Terumah 5777


Two things are prominently missing in this week’s Torah reading. One is the four Parshiyos which occur at this time of year. This week falls squarely between the first two Parshiyos, Shekalim and Zachor. The second missing item is the Kiyor. Among all the vessels of the Mishkan listed in Parshas Terumah, it alone is singled out to be left for the next week’s Parsha, Ki Sisa. What is the correlation between the two omissions?
Jews of German origin, aka the Yekkes, have an interesting Minhag this Shabbos. Like most other groups, they say Yotzros during the weeks of the four Parshiyos. Uniquely, they also say Yotzros on the “Shabbos Hafsakah,” the “break-up” Shabbos!
This Piyut discusses the various possible ways the four Parshiyos can fall out. They provide an insight into this year’s arrangement of the four Parshiyos: first Shekalim, then a break, then the last three, Zachor, Parah, and Chodesh, in consecutive weeks.”שני חל בו מקדימין לשעבר, ומפסיקין לשבת הבאה וסימן ב”ו ידובר, והשלש רצופות ענינם יחובר” , “If it (Rosh Chodesh Adar) falls out on Monday, we transpose it (the reading of Parshas Shekalim) to the week before (Chodesh Adar) and we break on the following Shabbos, invoking a Siman (mnemonic) of BO (2,6, representing the day of the week Rosh Chodesh fell out and then the day of the month we break) and the (next) three consecutive ones are related in their subject matter.” The Paytan is highlighting these last three Parashiyos as being a build-up towards Chag HaPesach, the Independence Day of the Jewish people (or perhaps more accurately, Dependence Day, the day we became dependent on Hashem rather than the rest of the world for our existence). There is a shared theme running throughout these weeks.
Based on an essay by Rav Simcha Cherrik from Yerushalayim and another by Rav Shimshon Pincus, it would seem they concur on the fundamental lead-up of the Parshiyos of Parah and HaChodesh to Pesach. After we have singled out the crucial role every single cog plays in the greater Jewish machine (Parshas Shekalim), we can move on to the development of the nationwide personality. That is prepared by first ridding it of impurity and coldness towards G-d, symbolized by the destruction of Amalek (Parshas Zachor). After the impediment caused by the שאור שבעיסה, the yeast in the dough of our makeup, (aka the Yetzer Hara), has been removed, we are ready for further development. That is to purify ourselves in the quest of something deeper, preparing the groundwork represented by Parshas Parah. Finally, we are able to make the ultimate positive choice of shouldering the yoke of Malchus Shamayim, represented by our role in Heavenly affairs – Kiddush HaChodesh, deciding when it is indeed the new month. This act pours the foundation of our nationhood by actualizing that nuclear first moment when we came in touch with our Creator.
The common thread tying the Parshiyos together is the preparatory work necessary to become a people, the people of Hashem. This theme is reflected in that missing vessel of the Mishkan, the Kiyor. The Kiyor was a vessel for the preparatory קידוש ידים ורגלים, washing of the hands and feet which preceded any Avodah of a Kohen. Rav Zalman Sorotzkin writes in Oznayim LaTorah that this is indeed the reason the Torah inserted it into Parshas Ki Sisa, instead of putting it where it would seem to belong, in Terumah.
It is instructive to note where the Torah did place the Parsha of the Kiyor, not just where it did not. It is placed in Sedra Ki Sisa, immediately following the Parsha of Shekalim which was read last week. If the Kiyor is looked at as being the symbol of Hachana, the preparation, for Avodah and for building Klal Yisrael, then the Torah correctly placed the Kiyor squarely where we stand now, after Shekalim and before the realization of the dream in Vayakhel and Pekudei. This is a time to pause and reflect on how best to achieve that dream.
My Rosh Yeshiva, Rabbi Chaim Mendel Brodsky, often said that the amount one reaps from a Mitzvah is in direct proportion to the amount of Hachana he puts in. The week we have a break (if not universally from Yotzros) is not to be spent idly. Rather, it is to be used to mentally prepare for the weeks ahead, in which we begin in earnest the preparations for the noble task of becoming a Jew.


ככל אשר אני מראה אותך את תבנית המשכן ואת תבנית כל כליו וכן תעשו (שמות כה:ט)

“Like all that I show you – the form of the Mishkan and the form of all its vessels –
and so shall you do.” (Shemos 25:9)

Rashi explains that the words וכן תעשו teach us that all future vessels made for the Mishkan (should one of these be lost) or the Beis Hamikdash should be fashioned according to the forms described here. The Ramban asks, if Rashi is correct, why do we find that the Mizbeach that Shlomo Hamelech built was twenty square amos, whereas the Mizbeach in the Mishkan was only five square amos?
The Mizrachi explains that Rashi understands that the aforementioned Halacha – to construct future כלי המקדש according to the original form – is limited only to the scale of the length, width, and height. The exact size, however, may differ, providing that the proportions are the same.
Rashi’s opinion, as explained by the Mizrachi, concurs with that of the Rambam in Moreh Nevuchim, where he, too, understands that the word תבנית means “consistent with the form and shape,” but not necessarily with size. The Ramban, on the other hand, understands תבנית to mean “according to the exact measurements,” and he therefore maintains that the Halacha does not apply to the Beis Hamikdash.
The Or Hachaim rejects the Mizrachi’s explanation on the grounds that it lacks Talmudic proof and instead suggests a different answer to the Ramban’s question. Just as the Beis Hamikdash itself differed from the Mishkan in that the former was a permanent stone building and the latter was a tent-like structure, so, too, the Mizbachos in each were dissimilar. The Mizbeach in the Beis Hamikdash was attached to the ground, whereas the Mizbeach in the Mishkan was portable. In the same vein, the Mizbeach in the Beis Hamikdash was not required to have the same measurements as the one in the Mishkan.
The Ra’avad asks why the Rambam does not list the Mitzvah to “build a Mizbeach made of complete stones” (see Shemos 20:22) in his list of Mitzvos. The Kesef Mishna answers that the Mitzvah to build a Mikdash includes the directive to make all its vessels, e.g., Mizbeach and Menorah. According to the aforementioned Or Hachaim, we can appreciate the Ra’avad’s question. The Ra’avad understands that although the Mitzvah to build a Mikdash includes the Mizbeach, as the Kesef Mishna pointed out, that Mitzvah commands us only to build a Mizbeach in the likeness of the Mishkan’s Mizbeach. However, the Mizbeach of the Beis Hamikdash has its own set of rules, as the Or Hachaim said, and is therefore not included in the general Mitzvah to build a Mikdash. Thus, the Ra’avad asks why the Rambam left out the Mitzvah to build a Mizbeach of complete stones.
There is an alternative explanation to the Raavad’s question. The Ramban also says that the reason there is no special Mitzvah to fashionכלי המקדש is that they are just a preparatory means to fulfilling the Mitzvah of bringing Korbanos. Accordingly, the Ra’avad says that the Mitzvah to build a Mizbeach in the Beis Hamikdash seems superfluous, as there already existed a (copper) Mizbeach from the Mishkan upon which to sacrifice Korbanos. It must be that there is a uniqueness to the (stone) Mizbeach of the Beis Hamikdash which is independent of the Mitzvah to bring Korbanos, and the Rambam’s list should have reflected this.
The Brisker Rov offers a third answer to the Ramban’s difficulty with Rashi. He says that there are two independent דינים which apply to the כלים. The first דין, which applies to the כלי המשכן andכלי המקדש alike, is that they must be made to the specifications listed here in Parshas Terumah. The second דין, derived from the word תבנית, is that the כלים of the Mishkan must be made precisely the way they were shown to Moshe Rabbeinu. The Ramban understood from Rashi that even this second דין applies for future generations, and he therefore disagreed with this point.
The Or Hachaim provides an additional answer, which can best be understood from the Chasam Sofer’s explanation of the wordsוכן תעשו . The Chasam Sofer says that these words actually refer back to the words ככל אשר אני מראה אותך. Hashem is telling us, “The כלים must always be made in the fashion that I show you.” Therefore, the Mitzvah to build the Beis Hamikdash “like the Mishkan” only applies to the dimensions and materials not explicitly changed by Hashem via a Navi. Thus, when Shlomo Hamelech built the Beis Hamikdash, he based its construction on Halacha LeMoshe MiSinai and Nevuah. As such, the Nevuah regarding the כלי המקדש related to Shlomo differed from the כלי המשכן, and he was therefore not bound by the descriptions found in the Torah.