Category Archives: Shemos

Parshas Terumah

(ב) דַּבֵּר אֶל בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְיִקְחוּ לִי תְּרוּמָה מֵאֵת כָּל אִישׁ אֲשֶׁר יִדְּבֶנּוּ לִבּוֹ תִּקְחוּ אֶת תְּרוּמָתִי: (ג) וְזֹאת הַתְּרוּמָה אֲשֶׁר תִּקְחוּ מֵאִתָּם זָהָב וָכֶסֶף וּנְחשֶׁת: (ד) וּתְכֵלֶת וְאַרְגָּמָן וְתוֹלַעַת שָׁנִי וְשֵׁשׁ וְעִזִּים: (ה) וְעֹרֹת אֵילִם מְאָדָּמִים וְעֹרֹת תְּחָשִׁים וַעֲצֵי שִׁטִּים: (ו) שֶׁמֶן לַמָּאֹר בְּשָׂמִים לְשֶׁמֶן הַמִּשְׁחָה וְלִקְטֹרֶת הַסַּמִּים: (ז) אַבְנֵי שֹׁהַם וְאַבְנֵי מִלֻּאִים לָאֵפֹד וְלַחשֶׁן: (שמות כה/ב-ז):

It is written in the beginning of the parsha, “Speak to Bnei Yisroel, and have them take for Me an donation; from every person whose heart inspires him to generosity, you shall take My donation. And this is the offering that you shall take from them: (1) gold, (2) silver, and (3) copper; (4) blue, (5) purple, and (6) crimson wool; (7) linen and (8) goat hair; (9) ram skins dyed red, (10) tachash skins, and (11) acacia wood; (12) oil for lighting, (13) spices for the anointing oil and (14) for the incense; (15) shoham stones and (16) filling stones for the ephod and for the choshen“.(Shemos 25/2-7)

Rashi comments (possuk 2), “Our Rabbis said: [The word teruma– donation-mentioned three times, denotes that] three donations are mentioned here. One is the donation of a beka [half-shekel] per head, from which they made the sockets, as it is written in parshas Pekudai.

(The second one is referring to) the donation of a beka per head for the [community] coffers, from which to purchase the communal sacrifices.

And another one is the donation for the Mishkan, each one’s donation .

The thirteen materials mentioned in this section were all required for the work of the Mishkan or for the garments of the kohanim, [as you will find] when you study them closely.”

Zera Shimshon asks that why does Rashi say that there are only thirteen materials mentioned in our parsha. Count them and you will see that there are really sixteen materials mentioned!

Secondly, what is the connection between the first part of the Rashi, that there are three times that Bnei Yisroel brought donations, and the end part, that there are thirteen materials used in the Mishkan?

In order to understand the Zera Shimshon’s answer to these questions we need to first have some background.

There are two main categories of karbonos (sacrifices) that are brought in the Bais HaMikdash; a korbon tzibor (a communal sacrifice) and a korbon yacheed (a personal and privately owned sacrifice). The animal, wine, and flour of a korbon tzibor are bought with money collected from ALL of Klal Yisroel, either with the machtzis hasheckel (which everyone in Klal Yisroel gives around Rosh Chodesh Adar) or by EVERYONE donating some money when that korbon is needed.

There is an opinion in the Mishna (Shekalim 4/1) that an individual cannot buy a korbon and then give it to the whole community. Akorbon tzibor must be bought with money that belongs to everyone. His reasoning is that we cannot rely on an individual tototally relinquish his ownership on this animal and actually give it to the whole nation. In the depths of his heart he will feel that it is his korbon being sacrificed.

The Talmud Yerushalmi (ibid) qualifies this halacha. It says that we can’t take a korbon tzibuer from and individual only when that animal (or wine or flour) is a korbon itself. However anything needed only for the preparation of the korbon (machshirie korbon) he agrees that an individual can donate it and give it to the general tzibbur and we trust that he fully gave it.

According to this, explains, Zera Shimshon, we can explain the words of Rashi.

Rashi starts by saying that the last of the three “donations” was the “donation for the Mishkan, each one’s donation”. Meaning, that these were private donations, and therefore according to the above Tana in the Mishna, can only be used for machshirie korbon and not for a korbon itself.

Two materials out of the sixteen mentioned, the oil and the spices for the incense were a korbon itself and therefore could not come from a personal donation.

The silver that was donated was also not used in the building of the Mishkan or for the garments of the kohanim. Only the silver that was collected from all of Klal Yisroel was used to build the Mishkan. The silver that was collected was used to make different utensils needed in the Mishkan.

Since these three materials were either not taken as a donation or not used in the building of the Mishkan, Rashi’s words, “the thirteen materials mentioned in this section were all required for the work of the Mishkan or for the garments of the kohanim…” is precise!

2

דַּבֵּר אֶל בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְיִקְחוּ לִי תְּרוּמָה מֵאֵת כָּל אִישׁ אֲשֶׁר יִדְּבֶנּוּ לִבּוֹ תִּקְחוּ אֶת תְּרוּמָתִי:

On the second 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“!

3

דַּבֵּר אֶל בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְיִקְחוּ לִי תְּרוּמָה מֵאֵת כָּל אִישׁ אֲשֶׁר יִדְּבֶנּוּ לִבּוֹ תִּקְחוּ אֶת תְּרוּמָתִי:

On the second possuk in our parsha, “Speak to Bnei Yisroel and the they should take for M. a contribution”, Zera Shimshon asks that the term “take for me” (va’yikchu lee) doesn’t really fit with the object of the possuk “contribution”. Seemingly, a better choice of word is . (The one who relinquish the rights to something, like B’nei Yisroel, doesn’t take the contribution but rather gives it!)

He explains according to the Gemorra in Nedarim and in Chulin that at the time of the Bais HaMikdash righteous people did not consecrate an animal that they wanted to sacrifice immediately when they decided to bring a korbon.

Rather, they only choose the animal that they wanted to sacrifice, brought it to Yerushaliyam, and only there, when they were already next to the Bais HaMikdash, did they halachly consecrated it .

The reason for this is that they were afraid that they might accidentally use the animal and transgress the avairo of m’eila (using or benefitting from Hekdash).

Even though that on the one hand it is more virtuous to consecrate the korbon immediately than to wait; like this he won’t be able to back down from his promise. However the fear of these righteous people not to do an avairo overweighed this virtue.

This, explains Zera Shimshon, is what the possuk alludes to when it wrote “take for me” (va’yikchu lee) and not “give me a contribution” (va’yitnu lee). The word “take” implies that one brings into their ownership something that previously existed somewhere else.

Give, on the other hand, doesn’t presuppose any previous state.

The possuk therefore uses the term “take for me” (va’yikchu lee) to warn the people not to consecrate the materials that they bring for the building of the Mishkan until they are ready to use them. Rather they should designate what they want to give and only after that should they TAKE it, and give it for the building of the Mishkan. Like this they will not transgress the avairo of m’eila!

HaRav Shimshon Nachmaini, author of Zera Shimshon lived in Italy about 300 years ago in the time of the Or HaChaim HaKodesh.

The Chida writes that he was a great Mekubal and wrote many sefarim including sefarim about practical kabbolo but asked that all of his sefarim be burned after he passes away except for Zera Shimshon and Niflaos Shimshon on Avos.

He had one child who died in his lifetime (hence the name Zera Shimshon) and in the preface he promises for people who learn his sefarim after he dies ... And your eyes will see children and grandchildren like the offshoots of an olive tree around your tables, wise and understanding with houses filled with all manner of good things and wealth and honor

These d’vrai Torah are dedicated to Esther Yenta Bas Chana Chassia. In the merit of the learning Zera Shimshon’s divrai TorahHashem should answer her prayers and she should quickly find her proper match along with all the other members of Clal Yisroel who are also looking for their zivug hagun.

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Parshas Mishpatim

וְאִם אָמֹר יֹאמַר הָעֶבֶד אָהַבְתִּי אֶת אֲדֹנִי אֶת אִשְׁתִּי וְאֶת בָּנָי לֹא אֵצֵא חָפְשִׁי: וְהִגִּישׁוֹ אֲדֹנָיו אֶל הָאֱלֹהִים וְהִגִּישׁוֹ אֶל הַדֶּלֶת אוֹ אֶל הַמְּזוּזָה וְרָצַע אֲדֹנָיו אֶת אָזְנוֹ בַּמַּרְצֵעַ וַעֲבָדוֹ לְעֹלָם. (שמות כא/ה-ו)

On the possuk, “But if the slave (who worked for his master six years and is about to go free) says, “I love my master, my wife, and my children. I will not go free. His master shall bring him to the judges, and he shall bring him to the door or to the doorpost, and his master shall pierce his ear with an awl, and he shall serve him forever.

Rashi explains, “…Why was the ear chosen to be pierced out of all the organs of the body? Rabban Yochanan ben Zakkai said: The ear that heard on Har Sinai, “You shall not steal” (Shemos 20/3) and [then] went and stole, shall be pierced…”.

In other words, his ear is pierced because he didn’t carry out what he heard with his ears on Har Sinai that it is assur to steal.

Zera Shimshon asks that according to this, why is his ear pierced only after working for six years and choosing to be a slave even longer? It would seems that he deserves this punishment right at the time that he was caught stealing!

He answers in light of the Nemukai Yosef’s commentary on a gemorra in Moad Kattan (17a).

The Gemorro there relates, “Resh Lakish was once guarding an orchard [when] a person came and ate [some] figs. He shouted at him, but this man did not listen to him. (Resh Lakish, seeing this) said: ‘Let that person be in chairam (excommunicated)!’ He (the thieve) replied: ‘You [Resh Lakish] should be in chairam! I admit that I owe you money (because I stole your fruit), but do I deserve to be put into chairam?” [Resh Lakish] went to the Yeshiva (and reported what happened); they said to him: ‘His chairam is a (justified) chairam, yours was not a (justified) chairam!”.

Meaning, even though that this person stole, he didn’t deserve to be punished but only to pay back the figs that he stole. On the other hand, Resh Lakish was wrong for putting this person into chairam and therefore HE deserved to put into chairam!

The Nimukai Yosef, in the name of the Raivid, explains that the reason that this thief didn’t deserve to be put into chairam (even though he stole which is prohibited from the Torah) is because it is not certain that he had corrupt intentions. It was very likely that he reasoned that since these fruits were grown in order to be sold there was nothing wrong with eating them and to pay the owner later. Since he isn’t corrupt, he doesn’t deserve to be punished (only to return what he ate). The Nimukai Yosef goes on to say that this is only if we really believe that there was a chance that he mistakingly stole. However, if it is clear to the Dayanim that he had full intention to steal then he is immediately punished.

Let’s try to understand the intentions of thief who was sold to be a slave that the Chumash is speaking about.

It is written in the Gemorro (Babba Basra 116a), “RPinchus bar Chama taught, ‘Poverty in a person’s house is more difficult than fifty plagues….'”. Maharsha there learns from the fact that RPinchus bar Chama said “Poverty IN A PERSON’S HOUSE…” and not simply “Poverty…. that even when others around him are not in poverty and they can help him with a job etc. his situation is still worse than fifty plagues since he is not independent.

Therefore this poor man (who ended up stealing) had two choices in front of him. One choice was to sell himself to be a slave (instead of to steal and have Bais Din sell him to pay his debt). The other choice was to steal and when he got money he would pay back the one from whom he stole.

Bais Din assumed that the logic of his choice went like this. If he sold himself he would not alleviate the pain of poverty (like the Maharsha explained). In addition to this, Chazal (Kidushin 22b) learn from the possuk, “they (Bnei Yisroel) are my slaves” that one shouldn’t sell oneself to be a slave to someone else (since we are already Hashem’s slaves). He therefore chose to steal with the intention to pay back.

You might ask, “What did he gain?” To steal with the intent to pay back is also assur?

However he reasoned that this was still a better option. Firstly, the prohibition to sell oneself is more explicit (they are My slaves) than the prohibition to steal with the intention to pay back (which was derived from seemingly extra pessukim). And secondly, people don’t look at such a theft as something wrong. (The gemorro in Babba Kama writes that this halacha wasn’t even clear to Dovid HaMelech!)

Bais Din only considered the possibility that he did not have bad intentions until he chose to carry on being a slave at the end of six years. However, at the end of six years when he had a choice to go free but chose to stay on, Bais Din saw that his choice to steal and pay back was not based on the above reasoning. When he chose to stay on being a slave ax Bais ax Din saw that he doesn’t really mind a poverty of being dependent on others.

And from the fact that he didn’t resist the temptation to stay a slave because of the possuk “and on the seventh year he should go free” we see that he doesn’t really care what it says in the Chumash.

Concludes Zera Shimshon, since the two arguments that we used to judge him favorably were proven false we now give him the punishment to pierce his ear!
2

וְאֵלֶּה הַמִּשְׁפָּטִים אֲשֶׁר תָּשִׂים לִפְנֵיהֶם:

“And these are the laws that you should place before them.”

Seemingly this parsha is written out of order. In the middle of last week’s parsha the Torah writes about the Giving of The Torah. After that the Torah speaks about the mizbaiach. And after that comes our parsha, that teaches us civil laws. It would seem that the civil laws should be written right after the parsha of Giving The Torah.

Apparently Chazal were bothered by this question and they explain that the reason for is to teach us that just like this parsha is next to the halachos of the mizbaiach so too we should place the Sanhedrin next to the mizbaiach. (This is the wording of the Mechilta and some versions of Rashi. In other versions of Rashi it says that the Sanhedrin should be near to the Bais HaMikdash.)

Zera Shimshon asks that the Sanhedrin wasn’t at all next to the mizbaiach! The Sanhedrin sat in a room called Lishkas HaGazis. This room was situated on the outer parameter of the Bais HaMikdash, half built on kodesh ground and half built on non-kodesh ground. The Gemorro in Yoma (daf 25/a) says that the Sanhedrin sat in the non-kodesh part! How then do we understand this Chazal that says that the Sanhedrin was next to the mizbaiach?

Zera Shimshon explains that Chazal are not learning from the order of the pessukim the physical location of the Sanhedrin but rather they are learning that the Sanhedrin is similar to the mizbaiach. For instance, just like the mizbaiach is made up of complete stones that are not broken or even chipped, so too the members of Snahedrin must be complete in their personalities ( midos tovos).

He continues to say that we also learn another halacha concerning the Sanhedrin from the Mizbaiach.

Before we get to this halacha, Zera Shimshon asks another question.

Chazal explain that this possuk, “And these are the laws that you should place before them” is not only a preface to the whole parsha. It teaches us the specific halacha that the laws in this parsha should only be given over and taught to Jews and not to non-Jews.

This being so, Zera Shimshon asks, what is the connection between this halacha and the fact that Sanhedrin are similar to the mizbaiach that they are both put together in one possuk?

He explains that there is another halacha concerning Sanhedrin that we learn from the mizbaiach. That just like both Jews and non-Jews can sacrifice a korbon on the Mizbaiach, so too both Jews and non-Jews can come before the Sanhedrin to pasken for them.

According to this, the two halachos alluded to in this possuk are not only similar but actually complement and explain each other!

Meaning: from the halacha that we can teach only Jewish people our halachos it would seem that we couldn’t pasken for a non-Jew since we would be teaching him a halacha. Therefore the Torah positioned this parsha next to the parsha that talks about the mizbaiach to teach us that both Jews and non-Jews can come before Sanhedrin just like they can bring a korbon on the mizbaiach.

The question still remains, “how then do we undersand the halacha, “…that you should place before THEM…” and not before non-Jews”?

Zera Shishmon concludes that it is only prohibited to teach the depth of the halacha to a non-Jew but the straight halacha we learn from the mizbaiach that it is permitted.

3

וְאֵלֶּה הַמִּשְׁפָּטִים אֲשֶׁר תָּשִׂים לִפְנֵיהֶם:

And these are the laws that you should place before them.

On the first possuk of our parsha, “And these are the laws that you should put before them…” the Medrash comments, “Dovid (HaMelech) said “The fear of the Hashem is pure, existing forever; the judgments of the Hashem are true, altogether just.”. Why is this? Because if he has this (yiras shomayim), he has everything. There are people who learn Medrash, Halochos, Agados. However, if they don’t have fear (of Hashem) they have nothing.”

Zera Shimshon asks four questions.

1) Why does the possuk write “And these are the laws that you should PLACE BEFORE them” and not simply “And these are the laws that you should TEACH them” or “JUDGE them”?

2) What is the difficulty of the possuk that the Medrash comes to answer?

3) Rashi asks, “Why does the parsha begin with a “vav“- which means “And these are the laws…” and not simply, “These are the laws…”?

Rashi answers that the vav” is “vav hachibor” – a “vav” that connects the present possuk with a previous one. In our case, Rashi explains, it connects Parshas Mishpatim with the previous parsha of the giving of the Torah on Har Sinai. The connection comes to teach us that just like the Ten Commandments were given on Har Sinai so to the mishpatim, our civil laws, were also given on Har Sinai.

Zera Shimshon asks, though, that this answer isn’t complete! Every halacha that is written in the Torah was given on Har Sinai! Why would I think that this parsha is an exception?

4) What is the connection between the possuk the Medrash brings and our parsha? Where is fear of Hashem even slightly alluded to in the parsha?

To answer all of these questions Zera Shimshon presents two concepts.

1) There is a Mitzvo for Bais Din to arbitrate a compromise and not pasken according to the strict letter of the law.

The Gemorra Sanhedrin (6b) says there that there is a mitzvo for Bais Din to make a compromise between the two parties and not to pasken according to the strict letter of the law.The source that the Gemorra brings for this opinion is the possuk, “and David administered justice and charity for all his people”. The Gemorro asks, how is it possible for “justice” to be also “charity”? The Gemorra answer is that this is done when there is compromise.

2) Yiras Shamayim is at the root of compromise and one needs ax yiras ax Shamayim to arbitrate a fear compromise.

Maharsha explains that one who has Yiras Shamayim makes comprimises between the two parties. When there is din” and the dayan isn’t as cautious in his ruling as he could be, he is held responsible for taking money from the innocent party.

However when there is a compromise and both parties agree to the p’sak even if the dayan does make a mistake there is mechila and therefore no punishment.

Therefore, one who has fear of punishment from Hashem looks to make compromises.

Not only is yiras shamayim at the root of compromise, adds Zera Shimshon, but when the compromise is made it has to be as close to the din as possible.

The dayan can’t mislead one the parties to agree to something that really isn’t fair for him. He needs yiras shamayim to keep as close to the din as possible while, at the same time, making each party give up a little of their claim.

With these concepts in mind we can now answer and understand all 5 questions.

Since there is mitzvo to compromise we can assume that when the Torah speaks about judgements- mishpat– it is referring to the optimal type which is a compromise.

It is for this reason that the Torah can’t write “And these are the laws that you l teach them or judge them because every case is different, dependent on what the two parties agree. (Answer to first question.)

Because our parsha speaks of compromise we might think that this parsha was not given on Har Sinai but rather every dayan can pasken according to what he thinks both parties will agree to. (The answer to second question)

The Medrash was bothered by Rashi’s question, “What is the meaning of the vav” in the word “veilla hamishpatim” (Answer to third question.)

The Medrash agrees with Rashi that the vav” connects our parsha with the parsha of the giving of the Torah.

However, a new question now arises; how is compromise (the subject of our parsha) connected to the exact Torah that we received at Sinai?

The Medrash found the answer to this question in the possuk “The fear of the Hashem is pure, existing forever; the judgments of the Hashem are true, altogether just.” The fear of Hashem, which leads to compromise, is pure…. brings to the judgements of Hashem are true.

Even though their was compromise since it was done with yiras shamayim and didn’t deviate completely from the din then it considered as “the judgments of the Hashem are true, altogether just.
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