From The Masters Of Kabbalah and Chumash (5 Books of
13th century - "RambaN" - Rabbi Moshe ben
14th century - "Bachya" - Rabbi Bachya ben
16th century - "Alsheich" - Rabbi Moshe
Alshech of Tsfat
17th century - "Shelah" - Rabbi Yeshaiya
18th century - "Ohr HaChayim" - Rabbi Chaim
"Let him bring it [y'vi'eha], the Eternal's offering"
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].
"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
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.
"Moses assembled the entire congregation of the sons of Israel
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".
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.
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.
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)
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
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.