Thursday, February 11, 2016

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Terumah

The following is a brief summary of some of thoughts said over by R' Frand on the parsha this evening. I have attempted to reproduce these vorts 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.

R' Frand began the vort by noting that Parshas Terumah was one of the most successful fund raisers as the Jews donated all that was needed to make the Mishkan. This included precious metals such as gold and silver as well as animal skins. 

R' Frand then quoted the beginning of next week's parsha (Tezaveh) that Moshe was commanded (Tzav) to tell the Jews to take olive oil. Rashi on Parshas Tzav explains that the language Tzav is a command or a direction that something must be done with enthusiasm.

R' Frand then asked - in this week's parsha the Jews donated gold and silver and next week's parsha only olive oil. If anything, the Jews would need more encouragement to give gold and silver, not olive oil. So why does next week's parsha have the language of Tzav?

R' Frand answered the question by quoting the sefer Abir Ya'akov which opines about human nature. A person could come to your door and ask for a major donation - $1,000 and you might give it. But if the following week ten people come to your door over the day and each ask for $100, which day is more difficult? R' Frand quoted the Rambam in his explanation of Pikei Avos that if a person does something over and over again, it will have a greater impact on him personally than a one time activity. If a person wants to change his middos, he needs to repeat and repeat so that it will become ingrained. 

The concept of donating for the creation of the Mishkan was a one time activity and was accompanied by much fanfare. But the giving of the olive oil was a constant as the Mishkan literally burned through oil and there was a constant need for donations. For this reason, the Torah needed to use the language of Tzav in next week's parsha.

R' Frand also said a second vort on Terumah in which he quoted a Medrash which ties the parsha to the pasuk Ki Lekach Tov Nasati Lachem Torasi Al Ta'azovu - Torah is a great purchase and it should never be abandoned. If a person has Torah they have gold and silver, whereas in this world he could only have gold or he could only have silver. But if a person has gold, why do they have a need for silver?

R' Frand answered by quoting R' Chaim who linked this to the Hagaddah. In the Hagaddah we preface the discussion of the four sons with the statement "Boruch HaMakom Boruch Hu, Boruch Shenasan Torah L'Amo Yisrael." But why does the Hagaddah give this as an introduction? 

R' Frand observed that in most disciplines a six year old and a seasoned professional do not study the same topic. Algebra is fine for 9th graders, but you would not study algebra with a college professor at MIT. But unlike math, every Jewish household will study Parshas Terumah. The children will come home from school and talk about the Mishkan, as will every Rav from the pulpit. Similarly, a 5th grader could study mishnayos Alu Metziyos or a Gadol could give shiur on the same mishna. 

This is why Torah is compared with both gold and silver. Torah is gold and can be studied on the deepest of levels, but it can also be studied and appreciated by someone on a simpler level - to him it is basic silver, but he can still appreciate it.

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