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Friday, February 4

The Weekly Shtikle - Terumah

I apologize for being MIA for the last couple of weeks. I have a couple of dedications to catch up on:


Last Tuesday, 23 Shevat, was the first yahrtzeit of our dear Oma Jakobovits. This concludes our full year of shtikle dedications le'iluy nishmasah, Chaya Sara bas Zecharia Chaim, a"h.


This past Sunday, 28 Shevat, marked the 9th yahrtzeit of my wife's grandfather, R' Yitzchak Yeres. The shtikle is dedicated le'iluy nishmasoYitzchak Chaim ben Moshe Yosef.


Yesterday, 2 Adar, marked the 16th yahrtzeit of my Zadie, Rabbi Yaakov Bulka. The shtikle is dedicated le'iluy nishmaso, Chaim Yaakov ben Yitzchak, z"l.


The Weekly Shtikle is dedicated le'iluy nishmas my father, Reuven Pinchas ben Chaim Yaakov, a"h.


The story goes that R' Chaim of Volozhin had trouble understanding a certain passage of Zohar and appeared before his rebbe, R' Eliyahu of Vilna (GR"A) and asked him to explain it to him. The GR"A then proceeded to give him the following peshat on a pasuk in this week's parsha. The pasuk (25:11) tells us that the ark be made of wood and be coated inside and out - "mibayis umichutz" - with gold. Rashi explains from the Yerushalmi in Shekalim that Bezalel constructed three boxes - two of gold and one of wood. He put the wooden box inside the larger gold one and then the smaller gold one inside the wood one and then coated the top of it. If such was the order, asks the GR"A, then why does the pasuk say "mibayis umichutz?" The order should be reversed and it should say "michutz umibayis" because the Ark was coated first on the outside and then on the inside. He answers that "mibayis umichutz" is not referring to the wood but rather to the gold. This is to say that the larger golden ark coated the wood "with its inside" and the smaller golden ark coated the wood "with its outside." So, instead of the pasuk telling us to coat the wood on its inside and its outside, it is in fact saying to coat the wood with the inside of the gold and with the outside of the gold.


And why did the Torah go out of its way to explain this process in such a strange manner? The GR"A explained that it was to express the following symbolism. (This is where it gets deep.) The wood refers to man as the pasuk says (Devarim 20:19) "ki haAdam eitz hasadeh" and the two coatings of gold refer to the two portions of Torah that must envelop man, the nigleh, the revealed portions, and the nistar, the hidden. Torah is compared to gold in Tehillim (19:11) "hanechemadim mizahav." The Torah is telling us that as far as the nigleh, represented by the outer coating of gold, is concerned, one has the ability to reach the deepest depths of this portion of Torah. This is demonstrated by the fact that it is the inside of the gold that coats the wood. But as for the nistar, symbolized by the inner gold, one may only reach the surface and may not be able to reach the full depth of the nistar, as it is only the outside of this layer of gold that coats the wood. Following this explanation, the GR"A refused to explain that particular passage in Zohar to R' Chaim.


One issue with the above: In the passage from Yerushalmi referenced by Rashi the order is actually the other way around that the inner layer of gold was first placed in the wooden box and then they were placed in the larger layer of gold. According to this, the order of the pasuk is fine the way it is. It seems Rashi might actually be quoting a midrash which had a different accounting of the events. In Yoma 72b Rashi explains this process in the same way he does here.


Have a good Shabbos.

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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