rather to impress on us the amazing importance that is attached to every one of his actions. He has the power to bring the salvation and deliverance for himself and all the world.

Action is essential. There must be an increase in all matters related to bringing the redemption. This refers to spreading Torah and Yiddishkeit among non-committed Jews, reaching also those who may be in the home of the Egyptian. By attracting them back to Torah you effect redemption. Especially at this time there must be involvement in Mivtzah-Matzah and Maos Chittim.

When we are not dismayed or discouraged by the darkness of the galus and we accomplish the spreading forth of the wellsprings, this brings the salvation. Actually everything is ready, as the previous Rebbe announced Stand ready all together, Stand, firm, Ready to fulfill your Divine service of spreading Torah and Yiddishkeit. All together Ahavas Yisrael and unity. Hopefully everyone will be involved to work for this redemption on his personal level and the communal level. Coming from Shabbos, it will be permeated with joy, rest and pleasure. This brings us quickly to the essence of the month of redemption and the fulfillment of the verse: And G-d called Moshe from between the Cherubim on the ark of covenant. Quickly and truly in our time.

2. The conclusion of todays Torah reading is the additional portion called Parah [Red Heifer]. According to some halachic opinions the reading of Parah is a Scriptural commandment similar to the reading of Zachor.

It also touches upon a central theme, not only related with this Shabbos alone, but also with all of the four special portions read at this time of the year. Actually there is a special connection with all the Shabbosim of the entire year for the story of Parah includes the clause: This is the statute of the Torah.

Some years Parah is read on the Shabbos preceding Shabbos Mevarchim Nissan this year it is read on Shabbos Mevarchim Nissan, which points out an inner connection between the two, the lesson of which we should learn and should be understood and applicable to all Jews.

What is the gist of the theme of Parah?

When an ordinary Jew asks, What is the earth-shattering accomplishment of Parah, we explain that sprinkling the water with the ashes of the Red Heifer effects purity [taharah] even for the Jew who became tameh [spiritually defiled] by touching the supreme source of tumah, i.e. a corpse.

Even an ordinary Jew understands that death is the worst possible state, while life is the most precious thing. It is therefore quite understandable that touching a corpse will cause serious tumah.

Can there really be purification for one who has contracted so serious a form of tumah? Moshe himself pondered this point, as the Midrash says that: ... the face of Moshe turned pale, when he asked about the form of purification. Even the highest level of intellect finds it difficult to understand and accept a purification rite for so serious a level of tumah.

In answer to this, the Torah specifically teaches us that when we take the ashes of the Red Heifer and dissolve it in living water and sprinkle the solution on the tameh person he reverts to the condition of tahor.

The lesson for this then may be applied in our Divine service of G-d.

Life connotes a state of connection with the Holy One, Blessed be He, through the observance of Torah and mitzvos. As the Torah clearly states: Only you, the ones who remained attached to the Eternal, your L-rd, are all alive today. As we say in the Maariv service: For they are our life ... [referring to Torah and mitzvos].

There may however be a case or a situation, where a Jew makes contact with the antithesis of life a supreme source of tumah. This happens when he transgresses the will of G-d and transfers himself out of the realm of holiness into the realm of the profane. In effect this is the meaning of aveira transgression he transferred from one domain to another.

Logic would demand that even in such a situation there should be a way of returning, for no one is utterly rejected. The average Jew also understands this, knowing that: You are children to the Eternal your L-rd. It is the nature of a father not to forsake his children certainly the Omnipotent One can find a way of return for an errant child.

Here it is, in Parah. It speaks of the purification of one who touched the supreme cause of tumah. the antithesis of life, he too may become tahor and return to the domain of holiness.

To understand this properly let us first clarify the details of Parah:

... a completely red cow ... which has never had a yoke on it.... This cow shall then be burned ... gather up the cows ashes ... [filled with water directly] from a running spring [living water].... He shall sprinkle ... on the tameh person ... and then he becomes tahor [ritually pure]. (Bamidbar 19:1-22)

These details will be understood in their symbolic forms relating to a persons Divine service to G-d.

A cow this refers to the animal soul, the vivifying force and animalistic side of the perenn

Red refers to driving power of the animal soul. personified by the boiling blood.

Which never had a yoke on it this indicates that because of the lack of accepting the yoke of heaven he has fallen to the depths.

Now the solution:

Burn the cow destroy the negative aspects of the animal soul. Dont annihilate everything the world was not created to be void and empty, but to be settled and inhabited. Thus we will use the ashes representing the essential matter of the red cow. So too, you must destroy the evil power of imagination, which fills the mind with evil thoughts. Leave only the essential presence of the animal soul which entails only the potential of motivation or desire.

To this ash, add living water Torah and holiness. In this manner, you will direct the natural power of longing, to holiness.

This transforms the person back to the state of tahor, and he reaches a higher level, because his essential drive has been sublimated and now longs for matters of holiness.

What does Parah teach us, that even when a person is at the lowest level of degradation, having touched the superior source of tumah defilement nevertheless he can purify himself and return to the domain of holiness and reach a higher level in the process.

Which brings us to the connection between Parah and Shabbos Mevarchim Nissan, which we earlier associated with the condition of darkness before the salvation, this is symbolically the same as touching the level of supreme tumah. The opposite of life.

Everyone agrees that light is life and darkness is its antithesis.

Lets contemplate for a moment on the condition of the Jews in Egyptian bondage, for many years enslaved and oppressed to the degree that they built the treasure cities of Pharaoh. When the time of salvation came they tarried not a moment and they went out with a raised hand. Prior to that, having been given the light which illuminated the darkness of Egypt it had revealed to them all the hidden treasures of Mitzrayim, so that they could take these things with them, and raise them to holiness.

They were then able to raise the holy sparks which had fallen to the nadir of degradation, the silver and golden vessels of Egypt, buried and concealed in their hiding places. Through the brilliance of the light they merited, they were able to liberate and raise them to holiness.

Just as with the red heifer, despite descending to the level of supreme tumah, the person can be purified and brought back up to the former level of taharah and holiness, so that even the bad can be converted to good.

And in both cases, Shabbos Mevarchim Nissan and Parah the red heifer, the substance remains but the form is sublimated. The ash of the red heifer is blended with living water and becomes holy. The silver and-golden vessels of-Egypt are transformed and rise to become the possession of the Jews, through the revelation of their sparks of holiness.

The concurrence of Parah and Shabbos Mevarchim Nissan emphasizes this course in Divine service: When you go out into the world and you see a Jew who is in a lowly state, for he has come in contact with the worst tumah, and his external appearance is as one who comes from an Egyptian house, G-d forbid, dont look at his appearance, disregard the form, and deal with the substance, reveal his essence. He will then ascend to the condition of liberation and purity and will levitate to a loftier level.

Similarly in your own Divine service, if you know that you have come in contact with an unseemly thing and something is not going right, there is still a process by which you can be cleansed and purged, and made tahor. You can transform the negative power to a positive force.

Through this approach you will complete your work in the galus and immediately reach the true and complete redemption, through our righteous Mashiach. We will go with our youth and our elders ... our sons and daughters, and the silver and gold with them, with all the purified sparks of holiness. All this will be carried to our Holy Land as the Gemara states: In the future all the synagogues and study halls of Bavel [Babylon diaspora] will be established in Eretz Yisrael.

Then we will merit the promise I will pour pure water on you, including the sprinkling of the purifying water of the ashes of the red cow through Mashiach. As the Rambam states:

Nine red heifers-were made from the time Moshe was commanded until the destruction of the second Temple. The King Mashiach will make the tenth. (Laws of Red Heifer chap. 3)

Quickly may he redeem us. Amen. So may it be will of G-d. Quickly and zealously, truly in days, as the Kohen did the red cow zealously.


3. In chapter 40 of Pekudei, verse two, the Torah states: On the first day of the first month, you shall erect the Communion Tent Tabernacle. Later in verse 17 of chapter 40 it states: In the first month of the second year [of the Exodus] on the first day of the month, the Taberns WFeR erented tt

We find that the commentaries of Chumash, e.g. Ramban and Ibn Ezra, discussed and debated an elusive point: Was the first day of Nissan the eighth day of the training days, in which case the actual first day of setting up the Mishkan would have been seven days earlier, or the 23rd of Adar [today], or was the first of Nissan also the first of the training days with the eighth day of training being on the eighth of Nissan?

Rashi, who normally is so careful to clarify the simple meaning of every verse, even more than the Ramban and others, is silent. Back in the portion of Tetzaveh, when the eight training days began, Rashi did not clarify when they started. Here again, in Pekudei, when the Torah speaks of setting up the Tabernacle on Rosh Chodesh Nissan, Rashi declines to explain if this was the first or eighth day of training.

Finally when we get to Shemini Rashi says:

And it came to pass on the eighth day of the installation [of the Kohanim into their sacred office]: this was Rosh Chodesh Nissan on which the Tabernacle was [finally] erected....

If Rashi waited for Shemini to clarify this point, we must say that he is consistent with his rule that he does not interpret a verse [or incident] in a certain way until he reaches the actual verses which compel him to give the particular commentary. Therefore in this case we must say that the corroborating evidence to confirm that in fact Rosh Chodesh was the eighth day of installation does not appear until the portion of Shemini.

This raises the following questions:

  1. What is that proof? What new information do we find in Shemini that does not appear earlier, which convinces Rashi to state clearly then that Rosh Chodesh was the eighth day of installation? In fact those commentaries who choose to say here in Pekudei that the 1st of Nissan was the first day of training remain consistent in Shemini and still say the same there. What did Rashi find in Shemini to prove otherwise?

  2. Having mentioned that Rashi follows a rule not to interpret a verse in a particular manner until the proof is found, we find a contradiction from a Rashi at the end of this chapter. Shmos 40:35:

    And Moshe was not able to come into the Communion Tent But another verse says: ... and when Moshe came into the Communion Tent ..., there comes however a third verse and reconciles [these apparently contradictory verses] for it says here: ... when the cloud abode thereon. Hence you may say: so long as the cloud was upon it, Moshe was not able to come [into the Communion Tent], but as soon as the cloud disappeared he entered it and spoke with Him [G-d]. (Shmos 40:35)

    Here we see that Rashi tackles a problem that will not arise until many chapters later. The verse: And when Moshe came into ..., which contradicts the verse that he could not enter, is not written until the portion of Naso.

    But to this contradiction in Rashis rules we may find a simple solution. The verse which Rashi quotes to clear up the seemingly contradictory verses appears here in our chapter; it is the latter half of the same verse on which the question was raised. Certainly in this case Rashi will not wait until the questioning verse appears, since the second half of this verse has to be understood properly within the context of a question and answer framework.

  3. There is another point in this portion which needs clarification from a fundamental reading, and strangely enough Rashi is again silent.

    Pedagogues who teach the story of the construction of the Mishkan traditionally have taught the order as follows: First the curtains around the courtyard were put up, then the laver, then the Tabernacle, followed by placing all the utensils into the Tabernacle: the outer [sacrificial] altar, the inner [incense] altar, candelabra, table and last, the Holy Ark.

    In Pekudei, chapter 40, the order is different}:~ First Moshe erected the Tabernacle, then he brought in the Holy Ark, then he hung the separating curtain, followed by table, candelabra, golden [incense] altar. Then he hung the curtain at the entrance of the Tabernacle, followed by the [sacrificial] altar, the laver and finally the surrounding curtains of the courtyard.

    This order is very difficult to accept. How could Moshe place the Ark in its place and then put up the separating curtain and only put up the courtyard curtains way at the end? Later in the end of Bamidbar the five-year-old Chumash student will learn that no one was allowed to see the Ark uncovered! If Moshe put the Ark in the Tabernacle before he hung up the separation curtain and before there was a courtyard the Ark would have been visible from the Tabernacle to the people all around.

    Similarly in this chapter there are several specific Tabernacle services mentioned which Moshe performed, but the order of the verses is inconsistent with reality and rule. As the Ramban indicates, it is inconceivable that Moshe burned incense before the courtyard was set up; that would be tantamount to bringing a sacrifice outside of the Sanctuary. So the Ramban says that the chronological order of these verses referring to the particular acts is not in order but they were actually done in their proper permitted time.

    Similarly, when was the laver put in its place? Could it have been at the end? very unlikely! No Sanctuary service could be done without the Kohanim first washing their hands and feet from the laver!

    Our dilemma is, since Rashi does not indicate a different order for these verses, as the Rambam did, then we mustsay that Rashi held that the listed order truly was the chronological order of what happened, exactly as recorded here. Sacrifices were offered before the courtyard was made?! Sanctuary service was done without washing the hands?! Can this be?!

    Another point which demands our attention. In chapter 40, towards the conclusion of Pekudei, the Torah tells us of Moshes step by step construction of the Tabernacle and the placement of the vessels therein. In verse 27 we are told: Then he burned perfume incense on it.... Rashi comments:

    In the morning and in the evening, as it is said: Aaron shall burn incense on [the Altar] each morning when he cleans out the lamps. [He shall also burn incense before evening when He lights the lamps]. (Shmos 30:7-8)

    Thus, from the sentence Rashi quotes, he derives that the incense must be burned in the morning and before evening and certainly Moshe did exactly that on the first day the Tabernacle was set up.

    Our question is: why does Rashi only add that the incense was burned by Moshe on that day in the morning and evening. The same should also have been true for the candelabra, mentioned in the previous verse. We know this from the same verse that Rashi brought as proof for the incense there too it says that the lamps were lit twice daily, morning and evening.

    If you will say that Rashi had this in mind and waited till the verse about the incense, there to explain it, with the inference, that it also was true about the candelabra, then Rashi should have waited two more sentences and he could have included the daily Tamid sacrifice which was also done twice daily. There Rashi also does not mention that Moshe did it twice.

    In other words, verses 24-29 deal with three services of the Tabernacle that were normally done twice a day: lighting the lamps, burning incense and sacrificing the daily Tamid. Why does Rashi skip the first, comment on the second, with a proof that could also explain the first, and then forget about the third?

    Another point that needs clarification. When Moshe completed the construction of the Tabernacle, that morning, the Torah told us:

    Then a cloud covered the Communion Tent and the glory of the Eternal filled the Tabernacle. And Moshe was not able to come into the Communion Tent, because the cloud abode thereon.

    If so, could Moshe re-enter the Tabernacle in the evening to burn the incense [or light the Menorah] wouldnt the cloud of glory have prevented him?

    It would not be logical to say, that after bestowing the Shechinah on the Mishkan (Tabernacle) in the morning, which showed His great satisfaction with our work, G-d then removed the cloud of glory in the afternoon of the same day.

    As Rashi himself stated: I have come only to explain the plain translation of Scripture, we must find an answer for these questions in the simple and fundamental explanation of Torah. So that even the five-year-old Chumash student will understand.

The explanation of Rashi:

When we approach the details of the construction of the Tabernacle on the first day of Nissan, as described at the conclusion of Pekudei, through Rashis eyes, we must say that simple translation accepts the literal sequence of events as stated. If not, Rashi would have cited some source or proof to alter that understanding.

But, you will ask, there are so many discrepancies compared with the usual procedure. Well the only answer is: the initiation days were different! And they were different in the most fundamental way. Not Aharon or his sons, but Moshe, served as Kohen Gadol, wearing white garments, which never happened again. For this reason, later in Shemini the Torah tells us that Moshe taught Aharon how to burn the incense, did he not learn how to do it from watching Moshe? But the service of the eight training days was different. So Moshe had to teach Aharon the regular way of burning the incense.

Consequently, following this literal approach we are not perturbed by the fact that the incense and sacrifices were offered before the curtains of the courtyard were put up. Despite the fact that normally this would be prohibited, during the initiation days it was proper!

Similarly, the laver was put in place after many sacrifices were offered. Where did Moshe ritually wash his hands before these sacrifices? he didnt have to! The training days were different!

Another thought may be added. Although it is clear that Moshe was not commanded to ritually wash his hands before approaching the service of the initiation days, he was however commanded to immerse the sons of Aharon in a mikveh if so, a fortiori, Moshe certainly immersed himself. The five-year-old Chumash student might have wondered how Moshe could approach the sacred service without washing he always sees his own father and teacher wash their hands before doing a holy act. But since he immersed in a mikveh that was a greater purification.

With this background we can understand the difference between the incense, which Rashi says that Moshe burned twice a day, and the candles or Tamid sacrifice which may have been brought only once a day during the training days.

Why was the incense burned twice? Rashi had already explained that the incense was prepared in daily portions and divided into half, one burned in the morning and one in the afternoon. Therefore here Rashi assumes that the portion assigned to the afternoon had to be burned at that time if not it would fall into the category of left over which is not permitted.

This answer however is not satisfying. The daily portion of perfumed incense was normally divided in half, because it had to be sacrificed at two times. But during the initiation days things were different; we find no mention of a second incense burning and therefore the entire daily portion could have been burned at once, in the morning.

We must therefore understand Rashi differently and a bit surprisingly. When Rashi says that on Rosh Chodesh Nissan Moshe burned incense in the morning and evening his intention was to the previous evening.

Being that Rashi connects the incense to the cleaning of the Menorah which was prepared and lit thi evening prior to-Rosh Chodesh [if he cleaned the candelabra in the morning of Rosh Chodesh he must have lit it the last evening]. Similarly the incense was burned the evening before Rosh Chodesh and then on Rosh Chodesh morning again.


4. This is the last Shabbos in the month of Adar. Let us examine the special quality of the month of Adar this year.

This year is a regular year, not a leap year, like last year, or next year, the difference of course being in the month of Adar.

Every month has its special aspects and particular name, which indicates also the specific Divine service which a Jew must do in order to reveal the unique quality of the month.

Adar is the month which was changed from sorrow to iov through the Divine service of all the Jews, their fasting and praying.

In a leap year it seems that we need 59 days in which to accomplish the necessary Divine service expected of us. In the normal year of one Adar, we can accomplish this feat in 29 days! Think about this for a moment! We speak of Adar, the month of good fortune in a leap year you can make no shortcuts, you need 59 days. Now look at this year, in 29 days you are able to complete the same job. Each day is twice as powerful. Thus the Divine service on our part must match the force of the days of the month twice as strong.

Practically, let everyone utilize the last few days of the month of Adar to intensify their activities. As the Rashab exclaimed, regarding the last period of the diaspora, that we must grab whatever we can get in Torah and mitzvos even if seems to be unorderly.

This work should be directed especially to the area of the mivtzoyim, starting with Purim, Light, means the Torah and honor, means the tefillin (Megillah 16b).

Similarly, the other projects: Love and unity of Jews, Jewish education, Torah, tefillin, mezuzah, tzedakah, Jewish books at home, candle lighting for Shabbos and holidays, kashrus, family purity and inscribing letters in the Sefer Torah.

Our involvement in these matters will effect the ... bringing of one redemption closer to the other redemption. Purim, to Pesach, to the true and complete Messianic redemption. It should be truly immediate, so that with the close of Shabbos we shall already be in our Holy Land, in Yerushalayim the Holy City, expanded to cover all of Eretz Yisrael (and Eretz Yisrael will expand to cover the globe).

May the forthcoming Pesach see us in the Holy Temple ... to eat of the Pascal sacrifice and festival sacrifice speedily and truly in our days.


  Yechidus
Eve of l9th of Adar, 5745
The Letter sent out by the Lubavitcher Rebbe
Rosh Chodesh Nissan, 5745
 
  
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