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Parshas Vayakhel/Pikudei 5775
Candle Lighting Time: 6:47 pm
March 13, 2015
Volume 11 Issue 17
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Dvar Torah


By Rabbi Yosef Prupas 


When beginning to read this week's parsha, one immediately wonders why Moshe needed to precede the command to build the Mishkan with the prohibition to work on Shabbos. Rashi quotes the well-known Mechilta that this was to let the Jewish People know that Shabbos takes precedence over construction of the Mishkan. This begs to be understood, for in Parshas Ki Sisa we find this law already conveyed. Why the need to repeat it here? 

To answer, we need to focus on another point of interest. Very rarely do we find the passuk referring to the Jewish Nation as "Adas B'nei Yisroel," "Congregation of the Children of Israel," usually only as "B'nei Yisroel," "Children of Israel." What is unique about this Parsha? The Nesivos Shalom writes that by rearranging the letters of the word "Adas" you come up with the word "Da'as," knowledge. Our sages teach us in Tractate Sota 3a, that a person only sins as a result of a foolish spirit that has entered him. Losing one's ability to think is the precursor to sin. Rashi tell us that the events of this week's parsha took place immediately after Yom Kippur when Moshe brought down the second Luchos. The Jewish People at that point were fragmented as a result of the sin of the Golden Calf. They had "lost" their minds to sin, and Moshe was now tasked to rectify that. To accomplish this mission Moshe introduced to the Jewish People the concept of Mishkan, but first he had to start with the prohibition of working on Shabbos. Why? 

The Vilna Gaon, in Aderes Eliyahu, writes that G-d renews creation each day, and the recreation of Shabbos is prepared on Erev Shabbos. Rabbi Yitzchak Hutner explains the words of The Gaon with one of the laws of Shabbos. 

It is prohibited to carry an item of significance from a private domain to a public domain, or vice versa. However if one were to use an object of significance to carry an item that is insignificant (e.g. a pitcher to carry a piece of bread smaller then a bites worth), one will not have transgressed the Shabbos. This is because the significant item is nullified by its purpose to carry the insignificant object. What is considered worthy or not, depends on the evaluation of mankind. That ability represents the "da'as," the ability to think, unique to man. 

Rabbi Hutner then informs us that this singular law speaks to the broader concept of Shabbos. The "six days of work" are only a prelude to Shabbos. Shabbos brings back into focus man's purpose in this world. Therefore although the world continues anew on Shabbos physically, the human intellect is now focused on the loftier spiritual role of Shabbos. G-d prepared this by creating the intelligent man right before Shabbos, thus allowing the world of secondary purpose, by man's understanding, to function on a day with different priorities. This is similar to the pitcher carrying the insignificant piece of bread. 

"Ki os hi beini uveineichem la'da'as ki Ani Hashem mikadishchem." The verse clearly states that Shabbos is a symbol (of our relationship with G-d) to know that Hashem is the One who sanctifies us. Shabbos with its laws and rules, gives the Jewish people the time to reflect and think about our priorities in this world. Guard the Shabbos because it guards us from making unthinkable mistakes.  
Once Moshe brought back the Jewish People's ability to think, he was now able to give the laws of constructing the Mishkan. This required tremendous wisdom, as reiterated so often in this week's Parsha, that was now possible because of Shabbos. May we remain focused on our true priorities and may the Holy Shabbos help us to gain and keep that focus.


Dvar Halacha
The Halachos of The Pesach Seder  part 1


  By  Rabbi Yochanan Eskenaz i



It is a mitzvah for each person to learn hilchos Pesach beginning 30 days before Pesach (Shulchan Aruch 429:1) [i.e. one should begin on Purim] (Mishneh Berurah 429:2).  Furthermore, it is a mitzvah on Yom Tov itself to learn hilchos Pesach [hilchos chag b'chag] (Mishneh Berurah 429:1-2).

There are five mitzvos on the first night of Pesach: two mitzvos m'doraisa (Biblical commandments) and three mitzvos m'derabanan (Rabbinical commandment).  The mitzvos m'doraisa are: eating a kzayis of matzah [Shemos 12:18] and sipur yetziyas mitzrayim (relating the story of the exodus from Egypt) [Shemos 13:8].  The mitzvos m'derabanan are: daled kosos (drinking four cups of wine), achilas maror (eating bitter herbs) and reciting Hallel.

Both men and women are obligated in all the mitzvos of the Seder (Shulchan Aruch 472:14).  Even though it is a mitzvas asei she'hazman grama (time-bound positive commandment), women are still obligated because they were also included in the miracle (Mishneh Berurah 472:44).  Therefore, unless a woman has to get up from the table, she should be present the entire time.  At a minimum, she must be present for the essential parts of the Haggadah.  This includes: Kiddush, the paragraph "Avadim ha'yeenu," and from "Rabban Gamliel omer" thru the drinking of the second cup of wine.  Many have the custom that women should be present at the time of reciting the Ten Plagues, in order they should hear all the miracles that Hashem did for the Jewish people (Mishneh Berurah 473:64).

The Torah [Shemos 13:3] states "Remember this day that you left Egypt."  A few p'sukim later [Shemos 13:8] the Torah says, "You shall relate to your son [the story of the exodus] on this day, because of this."  The Rambam [Hil' Chometz U'matzah 7:1] explains, the words "because of this" imply that we are commanded to fulfill this mitzvah at a time when one is able to point to matzah and marror placed in front of him, which is at the Seder.  The Rambam continues: "even someone who does not have children, and even great Talmidei Chachamim who know the story of the exodus, are required to say over the story Pesach night, and whoever elaborates in relating the story is praiseworthy."  Ramban [Shemos 13:16] explains the reason why this mitzvah is so important [and why we have numerous commandments that are a remembrance to the exodus of Egypt] is because the story of yetziyas Mitzrayim testifies that in addition to Hashem creating the world, He also knows and is involved in running the world.  Therefore, the story is one of the foundations of our belief.

A child who understands the story of yetziyas mitzrayim should be taught.  This includes both boys and girls.  Generally, children around five or six years old are capable of understanding (Aruch Hashulchan 472:15).

In order to fulfill this mitzvah, in addition to reciting the actual words of the Haggadah, one must also understand what he is saying.  Therefore, if there is someone present who does not understand what is being said it should be translated and explained (Rama 473:6).  Additionally, one has not fulfilled his obligation, until he has answered his children's questions of mah nishtana (Mishneh Berurah 472:50).  Therefore, one should be careful not to send children to bed before you have properly answered them (Halachos of Pesach [Rabbi Shimon Eider, z"l] pg. 217).




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