Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Terumah #1: (from last year, pre-blog)

In this week's parasha, Teruma, the Jews are commanded to make donations to the Mishkan. Moshe is told the dimensions of various items in the Mishkan. One of these items is the Ark. The psukim (Shemot 25:10-11) state, "And they shall make an ark of shittim wood: two cubits and a half shall be the length thereof, and a cubit and a half the breadth thereof, and a cubit and a half the height thereof. And thou shalt overlay it with pure gold, within and without shalt thou overlay it, and shalt make upon it a crown of gold round about."

Thus, they make an ark of those dimensions of shittim wood, and they will overlay of (that is, cover it) on the inside and outside with pure gold.

This material is quite dry, but Chazal find lessons of conduct even in this.

In Yoma 72b, the verse "from within and without shall you overlay it" is cited. Then, we are told:
Rava said, every Talmid Chacham whose inside is not like his outside is not a Talmid Chacham.
Abaye, and some say Rabba son of Ulla, said, He is called abominable, as the verse states, (Iyyov 15:16) "How much more abominable and filthy is man, which drinketh like water iniquity?"

{Interjection: The context is Elifaz the Temani responding to Iyyov, saying no man can be righteous. The previous two psukim have: What is man, that he should be clean? and he which is born of a woman, that he should be righteous? Behold, he putteth no trust in his saints; yea, the heavens are not clean in his sight. (followed by) How much more abominable and filthy is man, which drinketh like water iniquity?

Rashi explains this as a drasha on the last verse. Like water, and water = Torah. Then, "a man which drinketh like water iniquity" (In Hebrew, Shoteh KaMayim Avlah) becomes, "a man which drinks Torah like water and he has in him iniquity." Such a person is called abominable.}

Rabbi Shmeul bar Nachmeni said in the name of Rabbi Yonatan, why is it written (Mishlei 17:16) "Wherefore is there a price in the hand of a fool to get wisdom, seeing he hath no heart to it?" Woe to the enemies of the Talmidei Chachamim (enemies of is a euphemism so as not to say a curse or a "woe" on the Talmidei Chachamim themselves) who are involved in Torah and have not in them fear of Heaven.

Rabbi Yanai announced, Woe on he who has no courtyard and the gate to his courtyard is made. {Rashi explains that the gat is Torah and the courtyard is fear of Heaven, and he has the gate by no courtyard to enter into via the gate.}

The gemara continues in the vein.

The idea of all of these psukim are that learning Torah is not enough. One also has to be a moral and righteous person, with fear of Heaven, and in fact, Torah is just a means to that end - belief in, fear of, and service of Hashem.

Have a good Shabbos,

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