PARSHA ON PARADE IS DEDICATED TO THE MEMORY
OF MY DEAR FATHER AND REBBI:
HARAV HAGAON RAV YESHAYA SHIMANOWITZ Z'TZL ,
YESHIVAS RABAINU YAAKOV YOSEF
(RABBI JACOB JOSEPH YESHIVA - RJJ)
IN NYC FOR OVER 23 YEARS.
NIFTAR ON 20 ADAR 5758 - MARCH 18, 1998.
MAY HE BE A MAYLITZ YOSHER FOR ALL OF KLAL YISROEL.
MY DEAR MOTHER
You too can dedicate
a Parsha or any other section of Torah Tots in honor or in memory
of someone close to you.
REBITZEN BRACHA ETEL SHIMANOWITZ A'H
WHO DEVOTED HER ENTIRE LIFE TO MY FATHER AND HIS TORAH,
NIFTERA ON 21 TEVET 5770 - WED EVE. JANUARY 6, 2010.
MAY SHE BE A MAYLITZA YOSHER FOR ALL OF KLAL YISROEL .
Menachim Z. Shimanowitz
For further info, click here.
NUMBER OF MITZVOT: 9
4 MITZVOT ASEH (POSITIVE COMMANDMENT)
5 MITZVOT LO TAASEH (NEGATIVE COMMANDMENT - PROHIBITION)
NUMBER OF PESUKIM (SENTENCES):139
NUMBER OF WORDS: 2002
NUMBER OF LETTERS: 7424
HAFTORA: (Additional portion, from Prophets, which is read after the Parsha)
Melachim I / I Kings 18:1-39 (Ashkenazim);
Melachim I / I Kings 18:20-39 (Sepharadim)
In our last episode, Hashem told Moshe all about the clothing
worn by the Kohain Gadol and the Kohanim. Moshe
is still on Har Sinai, and doesn't know what's cooking
down below. Hashem is still giving him more instructions.
There's major sin lurking down below and Hashem has whipped
up an antidote for this "mad cow disease" known as the Eigel
Hazahav (golden calf). That antidote is the Mishkan.
By the time this episode is over thousands of the Bnei Yisroel
will be dead.
As our Parsha opens, Hashem is instructing Moshe
about the way to count Jews. One... two... three... four... that's
good enough for your average Joe. But it just won't do when it comes
to your average Yossel. The "countdown" is part "How many Jews are
there?" and part "fundraising for the Mishkan." Every Jew
from the age of 20 and up must line up and hand Moshe a silver coin
weighing half a Shekel. These coins will be counted and
that way you know how many Jewish men there are. This lesson even
comes with a fiery visual aid of a half shekel coin so
that Moshe will know what to look for. What happens to these coins
once the count is done? All the half-shekel coins will
be melted down and cast into the 96 Adonim (sockets) that
hold the Kerashim (wood beams) of the Mishkan
In the time of the Bait
Hamikdash, once every year, every Jew has to give a half
shekel coin to the treasurers of the Bait Hamikdash,
who used the coins to buy animals for the Korbanot Tzibur
Moshe's count is to take place
before they actually begin to build the Mishkan, after
the sin of the Eigel Hazahav (golden calf). (Confusing,
Just when you thought you are a Mishkan mavin, and know all there is to know about the Mishkan, Hashem introduces another vessel - the Kiyor, a huge wash basin made from copper, with a spout positioned near the bottom front for easy access. The Kiyor is placed in the Chatzair (courtyard) of the Mishkan, between the
Mizbayach Hanechoshet (Copper Altar) and the entrance to the Mishkan. The Kiyor is to be filled with water every morning and used by the Kohanim to wash their hands and feet prior to doing any Avoda (service) in the Mishkan. The Kohanim must wash their hands and feet at the same time, in a crouching position.
Once the Mishkan is set up, Shemen Hamishcha (anointing oil), must be poured on all the vessels of the Mishkan and on the heads of all the Kohanim, in order for them to become sacred. This specially prepared oil, will consist of four spices, one of which is cinnamon, crushed, blended, soaked in water, mixed with olive oil, then boiled to remove the water. Miraculously, this twelve log (a little more than one gallon) jug of oil Moshe made with his own hands, would last for 750 years, until the Bait Hamikdash is destroyed and King Yoshiyahu would hide the jug. It was used to anoint the Kohanim Gedolim and the Kings who were descendants of David Hamelech (King David).
What would a Ketoret (incense) Mizbayach be without Ketoret? Hashem spices things up with a mixture of eleven different spices that is burned everyday on the Mizbayach. The scent is a choice one for Hashem. It goes right up to Shomayim. But don't think about coming out with "Ketoret" cologne because it is forbidden to use this mixture for anything but the Mishkan and the Bait Hamikdash. The same hold true for the Shemen Hamishcha mixture.
All these kaylim (utensils) are a great idea. But where among a bunch of ex-slaves will you find a master-craftsman who can do the job? Good news. Betzalel, the son of Uri, grandson of Chur, the Bar-Mitzvah boy from Shevet Yehuda, has a knack for melding gold into kaylim. But that's not all! Betzalel is a jack of all trades: He's a carpenter, an architect, a silversmith, a "seamster" and, on top of it all, he's got Ruach HaKodesh. So he understands the deeper meaning behind the object he's building. Betzalel and his trusty assistant Oholiav, son of Achisamach, from Shevet Dan, will take on the Mishkan's construction, doing the bigger work themselves and 'subcontracting' the rest of the jobs among the Bnei Yisrael.
Hashem warns Bnei Yisroel a second time of the importance of Shabbat. Even building the Mishkan must come to a halt for the day of rest.
Matan Torah, Moshe told the Bnei Yisrael that he'd
be up on the summit of Har Sinai for 40 days. At the end
of those 40 days he'd be back. Now, you know how fickle Bnei Yisroel
can be! Forty days comes and goes and, like clockwork, when it's a
minute past the mark, the Jews begin to panic - "What if he's dead?-
There's no food up there, you know..." No, this situation is no good!
Bnei Yisroel needs a leader. After experiencing the fearsome
presence of Hashem, they need a physical object to be a go-between,
between Hashem and them. That was Moshe... Now, it be a..
a.. a.. cow (a cow?) Yeah, a golden calf!
The Eirev Rav, (you know, those trouble maker Egyptians
who followed the Bnei Yisroel out of Mitzrayim, became Jewish, but
are always causing trouble), are at it again. They intend to worship
this golden calf. The Bnei Yisroel aren't really going
to worship this idol, they're just looking for a place for Hashem's
Shechina to rest. (Guess they never heard of a Mishkan!)
The Eirev Rav pressure Aharon to make them an image.
Aharon, stalling for time, announces to Bnei Yisroel: "Okay,
I'll make your image, but I'll do it my way. Firstly, a golden calf
needs lots of gold. So go home to your wives and collect all their
gold jewelry." Just as Aharon predicts, the women refuse to take
part in this idolatrous plot. But that doesn't stop the men from
handing in their own earrings (left or right ear? ..style... go
figure!) Only the entire Shevet Levi, did not participate
in this "mad cow disease," and did not contribute one single earring.
(more about that later). Aharon's plot is foiled! Now he'll have
to build the idol. Still, he must try other stalling tactics.
When the golden calf is complete, Aharon suggests that they build
a Mizbayach and make a big celebration the next day to
dedicate the "new home of the shechina" to Hashem.
Aharon hopes that Moshe will be back by the time the celebrations
are about to begin. But the Eirev Rav wake up early in
the morning and begin to sing and dance around their new god. They
offer sacrifices to the idol. Some Jews also participate in the
festivities. But no Jew really believes that the golden calf is
Meanwhile, Moshe is caught up in the Mishkan-maven show and tell. Little does he know that Hashem has just given him the antidote for the terrible situation below the mount. Hashem tells Moshe that the Eirev Rav have pushed the Bnei Yisroel into a very sinful situation. Only 40 days after the Jews cried out "Na'aseh V'nishma (we will do whatever Hashem tells us)" they have taken up idol worship! Now Hashem, an angry G-d, wants to destroy every Jew and start all over with Moshe. Now, most people would be proud to be the father of a nation, but Moshe isn't in this business for the notoriety. Especially when it will take a stab at 3 million of his brethren (literally!). Moshe becomes the ultimate Jew, bargaining with Hashem for the forgiveness of his people. First he tries the old "What will the Egyptians say when they find the Jews dead in the desert." Then he throws in a little Avot action: "For Avrohom's sake, after all, he passed ten major tests... Yitzchak on the Altar?... Yaakov who lived by Lavan and still came out all right!" A Tefilah here, a Tehillim there... Finally, Hashem gives in and agrees not to destroy Bnei Yisroel. It's a great victory for hagglers everywhere but Moshe still has to deal with the mess down below.
Moshe makes his way down to
the ground where he's met by his student Yehoshua. Yehoshua doesn't
know what's going on in the camp because he's been camped by the
mountain for forty days waiting for Moshe to come back. The two
of them make their way to the camp, Moshe carrying the two luchot
engraved with the Aseret Hadibrot (Ten Commandments).
Even though they must weigh a ton, Moshe has no problem supporting
the solid sapphire stones.
they approach the camp, to their horror, they find the image of
a golden calf. The Eirev Rav and a group of Jews dance
around and sing with great joy. The great leader cannot tolerate
the sights and sounds. He throws down the Luchot, shattering
them into a many pieces. Moshe shouts at the Jews angrily, "It's
not even 40 days since Hashem, Himself, spoke to you,
and now you have mocked His laws and created an idol."
The next morning Moshe burns the golden calf and grinds the gold
into fine powder. Moshe mixes the powder with water. Why? Moshe's
got a problem. You're not allowed to kill a sinner unless he's
been warned. Only Hashem can finish this sinner. On top
of that, a lot of Jews were bullied into worshipping the golden
calf. So you can't really tell who really sinned, who was forced
and who was just standing around. Moshe makes the entire Bnei
Yisroel take a sip of the tainted water. Anyone who is innocent
is not affected by the concoction. But whoever took part in the
idolatrous sinning finds the mixture to be a belly bloating experience.
Their stomachs get bigger and bigger until they pop! Moshe announces
that whoever did not donate any gold to the Eigel Hazahav
(idol of gold) should move over to his area. Most of Bnei
Yisroel did not take part in this sin. But pockets of sinners
from every shevet taint the 12 sh'vatim with
this terrible sin. Only Shevet Levi, and the Nesiyim
have resisted the rebellion. Now that the innocent have been separated
from the rest and the technically non-punishable have been blown
away by Hashem, it is time to do it Bait-Din
style: Moshe orders the Leviyim to grab a sword and kill any Jew
who worshipped the Eigel and ignored the warnings of
two witnesses. The Leviyim end up killing another 3,000 Jews.
Now that the camp has been relieved of the riffraff, Moshe makes his way back up to the summit of Har Sinai to beg Hashem's forgiveness. The date is 19 Tamuz. Once again Moshe camps up on the roof for 40 days, begging and davening for the Bnei Yisroel to be forgiven. Finally, Hashem compromises on the punishment issue. Instead of punishing Bnei Yisroel all at once, He will spread the punishment over the future generations a little at a time.
| Now Hashem
would give him another crack at a momento to mark the occasion.
But this time Moshe would have to carve out the luchot
himself. Hashem shows Moshe a sapphire mine where he can
carve out two tablets about 2 feet square and deep. Hashem
even lets Moshe keep the shavings of stone and Moshe instantly becomes
a wealthy man! For a third time, Moshe trudges up to the summit,
this time, he's carrying up the luchot. On the 10th of
Tishrei, Moshe comes down from Har Sinai with luchot,
freshly engraved by Hashem, lots of new laws and an attitude.
Moshe has managed to keep the wrath of Hashem under control,
but things between Bnei Yisroel and a scorned Hashem
will never be as chummy as before. Hashem tells Moshe
that a Malach (angel) will lead Bnei Yisroel
into Eretz Yisroel instead of Hashem, Himself.
The nation is devastated. Going from an appearance by Hashem
to a walk with the butler is a long way from a personal relationship.
Moshe won't accept this deal, though. He begs Hashem to
lead the Jews Himself. Finally. Hashem agrees. However,
Moshe decides to distance himself from the Bnei Yisroel
just to show them that they have disappointed him. He sets up his
tent outside of the camp. He remains there until Hashem
orders Moshe back to camp for the building of the Mishkan.
Moshe managed to wing it when he begged for forgiveness this time around but, unfortunately, he anticipates he'll be doing a bunch of begging in the future. "Maybe there's a formula for mercy," Moshe suspects. After all, something triggered Hashem's mercy before, maybe it can be channeled. Lo and behold, Moshe has hit the Midot (qualities) on the head. Hashem, indeed, does have a merciful side to Himself - 13 to be exact. Draw them out and you can finagle forgiveness. Here's the formula... (Hashem, Hashem Kail Rachum...) Once Moshe's got the goods on mercy, Hashem commands Moshe to teach these attributes to all of Bnei Yisroel. Plus, Hashem's got some more info for Moshe to pass along. Firstly, Moshe must make Hashem's policy clear: "No more idolatrous images." Secondly, Hashem warns Moshe that Bnei Yisroel must not make up holidays of their own. He teaches Moshe many laws about Pesach, Shavuot and Sukkot. Hashem introduces Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, when Hashem will judge and forgive the nation. |
When Moshe returns from Har Sinai with the second Luchot, his face is shining with a divine glow. He is forced to cloak his face in a veil. From that day on he uncovers his face only when he is in Hashem's presence or when he speaks to Bnei Yisroel in Hashem's name.
Tune in next week when Moshe takes on building the Mishkan and introduces the 39 Melachot. What's the connection? You'll find out in the next exciting episode of :
the Midrash Mavin on KiSisa
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