Thursday, March 3, 2016

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Vayakhel

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.

The Torah writes in Vayakhel 35:22 that the men came with the women, everyone whose heart motivated him brought bracelets, noserings...

R' Frand quoted the Targum which explains that the women actually wore the jewelry items until the moment they were donated, at which time they gave them to the treasurer.

But why did they wear the items if they knew that they would be donating them? If they knew that they would be giving them away, why go to the trouble of putting the items on and then taking them off?

R' Moshe Feinstein explains that the women did this because they did not want it to appear that these were cast offs - jewelry that the women did not wear which had been sitting around collecting dust. By wearing these items, the women showed that these were valuable to them.

R' Frand remarked that we can learn a lesson from the women as to how to give tzedakah. Its more important how one gives tzedakah then the amount that is given.

R' Frand tied this into pesukim later in the perek where the Torah writes in Vayakhel 35:25, that every wise hearted woman spun with her hands and brought the spun yarn of turquoise, purple and scarlet ...Then in the following pasuk (35:26) the Torah writes that all the women whose hearts inspired them with wisdom spun the goat hair. 

Rashi on 35:26 quotes a gemara in Meseches Shabbos which states that the spinning was a remarkable act in that they spun the goat hair while it was still attached to the goat. It should be noted that in Parshas Terumah, Rashi does not quote this gemara in discussing the goat hair.

Why did they do this? The Seforno writes that they spun on the backs of the goat so that the fabric would be shinier. The Maskil L'David writes that it was done this way because the fabric was uncolored and would more easily become dirty, so leaving it on the backs of the goats would keep it cleaner.R' Yonasan Abeishetz explains that this prevented it from becoming tamei.

R' Frand also noted that in 35:25 the Torah refers to women in the singular form and in 35:26 it uses the plural form. Again, why is this different?

To tie these thoughts together, R' Frand quoted the Tolner Rebbi who told a story about a Gerrer Chassid who was poor but happily made a Shalom Zachor for the birth of his son. The Gerrer Rebbi's son came late to the Shalom Zachor and there was no food left to serve him. The new father looked around and finally found an onion. He put the onion on a plate and presented it to the Rebbi's son with fanfare more appropriate for a fancy dish. He did this because he was so happy to see the Rebbi's son at his simcha. In so doing he turned an onion into a delicacy.

R' Frand next quoted a Gemara in Meseches Kiddushin which states that a man can give his father a delicacy but give it to him in a disrespectful fashion and in so doing, he loses his Olam Haba. Or he can give his father to grind and in so doing get Olam Haba. Tosafos explains that the father had been drafted into the army and the son volunteered to take his place and the father took over his job as a grinder. Again, its not the gift, its how its given.

R' Frand told a personal story about how when he was in Kollel he and his wife did not have much but they wanted to give her mother a gift, so his wife made her mother a quilt. And her mother recognized the effort and appreciated it.

This explains the pesukim in our parsha. The women who were wealthier dyed and wove the fancy colors (35:25) and gave them to the Mishkan. The women who were less wealthy gave goat hair (35:26). Even though no one would know or see the goat hair, they did it in a special way, using their great wisdom in order to show Hashem how important it was to them.

R' Frand observed that this must have taken a special skill, but it also required a group effort because one person can't control the goat. Thus the women worked together and that is why the Torah in 35:26 uses the plural form and the special language that their hearts were inspired to do this. This is also why Rashi mentions the Gemara in Shabbos here - because it was done with their full hearts.

Lastly R' Frand tied this into the Pasuk in Vayikra (2:1) wherein the Torah writes "V'Nefesh Ki Sakriv" which discusses the mincha offering. Who brought a mincha offering? A poor person. But a poor person does not have much, so by offering his flour he is giving from his meager possessions and showing how important it was for him.

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