Weekly Reading Insights: 



From The Masters Of Kabbalah and Chumash (5 Books of Moses)

13th century - "RambaN" - Rabbi Moshe ben Nachman

14th century - "Bachya" - Rabbi Bachya ben Asher

16th century - "Alsheich" - Rabbi Moshe Alshech of Tsfat

17th century - "Shelah" - Rabbi Yeshaiya Horowitz

18th century - "Ohr HaChayim" - Rabbi Chaim Ben Attar



"Let him bring it [y'vi'eha], the Eternal's offering" (Ex. 25:5)

This is like "yavi" [let him bring] the Eternal's offering. But Scripture also attaches a pronoun [it] and then goes on to explain its referent [the Eternal's offering]. Similarly: "And she opened and saw him, the child" (Ex. 2:6). There are many similar instances.
By way of the Truth, [the mystic lore of the Kabbalah], the phrase here is like "let him bring it 'with' the Eternal's offering," meaning that he is to bring the higher offering, as alluded to in the secret of and they take for Me an offering [ibid. 25:2], as I have already explained. Our Rabbis have a Midrash on the verse, and she opened and saw him, the child, that she saw with him the Divine Glory.


When they left Egypt, even though they came forth from the house of bondage, they were still considered exiles because they were in a land that is not theirs, entangled in the desert. When they came to Mount Sinai and made the Tabernacle, and the Holy One, blessed be He, caused His Divine Presence to dwell again amongst them, they returned to the status of their fathers when the sod eloka [counsel of G-d] was upon their tents [See Job 29:4, and Ramban's commentary thereon] and "they were those who constituted the Chariot of the Holy One" [Bereishit Rabba 47:8] Then they were considered redeemed. It was for this reason that this second book of the Torah is concluded with the consummation of the building of the Tabernacle, and the glory of the Eternal filling it always [and not with the Exodus or the Sinai revelation].


Rabbeinu Bachya


"Betzalel son of Uri son of Chur, of the tribe of Yehudah, [used these materials] to make all that G-d had commanded Moses. With him was Oholivov son of Achisamakh, of the tribe of Dan…." [38:22-23]

Just as G-d employed two separate attributes of His when creating the universe, i.e., the attribute of Justice and the attribute of Mercy, so the Tabernacle was constructed principally by two different craftsmen, Betzalel and Oholivov. The former was from the tribe of Yehuda representing the attribute of Mercy, whereas the latter was a member of the tribe of Dan, representing the attribute of din, Justice.




"Moshe blessed them" [39:43]

Moses blessed them includes G-dthe Helper as subject to the blessing. The words Moshe saw are used, since it was only Moshe that was in a position to see whether the finished product was exactly like what had been shown to him by G-d.



"Six days work may be done, but on the seventh day you shall have sanctity, a day of complete rest to the Lord; whoever performs work thereon [on this day] shall be put to death". (Ex. 35:2)

There is little doubt that a person who prepares himself to receive the Shabbat will benefit from the additional soul which inhabits every Jew on Shabbat; not only that, but anyone who sanctifies himself even a little on an ordinary weekday will find that he will enjoy heavenly assistance and reach a much higher level of sanctity than is possible merely by his own unassisted efforts. The Shabbat is particularly suited for the attainment of such higher spiritual levels. It is a fact that the person who has made some preparation for the Shabbat and as a result experiences a tremendous spiritual uplift thinks it is all due to his own efforts. Little does he realize that if it were not for the heavenly assistance received, his spiritual accomplishment would have been far more modest. The reward for the effort to observe the Shabbat in the proper spirit, then, is this additional spiritual power granted him by G-d which the Talmud describes as a reward that is not self-evident!

We are taught by Rabbi Yochanan quoting Rabbi Shimon ben Yochai (Beitza 16), that G-d gave us all the commandments publicly, except the commandment to observe the Shabbat. We derive this from the verse: "Between Me and the Children of Israel it is a sign forever." (Ex. 31:17) If indeed this is so, why would the Gentiles be liable to the death penalty for observing the Shabbat even if they did not know it was for Jews only? The answer is that the legislation to observe the Shabbat was certainly given publicly. It was the nature of the reward for this observance that remained a secret between G-d and the Jewish people. Another answer is that the nature of the reward was also public knowledge; it was the possession of an additional soul on that day by the Shabbat-observing Jew that remained a secret between us and G-d, for Rabbi Shimon ben Lakish stated that G-d equipped the Jew with an additional soul on the Shabbat eve, which is taken from him after the conclusion of the Shabbat. All of this is based on the term "vayinafash" - "and he rested" (Ex. 31:17), meaning "woe to the soul that was lost because it rested." Thus far the Talmud.


Ohr HaChayim


"Moses assembled the entire congregation of the sons of Israel…." [35:1]

We are told in the Zohar volume 3 page 196 that Moses assembled the men separately in order to separate them for the women seeing that Satan was present and Moses wanted to forestall giving Satan a pretext to harm the Israelites during such an assembly.

Since women were not normally present when Moses explained Torah legislation to the people except when they brought the donations for the building of the Holy Tabernacle, Moses did not normally have to take measures to counteract the presence of Satan, the seducer.

We have proof of what the Zohar wrote in verse 22 where the arrival of the men and women is reported separately, i.e. "the men came in addition to the women." This is only emphasized because it was not the norm for women to participate in these assemblies. The best proof that in our instance Moses assembled the men and women separately is in the word bnei, the males. If the men and women had been assembled jointly, the Torah should only have written: "the whole congregation of Israel" and not "the whole congregation of the sons of Israel".



Ramban - credits
Adapted from the 13th century classic by the illustrious scholar, philosopher and defender of the faith, Rabbi Moshe ben Nachman-known as 'RAMBAN' or 'Nachmanides', a master kabbalist in his own right and a major link in the transmission of Jewish mysticism-based on the excellent annotated English translation, Nachmanides on the Torah, by Rabbi Dr. Charles B. Chavel

Bachya - credits
Selected with permission from the seven-volume English edition of The Torah Commentary of Rabbeinu Bachya, as translated and annotated by Eliyahu Munk. Rabbi Bachya ben Asher [1255-1340] of Saragosa, Spain, was the outstanding pupil of Rabbi Shlomo ben Aderet (the "Rashba"), a main disciple of Rabbi Moshe ben Nachman (the "Ramban"). Several books have been written about the Kabballah-based portions of R. Bachya's commentary.

Alsheich - credits
Adapted from Torat Moshe - the 16th commentary of Rabbi Moshe Alshech, the "Preacher of Zefat" on the Torah, as translated and condensed in the English version of Eliyahu Munk)

Shelah - credits
Rabbi Isaiah Horowitz was born in Prague around the year 1565. He served as Rabbi of Cracow and other congregations before he was appointed as the Rabbi of the community of Frankfurt on Main in the year 1610. In 1916, Rabbi Horowitz moved to Prague where he became the Chief Rabbi of the city. He moved to Eretz Yisrael about 1621. He was rabbi in Jerusalem and in Tiberias, where he died in or about 1630. In addition to his magnus opus, Shenei Luchot HaBrit, he also compiled an edition of the prayer-book with a comprehensive commentary. Many of his innovations, including his formulation of the Kol Nidrei prayer, have become part and parcel of the Ashkenazi Siddur.

Ohr HaChayim - credits
Selected with permission from the five-volume English edition of Ohr HaChaim: the Torah Commentary of Rabbi Chaim Ben Attar, as translated and annotated by Eliyahu Munk.
The holy Rabbi Chayim ben Moses Attar was born in Sale, Western Morocco, on the Atlantic in 1696. His immortal commentary on the Five Books Of Moses, Or Hachayim, was printed in Venice in 1741, while the author was on his way to the Holy Land. He acquired a reputation as a miracle worker, hence his title "the holy," although some apply this title only to his Torah commentary.

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