Ki Sisa 5778


ראה קראתי בשם בצלאל בן אורי וגו’ (שמות לא:ב)

After Klal Yisrael sinned with the Egel, Hashem commanded them to build a Mishkan, a place for the Shechina HaKedosha to dwell. The Ramban (Shemos 32:1) explains that their intention in creating the Egel was to serve as a replacement for Moshe Rabbeinu. They thought that they needed an intermediary between them and Hashem, someone as great as Moshe. The Mishkan was a lesson to them that there is no intermediary. Every Jew is himself fit to be the actual place of the Shechina HaKedosha, and every individual must aspire to such greatness.
The Gemara (Eruvin 2) derives from the Pasuk “ועשו לי מקדש ושכנתי בתוכם” (שמות כה:ח) , that the Mishkan was also called Mikdash. Similarly, the Gemara learns that the Beis HaMikdash was also called Mishkan. What is the unique meaning of each name? Also, why was the Mishkan primarily called Mishkan, and the Mikdash, Mikdash?
Rav Dov Schwartzman explains that the name Mikdash describes the structure and its function. The Mikdash was a place where the Holy Avodah was performed. It was holy and awesome, distanced from all things mundane. Mishkan denotes the residing and the presence of the Shechina HaKedosha. This was the source of the Holiness.
A close examination of the Mishkan and the Beis HaMikdash reveals that they are two fundamentally different places. The Beis HaMikdash was set and established in a specific spot, as the name “Bayis,” house, implies. In fact, this exact spot was predestined for the Beis HaMikdash from the time of man’s creation; his dirt was taken from the place of the Mizbeach. It was further dedicated at the Akeida, when Avraham Avinu sanctified the Name of Hashem upon it.
The Mishkan, however, is the exact opposite. In the barren desert, a land of no demarcation, the Mishkan was moved here and there, taken apart and reconstructed, over and over. There was no מקום, no place, save for Machane Yisrael. The Bnei Yisrael themselves were that special place. They were the Makom HaMikdash.
Chazal Darshan the Pasuk “ושכנתי בתוכם”, “and I will dwell within them.” It should have said “within it,” meaning the Mishkan. Chazal understand from here that the Pasuk is alluding to each individual. “And I will dwell in each one,” says Hashem. This is the true dwelling place of the Shechina HaKedosha.
A person coming to the Beis HaMikdash was entering the domain of Hashem. This is the place on earth from which Kedusha shines forth to envelop the entire Creation. כי מציון תצא תורה ודבר ה’ מירושלים. The Beis HaMikdash is primarily called Mikdash, for it is this place that Hashem sanctified to serve as a resting place for His Shechina.
There is another place where the Shechina HaKedosha resides. This is the place where the Bnei Yisrael are to be found. Among the entire Klal Yisrael, and in the mind and heart of each individual, the Shechina HaKedosha dwells. The Mishkan was the resting place within their camp, enveloped by the Degalim, oblivious to the surrounding wasteland. Where Klal Yisrael went, the Mishkan went.
It is referred to as the Mishkan because there was no specific place that it was attached to. Rather, it was the Shechina HaKedosha resting upon Klal Yisrael that created the place.
The Pasuk says “ועשית את הקרשים למשכן עצי שטים עומדים” (שמות כו:טו) , “and you shall make boards for the Mishkan, standing cedar wood” (Shemos 26:15). Chazal (Yoma 72b) Darshan “standing” to mean standing for eternity.
These two edifices, the Mishkan and the Mikdash, each representing השראת השכינה, the presence of the Shechina, are with us forever. The Makom HaMikdash remains Holy, the central place of Kedusha in this world. The Mishkan travels with the Jewish people throughout Galus. Even among all the heathen nations, through all the trials and tribulations Klal Yisrael experiences in Galus, we are not alone. We remain the place of השראת השכינה. Our camp is holy, and only through that Holiness can we hope to be a light unto the nations.
At the heart of the Mishkan stood the Aron HaKodesh, which contained the Luchos. On the Aron, between the כרובים, was the Shechina HaKedosha. It is the Torah that connects us to Hashem. By clinging to the Torah, we become the resting place for the Shechina.
The נפש החיים (שער א פרק ד) writes that the physical Mishkan and Mikdash are only a symbol of what the Jew himself could, and should, become. If one truly sanctifies himself through the Torah, he will then become the Kodesh HaKadoshim himself and merit to be the resting place for the Shechina HaKedosha.


The Gemara (Kiddushin 25b) mentions a certain Tanna who maintained that large animals can only be acquired through the Kinyan of “Hagbahah,” colloquially known as “Hagbah,” which generally means to lift up. The Gemara questions how one would practically perform Hagbah on an elephant.
One of the answers is that to avoid the difficulty of performing Hagbah on an elephant, one would use the Kinyan of “Chatzer,” which means that one would use his domain to acquire the elephant.
A second answer is to have the elephant climb on top and into Kaylim, utensils, of the soon-to-be owner in order to use the Kinyan of “Kaylim,” again to avoid the difficulty of Hagbah.
A third answer is to place a bundle of twigs on the floor and have the elephant climb on top of the bundle so it is elevated from the ground, and can therefore be considered like any other case of Hagbah.
There is a famous Machlokes as to how high one must lift an object in order to perform Hagbah. Rashi learns that Hagbah is three Tefachim and Rabbeinu Tam learns that Hagbah is one Tefach. Rashi explains that the bundle of twigs that elevated the elephant was three Tefachim high and Rabbeinu Tam explains that twigs were used to make the elephant jump just one Tefach in the air.
Rashi in Kiddushin explains that Hagbah must be three Tefachim, because until an object is lifted three Tefachim from the ground, it is considered to be still attached to the ground by applying the Halachic principle of “Lavud.” Once an object is elevated three Tefachim from the ground, it has left the parameters of “Lavud” and can be acquired.
There is some debate as to Rashi’s meaning. On the one hand, since Rashi is saying that a separation of three Tefachim is needed for an object to leave its Halachic attachment to the ground, perhaps an object received above three Tefachim does not require lifting another three Tefachim, e.g., if the object is already on a table or the seller is holding it above three Tefachim. In such a case, the Kinyan of Hagbah would be possession of an object in one’s hands above three Tefachim. Alternatively, it could be that once the Shiur of three Tefachim was given to objects that are on the ground, this Shiur was applied to all cases of Hagbah, even if the object was already three Tefachim off the ground.
The Gemara (Eruvin 79b) states that in order to receive a portion in a communal Eruv, one must lift a barrel of wine one Tefach off the ground for it to be considered an acquisition. The Gemara then cites a differing opinion, that the barrel only needs to be lifted a minimal amount, seemingly even less than a Tefach. The Gemara answers that there is no Machlokes and the opinion that states a lifting of a minimal Shiur is actually referring to the Shiur of a Tefach.
At first glance, it seems that the Gemara is consistent with Rabbeinu Tam, for the Shiur of Hagbah seems to be a Tefach off the ground according to both sources. The Rosh defends Rashi and states that the Gemara represents Rashi’s opinion. Since one of the sources refers to the Shiur of a Tefach as a “minimal Shiur,” it implies that normally Hagbah requires a larger Shiur, which is standardly three Tefachim.