Thursday, March 8, 2018

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshios Vaykhel-Pikudei

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 first vort R' Frand said tonight identified a difference in the way that the Torah identifies the fourth row of stones of the Choshen in Pikudei (vs Tezaveh). In Pikudei (Shemos 39:13) the Torah writes that the stones of the fourth row were "musebos" - encircled or surrounded by the gold settings. However in Tezaveh (Shemos 28:20) the word does not appear and the stones are just described as set in gold in their mountings.

R' Frand quoted R' Nosson Greenberg who in turn quoted R' Shmuel Birnbaum who was a Rosh Yeshiva in the Mirrer Yeshiva in Brooklyn, who discussed the words for the stones - Avnei Miluim - aka filler stones. He noted that filler is not a positive descriptive term and R' Frand embellished by talking about how rice is the filler in stuffed cabbage and that Hamburger Helper stretches one pound of ground beef into two. But since the stones of the Choshen were more valuable than the gold, why were the stones called filler?

R' Birnbaum answers that they were filler in the sense that they filled up and completed the Choshen. When a person completes another person or task they are not just filling in the gap. This is a special task they are performing and worthy of accolade.  

This is why the Avnei Miluim did not need a special phrase - because by filling in the gap they were special.

R' Greenberg then explained that this is why the word musebos is mentioned in Parshas Pikudei. At this point in the Mishkan preparation there was a sense of accomplishment and the task was completed. 

R' Frand then tied this to the concept of Tzedakah. This is why a person who gives Tzedakah feels positive about himself. He is not just helping someone, he is performing a mitzva. For this reason the word for giving V'Nasenu is spelled the same forwards and backwards - giving Tzedakah helps the recipient and the donor.

R' Frand also said a second vort on the repetitive use of the words "K'Ashe Tziva Hashem es Moshe" which appear in the parshios. R' Frand quoted the Baal HaTurim who explains that these words appear since Moshe said that he should be wiped out of the Sefer in Parshas Ki Sissa, so Hashem in effect states -- all of these things were done as I commanded Moshe.

But this could have been accomplished by one reference, and instead there are 18 times that the words appear. The Baal HaTurim equates this with the 18 blessings in Shemoneh Esreh. He also notes that words appear once with a slight variation which then would include the V'LaMalshinim blessing. He also notes that the sum total of these words is 113, which is parallel to the 113 words of the closing blessings in Shemoneh Esreh. Last, he notes that the number of times that Lev appears in the Torah is 113, which teaches that a person must concentrate when he prays.

R' Frand next quoted R' Elya Svei who in turn quotes the Targum Yonasan Ben Uziel, who explains that each of the locations of fixtures in the Mishkan were there for a reason. The Shulchan was in the north, because parnasah (in the form of rain) came from the north. The Menorah was in the south as wisdom (illumination from the rays of the sun and moon) came from the south. Each fixture had a particular location and brought with it a particular blessing.

R' Frand closed the vort by stating that the point of the Baal HaTurim was that nowadays we dont have any of these fixtures or a Mishkan or Beis HaMikdash, but we do have the 18 berachos of Shemoneh Esreh and if we pay attention and concentrate, we can iyh achieve these blessings.

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