Thursday, February 3, 2011

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Terumah

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

In Parshas Terumah the Torah discusses many of the parts of the mishkan, including the Keruvim (aka cherubs). The gemara in Yoma states that when the Beis Hamikdash was being sacked by the Romans, they entered the Kodesh Kodashim and saw that the Keruvim were embracing. The Romans poked fun at this, asking why embracing statues would be in the holiest place to the Jews.

R' Frand mentioned a question which was asked by the Ramban and Ritva in relation to a gemara in Bava Basra. The gemara there states that when the Jews were doing the mitzvos the Keruvim would embrace. When the Jews were not following Hashem's laws the Keruvim would turn away from each other. Given this rule of thumb, it is difficult to understand why the Keruvim were embracing when the Romans invaded the temple. We know that the Jews were not properly keeping the mitzvos at the time of the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash, so why were the Keruvim together?

R' Frand offered a few different answers to the question. One of the more interesting answers was suggested by the Bnei Yissoschar. He states that it is emblematic of the rule that one should honor and show appreciation to one's spouse before going away on a journey. Even though the Jews were not following Hashem's rules, the Keruvim were together and giving a symbolic goodbye embrace to the Jews.

A more poignant answer was suggested in the name of the sefer Shabbos U'Moadim. He quoted a medrash which told the story of a Jew who was being taken out to be stoned. They asked the Jew why he was being stoned and he responded - becuase I gave my son a bris milah. Another Jew was being taken out to be burned and they asked him why he was being punished. He said that it was because he had kept shabbos. We see from this medrash that throughout the generations there will be nations which will forbid or punish Jews for keeping the mitzvos. Through it all, the Jews will still cling to Hashem and do his will, much like the Keruvim which stayed together when the Romans were invading.

Rabbi Frand brought a proof to this concept from the Hoshanos that we say on Sukkos. One of the Hoshanas (Om Ani Choma) states that the Jewish nation declares that they are a wall and are likened to a palm tree, yet are murdered for Hashem's sake and are regarded like sheep for slaughter, although scattered among those who taunt [them, the Jews] hug and cleave to Hashem.

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