Monthly Archives: 9 Nisan 5775

Parshas TeTzave

This is the only Parsha in the Torah, after Moshe Rabainu was born, that his name does not appear. The Zohar explains that this is not a coincidence.

After B’nei Yisroel worshiped the Golden Calf, Moshe begged Hashem to forgive them. He begged so strongly that he told Hashem that if H. didn’t forgive them then “erase me from Y.ur books”. Even though that Hashem did forgive Bnei Yisroel, Moshe’s words were so potent that the curse that Moshe put on himself actually took hold and, therefore, his name “was erased” from our parsha.

The question arises, though, why was is his name not mentioned specifically in this parsha and not in some other parsha?

Zera Shimshon gives a novel explanation.

Chazal tell us that three halachos were difficult for Moshe to understand; the mitzvah to make the Menoro, the mitzvah to sanctify the new month, and the mitzvah to give machtsis hasheckel (a half a sheckel). They were so difficult for Moshe that Hashem had to actually show them to him!

Zera Shimshon asks, what was so difficult to understand in these halachos? It seems that there are a lot of just as, if not more, difficult halachos.

He answers that in actuality they really weren’t difficult to understand. Moshe’s difficulty was due to the fact that each of these halachos implied that Moshe would pass away in the desert and not enter Eretz Yisroel.

How is this?

Shlomo HaMelech was commanded to build put into the Beis HaMikdash ten Menorahs. The Sha“ch on the Torah explains the reason for this is that Shlomo ruled over all 70 nations and therefore 70 candles burnt on his menoros (7 candles on each menorah on ten Menoros). On the other hand, Moshe was commanded to build only one Menorah with seven candles which represents that Clal Yisroel will not rule over the whole world, but only over seven nations until Shlomo HaMelech.

When Moshe learnt this (there is a slight allusion in our parsha that Shlomo HaMelech will build ten menoros) he understood that he would not bring Bnei Yisroel into Eretz Yisroel and he would not be with them when the whole world would be under their rule.

Moshe reached the same conclusion when he heard the Mitzvo of machtsis hasheckel. Moshe Rabeinu wondered why is the mitzvah to give only a half a sheckel and not a whole one?

The word sheckel” in the “atbash” alphabet (which is that the first letter of the alphabet, “aleph“, turns into the last letter “tuff“. The second letter of the alphabet, bais“, turns into the second to the last letter shin” etc.) is spelled “bais“, daleth“, “chuff“. The gematria of this word is twenty six which is also the gematria of Hashem’s name.

Moshe therefore reasoned that the reason that there is a mitzvah to give only a half a sheckel is because Hashem’s name will not be complete in his days. In other words he will not live to see comlete rule of Hashem in this world but he will die in the desert.

The same thing happened when he heard the mitzvah to sanctify the the new moon.

Moshe reasoned that if there is a new moon then there is also an old one; meaning the moon gets bigger and then gets smaller. This correlates and this is connected to Eretz Yisroel that it is “Eretz Tzvi“, a land like a deer. Just like the skin of a deer stretches so too Eretz Yisroel will stretch according to the population. Moshe Rabainu knew that if he would enter Eretz Yisroel then it would stay big and the moon will also always be full. Therefore when he heard from Hashem that there is a new (and therefore also) an old moon he concluded that he would not enter Eretz Yisroel but stay in the desert.

“What is the source that this is the explanation of Moshe’s difficulty? Maybe he simply didn’t understand these halachos?

Explains Zera Shimshon, it is from the fact that Moshe’s name is not mentioned in our Parsha!

The last word in last week’s parsha is “nechoshess” and it alludes to the fact that Moshe was showed these three halachos.

The letter nun” is the first letter of nair” (which means candle), the Menorah.

The letter chess” is the first letter of chodesh“, the new moon that starts the new month.

The letter “shin” is the first letter of Shekalim.

The letter “tuff” refers to the word tireh” which means you will see. It is only after Moshe saw these three halachos was he able to understand and them.

Therefore, concludes Zera Shimshon, our parsha, where Moshe’s name is not mentioned, is right next to the last word of last week’s parsha, “nechoshess“, which alludes to these three halachos, to teach us that it was the realization that he would be concealed and hidden after he dies (just like his name is hidden in this parsha) caused Moshe’s difficulty in understanding these three halachos.
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Parshas Terumah

On the opening possuk of our Parsha , “And you should take for M. a donation (teruma) ….” the Medrash comments, “This is the meaning of the possuk, “Moshe commanded us (to keep the Torah), it is an inheritance of Yaakov’s community.”

Zera Shimshon asks, firstly, what is the difficulty in the possuk that the Medrash comes to explain. Secondly, how does the possukMoshe commanded us (to keep the Torah) it is a inheritance of Yaakov’s community” resolve this difficulty?

Zera Shimshon answers by pointing out an apparent contradiction between two Medrashim . The Medrash in Shir HaShirim says in the name of Reb Nechemia that when Bnei Yisroel heard Hashem say the first two commandments of the Ten Commandments they were freed of the yetzer horro. Unfortunately, they became scared and asked Moshe to be the intermediator. At that point, the yetzer horro returned.

The Medrash in Shemos, also in the name of Reb Nechemia, seemingly contradicts this. There it says that we were freed from the Angel of Death (which Chazal say is the yetzer horro) when Moshe came down from the Mountain with the Ten Commandments engraved on the Tablets!

When were we freed from it, when we heard the first two commandments directly from Hashem or when Moshe received the Ten Commandments?

Zera Shimshon answers that we were actually freed from the yetzer horro both times! The first time was when we heard the first two commandments from Hashem. It then came back when we asked Moshe to be the intermediator. After that Hashem gave us another chance and freed us again from it when H. gave to Moshe the Ten Commandments written on the tablets of stone. However during those 40 days when Moshe was on the mount we sinned and Hashem gave us back the yetzer horro. It will now be with us and try to make us sin until Meshiach comes.

According to this, there are two reasons that we have a yetzer horro, that encourages us to sin, today. One, is that we asked for Moshe to tell us the mitzvos and, two, that we didn’t use the forty days that Moshe was on the Mount properly.

Zera Shimshon introduces one more idea in order to explain the Medrash that we quoted in the beginning of this d’var Torah.

Chazal say that the Beis HaMikdash is called mishkan” because it is collateral that we will keep the Torah (the word for collateral in Hebrew is mashkon” and it is spelled with the same letters as mishkan). Meaning, when we sin Hashem takes the Beis HaMikdash back (in other words H. destroys it).

With these two ideas , Zera Shimshon explains the Medrash.

The Medrash was bothered by a question, “Why did the Torah call the donations for the building of the Mishkan, Terumah and not some other word?”

It answers because “Moshe commanded us (to keep the Torah),” and we didn’t receive it directly from Hashem. If we would have learnt the whole Torah directly from Hashem then we would have understood it right away and it would not have taken 40 days. However since, “Moshe commanded us (to keep the Torah),” it took forty days for him to learn the whole Torah to teach us. This is alluded to in the word terumah” that the Zohar teaches us contains the word Torah” and the Hebrew letter “mem” which has the numerical value of forty.

There still, though, remains another question. Why is it important to mention at the time of collecting to build the Mishkan that the Torah was given in forty days and not immediately?

The answer is that the Mishkan is also a mashkon (collateral) that we don’t sin. And like we mentioned before, the reason why the yezter horro exists and causes us to sin is because we didn’t act properly during those forty days.

Therefore when money was being collected for the mishkan” the Torah alludes to the time that caused us to need the Mishkan as a mashkon“!