Thursday, March 23, 2017

the difference a comma makes

1. Rashi 26:15 writes that the atzei shitim used to make the mishkan came from trees that Ya'akov Avinu had planted in Egypt which Bnei Yisrael took with them when they left.  R' Ya'akov Kaminetzki in Emes l'Ya'akov explains that what Ya'akov Avinu planted was not trees for wood -- in the 210 years (which had the potential to be 400 years) until they left Egypt Bnei Yisrael could have managed to find some other wood to take.  What Ya'akov Avinu planted was hope.  To simply tell Bnei Yisrael that one day there would be a geulah would not have made much of an impression.  To take action, to plant in anticipation of the geulah, showed them that it was real.  (The lesson for us in that simply talking about the beauty of Torah is not enough.  We have to act on that belief and live it.)  

Ibn Ezra at the beginning of Terumah challenges Rashi based (among other things) on a pasuk from our parsha.  The Torah writes, "...v'chol asher nimtza ito atzei shitim l'chol milechas ha'avodah hei'vi'u."  (35:26)  The term "nimtza ito" means the wood belonged to those people.  It was theirs and they were donating it of their own accord -- it wasn't something that Ya'akov had prepared beforehand just for use in the mishkan.

It sounds like the machlokes Rashi and Ibn Ezra revolves around where to place the comma in the pasuk.  Ibn Ezra read it like this: "...v'chol asher nimtza ito atzei shitim," whoever has wood, COMMA, "l'chol milechas ha'avodah hei'vi'u," brought it for the holy work.  Rashi, however, may have read it like this: "...v'chol asher nimtza ito atzei shitim l'chol milechas ha'avodah," whoever was entrusted to keep with them wood that was meant to be used [as designated by Ya'akov] for the mishkan, COMMA, "hei'vi'u," they brought it.

2.When there was no longer a need for donations for the Miskhan, the parsha tells us that an announcement went out, "al ya'asu od melacha."   When the people heard that, "va'yikaleh ha'am mei'havi," the people stopped bringing donations.  Meforshim (see Seforno, Rashbam, Chizkuni) are medayek that the announcement did not say not to bring anything, but rather not to make anything.  Ksav Sofer explains this based on the din that hazmanah lav milsa hi, designating an item for some use has no halachic effect unless some action was taken in making the item or in using the item for that purpose (see Sanhedrin 47).  It's only if something was made for the sake of the mishkan that it would become assur; therefore, the call went out to stop making things.  The people understood on their own that this meant nothing new was needed, and so they stopped bringing as well. 

I'm a little confused.  True, hazmanah lav milsa, but there is another din of amiraso l'gavoha k'mesiraso l'hedyot, that pledging something for hekdesh use makes it the property of hekdesh.  Had something been brought to the mishkan, even if not made for use there, wouldn't it become property of the mishkan by virtue of amiraso l'gavoha?  Shouldn't the people have been told to stop bringing things lest the extra become property of the mishkan by virtue of amiraso l'gavoha?

P.S. Apologies for not getting to respond to comments on last week's post.


  1. 1. The punctuation is often in question, as in the pesukim אשר אין להם הכרע, which, as the Ritva notes, are muchra by the te'amim. Another example is the machlokes Bavli and Yerushalmi regarding the quantity of kinmon besem in the shemen hamishcha in last week's parsha. The Malbim points out that the trop clearly follow the Yerushalmi's reading.

    2. The din of amiraso is a din in momonos, as indicated by the conclusion kimesiraso lehedyot. As such, the gizbar has a right to reject items not currently needed. Even more, the dinim of ta'us would apply. With the din of hazmana, however, which is a din of kedusha, there is more difficulty. Even if we pasken that hekdesh ta'us is not hekdesh (I think that that is Beis Hillel, so we can discuss whether halacha keBeis Hillel prior to the bas kol), perhaps the fact that it might be needed later would be enough to render it not a hekdesh ta'us. Moreover, there would be an issue of לא פקע הקדש בכדי.

    1. No, amirah by kodshim, certainly by bedek habayis, creates a chalos kedusha (see, e.g., Birkas Shmuel BK 34:1.) By Tzedaka there's a machlokes R'Ch and the Rif in BK whether it's only a neder or a chalos kinyan for the poor, but by hekdesh for sure it's a chalos kedusha when you designate a chefetz.

    2. While there is such a shittah (even more so, Rav Yosef Engel suggests [Asvan deOraysa 3] that the kedusha is what creates the kinyan to hekdesh), it would seem from the Oneg Yom Tov's explanation (117) that the hischayvus to hekdesh is what creates the kinyan that there is no inherent kedusha created by the amira.

      Good Shabbos!

    3. I was thinking of skipping writing anything this week because I was too busy to put much thought into it, but I didn't want to skip a week. The comments are so much better than what I wrote I think my hava amina to skip might have been the better idea.

      Anyway, R' Avrohom, once you are talking about hekdesh, then I don't see how the Ksav Sofer's chiluk works. You don't need an action to designate something as hekdesh, so why wasn't Moshe concerned that people would continue to designate items as hekdesh even if they were not needed?

      (By the same token, the Ksav Sofer doesn't seem to work according to Ran in Sanhedrin that dibur is the same as ma'aseh viz a viz hazmanah and *oreg* begged l'meis is lav davka a physical act like weaving.)

    4. I saw a Malbim this week that says that they still brought nedovos after the shiur was reached, but those are not included in the פקודי המשכן, but were set aside for future use of hekdesh, as were nedovos brought throughout history. According to this, perhaps they could not make things for express purposes since that might create an issue of אין מורידין מקדושה חמורה לקדושה קלה, but they could verbally designate things as hekdesh for general use.

      (I know, I'm taking extreme liberties with the vort. This issue could also have arisen prior to the limit being reached, if, say, someone made techeiles for the tzitz after the tzitz was made but before everything else was complete.)