The Weekly Shtikle - Vayakheil / Pekudei
A Weekly Shtikle mazal tov to my niece, Ruti Levy, on her forthcoming marriage to Yoni Epstein of Scranton. Mazal tov to the extended Levy, Bulka and Jakobovits families.
The pasuk (40:22) recounts the placing of the shulchan in the north before the placing of the menorah in the south. However, points out R' Chaim Brisker, the mishkan was arranged from the kodesh hakadashim and out, i.e. they began in the west and moved eastward. There is a general rule in matters pertaining to the holy service, kol pinos she'atah poneh, lo yehu ela derech yamin.(Sotah 15b and various other sources). This is to say that any time there is a choice between turning to the left or to the right, one must turn to the right. If so, when facing east, one should theoretically turn right to the south and place the menorah first and then place the shulchan in the north.
R' Chaim answers that when detailing the layout Moshe was commanded (26:35) that aside from being in the south, the menorah should be nochach hashulchan, opposite the shulchan. Therefore, it had to be placed after the shulchan so that it would face it immediately. This is also the reason why the outer altar was put in its place before the kiyor which was closer to the mishkan for in the description of the kiyor (30:18) we find it is to be placed bein ohel moed uvein hamizbeiach, between ohel moed and the altar which is only possible if both are in place beforehand. R' Chaim Kanievsky gives this answer as well.
Chazak, chazak venischazeik!
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Dikdukian: Ve'asa Vetzalel