Rabbi Reisman – Parshas Terumah 5782

1 – Topic – The GR”A’s Pshat in the Ketores

As we prepare for Shabbos Parshas Terumah. The Vilna Gaon in his Pirush on Shir Hashirim talks much about topics related to the Mishkan and today I would like to share with you three thoughts that come from the Gaon. One regarding the Ketores, one regarding the Kerashim and one regarding the Keruvim. Three thoughts. The GR”A’s words are like K’torah Mi’sinai, really very clear and revealing thoughts.

Let us start with the Ketores. 25:6 (בְּשָׂמִים לְשֶׁמֶן הַמִּשְׁחָה, וְלִקְטֹרֶת הַסַּמִּים). Many Meforshim ask why it mentions the Besamim for the (קְטֹרֶת הַסַּמִּים). The Ketores after all is a type of Korban. Items brought as a Korban are not listed. The beginning of Parshas Terumah lists things which are needed for the building of the Mishkan and not for the use of the Mishkan. Therefore, when it mentions the (בְּשָׂמִים לְשֶׁמֶן הַמִּשְׁחָה) we understand the (שֶׁמֶן הַמִּשְׁחָה) is for the building, the (קְטֹרֶת הַסַּמִּים) needs an explanation.

The GR”A in his Pirush on Shir Hashirim says the following. I should be Makdim that it should say Samim Lik’tores Hasamim, why Besomim Lik’tores Hasamim? At any rate the GR”A says the following. In Parshas Ki Sisa we have the Parsha of the Ketores which I hope you say every morning. 30:34 (וַיּאמֶר ר' אֶל משֶׁה קַח לְךָ סַמִּים נָטָף וּשְׁחֵלֶת וְחֶלְבְּנָה סַמִּים וּלְבנָה זַכָּה בַּד בְּבַד יִהְיֶה). It mentions the different parts of the Ketores.

We know that there are 11 ingredients in the Ketores, yet the Torah mentions only 4 (נָטָף וּשְׁחֵלֶת וְחֶלְבְּנָה סַמִּים וּלְבנָה זַכָּה). The Siman is an abbreviation Shulchan – (שְׁחֵלֶת), (לְבנָה), (חֶלְבְּנָה) and (נָטָף). Those are the four that are mentioned. The question is why does it mention 4 and it doesn’t mention all 11. The Gemara learns from a Ribui that there are 11, but the Torah only mentions specifically 4.

The GR”A explains the following as Poshut Pshat in the Ketores. The Ketores is made out of 11 ingredients. ((א) הַצֳּרִי. (ב) וְהַצִּפּורֶן. (ג) וְהַחֶלְבְּנָה. (ד) וְהַלְּבונָה)). The first four are seventy portions (measures) each which total 280. Those four form the bulk of the Ketores. The entire Ketores is 280 Maneh of those four and 88 Maneh of the other seven. Says the GR”A there is a major difference. You know why the Torah mentions 4? Those 4 are the Samim (קַח לְךָ סַמִּים נָטָף וּשְׁחֵלֶת וְחֶלְבְּנָה סַמִּים וּלְבנָה זַכָּה). It is not Besomim but Samim. Sam is the essence of different plants or whatever particular item it is made from. The Sam is the essence of it. Those 4 says the GR”A that is the Ketores. Those 4 are the Samim of the Ketores, the Etzem Ketores, the core Ketores. Then there are seven other ingredients, the other 7 parts that are added and they are added to give a proper pleasant fragrance and to enhance the Ketores. Meaning to say, you need all 11 but the 4 are the core Ketores. Those are the 4 mentioned in the Torah. The other 7 are meant to enhance and improve on the Ketores. Mimeila says the GR”A the Torah only mentions 4, the 4 that we call Samim.

Coming back to Parshas Terumah, it says (בְּשָׂמִים לְשֶׁמֶן הַמִּשְׁחָה, וְלִקְטֹרֶת הַסַּמִּים). The four that are the core Korban, they are not mentioned. The seven that are Machshirin, they are things that make the Ketores be good, they are mentioned. Just like everything else here they are the Machshirin, they are the things that adorn or develop the Ketores.

So now we have an understanding. Every morning you should be saying at the very least even if you don’t say all of the Korbanos, the 8 Pesukim of the Korban Tamid and the 5 Pesukim of the Ketores which begin Shemos 30:34 (וַיֹּאמֶר יְרוָר אֶל-מֹשֶׁה קַח-לְךָ סַמִּים, נָטָף וּשְׁחֵלֶת וְחֶלְבְּנָה, סַמִּים, וּלְבֹנָה זַכָּה: בַּד בְּבַד, יִהְיֶה). 30:35 (וְעָשִׂיתָ אֹתָהּ קְטֹרֶת, רֹקַח מַעֲשֵׂה רוֹקֵחַ, מְמֻלָּח, טָהוֹר קֹדֶשׁ). You can learn it by heart it is not hard, those 5 Pesukim. Notice that it only mentions 4 of the 11. That is the GR”A’s insight, the Pshat in the Ketores.

2 - Topic – The GR”A’s Pshat in the Kerashim

An amazing insight of the GR”A. Rashi brings that Yaakov Avinu prepared the wood for the Kerashim and the way Rashi brings it Yaakov Avinu planted the Arazim in Mitzrayim so that when the Yidden leave they would have wood ready to go. Of course it needs an explanation why Yaakov Avinu planted it as opposed to just having the Jews buy wood like they bought other things. Well maybe wood was not available in the Midbar. Still you can prepare wood in Mitzrayim?

Here the GR”A says an incredible thing. One piece of the GR”A is well-known but there is more to it. This GR”A is in his Likutim in the beginning of Bi’urai Hazohar (his Biurim to the Zohar) and the GR”A asks that Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai and his Talmidim they went out to fields to connect to HKB”H. What they call Tachal Tapuchim, an apple orchard. Why did they go out to fields, why weren’t they in the Beis Medrash or Beis Hak’neses, why did they go outdoors? The Ari went outdoors to greet the Shabbos. Why outdoors why not indoors?

The GR”A says the following. He says Chok Hu B’teva. G-d put a rule into the world that a place that has Kedusha, a place that is going to be a place of elevating people in Kedusha has to have walls that are made B’kedusha. The place has to be prepared for Kedusha.  

The GR”A says that the influence on those who make the building that you are in when you sit and learn has an influence on the ability of those that are inside to be able to grow. Most famously, the GR”A says this about Rav Chiya in the Gemara in Bava Metzia where he says that he would plant flax and make nets to catch deer to use their skin to make Chumashim for children to learn. Why the whole process? We want the whole process to be B’kedusha V’tahara. When a process is done with Kedusha V’tahara then the learning is a purer learning.

In Even Shlomah Perek Daled, Rav Chaim Volozhin brings that Sefarim should be printed in a printing press of an Adam Kasher because that is Mashpia that the learning should go well. The more Kosher the physical part of the building you are in, the physical Sefer that you are learning, the more Kosher it is the more there is growth and ability to learn. Therefore, says the GR”A they went outside to connect. Rav Shimon Bar Yochai’s highest level of Kedusha was outdoors. It wasn’t in a building where he would be limited by the lack of Kedusha in those who put up the building.

This GR”A opens our eyes to a Pele. In Melachim Beis we find that Elisha and his Talmidim building a Beis Medrash to learn in. Building with axes and chopping wood. A Davar Pele! Why didn’t they hire workers to do it while they were sitting and learning? The answer is this answer. Elisha was a Navi, they were on a Madreiga of Rav Shimon Bar Yochai plus. They wanted a building so they built it themselves and that building is the building that is able to give the proper Kedusha to the people that are inside.

Of course it goes without saying, people have to be careful not to G-d forbid have money which maybe stolen or maybe gotten improperly and use that to build a Shul to build a Beis Medrash, it is not going to be Matzliach. There won’t be Kedusha in something which is improper. It has to be done in the best Ofen.

There is a Sefer Shiras Dovid from Rav Dovid Heksher who brings this GR”A and he adds and explains that is why Shidduchim are outdoors at a B’air. We know Chazal say in a number of places in the Torah where we find Shidduchim. We find it in Parshas Shemos 2:15. Rashi brings (למד מיעקב שנזדווג לו זווגו על הבאר) that Moshe went to the (בְּאֵר) for a Shidduch because that is where Shidduchim are found.  

The Maharal on that Posuk says Sham Makom Shefa. It is a place of a Shefa of Beracha. Why? According to the GR”A we understand it is outdoors where there is a natural Shefa, it is a Makom that is not inhibited by what people do. People didn’t even dig the Bor, it is a (בְּאֵר), it is a natural source of water. HKB”H’s building so to speak and it brings Beracha.

I don’t understand. Chazal say this. Why when people go out on dates, why don’t they think of going to the places where there is water. I would think that that would be the normal thing to do. I remember my first date I went to the Ferry. I took the person who would ultimately be my Kallah and my wife, but I took her on the Ferry to Liberty Island and that was our date. We went to water. Why did we go to water? Chazal say go to water so I went to water. It definitely beats a lounge in a hotel.

I know. It is in middle of the winter and it is cold and you can’t do it. Okay. But when you could do it, it is what Chazal say to do. Why isn’t everybody doing it? I don’t know. Such a strange thing. The one piece of advice on dating we find in Chazal and we find it in Rashi in Chumash about where to go on dates and it is ignored. Anyway, it is not a Chiyuv. You can do what you like but Chazal say (שנזדווג לו זווגו על הבאר) and the Shiras Dovid says it fits with this GR”A.

3 – Topic - The GR”A’s Pshat on the Keruvim

This GR”A I don’t where it is in its Mekor but I saw it in the Pachad Yitzchok on Pesach in the section called Kuntres Rishimus, Maimar Vav, Os Beis (Page Shin Lamed). Rav Hutner brings from the GR”A something quite fascinating. We know that Moshe Rabbeinu had two Keruvim that were on the Aron. We also know that Shlomo Hamelech built two Keruvim besides those two that were in the Kodesh Hakadashim. Moshe’s two Keruvim were on top of the Aron. Shlomo Hamelech’s two Keruvim stood in the Kodesh Hakadashim and also their wings were spread out over the Aron. So there were two sets of Keruvim.

When it says in the time of the Churban the two Keruvim were M’urav Zeh Im Zeh, people are aware of Chazal saying that at the time of the Churban they saw the Keruvim hugging each other. The Kasha is the Aron wasn’t there. Melech Yoshiahu already hid the Aron so how were there Keruvim? The answer is that Moshe’s Keruvim were hidden but Shlomo Hamelech’s Keruvim were still there.

The GR”A has a wonderful insight into why Shlomo Hamelech built two Keruvim and he says the following. The Keruvim were not just decorative, not just a Cheftza Shel Mitzvah, they were the source of Torah She’baal Peh. We know that Moshe Rabbeinu got Nevua everywhere, but the Nevua that was instruction of Halachos of Torah She’baal Peh he got Mi’bain Shnei Hakeruvim as it says B’feirush in the Posuk. That is why the Keruvim were the source of Ahava, when Klal Yisrael behaved they were hugging each other and looking towards each other. When Klal Yisrael didn’t behave G-d forbid it was different. Because the source of Ahava, the Kodesh Hakadashim is called the source of Ahava, it is called the Bais Hamittos, the private bedroom of Klal Yisrael and the Ribbono Shel Olam. It is a source of Ahava and from there Torah comes forth. Says the GR”A that Shlomo Hamelech built in the Beis Hamikdash a source for the Ahava of the Avodah that he was building in the Beis Hamikdash.

Chazal say that (שאין העולם כולו כדאי ביום שניתנה בו שיר השירים לישראל--שכל הכתובים קודש, ושיר השירים קודש קודשים). This is in Mishnayos Yadaim 3:5. There was no time that was K’dai (ביום שניתנה בו שיר השירים). Zagt Rav Hutner what is (ביום שניתנה בו)? Which day? He brings that it was the day that the Aron was built and brought into the Kodesh Hakadashim by Shlomo Hamelech and then he gave forth Shir Hashirim. What does the Aron have to do with Shir Hashirim? The Aron is the source of Ahava. Just like Moshe Rabbeinu’s Keruvim were the source of Ahava that dealt with the Torah, so too Shlomo Hamelech who built the Bais Hamikdash was the source of the Ahava of the Avodah of Klal Yisrael and that is why there were two more Keruvim.

4 – Topic – A Question of the Week

Let me end with a question. Mishlei 10:8 (חֲכַם-לֵב, יִקַּח מִצְוֺת). We say that Moshe Rabbeinu was great because Kol Yisrael was Osek in Bizas Mitzrayim and Moshe Rabbeinu was taking Atzmos Yosef into the Midbar. So we give him a lot of credit. He wasn’t busy collecting money he was busy doing a Mitzvah.

I don’t understand. There were Jews that were busy carrying the Atzei Arazim, somebody carried it. Rashi says that Yaakov planted them in Mitzrayim. People say that Yaakov left them in the Midbar, that is not what Rashi says. Rashi says that he planted them in Mitzrayim. Somebody had to carry out the Atzei Arazim. Isn’t it harder to carry multiple big beams 10 Amos long then to take the Atzmos Yosef?

So we give Moshe Rabbeinu all this credit that he was Osek with the Atzmos Yosef which he deserves of course but at the same time there should be credit for the unknown people that took out the Atzei Arazim. I don’t know why it is not mentioned in Chazal, I am sure there is a good reason that somebody will come up with at your Shabbos table. Wishing one and all an absolutely wonderful Shabbos!