Pearls of Rashi – Terumah II

This week we read Parshas Terumah. It tells us of Hashem’s detailed commands to build the Mishkan – Tabernacle, and the manner in which it must be constructed. Similarly, it tells us of the construction of the vessels which were to be used in the Tabernacle as part of the daily service which was performed there.

Among these vessels was the Menorah. It was to stand within the Mishkan, and was lit every day. The Torah tells us that[1], “you shall make a menorah of pure gold. The Menorah shall be made of hammered work; its base and its stem, its goblets, its knobs, and its flowers shall be (one piece) with it.”

Why does the Torah use the passive voice (“the Menorah shall be made”), rather than the active voice (you shall make the Menorah)? As usual, Rashi explains this to us. He cites the words from our verse “the Menorah shall be made,” and explains as follows. “(It shall be made) by itself. Since Moshe found forming the Menorah difficult, Hashem said to him, ‘Cast the talent (about sixty-four pounds of gold) into the fire, and it will be made by itself.’ Therefore, it is not written, you shall make, but rather it shall be made.”

However, we need to understand Rashi’s words. G-d’s commands regarding the Tabernacle and its vessels were extremely intricate. Granted, the Menorah was extremely detailed. Nonetheless, we need to understand what specific detail Moshe found difficult with this particular item. We cannot say that the construction of the Menorah was more difficult than that of other items, which were all extremely detailed.

This can be explained as follows. The Sages tell us[2] that the Menorah served as “testimony to the entire world that Hashem’s presence rests among the Jews.” In other words, the Menorah served to illuminate the world, not just the Mishkan. That was Moshe’s difficulty. He understood the building of the Menorah with all of its details. However, he could not understand how a physical candelabra could illuminate the spiritual darkness of this world.

Hashem answered his question as follows. Granted, something of this nature cannot be accomplished by a human being. However, throw the piece of gold into the fire, and I will make it into a Menorah. I will give it the ability to bring light to the spiritual darkness.

Everything in Torah provides us with a lesson for all times. May the Menorah within each of us cause the world to shine, and bring Moshiach now!

Have a good Shabbos!

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Mr. Sholom Moshe ben Reb Shlomo Meir
Hacohen ע”ה Cohen
Passed away Shabbos Parshas Beshalach,
13 Shevat, 5779
May His Soul be bound in the Eternal Bond of Life
* * *
לעילוי נשמת
ר’ שלום משה בן ר’ שלמה מאיר הכהן ע”ה כהן
נפטר ש”ק פ’ בשלח, י”ג שבט, ה’תשע”ט
ת. נ. צ. ב. ה.
יו”ל ע”י בני משפחתו שיחיו

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 1, Page 174

[1]. Our Parshah, Shemos 25:31.

[2]. Talmud Shabbos, Page 22, b.

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