Aliya-by-Aliya Sedra Summary
Numbers in [square brackets] are the Mitzva-count of Sefer HaChinuch AND Rambam’s Sefer HaMitzvot. A=ASEI (positive mitzva); L=LAV (prohibition). X:Y is the perek and pasuk from which the mitzva comes.
Kohen - First Aliya -16 p'sukim - 25:1-16
It seems from our sources that silver was not as "as each person sees fit" as the other materials (see Lead Tidbit). Almost of the silver (used for the ADANIM, foundation blocks of the Mishkan) came from the mandatory and specified collection of the silver half-shekel). Some additional silver that was donated was used for Mishkan "decoration" and vessels.
"And they shall make for Me a Sanctuary, and I will dwell in their midst" [95,A20 25:8]. This wellknown pasuk constitutes the mitzva to build the Mishkan in that generation, and the Beit HaMikdash in later times. Each time the Mishkan was taken apart, transported, and reassembled, the mitzva was fulfilled. It was fulfilled by Shlomo HaMelech and his generation, and by Ezra HaSofer and his generation. It will be fulfilled IY"H when the third Beit HaMikdash will be built, IY"H in our own time.
SDT: Some commentaries interpret the word B'TOCHAM as "within each person of B'nei Yisrael", not just in the midst of the People, thereby personalizing the relationship between G-d and each person.
In a different way, this also points to the building of a Mikdash in one’s own heart. in a figurative sense.
SDT: V’YIKCHU rather than V’YITNU. “Take” rather than “give”. Famous question. The Malbim answers it this way. Really, everything belongs to G-d. So how can we give to Him. Our first step is to take from Him by using worldly goods for sacred purposes. Just as making a bracha enables us to take possession of food which is essentially G-d’s, so too did the donations of materials for the Mishkan make those materials ours to give (and the balance to keep).
MitzvaWatch: Rambam gives 14 rules for the counting of the 613 mitzvot. Rule #12 is that it is not "appropriate" to count as separate mitzvot those commands that are part of a more all-encompassing mitzva. Therefore, Rambam does NOT count among the 613 the mitzvot to make the Aron, Menora, Shulchan, Altars, etc. since they are included in Building the Sanctuary. In other words, ALL of the details of the building of the Mikdash are included in this one single Mitzvat Asei.
Other mitzva-counters disagree. E.g. Ramban counts the making of the Aron as a separate mitzva (but not the other sacred vessels).
And, as you will see, there are specific details that are counted as separate mitzvot by Rambam too.
G-d will show the various forms that the work should take as models for the people to follow in M'lechet HaMishkan, the sacred task of building the Mikdash.
[S> 25:10 (13)] The first specific command is that of making the Aron (Ark). It is to be made of wood, gold- plated inside and out. Four gold rings are to be fixed to its sides to receive the Carrying Poles (themselves made of gold-plated wood). The Carrying Poles, once inserted into the rings, may never be removed [96,L86 25:15].
MitzvaWatch: Note that although all the positive commands related to the details of each of the vessels are included within the "master-mitzva" of building the Mikdash (and everything in it), this prohibition is counted separately. In other words, the commands to make the Aron, to plate it with gold, to attach rings, to make poles, to cover them with gold, to put a decorative border around the top of the Aron, to make the lid, etc. etc. are all part of the mitzva to make the Sanctuary. The prohibition of removing the carrying poles is its own mitzva.
The "Testimony" (the LUCHOT - Tablets) shall be placed in the Aron.
Clarification: Some commentaries describe the ARON as three nested, open-top boxes - an outer box of gold, a middle box of wood, and an inner box of gold which had a rim to cover over the thickness of the wooden box, so that only gold would be visible both from the outside and inside of the ARON. There are different opinions as to how thick the gold plating was.
Levi - Second Aliya - 24 p'sukim - 25:17-40
Think about this... It seems a bit strange, does it not, that we would be commanded to make the K'ruvim in light of the strong prohibitions against graven images. And more so, if we note the chronology of the events in the months following the Exodus - specifically, that the command to build the Mikdash followed in the wake of the Golden Calf fiasco. The "answer" is that G-d is the Boss. He says no graven images - then we don't. And the Golden Calf is the ultimate affront to G-d. He commands us to make the K'ruvim, then we do. There are many examples of this idea. Lighting fire is forbidden on Shabbat. In the Mikdash it is required. Piku'ach Nefesh situations require it. This is not contradictory. This is recognizing G-d's mastery of the world and our commitment to follow His commands.
[P> 25:23 (8)] A special table of gold-plated wood shall be made; a frame and decorative border to the frame are to be made of gold. Four gold rings are to be attached to the legs of the table as receptacles for the carrying rods. Shelves and supports for the shelves complete the Shulchan.
The Lechem Panim (Showbread) are to be placed on the Shulchan at all times [97,A27 25:30].
MitzvaWatch: This is not considered just a detail of the making of the Shulchan, but as its own mitzva. The mitzva involves baking 12 special loaves (halachically, they were matza) on Friday to replace the previous week's loaves on Shabbat.
radition records a weekly miracle that the one-week-old Lechem HaPanim was found to be fresh by the kohanim on duty who shared in eating it. This mitzva makes the statement that we should not view food as only the physical necessity that the rest of the world sees it as, but rather we are challenged to add a spiritual dimension to even the most mundane of our human activities. Lechem HaPanim are the symbol; our laws of kashrut, brachot, and more, help us achieve the spiritual levels of this concept.
In the Shabbat Zmira KI ESHM'RA SHABBAT, we sing that G-d gave a Torah-mitzva to the Kohanim to put the Lechem HaPanim on the Shulchan on Shabbat. THEREFORE, we are forbidden to fast on Shabbat (except for Yom Kippur). In other words, G-d did not include a food in the Temple service just to feed the Kohanim. G-d is showing us, so to speak, the potential spirituality of food. Take this lesson, He says, from the Mikdash into your homes. Food is not incidental to Shabbat; it is a significant part of our observance of Shabbat. We can see this from the earlier (in Parshat B’shalach) introduction of Shabbat to the people of Israel. We were first taught Shabbat in the context of the MN (manna). “And Moshe said - Eat it TODAY, for TODAY is Shabbat to HaShem, TODAY you will not find it in the field.” As significant to Jewish Life is fasting, so too is eating. It is part of our Judaism, not just a physical need we have to satisfy.
(some Chumashim put Shlishi here)
Commentaries point out that the Menora was not THAT tall to require a step-stool to reach the oil lamps. However, it would usually require the Kohein Gadol to lift his hands above the TZITZ he wore on his forehead, and that was not permitted. Hence the need for the steps.
SDT: All parts of the Menorah were integral to the whole; none was "merely" attached. Torat Moshe applies this to the People of Israel and, with a play on words, says that even Jews who have strayed from Torah and mitzvot are part of the whole.
Shlishi - Third Aliya - 14 p'sukim - 26:1-14
Above the Mishkan was an 11-panel covering (sections of six and five panels joined with copper buttons) made of goats' hair. The Mishkan was decorative; this covering, known as the OHEL, was utilitarian, affording protection from the elements. The OHEL and MISHKAN covered the sides of the structure as well as the top.
The topmost covering (some say it was just on the top, not the sides; others say it too draped down the walls of the Mishkan) was made of red-dyed sheepskin and Tachash skins.
FOR YOUR INFORMATION...
R'vi'i - Fourth Aliya - 16 p'sukim - 26:15-30
SDT: Rashi brings a Midrash that Yaakov Avinu foresaw with Divine Vision that wood would be needed by his descendants upon their departure from Egypt. He brought saplings with him to Egypt which he planted and ordered his children to take the wood with them when they left Egypt.
Chamishi - Fifth Aliya - 7 p'sukim - 26:31-37
SDT: MA'ASEI CHOSHEIV, explains Rashi, is highly skilled weaving (could it be embroidery of a sort?) which results in different designs on each of the two sides of the fabric.
The Aron is to be put into the Holy of Holies. The Shulchan on the north wall (2½ amot from the north wall) opposite the Menora on the south wall (also 2½ amot from the south wall) are placed outside the Parochet in the main section of the Mishkan. (The custom is to place the Chanukiya on the south wall of the shul, to remind us of the Menora in the Mikdash.)
A curtain similar to the Parochet was to be hung across the entrance of the Mishkan. This MASACH is to be hung on five wooden pillars plated with gold, fitted with golden hooks, and inserted into gold foundation sockets. The Masach measured 10 amot by 10 amot, as did the Parochet.
Some commentaries say that each curtain hung from hooks on the supporting pillars. Others say that a rod was inserted at the top of each curtain and the rod was suspended from the hooks on the pillars. This would allow the Parochet and Masach to hang evenly without sagging.
Shishi - Sixth Aliya - 8 p'sukim - 27:1-8
The Torah says that this Altar was 3 amot tall. R. Yehuda says: understand it as it is written. R. Yosi says just as the internal Altar is twice as tall as it is wide and long, so too is this one. It measures 5 amot on each side of the square, therefore, it is 10 amot tall. But the Torah says three? That is, measured from its SOVEV.
The Aron, Shulchan, Menora are 1,2,3 in Parshat T'ruma. Then the structure of the Mishkan, then the External Altar. Internal Altar doesn't come until T'tzaveh - after the garments of the Kohanim. The Washing Basin and its Stand don't show up until the beginning of Ki Tisa. When the actual construction is described in Vayak-hel and P'kudei, the order is different.
Sh'vi'i - Seventh Aliya - 11 p'sukim - 27:9-19
We have been without a Beit HaMikdash for so long that many of us have developed a "who needs it?" kind of attitude about a physical Mikdash. Without analyzing the following analogy too much, here's a thought. Even if one has been davening by heart for a long time, and knows the prayers well, there is still many benefits to his getting a beautiful Siddur to use. It gives him a focus, enhances his service of G-d, is physically attractive and spiritually inspiring.
The final three p’sukim of T’ruma are reread for the Maftir.
Haftara - 20 p'sukim - Melachim Alef 5:26-6:13
The concluding pasuk of the Haftara goes so beautifully with one of the open p'sukim of the sedra. “And I will dwell (says G-d) in the midst of Bnei Yisrael and I will not abandon My people Israel.” If one had any doubt as to the meaning of the sedra’s V’SHACHANTI B’TOCHAM, and I will dwell among them - the haftara spells it out beyond any ambiguity.
It is also important to note what G-d told Shlomo HaMelech before the promise to dwell in the midst of Bnei Yisrael. Melachim Alef 6:11-12.
And this was the word of G-d to Shlomo: This House that you are building, IF you will go in My ways and do what I command, and keep all of My mitzvot, THEN I will fulfill My word with you, as I told your father David.
V’ASU LI MIKDASH is a command. V’SHACHANTI B’TOCHAM is a promise, but apparently it is a conditional promise. And the condition is NOT just to build a Mikdash. It is to be faithful to G-d and keep His Torah.
May we see the fulfillment of the mitzvot of the sedra and haftara, and of G-d's promises, speedily in our time.