ואתה קח לך. כדרך לך לך. וקחו לכם צאן. ועל דרך הפשט כמוהו עשה לך שרף. גם פסל לך כי כן דרך הל': TAKE THOU ALSO UNTO THEE. Kach lekha (take unto thee) is similar to lekh leha (get thee out) (Gen. 12:1) and u-kechu lakhem tzon (and take you lambs) (Ex. 12:21).101In that the word lekha (plural, lakhem) follows the word for emphasis. According to the plain meaning of the text, aseh lekha saraf (make thee a fiery serpent) (Num. 21:8)102According to the rabbis the word lekha indicates that Moses had to bear the expense of making the fiery serpent. Lekha should be interpreted as mishelkah (from what is yours). See Avoda Zara 44a. and also pesal lekha (hew thee) (Ex. 34:1)103According to the rabbis the word lekha indicates that Moses was to keep the chips from the tablets. See Nedarim 37b, pesolatan shelkha yehe. are similar,104According to the Midrash. for such is the way of the Hebrew language.105It is Hebrew style to add the word lekha (to you) to a verb for emphasis.
ומלת מר. קשה. והגאון תרגמ' מוש"ק. והנה איננו מעצים אע"פ שיש לו ריח טוב אולי בעבור זה הפרידו הכתוב מהבשמים כי כתוב אריתי מורי עם בשמי. והנה הוא מלוקט. ואומרים המביאים אותו כי הוא נעשה בגרון הצבי. והנה כתוב וידי נטפו מר. אולי כן הוא בהיותו לח. [MYRRH.] The word mor (myrrh) is difficult.106It is difficult to ascertain its meaning. Saadiah Gaon translated it as musk. It thus does not come from trees107As do the other ingredients of the anointing oil. Musk is an animal product. By trees I.E. probably means plants. Nahmanides reads, “It thus is not a spice,” rather than, “It thus does not come from trees.” even though it has a pleasant odor.108As the other ingredients of the anointing oil do. Perhaps this is the reason Scripture separates it from the spices. For Scripture states, I have gathered my myrrh with my spice (Cant. 5:1). Myrrh is thus gathered.109In other words, Cant. 5:1 indicates that musk is gathered. Thus, contrary to Saadiah, it appears to be a plant product. Those who provide musk say that it is produced in the throat of a deer.110It is thus not gathered. Behold,111An additional reason not to identify musk with mor. Scripture states, And my hands dropped with myrrh (Cant. 5:5).112However, musk is dry (Filwarg). Perhaps this is the case when the myrrh is wet.113In other words, Cant. 5:5 refers to wet mor.
וטעם בשמים ראש שיוקח הראש מכל בושם כי הוא הנכבד מהנשאר באחרונה ואחר שאמר קנמון בשם. מה טעם להזכירו. אולי שיהיה מהנבחר. ג"כ הקנה. וקדמונינו ז"ל אמרו כי משקל הכל שוה. וככה נקבל. רק לא ידענו טעם למה הזכיר מחציתו. וטעם החצאים לא אבין. כי אין מנהג בכל ארץ ישמעאל להוסיף על כל דבר שישקל אפילו כמשקל חרדל. ואף כי בכל מעשה רוקח: [THE CHIEF SPICES.] Scripture reads besamim rosh (the chief spices)114Besamim rosh literally means head spices, hence I.E.’s comment. to indicate that the top of each spice115The top of each plant. is to be taken. The top of the spice is of a much better quality than that which remains at the end. [AND OF SWEET CINNAMON.]116Hebrew, ve-kinnemon besem. Having said kinnemon (cinnamon), what reason is there for Scripture to add besem (sweet)?117In other words, the phrase ve-kinnemon besem is redundant, for kinnemon is a type of spice (bosem). It is possible that Scripture reads, ve-kinnemon besem, because the cinnamon had to be of the best quality. The same also applies to the calamus.118Scripture reads, u-keneh bosem (and sweet calamus). The same question that was raised regarding ve-kinnemon besem can be raised here; i.e., having stated keneh, why add bosem? [HALF SO MUCH, EVEN TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTY.] The ancients, of blessed memory, said that all the ingredients were of equal weight.119Each type of spice used in the anointing oil weighed 500 shekalim. See Keritot 5a. Krinsky points out that the Rabbinic comment applied only to cinnamon and not to calamus, for according to the rabbis 250 shekalim-weight of calamus was used in the anointing oil. See Keritot 5a. Krinsky tries to limit I.E.’s remarks to the cinnamon. However, he admits that he is pressing the point, for I.E. reads “all,” and the meaning of “all” is all the ingredients. We will accept what they say. However, we do not know why Scripture says, half so much even two hundred and fifty.120If 500 shekalim of sweet cinnamon was used. I do not understand the reason for the halves121That is, why the cinnamon was brought in two halves, each consisting of 250 shekalim. According to the rabbis, the reason for bringing the cinnamon in two halves was to gain the overweights. We thus read, “Said Rabbi Judah: Why are the five hundred shekels of sweet cinnamon taken in two portions of two hundred and fifty each? Since the total quantity is five hundred, why not bring the whole at a time? From the fact that the cinnamon is brought in two portions we may infer that there was an overweight each time (that is, the division was for the purpose of adding a greater overweight of cinnamon)” (Keritot 5a, Soncino translation). for it is the practice in all of the lands of the Ishmaelites not to add even the weight of a mustard seed to anything being weighed. They most certainly do not add anything to any ingredient used in the work of a perfumer.122I.E. assumes that what was common practice in his day was also common practice in Rabbinic times.