U’re’eh v’asei b’tavnisam asher atah mareh ba’har (Shemos 25:40)
Hashem commanded Moshe to construct the Menorah for the Mishkan in accordance with the form that Hashem showed him. Rashi explains that because Moshe had difficulty understanding the appearance of the Menorah, Hashem showed him a fiery illustration of how it should look. This seems difficult to reconcile with the fact that Rashi also writes (25:31) that even after this assistance, Moshe still had difficulty making the Menorah, and ultimately Hashem told him to throw a block of gold into fire, at which point the Menorah miraculously “made itself” and emerged complete. If Hashem knew that in the end Moshe would be unable to make the Menorah, why did He initially show him the fiery image to enable him to make it himself?
Harav Dov Weinberger explains that in order for a person to merit Heavenly assistance to successfully complete a project, he must first have a mental image of the goal towards which he is striving. Once a person has a clear vision in his mind of what it is that he hopes to accomplish, he can then ask Hashem to give him the necessary help that he requires in order to see it through to fruition. Therefore, in this case, even though Hashem knew that Moshe would be unable to form the Menorah on his own and would require Divine intervention to successfully create it, he was only eligible to receive this assistance after Hashem showed him an image of the Menorah and he had a clear picture of his goal.
Rav Weinberger suggests that this concept can also provide a profound insight into the Baal HaTurim’s comment that the word U’re’eh — and you shall see — in our verse also appears in the well-known verse (Tehillim 128:6) “Ur’eh banim l’vanecha shalom al Yisrael — And you shall see children born to your children, peace upon Israel.” The Baal HaTurim is not just pointing out a linguistic parallel; if this word appears in both verses, there must be a deeper connection between them.
Rav Weinberger explains that just as Moshe was physically incapable of producing the Menorah on his own, so too it is impossible for a person to decide the number of offspring he will have and the choices that they will make in their lives. However, just as Moshe merited Divine aid in crafting the Menorah once he had a clear image of his desired outcome, so too parents and grandparents with a clear vision of the values and priorities that they hope to instill in their progeny will merit Hashem’s help in seeing their dreams and goals become a reality.
Q: What is the significance of the fact that all the measurements of the Aron — its length, width, and height — are fractions (Shemos 25:10) instead of whole numbers, yet the length and width of the Shulchan are whole numbers (25:23) and its height is a fraction, while all of the measurements of the Mizbei’ach are whole (27:1)?
Q:The Torah prohibits (25:15) the removal of the poles which were used to carry the Aron. Does a person who removes them violate the prohibition only once — at the moment that he removes them — or does he transgress continuously for every second that he fails to return them to their proper location?
A: Rabbeinu Bechaye and the Baal HaTurim write that the fractional measurements of the Aron teach that a Torah scholar must be humble and not arrogant. The Kli Yakar suggests that the Aron’s dimensions are incomplete to hint that a person must always view himself as incomplete in his Torah knowledge. The Mizbei’ach’s measurements are complete to teach that it atones for the deficiencies created by our sins and makes us whole once again. The dimensions of the Shulchan are primarily whole to hint that one should be content with his physical possessions and view himself as not lacking anything. However, one measurement is fractional to teach that we should not seek to satisfy all of our earthly desires. The LekachTov quotes Harav Uri Kellerman as noting that specifically the height of the Shulchan is fractional. He explains that the length and width correspond to the physical plane in which we live, with regard to which we should be content with our physical lot. The height symbolizes that every physical object can spiritually elevate us, and only in that regard may we consider our physical needs lacking.
A: The Mishnah (Makkos 3:9) discusses a case in which in the process of plowing, a person transgresses eight different Torah prohibitions, each of which is punishable by lashes. The Gemara points out several additional prohibitions which could have been incorporated into the Mishnah, one of which is that the person plowing could be removing the poles from the Aron. As this would be an unusual scenario, the Ritva explains that the Gemara means that the person previously removed the poles, and every second that he neglects to return them is another sin. The Aruch L’Ner argues and maintains that removing the poles is a one-time sin. He therefore explains that the Gemara is referring to a case in which the Aron is passing the field, and the person removes the poles while plowing. The Chofetz Chaim also seems to disagree with the Ritva and suggests a completely different interpretation of the Gemara.
Originally from Kansas City, Rabbi Ozer Alport graduated from Harvard, learned in Mir Yerushalayim for five years, and now lives in Brooklyn, where he learns in Yeshivas Beis Yosef, is the author of the recently-published sefer Parsha Potpourri, and gives weekly shiurim. To send comments to the author or to receive his Divrei Torah weekly, please email oalport@Hamodia.com.