Weekly Parsha Review Laced with Humor and Sarcasm from The Oisvorfer Ruv

Teruma 2024: G-d the Inventor

Raboyseyee and Ladies,

The heylige Ois and eishes chayil are just back from a 22 day overseas trip, including 18 days in the holy land, where we spent some quality time as volunteers helping out where needed. More on the trip and brand new parsha posts next week. This week, because the Ois came back to a few unforeseen events, he was not in the proper headspace and his creative juices were not flowing. Please enjoy this repeat from back in 2011.  Of course you should read it! Did you remember what you read just last week?  You do not! To most of you -except for a handful like chaver Jeff Rosenberg- this is all brand new.

G-d the Inventor: 

Long before the Amazing Race and any of its forerunners, the RBSO created its first ever iteration. Indeed the RBSO- like He did everything else- invented the first ever Scavenger Hunt and it happens right here in this week’s heylige parsha of Teruma.  Mistama you think that the heylige Ois has lost his mind and that taka may be true as he is suffering from jetlag, ober if you pay close attention to the paragraphs that follow, you will see that it’s mamish emes.  What’s pshat?

Nu, the Yiddin find themselves in the midbar (desert) with little to do. And while the Yiddin left Mitzrayim with seemingly lots of gold and other riches, they seemingly forgot their iPhones, Samsung’s, and other smart devices; they had nothing to play with- nebech. Let’s remember that this is the midbar- no satellite, cable, regular TV, old DVDs or computers – not even a farkakta radio. How will the Yiddin keep occupied?  Let’s get real: how many times can one count all the monies and other valuables stolen from the Mitzrim on the way out?  Moreover, it’s way before the printing press and Toirah she-baal-peh (the Mishna and the heylige Gemora- don’t you know anything) – have yet to be given over: nothing to read – not even a trashy novel, gornisht, nothing.

Avada there was no outdoor pool. In fact, as we learned two weeks back, there was barely any drinking water from regular sources until Moishe, under instruction, hit the rock. The Yiddin are about to, or just did, commit a heinous crime: the cheyt hoeygel (sin of the golden calf) that we’ll be reading about in two more weeks. And why mention it here? Seemingly this event, either already took place- so says Rashi, or it’s about to- so say many others including the Ramban. In either scenario, the RBSO also knows that His people are shlecht (bad) and will zicher commit other sins including another big no-no – sending the meraglim (spies)- to check out the land.  Avada He knows because the RBSO is, after all, in charge of everything: everything is bashert and because the RBSO wills it and we are but His puppets. He’s about to elongate our trek through the Midbar from days and weeks to forty years. Efsher the milk and honey weren’t  quite ready, ver veyst? How will the Yiddin stay busy?

While all this is going on, the Yiddin think that they’re on their way to the holy land- ut-ut-ut- (any moment now). And why not? Isn’t that what the RBSO promised Avrohom Ovenu many years back? Ober The RBSO has other plans and already knows- as He does everything else- that they are not going anywhere. Nu, to stall for time He invents a new game- The Scavenger Hunt -and has the Yiddin running all over the farkakte midbar looking for either 15 according to one pshat, or, 13 items according to another. Can’t our sages agree on anything? And with that more than givaldige introduction, let’s learn some Parshas Teruma.

As you make your way through this week’s parsha review, many dedicated followers of the heylige Ois will find that a few of the insights, chidushim and even some of the humor, epes ring familiar. And they should. The emes is that as I started preparing myself for this week’s heylige parsha of Teruma, I decided to look back and see what was written back in 2011.  And that’s exactly what I did. Unlike Mrs. Loit for whom looking back was an instant death sentence, the Ois survived and as he was chazering, he realized mamish how gioinish (super-amazing), how mamish oisergiveyntlich (outstanding), and how brilliant, his older writing was. It was shreklich mamish how the Ois could develop such gihoybene (elevated) thoughts, and is mistama teaching the parsha better than any of your rebeyim did in yeshiva. Then again, some of them lost focus nebech since they too were playing the scavenger hunt -with some success- scouring their prey right there in the classrooms, if you chap. Taka I was klerring to efsher leave it alone: it was mamish near perfect. And would you have known? Ober, the Ois has discovered that among his ever-growing flock of chasiddim, many taka read each word and hurriva (toil) over the weekly Toirah; they soak it in like Rabbi Akiva did in the cave. Some will complain and think the Ois is getting lazy. Nu, what to do? In the end, it was decided to taka recycle but a few sections and add some additional insights and hopefully a few chuckles.

Last week, in Mishpotim we were given 30 loi sah-says and by now, a week later, a healthy number of you have already mistama violated a good number of them- rachmono litzlon. This week, we’ll get three mitzvis; 1 ah-say (positive) and 2 lois (prohibitions). The one ah-say is what some call a super-mitzva meaning that it includes many sub mitzvis. These are the commands to make all the furnishings of the Mikdosh. Further, the fulfillment of this mitzva facilitates many others. Says The RambaM there are 14 rules for the counting of the 613 mitzvis and Rule #12 is:  that it’s not appropriate to count as separate mitzvis those commands that are part of a more all-encompassing mitzva. Accordingly, he does not count the making of the Oroin, Menorah, Shulchan, Altars, etc., since they are included in building the big mitzvah; the building the Mikdosh. In other words, all the details of the building of the Mikdosh are included in this one single Mitzvas ah-say. And now you have something to say at the shabbis tish. Of course, not all agree and at least one other mitzvah counter – The RambaN- does include the construction of the Oroin as a separate mitzva (but not the other sacred vessels). The bottom line: for some reason, the two gentlemen were always arguing especially posthumously.

There is some good news however and along with the 30 loi sah-says, the RBSO in His magnificence, also created the first ever stimulus plan, (not the one many of you chazerim buy in a brown bag monthly, if you chap) and gave us new jobs and professions. Years later, Biden would lay claim to his own stimulus plan; a nechtiger tug! The RBSO’s plans created entire industries that included the legal profession with thousands of lawyers and judges, the seedlings of the entire kashrus gisheft, mashgichim and kosher certification agencies, kosher catering and more. And just like that a portion of the Yiddin had a parnoso (livelihood). Nu, what follows income? Taxes! And in this week’s parsha of Teruma-we are introduced to the first ever system of taxation, though – thinly veiled as a ‘donation’ to the RBSO.

In fact the first posik of the parsha begs the question of whether the charity referred to was given voluntarily, or taken, or taxed and collected as the words seem to indicate. Nu, no lesser a Torah giant than Reb Moishe Feinstein (ZTL) suggests that these ‘donations’ were taken by force and not given voluntarily. You hear this? Grada this makes good sense- have you ever seen a Yid volunteering taxes to the IRS or even to pay sales tax? It’s mamish a tarta di-sasra (mutually exclusive).

How could the same item be considered both a donation and a tax? Nu, excellent kasha but avada there’s a logical explanation, isn’t there always? Pshat is that the word Teruma appears 3 times (below) and since each word in the heylige Toirah counts, we can learn as follows. Says Rashi azoy: There were a total of 3 terumas. One was an involuntary donation (read: Head Tax) of silver sockets, (Adonim) which were ultimately used to sustain the wall boards. Avada those were needed to hold the entire edifice together. Next: there was terumas mizbeach yet another involuntary tax of a ½ shekel collected yearly for sacrifices. And there was a third teruma- this one totally voluntary and the goods collected went to build the Mishkan and its accoutrements. And avada now you can see how something could be both voluntary and a tax at the same time. Gishmak.

Let’s learn the pisukim together: halt kup (pay attention): Says the heylige Toirah:

1. “The Lord spoke to Moses saying: א. וַיְדַבֵּר יְ־הֹוָ אֶל מֹשֶׁה לֵּאמֹר:
2. “Speak to the children of Israel, and have them take for Me an offering; from every person whose heart inspires him to generosity, you shall take My offering. ב. דַּבֵּר אֶל בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְיִקְחוּ לִי תְּרוּמָה מֵאֵת כָּל אִישׁ אֲשֶׁר יִדְּבֶנּוּ לִבּוֹ תִּקְחוּ אֶת תְּרוּמָתִי:
3. And this is the offering that you shall take from them: gold, silver, and copper; ג. וְזֹאת הַתְּרוּמָה אֲשֶׁר תִּקְחוּ מֵאִתָּם זָהָב וָכֶסֶף וּנְחֹשֶׁת:
4. blue, purple, and crimson wool; linen and goat hair; ד. וּתְכֵלֶת וְאַרְגָּמָן וְתוֹלַעַת שָׁנִי וְשֵׁשׁ וְעִזִּים:
5. ram skins dyed red, tachash skins, and acacia wood; ה. וְעֹרֹת אֵילִם מְאָדָּמִים וְעֹרֹת תְּחָשִׁים וַעֲצֵי שִׁטִּים:
6. oil for lighting, spices for the anointing oil and for the incense; ו. שֶׁמֶן לַמָּאֹר בְּשָׂמִים לְשֶׁמֶן הַמִּשְׁחָה וְלִקְטֹרֶת הַסַּמִּים:
7. shoham stones and filling stones for the ephod and for the choshen. ז. אַבְנֵי שֹׁהַם וְאַבְנֵי מִלֻּאִים לָאֵפֹד וְלַחֹשֶׁן:

Let’s chazir (review): “Hashem spoke to Moshe, saying: Speak to the Children of Israel and they shall take for Me a portion (teruma), from every man whose heart will motivate him you shall take My portion (teruma).“ Who is or was  going to say no when the RBSO asks so nicely?

And now the details. “This is the portion (teruma) that you shall take from them: gold, and silver, and copper; and turquoise wool, and purple wool, and scarlet wool; and linen and goat’s hair; and ram skins that are dyed red, and techashim skins, and shittim wood; oil for the [menorah] light; spices for the anointing oil and for raising the smoke of the incense; shoham stones and filling stones, for the Ephod [apron of the High Priest] and for the choishen [breastplate of the High Priest]. They shall make Me a Sanctuary (mikdash), so that I may dwell among them.”  We’ll be back to some of these shortly.  Interestingly enough, the heylige Toirah devotes approximately 10 times the amount of space to the Mishkan and its decorations as is devoted to the entire creation of di gantze velt (universe) why? Ver veyst!

Nu, time for math 101.  How many items were the Yiddin told to scour during the offering hunt if you count, it appears that 15 items were solicited – Shoin!  And do all agree? Avada nisht!  Says Rashi: “All thirteen items mentioned here were required either for the construction of the Mishkon or for the priestly vestments, if you examine them carefully.”  And how do 15 items become 13?  Ver veyst but here are several suggestions.  Says: Rabbi Eliyahu Mizrachi that Rashi combined the three types of wool fabric (sky-blue, royal purple, and scarlet) into one; a schemata is a schemata- settled!  Ober says the Sifsay Chachomim that Rashi’s 13 excludes the shoham and setting stones because they were contributed by the Nisiim (Princes) and that Rashi only counted the items which were to be contributed by the public.

Anyway, the immediate effect of this teruma collection was to drive many Yiddin to do business in cash and to avada under-report their income; a mesorah (tradition) mamish handed down from generation to generation, one seemingly not the subject of much machloikes or even debate. It’s one of those the heylige Gemora calls: les-man- di-polig (no one would argue).

Also in this week’s parsha, the RBSO has even loftier ideas about jobs and industries for His Chosen People. This week, the Yiddin will become architects, builders, carpenters. For the males who epes were not sure who and what they are, and how they wish to identify, decorators. Of course, not all the Yiddin went to work; only those that were destined not to enjoy learning the newly minted heylige Toirah: In other words, the oisvorfs! Let’s learn more Parsha.

Nu, mistama you already forgot that back on Page 1, we learned that the cheyt hoeygel either did or didn’t take place yet. Which version is emes? Ver veyst.  Avada we don’t know because there are –surprise- three opinions offered by our chachomim (sages) and who knew better than did they as to when this took place. Let’s see: Says one opinion: that both the commandment to build the Mishkon and the donations collected (see page 1, occurred soon after the Toirah was given, but avada prior to the cheyt hoegel.  This sounds logical and chronological. A second opinion holds that both the command and the bringing of gifts took place not just after the Eygel debacle but way, way later after the RBSO already forgave the Yiddin as we’ll read in two more weeks- chap nisht. According to this view these instructions were given on Yoim Kippur, this timing meant to show all the nations that the RBSO forgave the Yiddin. The third opinion is that the RBSO taka instructed Moishe before the sin of the Eygel incident, but that he (Moishe) only told the Yiddin after Yoim Kippur.

What really happened? Ver veyst? Were you there? Guess what? Neither were the authors of the three different opinions! Ober says the heylige Gemora not to worry: “All are equally the words of the living G-d.” What’s pshat? How could all opinions be true?  Nu, we have to chap that although the construction of the Mishkon and the bringing of donations had to have happened in accordance with only one of these three theories (read: the other two are wrong), nevertheless, all three opinions are true as they relate to the spiritual Mishkon within the heart of every Yid.  Gishmak mamish! But taka how could this be and what’s the difference?

Seemingly the nafka mina (difference) is azoy: if instructions were delivered before the eygel incident, then its construction was completed by  Yiddin who were still all tzadikim (righteous) people, ober, according to the opinion that the eygel incident took place between the time of the command to make the Mishkon and its actual construction, even the wicked — those who partook in the eygel incident  — got construction jobs and were  able to participate in this holy work of building  a Sanctuary for the RBSO. The bottom line: In a good economy, everyone gets a job. And according to the opinion that the instructions were given on Yom Kippur, a day when the RBSO forgives us for our wayward ways, the Mishkon was built by ba’lay t’shuvas (penitents.)

The heylige Toirah goes into great detail describing the Mishkan’s construction.  Raboyseyee- this is the midbar and the RBSO just gave the newly-minted Yiddin a list of items one would normally find on 47th street and on Madison Avenue; what’s pshat here?  Later in the parsha, following the depiction of the pure golden menorah (candelabra) which was to be hammered out of one large piece of gold, the RBSO describes the structure of the Mishkan itself, detailing the splendidly woven and embroidered covers, curtains, and partitions, and the sturdy outer walls. Spoken mamish like an interior designer- lehavdil.  Shtelt zich di kasha (the question arises) azoy: If the RBSO wanted a Holy building then why didn’t it fall from Heaven? Seemingly everything else the Yiddin needed did just that? Moreover, and according to most, but avada not all opinions, the third and final Beis Hamikdash (Temple) will mamish appear from heaven: wow!

What was the tachlis (purpose) of the Yiddin building it? And why does it say that Moishe should take the donations? Shouldn’t it say that the Yiddin should give? I have no idea!  The bottom line: these kashas (questions) should stimulate your brains towards the heylige Toirah as opposed to other stimuli that mistama you’re more accustomed to; rachmono liztlon (heaven forbid).

Before you start having chazzerishe (disgusting) thoughts about the length of the shittim wood and oil, halt kup (pay attention) and please stay focused on this special parsha because the RBSO had a brilliant idea, one that would be copied throughout the millennia as Jews all over the world continue to collect funds to build little mishkans- now called shuls. Rabbis and shul presidents use these very words of Teruma to suck every last dollar out of us so they can build what they call the Mikdosh Me’at every few blocks; our Shuls and structures. Adds The Zoihar azoy: that there must be a Moishe Rabaynu in every generation who inspires the Jews to build Holy Temples; and the donations they must give are their talents, potentials, love, care, devotion and self-sacrifice. Oh- and avada, lots of money- or at least pledges. And avada, every shul has a Moishe wannabee.

Raboyseyee: is it any wonder that we were in the midbar so long? Where the hec were the Yiddin to find these things? Have you been to the midbar lately? Have you seen gold or silver- any of the requested items? They didn’t even have food, instead relied on daily rations of Munn, yet they were instructed to find and bring gold, silver, precious stones, and shittim wood? Grada, this parsha always puzzled me and had you paid any attention at all, even the smallest amount, you too would have questions. As a kid learning in yeshiva, mistama this parsha didn’t perplex you as you just took it for granted that all these items were readily available. ober fin-ve (but from where?) I have no clue and very few of the commentators discuss this particular topic, instead they remain focused on the entire Mishkan and its significance. Still anyone that’s taken a jeep ride through the Judean hills and listened as the tour guide traced the route the Yiddin took over forty years has to be left wondering about the sources of these items.

For a people that were recently freed from more than either 210 or as much as 400 years of slavery, this was an ambitious task to say the least. What made this even more challenging was that the RBSO’s list did not include run-of-the-mill materials to build these important objects. Did you see a request for bricks, cement, sheetrock or even aluminum siding? Was there a Home Depot efsher nearby?  Punkt farkert (quite the opposite)! His instructions specifically stated that these objects had to be built out of significant quantities of gold, silver, copper, blue, purple and crimson wool, linen, goat hair, ram skins and acacia wood and needed to be crafted in a very specific way. And even more harrowing for Moishe was that the RBSO expected that all of these items will be donated by “every person whose heart inspires him to generosity.” When was the last time you saw anyone inspired to give away gold and silver? Have you seen the price per ounce lately?

Nu- let’s please keep in mind that this is the RBSO we’re talking about and avada He can make anything happen and did. Says the Medrish: The above items found their way into the hands of the Yiddin) through the RBSO’s divine plan; doesn’t everything? We just need to see it.  For example, all of the gold, silver, and copper came from the Mitzrim (Egyptians). How – what -when – where and why? Already you forgot? During the makoh (plague) of choishech (darkness) the Yiddin were allowed to enter the homes of their masters to seek out any treasure that may have been kept hidden.  This way, when they left, the Yiddin would know exactly what to ask for as compensation for their long years of slavery.  Of course, the stupid goyim complied and parted with their beloved belongings. Efsher (maybe) you’re wondering when the Yiddin had time to ask their masters for all these items given that we were taught that the Yiddin were chased out in the middle of the night, without time to bake the bread. Nu- taka a good kasha but don’t confuse this medrish with others, or the facts. Let’s remember that the medrish is nice to hear and read but does not necessarily have to make sense or even be true. Of course it could be, but ver veyst? Was the writer there? Avada nisht! Were you? On a more practical level: given the choice between bread and gold, would you rather have  a few ounces of bread or gold? Don’t forget, these were the Yiddin.

Let’s try another pshat. The sea engulfed the Mitzrim at Kriyas Yam Suf and more gold, silver, and copper were washed ashore in the form of the Egyptian chariots. Of course, we believe that the chariots giving chase to the Yiddin were avada laden with these items; perhaps they wanted to bribe us into coming back?!

What about the other items? Many of those were also acquired through nissim (miracles): no kidding.  A good example would be the fourteen precious gems.  According to the medrish, when the RBSO brought the Mun to a Tzaddik’s (righteous individual) house, He included special bonus features.  One such bonus was that the Mun came encrusted with precious gems. Mistama hard to chew but worth its weight in gold. Coincidentally, these precious gems were exactly the kind required for the Mishkan and the Tzaddikim gladly donated them. Nu- do you see how beautiful the heylige Toirah can be? All you need to do is get your farshtupta kup (stuffed heads) out of the gutter and ponder how magnificent the RBSO was, is and could be- if only you would let him in.

A good example of acquisition through a miracle was the skin of the Tachash.  What’s a Tachash? Excellent question! Read on and we’ll shed some light on this as well. The RBSO only created one of these unique animals, and He created it to appear in the desert exactly when Bnai Yisrael were passing through; talk about timing.  Its multi-colored coat was needed for the Mishkan. Presto! How do you like that? Seems like the midbar was one magical place- efsher the forerunner to the Magic Kingdom?

Hey, did you think I was going to just glance over the Tachash without further comment? Zicher nisht (of course not). Listen to this you ladigayers (good for nothings): let’s see what the medrish has to say about these Tachash skins. This is the skin of a kosher animal known as a tachash that lived in the desert. It had a single horn in the middle of its forehead, and its skin had a pattern containing six beautiful colors. And you thought the unicorn was a myth?

What was it taka? Nu- surprise- it’s a machloikes between Rebbe Yehudah who says that the tachash was a normal animal and that it was out of this tachash skin that the beautiful roof of the Tabernacle was made. Ober, Rebbe Nechemiah, maintained that it was an animal that was miraculously created by the RBSO in the midbar (desert) especially for the Tabernacle, and immediately after that, it ceased to exist. Could they both be right? Why not, it’s the medrish and anything goes; ver veyst (who knows)?

Rebbe Nechemiah brings a raya (evidence) for his opinion from the fact that the Toirah describes each sheet as being “thirty cubits long and four cubits wide”. It is obviously impossible to make such a large sheet out of the skin of any existing animal, so it must have involved yet another neis (miracle).  Rebbe Meir also said that the tachash that existed in Moishe’s time was a unique animal. The Chachomim (Sages) (Shabbos 28b) were not even sure whether the tachash was a kosher animal, did it have the legal status of a wild animal (chayah) or a domestic animal (beheymo)? How could the holy Mishkan be constructed from an impure (non kosher) animal? What purpose would this serve? Nu- let’s analyze: From the fact that it had a single horn in the middle of its forehead, we could taka say that it could be determined that it was a kosher animal. Why so you ask? There is a tradition that the animal sacrificed by Odom Horishoin (Adam) was also a one-horned kosher animal and who are we to argue with tradition? This same animal appeared at that time for Moishe. He used it to make the Tabernacle, after which it was concealed, never to be seen again. Are you thoroughly confused?  I am.  Let’s go veyter.

Avada (likely), there are many questions that one can ask about this Midrashic teaching. Lemoshol (for example), since the Toirah actually states that these sheets were made of a product taken from a goat, which is a domestic animal, how could Rebbe Yehudah say that it was taken from a wild animal? Moreover, what is Rebbe Nechemiah’s proof that it was made miraculously? It is obviously possible to weave a large cloth out of goat’s wool, doesn’t your eishes chayil have at least one shearling? On the other hand, that would be somewhat illogical and here’s why and zicher you’ll be able to follow pshat here.  We have to conclude that it is impossible to say that the sheets covering the Tabernacle were made of a goat product because goats are normally seen as being associated with the side of evil. That is why the animal sent to Azazel was a goat. It is also the reason that one who inadvertently commits an act of idolatry must bring a goat as his sacrifice. This is also the reason that many of you should be keeping an inventory of goats, you chazerim (swine) that you are.

This is why the medrish says that these were not normal goats, but special unique animals, created miraculously.  Nu, as you can see- the Yiddin had miracle goats and the miracle tachash: gevaldig mamish.  When the RBSO told Moishe to make the Tabernacle, Moishe was astounded and responded azoy (like this): “Lord of the Universe, is it possible for Israel to accomplish such a thing?” Realizing his surroundings in the desert, where would it be possible to find all the rare materials needed for the Tabernacle? Even in a large city, finding some of the requested items might pose some challenge. Said the RBSO, “Even a single Israelite will be able to make the Tabernacle” and explained that He would provide Divine help and blessing in everything that would be brought. If anything was completely lacking, it would be given to them miraculously. This is how the tachash was obtained for them. OK case closed, miracles abound.

Nothing beats learning Toirah!

A gittin Shabbis!

The Heylige Oisvorfer Ruv

Yitz Grossman

Print this Post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.