Friday, February 24
- 06:40 am – Shacharit (Rosh Chodesh)
- 05:05 pm – Mincha
- 05:09 pm – Candle lighting
- 08:30 pm – Men’s Derech Hashem class at the home of Lev & Jacqueline Novikov, 226 Clifton Street #2 (knock on the window to the right of the front porch).
Saturday, February 25
- 07:45 am – Shacharit at Salem Towers
- 08:45 am – Shacharit
- 09:12 am – Latest time for Kriat Shema
- 10:30 am – Jr. Congregation
- 11:15 am – Kiddush
- 04:40 pm – Mincha and Se’udah Shlishit
- 06:05 pm – Ma’ariv
- 06:18 pm – Shabbat Ends
February 26 – March 2
- 08:00 am – Sunday
- 06:40 am – Monday and Thursday
- 06:50 am – Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday
- 05:15 pm – Sunday – Friday
- 05:45 pm – Sunday – Thursday
To print this schedule, click here to go directly to the post, and then press ctrl-P (Windows) or cmd-P (Mac) to print it.
Weekly Words of Torah
Insights into Parshat Terumah of Yeshivat Sha’alvim alumnus Mr. Eli Weinstein, by Rav Re’uven Ungar of Sha’alvim.
The Menorah is the most well-known of the Klei Ha-Mishkan, “vessels” of the Tabernacle. In addition to the detailed description of its appearance, commentators have added numerous explanations of the Menorah’s symbolic significance. Perhaps we can also gain a deeper meaning from the Torah’s presentation of the initial command to build the Menorah.
“V’asita menorat sahav tahor” – “and you [Moshe] shall make a Menorah of pure gold”, “miksha te’aseh hamenorah” – “the Menorah must be beaten out”, “yirecha v’kanah, givi’eha caftoreha u’fracheha mimena yi’hyu” – “its base, branch, goblets, knobs, and flowers will be [hammered] from it”. (Shemot 25:31)
Rashi cites a Midrash (Tanchuma, Beha’alotecha #3) that is bothered by an apparent clash in the verse. Initially Moshe is told “v’asita”, indicating that he should make the Menorah, and yet the Torah subsequently uses the passive “ta’aseh,” which implies that Moshe did not play an active role in the Menorah’s construction. To resolve this discrepancy the Midrash teaches that at first Moshe tried to construct the Menorah but that it was too difficult for him, and therefore Hashem told him to throw a block of gold into the fire and, as a result, the Menorah was actually made by itself.
Rav Aharon Lichtenstein discussed this Midrash and asked the following question: What about the Menorah was so hard for Moshe to figure out? After all, Moshe successfully completed many other difficult tasks, including building the other components of the Mishkan, so why, of all things, was it the construction of the Menorah that stumped him? R. Lichtenstein explained that it wasn’t the physical labor of constructing the Menorah that confused Moshe, but rather it was the apparent contradiction of its deeper messages. On the one hand the Menorah was to be made from one piece of gold. As Rashi elaborates, the Menorah could not be made by melding together different pieces into a larger whole – as one would typically – but instead had to be made out of a single piece of gold. Many commentaries explain that the notion of one piece represents the intended unity and togetherness – like one solid piece – of the Jewish people. On the other hand, the Menorah has more details and little pieces – it is more ungapatch – than any other item in the Mishkan. The intricate beauty of the various branches, bowls, goblets, knobs, and flowers all convey the notion of nuance and difference. Moshe understood the symbolism of the oneness but he couldn’t comprehend how to harmonize this with the complexity of the detailed design. If the underlying message is one of unity then shouldn’t every piece of the Menorah look and feel the same? And if there are so many different designs highlighting the ideal of individuality and differentiated beauty – then why not make the Menorah from many different pieces of gold?
With Moshe stuck by this challenge, Hashem Himself created the Menorah and, at the same time, taught Moshe – and all generations – a vital lesson about the Jewish community.
The unity we strive for should not be confused with unanimity. The ideal of achdut does not require everyone to look or think the same. Beyond the unwavering principles of our faith and the non-negotiable demands of halacha, there is legitimate room for individuality and different ways of thinking. Oneness can co-exist with the multiple designs and engravings.
There is another lesson that can be derived from the final pasuk in this section. As part of his last instructions, Moshe is told “u-re’eh v’aseh” – “see and construct [the Menorah]” (25:40). Explaining the curious reference of “u-re’eh” – see what? – Rashi quotes the teaching of the Talmud (Menachot 29a) that when Moshe couldn’t figure out how to make it, God showed him a “Menorah shel Esh”, a “Menorah of Fire”. Once Moshe saw this blueprint he was then able to complete the Menorah. Numerous commentators have noted that this description of events – where Moshe ultimately builds the Menorah – seems to contradict the previous comments of Rashi that indicated that Hashem had in fact constructed the Menorah. The common explanation is that upon Moshe’s initial difficulty, Hashem showed him the “blueprint,” but when Moshe still couldn’t complete the construction, he tossed the gold into the heavenly fire where the Menorah was supernaturally constructed.
In light of this understanding, the Sefat Emet questions why Hashem didn’t just make the Menorah Himself when he saw Moshe’s initial struggles. Why go through the process of stopping and starting when the job could have been completed without any additional frustration for Moshe? The Sefat Emet explains that it was only as result of Moshe’s repeated attempts that he received Heavenly assistance. Hashem would not interfere until Moshe had first tried really hard. He further explains that this was not a one-time occurrence limited to the construction of the Menorah, but is in fact a paradigm of a larger spiritual phenomenon; namely, that we are required to exert maximum effort before Hashem will “step in” to enable our success. Whether it’s in realm of Torah study, tefilla, or any other aspect of religious observance, the Sefat Emet teaches that we must vigorously invest our natural strength and resources and only then will we merit the Siyata Dishmaya to succeed.