"And They Shall Make an Ark"
STUDENT SUMMARIES OF SICHOT OF THE ROSHEI YESHIVA
SICHA OF HARAV
Shall Make an
the many commands pertaining to the building of the Mishkan that appear
in this weeks parasha, we find the command concerning the
shall make an
The command is formulated in the third person plural They shall make (ve-asu) in contrast to the commands concerning the other vessels, which are all given in the second person singular: You shall make (ve-asita) a table (25:23); And you shall make (ve-asita) a menorah of pure gold (25:31); And you shall make (ve-asita) poles of shittim wood (25:13), And you shall make (ve-asita) a covering (25:17), etc.
notes this discrepancy and explains that the other commands are given in the
singular because Moshe, who was in charge of building all the other vessels, was
considered equal to all of
it hints that all of
to this midrash, only the command about the
we look at the Midrash itself, we find that a further explanation is provided
there for the discrepancy between the singular formulation concerning the other
vessels, and the plural in the case of the
would seem that there is a great difference between the first part of the
midrash, cited by the Ramban, and the second part. According to the second part,
all of Am Yisrael should engage in building the
We may conclude that in fact these are not two different aspects, but rather two sides of the same coin.
In contrast to other religions, where involvement in the law is the province of a chosen few, while the population at large is simply obligated to fulfill the Divine command, amongst Am Yisrael engaging in Torah is meant to be a common endeavor and aspiration, each person applying himself in accordance with his level and abilities. Some contribute greatly to Torah study, others offer a more modest contribution to the endeavor, while others still identify with the goal without actively participating. All must be part of the edifice of Torah.
The Rambam (Hilkhot Talmud Torah 3:1) cites the midrash that we discussed above:
crowns were bestowed upon
Upon closer scrutiny we note that the midrash conveys an even stronger message than the Rambam. According to the midrash, not only is the crown of Torah greater than the other crowns, but a person who acquires the crown of Torah has in fact acquired all of them!
Obviously, this cannot be understood on the literal, functional level: we cannot say that a person who learns Torah turns into a kohen or a king. Clearly, the priesthood is reserved for the descendants of Aharon, and royalty belongs only to the descendants of David. However, on a deeper level, the concept is certainly true. The midrash seems to be telling us that, in moral terms, priesthood and kingship are only means to attain the crown of Torah. The Torah is more important than they are, and they exist to serve it.
The Torah must be the center of our lives. We must understand the centrality of Torah and feel our connection to it even when we are busy with other occupations that are related to kingship (exercising authority and serving the country). Any such occupation is ultimately meant to serve Torah study, and is by definition secondary to it.