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Whole or Hole?

21/02/13 13:50:50


R Pesach Siegel

Parshas Tetzaveh/Zachor 5773

                                      Based on the words of Mori VeRabi Rav Yonason David, shlita                  

          Rosh Hayeshiva Yeshivas Pachad Yitzchok

The parshah begins with the words, “Ve’atah tetzaveh es Bnei Yisroel.” – Moshe Rabeinu will command the Bnei Yisroel to bring pure olive oil for the menorah. When they bring the olive oil to Moshe he should take it from them personally.[1]

The Torah continues, “Ve’atah tedaber el kol chachmei lev asher milaysiv ruach chochmah.” – Moshe Rabeinu will speak to all those wise of heart, the ones who I have filled with the spirit of wisdom. They are to fashion the priestly garments. When the donations of gold, techeles, purple wool, scarlet wool, and linen are offered, they should be taken personally by the workers.[2]


In other instances, when Hashem instructs Moshe Rabeinu to command the Bnei Yisroel, the present tense is used, e.g. Tzav es Bnei Yisroel.[3] The same holds true when Hashem instructs Moshe to speak to the Bnei Yisroel, the words, “Daber el Bnei Yisroel,”[4] are used.

Why is the future tense, tetzaveh, utilized in the case of the oil for the menorah and that of the priestly garments?

Why was it integral for Moshe Rabeinu to personally receive the oil donations for the menorah?

Why was it necessary for the craftsmen of the bigdei kahuna to receive the raw materials with their own hands?


The gemara in Meseches Sotah tells us that four covenants were forged between Hashem and the Bnei Yisroel. The covenants concerned the keeping of the Torah. Why were four covenants necessary? One was for lilmod, one for lelamed, one for lishmor, and finally for la’asos.[5] They bound themselves to Hakodesh Baruch Hu by studying his Torah, spreading it, guarding it, and performing its mitzvos.

Man is a creature of thought, has the faculty of speech, and is capable of action.

When one keeps the four faceted bris, one connects to G-d in entirety. Then, there is no facet of man that is devoid of a relationship with the Creator. All parts of man join together in the bond. Man is then molay – full.

Hashem created the first man and commanded him, “Pru ur’vu u’mil’u es ha’aretz.”[6] – Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the land. Man was created to fill the world with G-d’s presence. He does so by ensuring that the totality of his multi-faceted essence participates in the process.

The medrash tells us that the Mishkan is called “Olam Katan[7] – a microcosm of the world. There is a parallel contained within the Mishkan for all that is in the world. Thus, the priestly service performed in the Mishkan brings blessing to the parallel world.

Concerning the Mishkan as well, the Torah says, “U’Chvod Hashem molay es haMishkan.”[8] – The honor of Hashem filled the Mishkan. The Mishkan was filled with G-d’s presence. Nothing else was permitted to enter.

It is through the avoda in the Mishkan that the life granting blessings of heaven reach this earth.

The gemara tells us that the Torah was expressed by Hashem before the creation of this world.[9] We have absolutely no understanding in a Torah that preceded our world. Hashem chose Moshe Rabeinu to ascend to heaven and bring Torah to His people in a form that was created specifically for this world.

In the Mishkan, as well, exists a Torah that we have no access to. The total understanding of the Luchos HaBris contained in the Aron Kodesh is beyond us. The Aron is placed in the Kodesh Hakadoshim where no man may tread, save the Kohen Gadol on Yom Kippur.

Parallel to the Aron, on the other side of the paroches is the Menorah. The Menorah receives the light of the Holy Torah contained within the Aron and shines it throughout the world in a form that our human minds can benefit from.[10] The Menorah is the “Moshe Rabeinu” of the Mishkan.

The performance of the avoda by the kohanim is only valid when they are garbed in the priestly garments. Our sages say, “Bigdayhem alayhem kehunasam alayhem.”[11] – When their clothes are upon them, their kehuna is upon them. When they perform the avoda, the physical world becomes invested with spiritual life.


Being that Moshe Rabeinu is the one who brings the Torah that preceded creation into this world, it is integral that the oil which facilitates this in the Mishkan should pass through his hands. It must be his personal oil, invested with a connection to Moshe Rabeinu. Only then will it have the properties to illuminate the world with the light of Torah.

The craftsmen were “filled” with the spirit of wisdom. They were fit to be the ones to fill this world with the blessings of Hashem, thus fulfilling, U’mil’u es ha’aretz. They were uniquely suited to this role for they had no void in their relationship with the Creator. They were molay – full. The raw materials had to come directly into the possession of such individuals. Only then would the priestly garments fashioned with these materials absorb the superlative qualities of those who made them.[12]

An initial, partial, connection with the Creator can be made in an instant. A relationship that encompasses the entirety of the person can only be accomplished in stages. In the beginning, one might connect with G-d through the intellect. One is still very far from making a commitment to dedicate one’s words or actions to Hashem. It is a process, a process that takes time. It may begin in the present but can only be completed in the future. For this reason the command to do so is expressed in future tense.


When one is certain of a path, the progress from thought to speech and finally action is a natural one. The individual is filled with one purpose.

However, when one is gripped with doubt, then one lacks conviction. There are gaps and inconsistencies within the person. As a result, many worthy undertakings remain unfulfilled.

The nation of Amalek is possessed of a culture, the culture to instill doubt.[13] When King Shaul successfully overcame the nation of Amalek, the world was one step away from being rid of this menace. The sole survivor of Amalek was King Agag. Shaul hesitated. He allowed Agag to live.[14] As a result the nation of Amalek survived and prospered. Agag ensured his own survival by causing Shaul to doubt himself. Shaul was not filled totally with the purpose of eradicating the nemesis of Hashem.

The great granddaughter of King Shaul was faced with the identical situation. Queen Esther hosted a banquet. Haman was exposed to be a potential conspirator against the life of King Achasveirosh. In his anger, King Achashveirosh left the banquet hall. Haman threw himself at Queen Esther’s feet, begging her for mercy, just as his ancestor Agag had done at the feet of King Shaul.[15] Esther was filled with revulsion for this enemy of Hashem. There was no room for compassion in her heart, not even for an instant.

The King Achashveirosh returned during this display. He saw contempt, revulsion, and most of all resolve on Esther’s face.

This was the most dangerous moment in the entire Megillah.

Had Achashveirosh witnessed compassion on the face of his queen instead of immediate revulsion, the result would have been drastically different.

This was the proverbial moment of truth. Esther overcame the influence that Amalek has over the world. She thus repaired the damage done by her forbear King Shaul.

[1] Parshas Tetzave, perek 27, posuk 20

[2] Parshas Tetzave, perek 28, posuk 5

[3] VaYikra, perek 24, posuk 2

[4] Shmos, perek 14, posuk 2

[5] Meseches Sotah 37a

[6] Breishis, perek 1, posuk 28

[7] Medrash Rabi Tanchuma, perek 3

[8] Shmos, perek 40, posuk 34

[9] Meseches Zevachim 116a

[10] MaHaral, Ner Mitzvah, page 23

[11] Meseches Sanhedrin 83b

[12] See Rashi on Shmos, perek 28, posuk 17. The stones of the Choshen are called Avnei Milu’im.

[13] The name עמלק is the same numerical value as the word ספק = 240.

[14] Sefer Shmuel I, perek 15

[15] Megillas Esther, perek 7, posuk 7

Sun, September 20 2020 2 Tishrei 5781