ליקוטי אור - YU Torah Online

 In Memory of Mr. Max Glass ‫לע”נ שמואל מרדכי בן שלמה זאב יוסף‬
Likutei Ohr
Volume V : Issue V
Jesse Hyman ‘16
Senior Editors:
Jack Levkowitz ‘17
Pinchas Gamzo ’17
Managing Editors:
Noam Gershov ‘17
Gidon Amsellem ‘18
Layout Editor:
Eitan Tennenbaum ’17
Joshua Aranoff ’15
Yosef Hier ’16
Eli Friedman ’15
Jordan Lustman ’15
Ilan Atri ‘15
Nathan Silberberg ’16
Staff Advisor:
Rabbi Arye Sufrin
The Flame of
“If one believes in
Hashem’s kindness,
then there are no
questions. And if one
doesn’t believe, there
are no answers.”
-Rav Yaakov of
Tefillah Gems
Yosef Petlak ’17
In Memory of Mr. Jack Gindi ‫לע”נ יעקב אליהו בן אליהו הכהן הכהן‬
The Pamphlet of Light
Parshat Vayakhel-Pekudei
‫ליקוטי אור‬
A publication of YULA Boys High School
Something From Nothing
Rabbi Sufrin
In Parshas Vayakhel we are commanded to observe Shabbat. The Torah says “On six
days, work may be done, but the seventh day shall be holy for you, a day of complete rest for G-d;
whoever does work on it shall be put to death." (Shemot 35:2) Similarly, we emulate Hashem by
working for six days and resting on the seventh day of the week. The Gemara in Sanhedrin also
explains that we must understand that the Torah’s definition of work isn’t based on how much
difficulty one faces, rather it is based on the 39 Melachot that were used in the construction of the
Based on this, Rabbi Chaim Friedlander asks a famous and important question. Why
does G-d specifically want us to refrain from activities that were directly related to the building in
the Mishkan? There must a deeper meaning to having the labor from the Mishkan be considered the
39 Melachos that can’t be done on Shabbat. He answers that when G-d created the world, it was a
creation of something from nothing. Never before did anything physical exist until Hashem
decided to create the world. In contrast, when we create something in this world, such as a
building, we are always creating something from something. It is simply a manipulation of
preexisting physical properties that have been given a brand new function in the world. However,
we must realize that man has a special power to create something from nothing, to create
something spiritual from something physical. By building the Mishkan, B’nei Yisrael used “physical
work” to create a “spiritual home” for Hashem. This process is a paradigm of how we can use
something “physical” in order to engender “spiritual” growth. Through this creative and physical
work, we also succeed at creating something from nothing.
This same message can be applied to our daily actions. For example, when one makes a
Bracha on a certain food, using the physical food item to foster spiritual growth he is creating
something (spiritual growth) from nothing (spirituality that was never there). This message is ever
more clear every Shabbat as we cease from our creative activities so we can reflect and focus on
the spiritual goals that lie behind the physical.
Chazal teach us that Shabbat was given to B’nei Yisrael as a “Matanah Tovah,” a special
gift from G-d. Similarly, the Chafetz Chayim used to compare Shabbat to a wedding ring given to
symbolize Hashem’s special love for Am Yisroel. Just like by any successful relationship, love
expressed must be reciprocated. We must also observe Shabbat with a similar love and passion,
recognizing the beauty of it, and reciprocating our feelings on Shabbat towards Hashem.
Unfortunately, most people lose sight of this critical dimension. We must stop focusing
on the do’s and don’ts of this holy day, and focus on the love and beauty that exists. Through this
perspective, we will be able to successfully use Shabbat as a tool to create and recharge our
spiritual batteries by creating something from nothing in our own creative way.
Every day, we recite the Tefillah of Shemoneh Esrei during Shacharit, Minchah, and Ma’ariv. During Shacharit and
Minchah, the individual first recites the Amidah to themselves, which is then followed by the repetition of Shemoneh Esrei by the
Chazan. As the Chazan repeats each stanza of the Amidah, the congregation is merely obligated to respond Amen to each Bracha.
However, by the Bracha of Modim, we are obligated to recite a similar version of the Bracha with the Chazan. This rare response
brings one to wonder why it is that we are obligated to repeat Modim unlike every other Bracha, to which we must simply answer
Amen. In truth, the answer is very simple. If one was to take a closer look at the Bracha, it would appear that Modim, like every
other Bracha in the Amidah, has its own theme, that of thanksgiving. While someone can Daven on behalf of another person, no
one else is able to give proper gratitude to Hashem but the person that was helped or received the favor. Therefore, we are obligated
to recite Modim with the Chazan so that we are able to give the correct thanks and appreciation to Hashem.
The Job of the Jews
Ariel Hanasab ‘17
Again and again the question arises: “Why does the Torah expend so many
words in reviewing the many details of the building of the Mishkan in the
wilderness? Rabbi Label Lam said over a D’var Torah of the Alter of Kelm.
There are two different factors that lend value to a given entity: Its rarity and
its necessity. For example, a diamond or some other gem increases in price as a
consequence of its scarcity. A rare stamp or even a baseball card becomes a
collector’s item and an expensive commodity only because it’s one or two of a
kind. If thousands more would flood the market the price would be reduced
dramatically. There are other elements that are valuable because we need them
to live. Air, water, and food have intrinsic value. They may not have a big
monetary ticket attached to them but that is only because they are, thank G-d,
plentiful. Try holding your breath for two minutes and then the inherent value
of air becomes apparent. At the conclusion of a fast day we can all begin to
sing the praises of food. The Alter goes on to observe that the world was
organized in such a way that the more we need something, the more abundant
it is. Air is everywhere and we need it most urgently. Water is less vital than
air and more crucial than food and so two-thirds of the earth’s surface is
covered with water. Food which is needed less is granted in less abundance
but still sufficient measure. The implied principle is that everything is just as
abundant as it is important and necessary. Therefore those things mentioned
most often in the Torah are more critical. The exodus from Egypt takes up an
enormous space and is associated with many daily, weekly, and yearly
Mitzvot. We are commanded not only to speak in depth about the events of
leaving Egypt at the Pesach Seder, but to remember it each and every day. The
Torah uses the expression “Yetziat Mitzrayim” 50 times in one form or another.
We are meant to know that for Jewish survival, remembering what happened
in Egypt is like the air that we breathe. Maybe this idea has a similar
application to the subject of the Mishkan. At an ecumenical gathering of
spiritual leaders from the across the globe, they were deciding how to unify
their minds for some noble purpose. It was proposed that they take some
meditative moments together to transcend this world and to reach beyond the
mud of daily life and the constant tug of physical desire. In the final instant a
new and surprising suggestion was offered by one of the clerics, “Instead of
trying to get beyond worldliness, why don’t we raise the physical and create a
space for G-dliness here on earth?!” The suggestion was immediately
dismissed by the moderator of the exercise, “Nah!” he said, “That’s the job of
the Jews!” The quantity of materials and the communal effort that went into
creating the Mishkan are emphatic reminders of the importance of our unique
mission - to bring Hashem’s presence to Earth. It remains, after all these years,
“The Job of the Jews!” Perhaps that is the reason that the Torah repeats the
details of the building of the Mishkan so many times.
Building The Outside First
Halachic Illuminations
From Rabbi Nachum Sauer
The Halacha is that the Challah should be covered while one makes Kiddush on the wine. There are two reasons that are given for this practice. The Talmud Yerushalmi explains that the Challah should not be shamed when making the Bracha on the wine because usually the Bracha of Hamotzei comes before the Bracha of Borei Pri Hagafen. The other reason serves as a reminder of the Man that fell in the desert for 40 years. The Man was covered on the top and on the bottom with a layer of dew; therefore, we cover the Challah on the top with the cover and on the bottom with the tray. There are a number of differences in Halacha between these two reasons. Firstly, if one makes Kiddush on the Challah, according to the reason of the Yerushalmi, it would not be necessary to cover the Challah. According to the reason of Zecher L’Man, one would still need to cover the Challah. Another difference arises regarding whether the Challah should be covered not only during Kiddush but also until one says Hamotzei. According to the Yerushlami, it would not be necessary because it is no longer shaming the Challah, but according the reason of Zecher L’Man, the Chaiyei Adam holds that the Challah should remain covered until after Hamotzei. Another very interesting difference would be whether one could use a transparent Challah cover. According to the Yerushalmi, the Challah would still be embarrassed because it is exposed to the wine, but according to the reason of Zecher L’Man, the transparent Challah cover would be sufBicient. The question is often raised that the Challah really has no feelings of shame. The answer given is that it is a lesson for us. If we are so concerned not to shame the inanimate Challah that has no feelings, all the more so, we should certainly be sensitive not to shame people because they do have feelings. Compiled By Noam Gershov ‘17
Aaron Reiss ‘18
This week’s Parsha talks about the process of making the Mishkan and the vessels that were meant to be placed inside of it.
Logically, if one were to build a home, one would build the home first and then add all the necessary furniture and accessories. Yet, in this
week’s Parsha, the Torah says that Moshe commanded Betzalel, the main architect of the Mishkan, to build the the vessels and then the
Mishkan. But Betzalel did the opposite because it was the normal way of doing things. When Moshe heard that he was doing the opposite
from what he had commanded him, he confronted Betzalel. Betzalel said that he made the Mishkan first then the vessels. Moshe replied and
told Betzalel that Hashem had originally commanded him to do as Betzalel had done, and it was amazing how he had innately known
Hashem’s will.
What is the problem of making the vessels and then the Mishkan or vise versa? Of course, there is a reason to make the Mishkan first.
The Maharal explains why Moshe commanded Betzalel to construct the inside first not the outside. In order for one to build a
building, one needs a plan. One needs money and permits somewhere along the road, but you definitely need a plan. Before anyone has the
ability to build their dream home, they would plan out just about every detail they would want in it. They would have all their maps and
drawings ready for construction. Moshe felt that the essence of the Mishkan was in the vessels, and, therefore, they should be constructed
Betzalel had a different approach. The day comes when the workers are all ready, and a foundation is made. Then, the frame of the
house is setup. Later, it starts to look more like a house. Then, after all of that, the inner materials of the house are put into place. Meanwhile,
the house is still chaotic with painters and tilers. Finally, the inside is as solid as the outside. The house is complete and the unpacking
process starts. Books are put on the bookshelves and firewood is placed in the fireplace.
Betzalel understood that the outside of the Mishkan needed to be built first because the inside cannot exist without the outside. The
inner vessels are the main purpose of the project. the outside simply allows one to be able to place commodities inside. The essence is within
the home, but the outside is needed to keep G-d’s presence amongst the inner vessels.
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