The Jewish Eye
Parshas Terumah (Trumah)
Aron HaKodesh - You Are Only Halfway There
And the dimensions of the Aaron should be - two and half Amos its length, one and a half Amos its width, and one and a half Amos its height. Why are the dimensions of the Aaron in half Amos (by the Shulchan the dimensions are 2 Amos x 1 Amah)?
The Baal HaTurim says, Chazal teach that the Aaron represents Torah. The significance of halves is to teach us, one must break himself (half) over the Torah. In order to reach a high level in Torah, one can not sit back and relax. Rather, he must be "Maymis Atzmo Aleha" - kill himself over toiling in Torah.
Kli Yakar offers a different answer. Since the Aaron represents Torah, halves are representing the fact that even an accomplished Talmid Chachom is never finished learning. There is always more to learn and understand. A person is never more than a fraction of the way to completing the Torah.
Long Poles Are Big Obstacles
"Lo Yasuru Mimenu" It is a Lav (negative commandment) to remove the poles from the Aaron. Chizkuni asks, why do we only find this prohibition by the Aaron and not by the other vessels that also had poles - Shulchan, Mizbayach HaZahav and Mizbayach HaNichoshes?
Chizkuni answers, the poles were a hindrance and a stumbling block to have around when the Mishkan was stationary. They simply took up too much room. Therefore it would be best to have them removed at the time of encampment. However, since the Aaron was in the Kodesh HaKadoshim - a place that was only accessed once a year by the Kohen Gadal; it really wasn't in anybody's way. Therefore the Torah says specifically by the poles of the Aaron - "Do not remove them".
Did Women Donate To The Building of The Mishkan? It Depends Who You Ask
The Pasuk says "V'Yikchu Li Teruma Mei'eis Kol Ish"; take teruma from every man. The Meshech Chochma learns from here that they only accepted donations to the Mishkan from men in accordance with the Braisa brought by the gemara in Bava Kama (119) that says that a gabbai tzedoka may only take a small donation from a women or else he stealing from the husband.
The Seforno in VaYakhel says that they did accept donations from women. The Pasuk (35:22) says "VaYavoi'u HaAnashim Al HaNashim"; he explains this to mean that the men came together with their wives who wanted to donate because they knew that otherwise the Gabbai Tzedoka would not accept the woman's donation in accordance with the halacha.
Chasam Sofer - The Menorah, Beauty From Within
The Menorah was made out of a solid block of gold. All its decorations were carved out of this block and nothing was made separately and attached to the Menorah afterwards. The pasuk highlights this fact by saying "Kaftoreha U'Pracheha Mimena Yihiyu"; it buttons and flowers should come from within it.
The Chasam Sofer says since the Menorah represents the light of Torah we learn from here that no outside sciences or wisdom should be used to adorn the Torah. The torah has all its light within it and nothing in the outside world can enhance this brilliant light. With this idea he explains the gemara Megila (32) "He who holds the Sefer Torah bare (without a covering) will be buried bare without mitzvos". This means that if a person considers the Torah lacking and he feels it needs the beauty of science and other wisdoms to adorn it and make it complete will himself die without mitzvos since this is Apikurses.
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