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Table Talk: Tetzaveh Print E-mail

Table TalkMaking Noise: The Talmud (Arachin) teaches: The clothes of the Cohen bring atonement. For example, the Me’il (Robe), which had bells at the bottom that made noise, “Bring something that makes noise, and bring atonement for an action with noise,” meaning, Lishon Harah. Bells make noise, but Lishon Harah is not just noise, it is the content that is the sin. Why does the Talmud equate Lishon Harah with making noise? What motivates someone to speak Lishon Harah? Perhaps the Talmud is teaching us, “Bring something that makes noise,” meaning, someone who wants to be heard, or noticed. The Talmud seems to be focusing on what motivates the sin of Lishon Harah more than the actual sin.  The need to “make noise,” or to be noticed, is where we must focus our attention to achieve atonement.  Consider the idea that the Mitzvah to construct the Mishkan was an atonement for the sin of the Golden Calf: How is it addressing the cause or motivation of the sin rather than the sin itself? If you were to choose an area in which you want to achieve atonement, would you be able to identify the motivation behind the action?


The Mishkan in Our Home:
The Ba’al Haturim compares the opening of the portion, which commands us in the Mitzvah of lighting the Menorah to a woman’s Mitzvah of lighting Shabbat candles. How do the two connect other than both being about lighting candles? A woman may have been permitted to light the Menorah, but she was certainly not permitted to fill the candles with oil. (The Tikkunei Zohar derives from here that a husband must prepare the Shabbat candles for his wife.) The Talmud teaches that the Mitzvah to light Shabbat Candles is to bring Shalom, or peace. We know that Shabbat is when the Shechina comes to our homes. In another place, the Talmud teaches us that, men and women,  “Ish and Isha,” are like fire, can consume each other but if there is Shalom, or peace, the Shechinah dwells among them. The idea of lighting the Shabbat Candles is to make sure that the house is worthy of the Shechina, meaning make your home into a Mishkan. This is the connection between this week’s portion and Shabbat Candles. How can we actively use the preparation and lighting of Shabbat Candles to make our home a place for the Shechina?

Clothes Are Different:
“These are the garments they should make,.. The shall take.” Who shall make the collection? Rashi says, the people who are making the clothes. There is a special Mitzvah for the people who will make the clothes to make the collection, unlike the rest of the Mishkan which was brought to a collection place and then used by the manufacturer. Here the weavers were ordered to make the collection. The Talmud  (Bava Batra 8b) derives from here that we must have two people to make a collection. Collection is an authrority, even against his will, therefore we need more than one person. Why are the laws of collection introduced here and not when they collected the rest of the material for the entire Mishkan? Why would people hesitate when contributing toward the Bigdei Kehuna (The Cohanim’s Garments) more than toward the Mishkan itself?
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