Saturday, March 2, 2013

Vayakheil Pekudei & HaChodesh 5773

The Torah Portion of Vayakheil

"And Moshe assembled..." (Shemot 35:1) 

Rashi says that this occurred on the day after Yom Kippur.  It is customary for people to appease their friends on the day before Yom Kippur, but also on the day after Yom Kippur we should take care to continue to assemble together and to live in peace and brotherhood. And that was the intention of what Rashi says "And Moshe assembled - on the day after Yom Kippur".

"You shall not light fire in any of your dwellings on the day of Shabbat" (Shemot 35:3) 

It is brought in the holy books that even though the fire of Gehinnom is extinguished on Shabbat, for someone who desecrates Shabbat the fires of Gehinnom are kindled especially for him to punish him.  And this is what the Torah is warning us, that one should be careful not to desecrate Shabbat since that would cause the fires of Gehinnom to be lit up for him.  Also, the Sages said that the sin of desecrating Shabbat causes fires, G-d forbid.  And this is what the Torah is hinting to us, that you shouldn't cause fires to flare up in your dwelling places, because of desecration of  Shabbat, G-d forbid.  Similarly, if we are careful not to  desecrate Shabbat, then as a result there will not be any fires in our houses.   In addition, it is hinted in the holy books, that on the holy Sabbath,  one needs to be especially careful to prevent the kindling of the fire of divisive argumentation (Machloket).  On Shabbat people are present in the Bait Knesset and are not busy with their weekday work, so the evil inclination finds an opportunity precisely on this holy day to incite people to have disagreements and arguments.  And that is why the Torah says "You shall not light fire...on the day of Shabbat".

The Torah Portion of Pekudei 

"These are the accountings of the Mishkan...which were counted at the word of Moshe."  (Shemot 38:21)

The Holy Zohar asks, isn't it so that the blessing is not to be found except in something which is hidden from the eye, so why did they count all the silver?  And the answer is that regarding the silver which was counted by Moshe Rabbeinu, that the blessing rests upon it even if it is counted and not hidden from the eye.  And that is the explanation of the verse "these are the accountings of the Mishkan...which were counted at the word of Moshe" --  because they were counted by Moshe there was no damage or lack caused by the counting of the sum of the donations for the Mishkan, and on the contrary because of the power of Moshe's greatness and righteousness, there was no reason to prevent the blessing.

"...a hundred sockets (in Hebrew: "Adanim") for a hundred kikar..."  (Shemot 38:27)

The Baal HaTurim wrote that in parallel to the hundred sockets they established to say a hundred blessings every day.  And the Chidushei HaRim says that just as the sockets are the basis of the Mishkan, so also the blessings are the basis of the holiness of every man of Israel, and by means of the blessings he testifies that Hashem, may He be blessed, is the Master of all of Creation.    The Kli Yakar says that a Socket (in Hebrew: Aden) is from the same root as Master  (in Hebrew: Adon), and he says that someone holds himself to be lowly like a Socket, is a  Master, and as in the language of the Zohar, someone who regards himself as lowly, is great.

We bless "Chazak" at the end of the Torah Portion of Pekudei, which is the end of the book of Shemot.

The Torah Portion of HaChodesh

The reason for this reading is to sanctify and declare the month of Nissan,
because of the importance of this month, for so it is written in the Torah:
"This month will be to you the head of the months; it is the first for you of
the months of the year". (Shemot 12:2) It is the head of the months and of the
festivals. (Practically speaking, this is not the actual sanctification of the
month but rather just an addition of holiness.)
Another reason for this reading: to announce to the people that Passover is
coming soon, so that they should prepare themselves to come up to Jerusalem for
the festival. The Mitzvah of coming up to Jerusalem for Passover is more
stringent than for the the other festivals, because of the "Korban Pesach"
(Passover offering), which is a positive commandment that has the punishment of
Korait (cutting off) if not fulfilled.

10 Crowns that were taken by Rosh Chodesh Nissan:

1) The first for the act of creation
2) The first for the princes; the princes began to bring sacrificial offerings
3) The first for the priests (the Kohanim); the priests began to do their
4) The first for the service; the sacrifices of the community began to be
5) The first for the coming down of fire upon the sacrificial altar
6) The first for eating of the holy offerings, according to their statutory laws
7) The first for the indwelling of the Divine Presence
8) The first time for the Kohanim to bless the people of Israel
9) The first time when it became forbidden to offer sacrifices on Bamot, so that
they would be offered only in the Mishkan
10) The first of the months of the year

On Rosh Chodesh Nissan, Moshe blessed Israel, May it be His will that the Divine
Presence will dwell in the acts of your hands.
It is customary from Rosh Chodesh Nissan until the 13th of the month to say each
day the Torah verses about one of the princes from the dedication of the
sacrificial altar. On the the first day, we begin with "Vayihi Biyom Kalot
Moshe"; on the 12th day we complete the Torah portion of Naso; and on the 13th
day we say the Torah portion of Baaloticha until "Et Hamenorah". (A Kohen or a
Levi should not say the Yehi Ratzon.) (from Mishna Berura, Siman 429)

The Torah Portion of "Vayakheil" has 122 verses.  The Torah Portion of "Pekudai" has 92 verses. There are 4 positive commandments and 5 negative commandments.

TwoTorah Scrolls are taken out:1) for the weekly Torah portion2) for the Torah Portion of "Bo", from "Vyomar Hashem... HaChodesh Hazeh Lachem"until "Tochlu Matzot".The Haftorah is "Kol HaAm HaAretz" (Yechezkel 45)

May you have a light-filled and happy Shabbat.
Shabbat Shalom.

"In Nissan we were redeemed and in Nissan we will be redeemed in the future."  (Mesechet Rosh Hashana 11a)

L'ilui Neshamat HaGaon HaTzaddik R' Gershon Avigdor Ben R' Chaim ztz"l, Nilkach L'Bait Olamo Yud Gimmel Tishrei 5772

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