The Chofetz Chaim’s son recorded fascinating words of his father.

Moshe Rabeinu made all of the keilim that serviced the Bais Hamikdosh with ease. The menorah proved to be a daunting task and he was unable to make it. Hashem instructed Moshe to cast the gold into the furnace and it formed by itself into the form of the menorah.

Why did Moshe find the menorah more difficult to produce more than any of the other keilim?

The Chofetz Chaim explained: The Meforshim tell us that the keilim of the Bais Hamikdosh represented lofty ideas. The aron represented divine chochmah. The shulchan, along with lechem haponim, symbolized the physical aspects of Klal Yisroel. The mizbeach served as an intermediary between the Yidden and the Eibershter. The menorah and its’ luminescence were symbolic of the constancy and the eternity of our nation. The ner tomid was symbolic of the eternal existence of our nation.

When Hashem instructed Moshe to construct the menorah, that which represents the eternal future of the Jewish nation, he saw in his prophetic vision that which lay in store for his dear brethren. Many difficult times loomed over the horizon. Lengthy years of darkness and doom appeared in his vision. The brutal slaughter of millions of precious neshamos and myriad tortures and persecutions appeared in his nevuah. The despair of experiencing the geulah was ever-present.

Moshe was confounded. “How can I possibly consciously construct a menorah whose essence portends bloodshed and troubles for the ages”?

Hashem responded, “Cast the gold into the fire and it will form into a menorah without human intervention. Exclusively, fire will form the menorah. Fire gives an impression of death and loss. However, to the contrary, the future of the nation will shine from the light of the fire. The salvation will sprout from within the fire- the tzorah.

The Gemorah in Mesechta Sanhedrin says that Moshiach will not come until Klal Yisroel despairs of the geulah. Rav Yaakov Kamenetsky posed the following question. We are told by the Rambam that one of the thirteen basic articles of faith is to never despair from the coming of the geulah. How is it possible that the geulah is dependent upon one of the thirteen principles of faith being forgotten?

He profoundly explains that the meaning of this Chazal is that only after the Yidden suffer drastically at the hands of the goyim and despair of the geulah coming through their benevolence or alternate methods, only then can the geulah come. Once we realize that Hashem is the sole avenue of redemption then He will bring the geulah. Our yeshuah can only arrive after we are cast into the fire and recognize that Hashem is our only means of escape.

The shaping of the menorah in the fire is symbolic of our geulah. The menorah was a work of Hashem’s artistry with no mortal involvement. The geulah will arrive solely by the hands of Hashem. There will be no human intervention or involvement. Just as the menorah appeared out of the fire, the geulah will arrive out of the darkness and world will be illuminated by Hashem’s presence.

Which letters are used to properly form the letter mem?

The letter mem is formed by combining the letters chof and vav. The lower right corner of the chof section should come to a sharp point (unlike the standard chof). There must be a clear distinction between the two sections, and they should only be connected by a single line. The chof section and the vav section should be clearly distinguishable on the bottom as well.

משנת סופרים אות מ; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 1 ,2 ו־4

Is the bottom of a nun longer than its roof?

The bottom of the letter nun should be longer than its roof. This prevents the letter from looking like a chof or beis. Care should be taken not to overextend it, so that space will be left to write the next letter. Some Rishonim say that the proper way to make sure that the bottom is longer than the top is to shape the edge of the roof at a leftward angle and the floor at a rightward angle. It is proper to follow this opinion. The bottom should be only slightly longer than the roof.

משנת סופרים אות נ; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 3

How long does a “ende” nun have to be?

An “endenun is shaped like a long zayin. Based on this halacha, the following quandary arises: The letter pei is supposed to be extended beneath the sirtut line. In a case where the word pen is written, the word will seem to contain a pei and a zayin even if the “ende” nun was extended, because the pei is also extended below the line. Some poskim say that the “ende” nun must be stretched even longer in this case; otherwise, it will be pasul. Others say that a neighboring letter cannot determine the kashrus of a letter in question. Since it looks like an “ende” nun when examined on its own, it remains kosher regardless of its neighbor.

משנת סופרים אות ן'; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 1
  • The two corners of the letter chof should be rounded off. If even one of the corners comes to a sharp point, the letter is pasul. If only the upper corner was squared off and a child is able to properly identify the letter as a chof, then the letter may be fixed even after subsequent letters were written.

  • Most “ende” letters are formed by “opening their floors” and extending their legs downward. For example, the bottom of the letter chof opens and extends downwards to form the “ende” chof. Similarly, the bottom of a tzadik opens to create the “ende” tzadik.

  • The letter lamed is formed from a chof as its body and a vav extending from its roof. The right side of the vav should be rounded and the left side should be pointy. Some say that since the body of the lamed is similar to a chof, it should have a flat bottom like a chof.

  • Which letter can be found within another letter?

  • What are the various forms of writing?

  • What is the Kabbalistic way to write a tzadik?
PLEASE NOTE: The information in this email is for learning purposes only. Please review the Mishna Berura and Biurim U'Musafim before making a halachic decision. Hebrew words are occasionally transliterated to enable a smoother reading of the text. Common Ashkenazi pronunciation is generally used in these cases.
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