Category Archives: Parshat תרומה

Parshat תרומה

Parshat תרומה Shmos 25:10 – Work is Praiseworthy – Part 2

Exodus 25:10 – And they shall make for me an ark of shittim wood; two cubits and a half shall be its length and a cubit and a half its breadth and a cubit and half its height.

Gemora Yoma 72b: Rabbi Yochanan contrasted two biblical posukim as follows: in one posuk (Devarim/Deuteronomy 10:1) “you (Moshe) will make for yourself an ark” yet another posuk says (Shmos/Exodus 25:10) “and they shall make for Me an ark.” From here we see that it is fitting for a Torah scholar, that the people of his city do his work for him.”

Torah Temimah Colloquial Translation on Note #12:

In other words, the principal commandment to build the ark was commanded to Moshe. The Jewish people actually, therefore, built the ark on his behalf. Additionally even though really only Betzalel and Ahaliav and other wise craftsman were really the only ones who made it, but since (perhaps) due to the fact that they were paid from the communal money that was raised by all the Jews to build the temple, therefore it is considered as if all the Jews, themselves, actually made it.  See also the Gemora Temura 31b.

Also, see what is written in the Gemora Shabbos 114a where it relates as follows: Rabbi Yochanan said “which type of Torah scholar is it for whom the people of his city are commanded to do work for him? One who abandons all his interests and occupies himself with the interests of heaven (G-d).”  

It is not clear what the source is of Rabbi Yochanan’s ruling. However in the previous note [where it explains that when Jews do G-d’s work, their own work gets done for them, while when they are not doing G-d’s work, then they must do their own work. This is seen exactly from this posuk where Moshe’s work is being done by others exactly because he is exclusively involved in G-d’s work.] We see that this principle is learned from Moshe. Therefore, Rabbi Yochanan concludes that it is only for a Torah scholar who acts like Moshe that the city is required to do work on his behalf.

A further explanation is appropriate also on Rabbi Yohanan’s question itself. According to the context in the Gemora’s discussion here there are three categories/levels [zirim]. The category of Altar, of Ark and of Table. Aaron [Moshe’s brother] merited the level of Altar and he took it;  [King] David merited the level of Table and he took it; the level of the Ark,  however, is still open and available for anyone who wants to come and take it. The explanation of this is just as it says in [Pirkei] Avot, that the Crown of Torah is available to all of Israel equally. Therefore it is extremely appropriate that it be about the Ark that the posuk should say in the plural “and they made it.” This was precisely to show this point that the Crown of Torah is available for all of Israel. The point of the explanation in the Gemora would be to explain why it doesn’t also say “and they made” [in the plural] in Devarim/Deuteronomy. Further investigation is needed.

Translator Note: In other notes also, the Torah Temimah stresses the value of work.  Specifically, a Torah scholar is not worthy of having others do work for him, unless he has reached the spiritual level of Moshe. The Torah Temimah means by this, I think, that it is never appropriate. We all know at the end of Devarim/Deuteronomy that the Torah itself states that there never will arise anyone of the same level as Moshe.

The Torah Temimah is stressing that everyone should earn a living and that it is not appropriate, as an optimal state, for the congregation to support Wise Sages through community funds. He ends the note with a teaching that stresses the egalitarian vision of learning Torah; it is not reserved for the chosen few, but is available to all who desire to learn.

Parshat תרומה Shmos 25:8 – Work is Praiseworthy

Exodus 25:8 – And they shall make for me a sanctuary, and I will dwell amongst them.

Avot d’Rabbi Natan: We learn in a braitha: Rabbi Tarfon says, “Great is work as we see that even G-d did not allow His divine presence to dwell on the Jewish people until they did work.” We see this from the posuk: Make for me a sanctuary and I will dwell amongst them.

Torah Temimah Colloquial Translation on Note #9:

It is probable that the Avot d’Rabbi Natan is deducing this lesson from the exact wording of the posuk. The posuk should have said “make for me a sanctuary and I will dwell in it” rather than “I will dwell in them.”  Therefore, Avot d’Rabbi Natan concludes that the concept of a building is not for G-d and it does not pertain to him. This is shown by the posuk in Isaiah Chapter 66:1 “The heavens are my throne and the earth is my footstool, where is the house that you would build for Me?”

From here we see that the reason why G-d wanted the Jews to be involved in the work of the temple for His Name’s sake and He commanded them to build the temple as a way to endear them to Him through their efforts. After this, He caused His divine presence to dwell amongst them, wherever they may be.

It is clear from this that work itself is so great that it can cause G-d’s grace to be shown to the Jewish people through causing his divine presence to dwell amongst them.

DBS Note: In other notes also, the Torah Temimah stresses the value of work.