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Parshas Ki Tisa

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Parshas Ki Tisa
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Rav Elyashiv - Hashem's "Coins of Fire"

The Medrash tells us that in order to explain the mitzva of the Shekalim, Hashem took out a coin of fire from underneath his Kisei HaKavod and showed it to Moshe. Rav Elyashiv asks two questions. First, had Moshe Rabbeinu never seen a coin in his life? Second, what exactly is Hashem doing hiding coins under his Kisei HaKavod?

He answers with a Tosfos in Chulin (42a) that Moshe couldn't understand how money, the most earthly of all creations, can save someone's neshama (Kofer Nefesh). So Hashem showed him a coin. Which coin? The gemara in Bava Basra (11a) says that during a hunger year Munbaz HaMelech emptied out his treasure chest to feed the poor people. His family became very mad that he was squandering the royal wealth. To this he replied that he is not losing the money, he saving the money up in Shamayim in a place where it will last forever while they squander money down on earth where it will eventually disappear.

Rav Elyashiv says these are the coins that Hashem took out to show Moshe. The coins that are given for tzedoka with Mesiras Nefesh are precious and are saved by Hashem under the Kisei HaKavod. Moshe understood that coins are made of destructive fire. They cause jealousy, cheating, stealing, and murder. Hashem showed him that coins can be made out of productive fire. Coins given for tzedoka can light the world and warm the world with their "Holy fire". On these coins Hashem said "Kazeh Yitnu". If the people give in this fashion then even coins can be Kofer Nefesh and money can redeem your soul.

Sinners Allowed

Among the spices of the Ketores was the Chelbina. This was a spice that had a foul smell. Chazal say, it was included among the spices to teach us that we should not consider it insignificant to include the sinners of Klal Yisroel in our fasts and prayers; just like the foul smelling Chelbina was among the spices of the Ketores.

The Maharsha points out that this only means if one has 10 righteous Jews he may include a sinner as number 11. However he may not include the sinner to be number 10; just like the Chelbina was only included with 10 sweet smelling spices.

Betzalel, Chur, and Payback

"See I have called by name Betzalel the son of Uri the son of Chur". "I have put with him Oholiav the son of Achisamach". Concerning Betzalel, why does the Pasuk go back on his lineage all the way to his grandfather Chur, as opposed to Oholiav where only his father is mentioned?

Chazal tell us that Chur rebuked Klal Yisroel when they made the Egel and the Jews killed him. Chazal also tell us that the Mishkan was a Kapara for the act of making the Egel (Rashi Parshas Pekudei - 38,21).

By telling us in this pasuk that Betzalel was the grandson of Chur, the Torah is relaying to us a very important message. Although the makers of the Egel killed Betzalel's grandfather, still he was the one who built the building that atoned for them!

Looks Like Vengeance But Look Again Carefully

"ViNakeh Lo Yinakeh";"Forgive He Shall Not Forgive". According to the simple meaning of the Pasuk, it seems to be saying that Hashem does not forgive. This would be a harsh Midas HaDin - Attribute of Strict Judgment. However, Rashi tells us not like this. He learns the Pasuk differently. "ViNakeh Lo Yinakeh" - Forgive He Shall Not Forgive totally, rather he punishes the transgressor slowly over time. This is actually Midas HaRachamim - the Attribute of Mercy.

The brother of the Maharal says a beautiful pshat based on this thought. The Mishnah says "Al Tistakel Bakankan Ela BiMah SheYesh Bah" Do not look at the "Kankan" - meaning the letters of "Kuf Nun Kuf Nun" in the words -"ViNakeh Yinakeh"

"Ela BiMah SheYesh Bah" - rather look at the remaining letters, which are "Yud Kay Vov Kay" - which is Hashem's name of Mercy.

Similarly, we say in Maoz Tzur - "UmiNosar Kankanim Naaseh Nes LaShoshanim" - From the remaining letters after "Kuf Nun Kuf Nun" were taken out, which is "Yud Kay Vov Kay" - Midas HaRachamim- "Naaseh Nes LaShoshanim" - was the Nes done to Klal Yisroel.

Ohr HaChaim HaKadosh - The Mystery of The Extra Ink

"Moshe did not know that the skin on his face became radiant". When Moshe descended from Har Sinai, the Torah says that his face was shining with rays of light. These "rays of splendor" radiated from Moshe's face in such a glowing fashion that Moshe was forced to wear mask so that his people could look at him.

The Midrash explains , Moshe merited such an honor from Above because when Moshe completed writing the Torah, a drop of ink remained in the container, so Hashem himself smeared the remaining droplet on Moshe's forehead. This drop of holy ink was the source of Moshe's "rays of splendor." However, the Midrash never actually explained what Moshe did to merit such a gift from Hashem. Furthermore, if the bottle of ink was divinely prepared, then HaShem would have prepared the exact amount of ink needed for the writing of a Torah, why would there be extra ink?

The Ohr HaChaim explains that really Hashem prepared the precise amount of ink required, yet a morsel remained because Moshe was so humble that he did not want to write the pasuk, "And the man Moshe was the most humble..." Instead, Moshe wrote the word "humble" (Anav) without the yud with which it is normally spelled. Therefore, the extra droplet of ink was a result of Moshe ‘s humility in not spelling out the word "humble" completely. This extra droplet of ink was the source of Moshe‘s "rays of splendor."

Rav Isaac Sher - Making The Eigel Was Not a Cheit At All

The Medrash Tanchuma says that as the Bnei Yisroel were making the Eigel, Hashem was engraving the Luchos. The next day Moshe broke the luchos because of the Eigel, why would Hashem engrave them as they were making the Eigel? Moshe told Bnei Levi to kill all those involved in the Eigel even their own family. Why didn't Moshe do likewise and kill his brother Aharon who made the Eigel? The Bechorim lost the Kehuna because of the Cheit HaEigel. Why did Aharon become Kohen Gadol?

Rav Isaac Sher explains that making the Eigel was not an aveira. There was an ongoing dispute between Moshe Rabbeinu and Klal Yisroel. The people believed that Moshe had Godly power to do what he wanted and therefore made many demands of him. Moshe always tried to explain that he was a powerless intermediary who only does Hashem's will. When they thought Moshe died they came to Aharon and said, instead of choosing a new leader in whom the people can err once again into believing that he has his own power, let Hashem himself lead us. How then would they know without an intermediary if Hashem is happy with them or not? They would make an object that would serve as an indicator of Hashem's satisfaction just like the keruvim faced each other when Bnei Yisroel were doing mitzvos and turned away from each other when they were not. This was the whole pure intention behind of the Eigel.

Aharon agreed to this logic as he specifically said "Chag L'Hashem Mochor"; let's make a party for Hashem tomorrow. Hashem himself had no objection and he continued to engrave the Luchos. The aveira occurred the next day when they began to act inappropriately during the festivities. It was the ruckus from the partying that Moshe heard that caused him to break the luchos. This was not Aharon's aveira as he eventually went on to become Kohen Gadol.

Chofetz Chaim - Shabbos, If You Take Down The Sign....

Why is Shemiras Shabbos considered the litmus test if a person is religious or not? Hashem says about Shabbos (31:13) "Ois He"; it is a sign. The Chofetz Chaim gives Mashal to a sign on a person's store. Every business has a reputation and the name on sign tells the whole world the owner of the store is. Even if the owner travels away for a while, as long as the sign is still up we can count on the fact that the owner will eventually return. If the owner takes the sign down and leaves town then it is clear that the owner has left and has no intention of returning.

Similarly with Shemiras HaMitzvos. Keeping Shabbos is a sign that the Jewish spirit resides in the person. Even if they leave the path as long as they keeps Shabbos we know the Ruach HaTorah is still in them and they will one day return. However once a person is Michalel Shabbos they have removed the sign and we know the Ruach HaTorah has left them.

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