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Friday, February 16

The Weekly Shtikle - Terumah

A number of years ago, I posed the following question and received back a number of nice suggestions which I would like to share.


At the beginning of the parsha (25:3-7) Moshe is told to collect numerous different materials for the purpose of building the mishkan. He is told to collect gold, silver, copper and various other materials without any indication as to what they will be used for. Then he is told to collect oil for lighting, spices for the anointing oil and the ketores and stones for the eifod and choshen. Why is the specific purpose listed for these materials but not for the others?

 1.            The relative value of the metals and fabrics was known to be greater and thus their importance was easily understood. It was more difficult for the people to understand the importance of the oil and the spices. They therefore needed to be informed right away of the important tasks for which these items were needed. (This answer would not suffice for the stones, however.)

2.            This week's parsha deals at length with the construction of the mishkan using the wood, the metals, and the skins. The oil, spices and stones are not dealt with more thoroughly until the next parsha. Since their purpose isn't discussed until later, it is mentioned briefly at the outset.

3.       The other materials were more readily available to B'nei Yisrael. The oil, spices and stones took greater toil to seek out. As in answer 1, they needed to be informed of the special purpose they would serve in order to motivate them to find the materials and bring them in.


Gur Aryeh, elaborating on Rashi's words, explains that the first materials which are not qualified are simple and specific enough not to need any further elaboration. After all, gold is gold. The oil and spices, however, had to be of a specific type and quality in order to be suitable for the anointing oil and incense. The stones, as well, had to be a specific type. This is why the pasuk is more specific as to their purpose, in order to clarify exactly what was needed.


Have a good Shabbos.


Eliezer Bulka

Shtikle Blog Weekly Roundup:

Al Pi Cheshbon: Amudei HeChatzeir

Dikdukian: Venahapoch hu

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Dikdukian: Kikar Zahav

Dikdukian: The Lord and the Rings 

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