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Friday, February 19

The Weekly Shtikle - Terumah

As I have done for my other grandparents, I am dedicating the shtikles during this year le'iluy nishmas my Oma, Chaya Sara bas Zecharia Chaim, a"h.

This week's shtikle is dedicated for a refuah sheleimah for my father.

Please include Reuven Pinchas ben Yehudis in your tefillos.


After detailing the structure of each component of the mishkan, the Torah explains their arrangement. When dealing with the placement of the shulchan and the menorah, the pasuk states (26:35) "And you shall place the shulchan outside of the curtain and the menorah opposite the shulchan, on the southern side of the mishkan. And the shulchan shall be placed on the northern side." This pasuk could easily have been condensed to only mention the shulchan once. Why was the placement of the shulchan mentioned before and after the placement of the menorah?

The menorah traditionally represents Torah and spirituality while the shulchan represents wealth and sustenance. Sifsei Kohein bases his explanation on the mishnah in Pirkei Avos (3:17) "Im ein kemach, ein Torah. Im ein Torah, ein kemach." Without flour (sustenance), there can be no Torah and without Torah, there is no flour. The shulchan was brought into the mishkan first and placed in front of the curtain as a reflection of the first phrase, that there can be no Torah without sustenance first. However, its position on the northern side was not fixed until after the menorah was placed in its spot on the southern side, this to reflect the second phrase, that without Torah there is no sustenance.

Rav Yaakov Moshe Kulefsky, zt"l, explained the Sifsei Kohein based on the GR"A's explanation of the mishnah. When the mishnah tells us that without sustenance there can be no Torah, it means that we need sustenance in order to achieve Torah. However, when the mishnah says that without Torah, there is no sustenance, it means without Torah as the ultimate goal, the sustenance is futile and purposeless. That is why although the shulchan is brought into the mishkan first, it is only placed in position after the menorah is first placed in its position, to show that in the end, the Torah must be the central focus with the sustenance only a means to that end.

Netziv in Ha'ameik Davar also deals with this issue and offers an alternate explanation. The shulchan has, in fact, a two-tiered symbolism. On one level, it represents sustenance and blessing insomuch as is needed for everyday livelihood. This is represented by the lechem hapanim, the bread that was placed on the shulchan. The structure itself, however, represents wealth and majesty. It is for this reason that it is placed in the north. In order to facilitate the efficient emersion in Torah, one needs only achieve the first level of sufficient sustenance. The next level of wealth and majesty can only be reached through the merit of Torah. Therefore, the shulchan is brought into the mishkan first but is put in its place after the menorah and that is why the pasuk must mention it twice.

Have a good Shabbos. Mishenichnas Adar Marbim beSimchah!

Eliezer Bulka

Shtikle Blog Weekly Roundup:

Al Pi Cheshbon: Amudei HeChatzeir
Dikdukian: Venahapoch hu

Dikdukian: Watch out for that kamatz

Dikdukian: Kikar Zahav

Dikdukian: The Lord and the Rings  

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