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The Shamir Engraves The Stones
Avanei Shoham - Avanei Miluim: The Avanei Shoham were 2 stones, which were placed on the shoulder straps of the Eifod (Apron) by the Bigadim of the Kohen Gadol. The Avanei Miluim were the 12 stones that were on the Choshen (breastplate) of the Kohen Gadol. By both sets of stones the Pasuk says that you should engrave in them the names of the Shivatim. By the 2 Avanei Shoham 6 names were engraved on 1 stone and the remaining 6 on the other. By the 12 Avanei Miluim, each stone was engraved with the name of one Shevet.
The Ramban says, there was a difference between the Avanei Shoham and Avanei Miluim, in the way the stones were engraved. When engraving the Avanei Shoham it was permissible to use a tool that would carve the names into the stones. However, by the Avanei Miluim this was not permissible. Since the Torah calls these stones Miluim - which means "full", they must be complete. If a tool was used to engrave the names, that would render the stones "Chasair" - deficient - and pasul. The only way to engrave these stones was with the special miraculous worm called the Shamir. With the help of this worm, Moshe engraved the names of the twelve Shivatim on the Choshen the Kohen Gadol; First writing on the stones with ink and then holding the Shamir over them, whereupon the writing sank into the stones. Thus enabling the stones to be engraved without losing any part of the stone.
Torah Requires Toil, Business Doesn't
The Pasuk tells us that the oil for the Menorah must be pure, without sediments. This was accomplished by plucking the olives from the top of the tree (where they received the most sunshine). They also pressed them with a mortar rather than grinding them in a mill in order for them to be pure. This was only necessary for the oil of the Menorah. However, concerning the oil used for Menachos - Meal Offerings - Chazal say, "Kasis LaMaor" - "ViLo Kasis LaMinachos" - Pressing was only necessary for the light of the Menorah but not for the oil of Menachos.
The Gemorrah in Megillah 6b states that if one says, "Lo Yagati Umatsasi Al Taamen" - "If one says that he did not toil in Torah but still found success in Torah - do not believe him. The reason being, Torah can only be acquired through great toil. Therefore, do not believe the one who says that he became a Talmud Chachom without working for it. The Ksav Sofer explains this phenomenon with the Drasha of Chazal -, "Kasis LaMaor" - "ViLo Kasis LaMinachos".
"Kasis LaMaor" - one must press himself and toil for the light of the Torah. However, "ViLo Kasis LaMinachos" - for a livelihood (Menachos) he does not have to toil. He just has to make his Hishtadlus and the rest is from Hashem. One can work the minimum and become wealthy and visa versa one can work day and night and still remain poor. His toil is not the key to his success.
Netziv - The Avnei Shoham Had Pictures On It
"The Avnai Shoham are to be engraved like the engraving of a signet ring" This cannot be taken literally, since a signet ring has protruding letters and the names on the Avnai Shoham were engrave in to the stones. Secondly, a signet ring has the letters arranged in a mirror image in order that when it is stamped on a document it should appear straight. The Avnai Shoham's letters were engraved straight. Therefore Rashi learns that "like the engraving of a signet ring' means a clear writing like the engraving of a signet ring.
The Netziv offers a novel approach. He says that signet rings had pictures on them, which were used as a signature for that particular person. Here too, the Avnai Shoham had pictures near the names of the Shevatim. Each Shevet had a picture, which was related to that Shevet. - Reuven had Dudaim (herbs), Yehudah - a lion, Dan - a snake etc.
Shatnez In The Bigdei Kehuna
In the Slichos of Musaf on Yom Kippur it is written that the Kisones Tashbaitz (the inner shirt of the Kohen Gadol) was made of Shatnez. This is very problematic, since the Pasuk clearly states that it was made of Shaysh (linen) and not linen and wool?
The Chasam Sofer answers with a Halacha in Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh Deah Siman Shin Sif 4). The Rema quotes a Yerushalmi, if the under garment cannot be removed without taking off the outer garment first; and one is wool and the other is linen, it is Shatnez. Here too, since the outer garment was the Mi'il, which was made of blue wool, and the inner garment was the Kisones Tashbaitz made of linen, and it is not possible to remove the Kisones without removing the Mi'il, it is considered Shatnez.
Rav Yehonoson Eibushitz The Miracle of the Ner Maaravi
The candles of the Menorah were filled with oil to last through the night. The Ner Maaravi miraculously lasted all day until the next night. Rav Yehonoson Eibushitz asks, if so why did they bother filling it with enough oil for the night if a few hours later it would burn through a Nes? Also, why was Chanukah such a surprising Nes if the Ner Maaravi did the same trick every day?
He answers that daytime is a time of Chesed and Hashem does many Nissim by day. Nighttime however is a time of Din and not a time of miracles. Therefore the Ner Maaravi was filled with oil for the nighttime and a Nes was no big deal. The Nes of Chanukah which occurred at night was a far bigger Nes than the Nes of the Ner Maaravi.
Kli Yakar Fashionable Clothing for the Thinking Man
When describing the clothing of the Kohen Gadol the Torah uses the term "Maase Choshev" only by the Choshen and Eifod. Unkelos translates this to mean "Expert Work". Why does the Torah say this only by these two garments?
The Kli Yakar says that the word Choshev comes from the word "Machshava", to think. Each one of the garments is Michaper on a different aveira. The Eifod and Choshen were Michaper on aveiros that you commit just by thinking alone. The Eifod is Michaper on Avodah Zara which is the only aveira that thinking about doing it is considered as if you actually did it.
The Choshen is Michaper on Dayanim, judges that corrupt the Din. Since a judge must ultimately pasken based on his own interpretation of the facts, only Hashem knows if he judged fairly in his heart. That is why the Choshen is placed on the heart, since the aveira depends on the earnestness of the judge's heart. This also explains the Gemara in Sanhedrin 7b that says that corrupt judgment is equal to Avodah Zara, since they are both aveiros that are committed with an evil heart.
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