Thursday, March 19, 2009

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Vayakhel - Pikudei

The following is a brief summary of a thought said over by R' Frand in his shiur this evening. I have attempted to reproduce this vort to the best of my ability. Any perceived inconsistencies are the result of my efforts to transcribe the shiur and should not be attributed to R' Frand.

In Shemos 38:8, the Torah discusses the Kiyor (laver) which was used in the Mishkan. The Torah recites that the Kiyor was made from mirrors which were donated by the people. Rashi explains that these mirrors were used by the women of Bnei Yisrael to check their makeup. Rashi then brings a medrash that Moshe was originally disgusted by the prospect of using the mirrors to build a part of the Mishkan, since the mirrors had been used for "yetzer hara." Hashem then said to Moshe "accept the mirrors as they are more dear to me than anything else, since the mirrors were used by the Jewish women in Egypt to create legions of people."

R' Frand then quoted R' David Kviat (sp?) of the Mirrer Yeshiva who asked - how could Moshe and Hashem have looked at the situation from two completely different perspectives? While a machlokes in shas may be about many different things, it is not usually in logic (svara). So why were Moshe and Hashem reasoning in such a different manner?

R' Kviat answered that Moshe was unaware of the mirrors' usage in Egypt. He did not know that prior to his birth, the men of Egypt did not want to cohabit with their spouses because they were afraid that their children would be killed or enslaved. The women would then use these mirrors to fix their make up so that they could go and convince their husbands that they should have children. As a result of their efforts, the Jewish people did not die off and their numbers multiplied greatly in Egypt. On the other hand, Hashem was certainly aware of the positive purpose these mirrors were used for as they were instrumental in the perpetuation of the Jewish people.

R' Frand then cited to the line from Shma which states that one should love Hashem with all their hearts (bichol livaveha) which Chazal teach means with both one's yetzer hatov and yetzer hara. How does one accomplish this? Serving Hashem with the yetzer hatov is easy. Serving with the yetzer hara can be accomplished on two different levels. The simple level is by defeating the yetzer hara and resisting improper urges. The higher level is by using the yetzer hara to serve Hashem and turning a base act into an act of Heavenly service.

The Torah recites in sefer Shemos that the Kohein Gadol wore the tzits on his forehead. On the tzits was written the words "kodesh l'Hashem". R' Frand explained that the reason why this object was unique (no other article of the Kohein Gadol's clothing had this writing) was that the tzits was on the forehead which is a part of the body with a negative connotation (usually meaning chutzpah). By wearing the tzits on the forehead with the words "kodesh l'Hashem" written there, it was a way of showing that something which could be chutzpah could be converted and used for a Heavenly purpose.

R' Frand then stated that there are times when chutzpah is appropriate. He brought a proof from the gemara in the end of Sotah that discusses that in the time of Moshiach "chutzpah yazgeh" - chutzpah will be prevalent. The Kotzker Rav explains this to mean that at the time of Moshiach the Jews will need chutzpah in order to survive.

R' Frand then quoted a medrash on Pikudei related to the conclusion of the Mishkan. He explained that when the Jews finished the Mishkan, Moshe gave them a bracha "Yehi Ratzon She'Tishreh Schina B'Maasei Yadecha" - that it should be Hashem's will that His presence will dwell in the work of your hands. R' Frand then asked - it was already promised to the Jews that Hashem will dwell in the Mishkan as the pasuk states "V'asu Li Mikdash V'Schachanti B'Socham." Why is there a need for a blessing that Hashem will do what He already said He woud do? R' Frand answered that the bracha was that Hashem would dwell in all their actions - that mundane daily tasks would be transformed in the do'ers eyes to Heavenly tasks and that common acts such as eating or sleeping would be seen as being done for the sake of Shamayim. This was the greater level of using one's yetzer and the bracha given by Moshe.

R' Frand closed by citing a thought from R' Shimshon Rephael Hirsh about sefer Vayikra. The first korban in Vayikra is an Olah which is completely consumed by the altar. The last korban in sefer Vayikra is the Ma'aser Behema which is a shelamim and almost completely consumed by the donor. The limud of sefer Vayikra is that by doing things for the right reason, even a korban which is nearly entirely consumed by the donor will be converted to a heavenly purpose.

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