Terumah, Siman 9 תרומה, ט׳
1 א

וְעָשִׂיתָ יְרִיעֹת עִזִּים. וְזֶה שֶׁאָמַר הַכָּתוּב: אָהַבְתִּי אֶתְכֶם אָמַר ה' וַאֲמַרְתֶּם בַּמָּה אֲהַבְתָּנוּ (מלאכי א, ב). הַפָּסוּק הַזֶּה אֲמָרוֹ מַלְאָכִי בְּשָׁעָה שֶׁהָיָה מוֹכִיחַ אֶת יִשְׂרָאֵל. אָמַר לָהֶם: הֲיִקְבַּע אָדָם אֱלֹהִים כִּי אַתֶּם קֹבְעִים אֹתִי (מלאכי ג, ח). וְהֵם מְשִׁיבִים וְאוֹמְרִים לוֹ: בַּמֶּה קְבַעֲנוּךָ (מלאכי ג, ח). אָמְרוּ זִכְרוֹנָם לִבְרָכָה: דּוֹדוֹ שֶׁל מַלְאָכִי הָיָה מוֹכִיחָן, וְהֵן מְשִׁיבִין אוֹתוֹ, מַהוּ קְבַעֲנוּךָ.

And thou shalt make curtains of goats’ hair for a tent (Exod. 26:7). Scripture says elsewhere in allusion to this verse: I have loved you, saith the Lord, yet ye say: “Wherein hast thou loved us?” (Mal. 1:2). Malachi uttered this verse in rebuking Israel. He said to them: Will a man rob God? Yet ye rob Me (ibid. 3:8). And they replied: Wherein have we robbed thee12Their response seems to indicate that they were robbing the prophet and not the Almighty.? (ibid.). Our sages declared: Malachi rebuked his generation, but they replied to him: Wherein have we robbed Thee?

2 ב

אָמַר רַבִּי לֵוִי: לָשׁוֹן עַרְבִי הוּא. עֲרָבִי כְּשֶׁהוּא מֵשִׂיחַ עִם חֲבֵרוֹ וְאוֹמֵר לוֹ מָה אַתָּה גּוֹזְלֵנִי, אוֹמֵר לוֹ מָה אַתָּה קוֹבְעֵנִי. הֱוֵי, בַּמֶּה קְבַעֲנוּךָ. אָמַר לָהֶם: הַמַּעֲשֵׂר וְהַתְּרוּמָה, שֶׁאֵין אַתֶּם מוֹצִיאִין מַעְשְׂרוֹתֵיכֶם וּתְרוּמוֹתֵיכֶם כָּרָאוּי. חָזַר וְאָמַר לָהֶם: אָהַבְתִּי אֶתְכֶם. אָמְרוּ לוֹ: בַּמָּה אֲהַבְתָּנוּ. אָמַר לָהֶם: הֲלוֹא אָח עֵשָׂו לְיַעֲקֹב וָאֹהַב אֶת יַעֲקֹב.

What is the meaning of Wherein have we robbed Thee? R. Levi stated: It is an Arabic expression. Whenever an Arab argues with his neighbor and says to him, “What are you stealing from me?” the other responds, “What are you stealing from me?” Hence, in response to Wherein have we robbed Thee, He replied: You robbed Me of the tithe and the offering that you failed to bring Me from your own tithes and offerings, as is proper. And then He said to them: I have loved you. And they retorted: Wherein hast Thou loved us? Whereupon He answered: Was not Esau Jacob’s brother, yet He loved only Jacob. He permitted him to eat in this world and to inherit the world-to-come.

3 ג

בְּנֹהַג שֶׁבָּעוֹלָם, אָדָם שֶׁיֵּשׁ לוֹ שְׁנֵי בָּנִים, אֶחָד בְּכוֹר וְאֶחָד פָּשׁוּט, מִי נוֹטֵל שְׁנֵי חֲלָקִים, הַבְּכוֹר. וְעֵשָׂו יָצָא תְּחִלָּה, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: וַיֵּצֵא הָרִאשׁוֹן אַדְמוֹנִי (בראשית כה, כה). הוּא הָיָה רָאוּי לִטֹּל שְׁנֵי חֲלָקִים, וְלֹא עָשִׂיתִי כֵן, אֶלָּא יַעֲקֹב נָטַל שְׁנֵי חֲלָקִים וְעֵשָׂו חֵלֶק אֶחָד, שֶׁיַּעֲקֹב אוֹכֵל בָּעוֹלָם הַזֶּה וְנוֹחֵל לָעוֹלָם הַבָּא. וְכֵן עֵשָׂו אָמַר לְיַעֲקֹב: נִסְעָה וְנֵלְכָה וְאֵלְכָה לְנֶגְדָּךְ (בראשית לג, יב). אָמַר לוֹ עֵשָׂו: נְהַלֵּךְ שְׁנֵינוּ בְּיָחַד. אָמַר לוֹ יַעֲקֹב: טֹל עוֹלָמְךָ וַעֲבֹר, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: יַעֲבָר נָא אֲדֹנִי לִפְנֵי עַבְדּוֹ, עַד אֲשֶׁר אָבֹא אֶל אֲדֹנִי שֵׂעִירָה (בראשית לג, יד).

Normally, if a man has twins, and one is firstborn, the other is considered just another child. Who receives two portions? The firstborn. However Esau was the firstborn, as it is said: And the first came forth ruddy (Gen. 25:25), and was entitled to a double portion, but I did not do that. Instead, Jacob received two portions. That is why, when Esau said to Jacob: Let us take our journey, and let us go, and I will go before thee (ibid. 33:12), Esau was saying to him: “Let us go together.” Jacob replied: Take your possessions and go forth,13He was fearful that Esau would take revenge for his stealing the birth-right. as it is said: Let my lord, I pray thee, pass over before his servants, and I will journey on gently according to the pace of the cattle that are before me, and according to the pace of the children, until I come unto my Lord, unto Seir (ibid., v. 14).

4 ד

אָמַר רַבִּי יַעֲקֹב בַּר רַבִּי: חָזַרְתִּי עַל כָּל הַמִּקְרָא וְלֹא מָצָאתִי שֶׁהָלַךְ יַעֲקֹב לְשֵׂעִיר. וְאֵימָתַי הוּא הוֹלֵךְ. לָעוֹלָם הַבָּא, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: וְעָלוּ מוֹשִׁעִים בְּהַר צִיּוֹן וְגוֹ' (עובדיה א, כא). לְפִיכָךְ וָאֹהַב אֶת יַעֲקֹב, שֶׁהוּא שֻׁתָּף עִם עֵשָׂו וְאוֹכֵל בָּעוֹלָם הַזֶּה. אֲבָל לָעוֹלָם הַבָּא, יִשָּׂאֵהוּ עַל אֶבְרָתוֹ, ה' בָּדָד יַנְחֶנּוּ וְגוֹ' (דברים לב, יא-יב). וְכֵן אָמַר שְׁלֹמֹה: יִהְיוּ לְךָ לְבַדֶּךָ וְאֵין לְזָרִים אִתָּךְ (משלי ה, יז).

R. Jacob BeRabbi said: I have searched the entire Scripture and have found no statement that Jacob went to Seir. When did he go there? After he departed for the hereafter, as it is said: And a savior shall come up on Mount Zion (Obad. 21); Therefore, And he loved Jacob suggests that though he associates with Esau and partakes of the pleasures of this world, in the world-to-come, He spreadeth abroad his wings, beareth them upon his pinions … the Lord alone did lead him (Deut. 32:11–12). And so, Solomon said: Let them be thine own, and not strangers’ with thee (Prov. 5:17).

5 ה

אָהַבְתִּי אֶתְכֶם. אָמַר הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא: רְאוּ כַּמָּה חִבַּבְתִּי אֶתְכֶם. מִן הָאָרֶץ עַד לָרָקִיעַ מַהֲלַךְ חֲמֵשׁ מֵאוֹת שָׁנָה, וּמִן הָרָקִיעַ הָרִאשׁוֹן לַשֵּׁנִי מַהֲלַךְ חֲמֵשׁ מֵאוֹת שָׁנָה, וְעָבְיוֹ שֶׁל כָּל רָקִיעַ וְרָקִיעַ מַהֲלַךְ חֲמֵשׁ מֵאוֹת שָׁנָה. נִמְצְאוּ כֻּלָּם מַהֲלַךְ שִׁבְעַת אֲלָפִים שָׁנָה. וְטַלְפֵי הַחַיּוֹת מַהֲלַךְ חֲמֵשׁ מֵאוֹת שָׁנָה וַחֲמֵשׁ עֶשְׂרֵה שָׁנָה. אֵין צָרִיךְ לְשַׁעֵר לְמַעְלָה מִטַּלְפֵי הַחַיּוֹת. וְהַכִּסֵּא לְמַעְלָה מִכֻּלָּם.

I have loved you (Mal. 1:2). The Holy One, blessed be He, said: See how much I love you. The distance of the earth to the firmament is a distance of five hundred years’ journey, and the distance from the first firmament to the second firmament is also a distance of five hundred years’ journey, and the distance from each firmament to the next is another five hundred years’ journey, making the total distance through the universe a seven thousand years’ journey.14The seven firmaments plus the intervening areas total a distance of seven thousand walking years. And the step of the beasts15The legendary beast that draws the Divine Chariot (Hagigah 13a). is a distance of five hundred and fifteen years’ journey, and there is no need to estimate the distance above the hoofs of the beasts to the heavenly throne! And the Throne is above them all.

6 ו

וּרְאוּ כַּמָּה חִבַּבְתִּי אֶתְכֶם שֶׁהִנַּחְתִּי אֶת הַכֹּל וְאָמַרְתִּי לָכֶם, וְעָשִׂיתָ יְרִיעֹת עִזִּים, עֲשֵׂה לִי יְרִיעוֹת עִזִּים וְאָבֹא לִשְׁכֹּן אֶצְלְכֶם.

Yet see how much I love you that I leave all of this because of my love for you to tell you: And thou shalt make curtains of goats’ hair for a tent (Exod. 26:7). Make for Me curtains of goats’ hair that I may come to dwell among you.

7 ז

לְאֹהֶל, אֲנִי עָשִׂיתִי לָכֶם עֲנָנִים שֶׁיְּהוּ מְגִנִּים עֲלֵיכֶם כָּאֹהֶל, דִּכְתִיב: פָּרַשׂ עָנָן לְמָסָךְ (תהלים קה, לט), וְאַף אַם עֲשׂוּ מָסָךְ לְפֶתַח הָאֹהֶל.

For a tent (ibid.). I made clouds that sheltered you like a tent, as it is written: He spread a cloud for a screen (Ps. 105:39). And you shall also make the screen for the door of the tent (Exod. 39:39).

8 ח

אָמַר רַבִּי יְהוֹשֻׁעַ בֶּן לֵוִי: אִלּוּ הָיוּ הָאֻמּוֹת יוֹדְעִים מֶה הָיָה הַמִּשְׁכָּן וְהַמִּקְדָּשׁ יָפִים לָהֶם, בְּאָהֳלִיּוֹת וְקִסְטָרִיּוֹת הָיוּ מַקִּיפִין אוֹתָן לְשָׁמְרָן. לָמָּה? שֶׁעַד שֶׁלֹּא הוּקַם הַמִּשְׁכָּן, הָיָה הַדִּבּוּר יוֹצֵא וְנִכְנָס לְתוֹךְ בָּתֵּיהֶם שֶׁל אֻמּוֹת הָעוֹלָם וְהֵן נִתְרָזִין. מִנַּיִן? שֶׁכָּךְ כְּתִיב: כִּי מִי כָל בָּשָׂר אֲשֶׁר שָׁמַע קוֹל אֱלֹהִים חַיִּים מְדַבֵּר מִתּוֹךְ הָאֵשׁ כָּמֹנוּ וַיֶּחִי (דברים ה, כג). אַתָּה הָיִיתָ שׁוֹמֵעַ קוֹלוֹ וְחָיִיתָ, אֲבָל הָאֻמּוֹת שׁוֹמְעִים וְנִתְרָזִים בְּתוֹךְ אָהֳלֵיהֶם וּמֵתִים.

R. Joshua the son of Levi declared: If the nations had known how important the Tabernacle and the Sanctuary were to them, they would have encircled them with tents and forts to protect them. Even before the Tabernacle was erected, the word of God had gone forth into the homes of the idolatrous people and caused them to become panic-stricken. Whence do we know this? It is written: For who is there of all flesh, that hath heard the voice of the living God speaking out of the midst of fire, as we have, and lived? (Deut. 5:23). You hearkened to His voice and have survived, but the idolatrous people, on hearing (His voice), became panic-stricken within their tents and perished.

9 ט

וְלֹא תֹּאמַר בַּמִּשְׁכָּן, אֶלָּא בְּבֵית הַמִּקְדָּשׁ הָיָה יָפֶה לָהֶם. מִנַּיִן? שֶׁכֵּן שְׁלֹמֹה הָיָה סוֹדֵר בִּתְפִלָּתוֹ וְאוֹמֵר (מלכים א ח, מא): וְגַם אֶל הַנָּכְרִי אֲשֶׁר לֹא מֵעַמְּךָ יִשְׂרָאֵל הוּא וּבָא מֵאֶרֶץ רְחוֹקָה לְמַעַן שְׁמֶךָ, כִּי יִשְׁמְעוּן אֶת שִׁמְךָ הַגָּדוֹל וְאֶת יָדְךָ הַחֲזָקָה וּזְרֹעֲךָ הַנְּטוּיָה וּבָא וְהִתְפַּלֵּל אֶל הַבַּיִת הַזֶּה, אַתָּה תִּשְׁמַע הַשָּׁמַיִם מְכוֹן שִׁבְתֶּךָ וְעָשִׂיתָ כְּכֹל אֲשֶׁר יִקְרָא אֵלֶיךָ הַנָּכְרִי, לְמַעַן יֵדְעוּן כָּל עַמֵּי הָאָרֶץ אֶת שְׁמֶךָ לְיִרְאָה אֹתְךָ כְּעַמְּךָ יִשְׂרָאֵל וְלָדַעַת כִּי שִׁמְךָ נִקְרָא עַל הַבַּיִת הַזֶּה אֲשֶׁר בָּנִיתִי. (מלכים א ח, מא-מג). אֲבָל יִשְׂרָאֵל כְּשֶׁהוּא מִתְפַּלֵּל לְפָנֶיךָ בַּבַּיִת הַזֶּה, וְנָתַתָּ לָאִישׁ כְּכָל דְּרָכָיו אֲשֶׁר תֵּדַע אֶת לְבָבוֹ כִּי אַתָּה יָדַעְתָּ לְבַדְּךָ אֶת לְבַב כָּל בְּנֵי הָאָדָם (מלכים א ח, לט). אִם הוּא תּוֹבֵעַ בָּנִים, וְאַתָּה יוֹדֵעַ שֶׁיִּהְיוּ מַכְעִיסִין לְפָנֶיךָ, אַל תִּתֶּן לוֹ. וְכֵן אִם תָּבַע נְכָסִים וְאַתָּה יוֹדֵעַ שֶׁעָתִיד לְבַעֵט בָּהֶן, אַל תִּתֶּן לוֹ. אֲבָל נָכְרִי, וְעָשִׂיתָ כְּכֹל אֲשֶׁר יִקְרָא אֵלֶיךָ הַנָּכְרִי, לְמַעַן יֵדְעוּן וְגוֹ'. אֲבָל יִשְׂרָאֵל מַכִּירִין שִׁמְךָ וּכְבוֹדְךָ, וְאַתָּה צוֹפֶה מֵרֹאשׁ מַה יִּהְיֶה בַּסּוֹף, כִּי אַתָּה ה' כַּאֲשֶׁר חָפַצְתָּ עָשִׂיתָ (יונה א, יד).

You must not say that the Sanctuary alone was precious to them, for the Temple was also precious. How do we know this? Solomon indicated it in his prayer: Moreover concerning the stranger that is not of Thy people Israel, when he shall come out of a far country for Thy name’s sakefor they shall hear of Thy great name, and of Thy mighty hand, and of Thine outstretched armwhen he shall come and pray toward this house, hear Thou in heaven Thy dwelling-place, and do according to all that the stranger calleth to Thee for; that all the peoples of the earth may know Thy name, to fear Thee, as doth Thy people Israel, and that they may know that Thy name is called upon this house which I have built (I Kings 8:41–43). However, when an Israelite prays before You in this Temple, Grant him all that his heart seeks, for You alone know what is in the heart of every man (ibid., v. 39). But if he should ask for children, and You know that they will provoke You to anger, do not give them to him. Similarly, if he desires property, and You know that in the future he will rebel against You because of it, do not give it to him, but for the non-Jew: Do according to all that the stranger calleth to Thee for, that all the people of the earth may know, etc. Israel, however, is aware of Thy name and Thy glory, and You can foresee at the beginning what will finally happen, for You are God, and whatever You desire, You can do.

10 י

וְלֹא תֹּאמַר בֵּית הַמִּקְדָּשׁ הָיָה יָפֶה לָהֶם, אֶלָּא אֲפִלּוּ יִשְׂרָאֵל שֶׁאִלּוּלֵי הֵם, לֹא הָיָה מָטָר יוֹרֵד לָעוֹלָם וְלֹא הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ זוֹרַחַת, שֶׁבִּזְכוּתָן הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא מַזְרִיחַ בָּעוֹלָם הַזֶּה. וְלֶעָתִיד לָבֹא אֻמּוֹת הָעוֹלָם רוֹאִים הֵיאַךְ הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא מִתְדַּבֵּק עִם יִשְׂרָאֵל, וְהֵם בָּאִים לְהִדַּבֵּק בָּהֶם, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: נֵלְכָה עִמָּכֶם כִּי שָׁמַעְנוּ אֱלֹהִים עִמָּכֶם (זכריה ח, כג).

Do not say that the Temple alone was important to them (the peoples of the world), for Israel is also important to them. Were it not for Israel, the rain would never descend and the sun would never shine. It is on their account that the Holy One, blessed be He, causes the sun to shine in this world. In the future the idolatrous nations will recognize that the Holy One, blessed be He, is attached to Israel, and they, too, will come to cleave to Israel, as it is said: We will go with you, for we have heard that God is with you (Zech. 8:23).

11 יא

אָמַר רַבִּי שְׁמוּאֵל בַּר נַחְמָן: עַד שֶׁלֹּא נִבְנָה בֵּית הַמִּקְדָּשׁ, הָיָה הָעוֹלָם עוֹמֵד עַל תְּרוֹנוֹס שֶׁל שְׁתֵּי רַגְלַיִם. מִשֶּׁנִּבְנָה, נִתְבַּסֵּס הָעוֹלָם וְעָמַד בְּיִשּׁוּבוֹ. מִנַּיִן? שֶׁכֵּן הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא אוֹמֵר לְגָד הַנָּבִיא שֶׁיֹּאמַר לְדָוִד: לֵךְ וְאָמַרְתָּ אֶל עַבְדִּי אֶל דָּוִד כֹּה אָמַר ה', הַאַתָּה תִּבְנֶה לִּי בַיִת לְשִׁבְתִּי (ש״‎ב ז, ה). וְכָתוּב אַחֵר אוֹמֵר: לֹא אַתָּה תִבְנֶה הַבָּיִת כִּי אִם בִּנְךָ הַיֹּצֵא מֵחֲלָצֶיךָ הוּא יִבְנֶה הַבַּיִת לִשְׁמִי (מלכים א ח, יט). וְאִלּוּ אַתָּה בּוֹנֶה, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: וְשַׂמְתִּי מָקוֹם לְעַמִּי לְיִשְׂרָאֵל וּנְטַעְתִּיו וְשָׁכַן תַּחְתָּיו (ש״‎ב ז, י). וּנְטַעְתִּים אֵין כְּתִיב כָּאן אֶלָּא וּנְטַעְתִּיו לְעוֹלָם, שֶׁהָעוֹלָם יִהְיֶה מִתְבַּסֵּס.

R. Samuel the son of Nahman said: Prior to the erection of the Temple, the world rested on a foundation of two pillars, but after it was built the world became firmly established and He stood in His dwelling place. How do we know this? (That is what the Holy One, blessed be He, told Gad the prophet when He said: Go and tell My servant David: “Thus saith the Lord: Shalt thou build for Me a house for Me to dwell in?” [II Sam. 7:5]. However, following that it is written: Nevertheless, Thou shalt not build the house, but thy son that shalt come out of thy loins, he shall build the house for My name [I Kings 8:19]. But if you should build it, then, as it is said:)16Etz Joseph suggests that this text is out of place. I will appoint a place for My people Israel, and will plant it, that they may dwell in their own place (II Sam. 7:10). “I will plant them” is not written in this verse, but rather plant it, indicating that the world would then be firmly established.

12 יב

עַד שֶׁלֹּא נַעֲשָׂה בֵּית הַמִּקְדָּשׁ, הָיָה הָעוֹלָם עוֹמֵד עַל תְּרוֹנוֹס שֶׁל שְׁתֵּי רַגְלַיִם, מִשֶּׁנִּבְנָה בֵּית הַמִּקְדַּשׁ נִתְבַּסֵּס הָעוֹלָם. וְלֹא תֹּאמַר שֶׁבְּבֵית הַמִּקְדָּשׁ נִתְבַּסֵּס הָעוֹלָם, אֶלָּא אַף הַמִּשְׁכָּן הָיָה יָפֶה לְאֻמּוֹת הָעוֹלָם. לָמָּה? שֶׁעַד שֶׁלֹּא הוּקַם הַמִּשְׁכָּן, הָיוּ אֻמּוֹת הָעוֹלָם שׁוֹמְעִין קוֹל הַדִּבּוּר וְנִתְרָזִין לְתוֹךְ אָהֳלֵיהֶם. לְפִיכָךְ אָמַר לוֹ הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא לְמֹשֶׁה: עֲשׂוּ לִי מִשְׁכָּן שֶׁאֶהְיֶה מְדַבֵּר עִמְּךָ בְּתוֹכוֹ, וְלֹא עוֹד אֶלָּא שֶׁאֲנִי מִתְאַוֶּה לִשְׁכֹּן אֵצֶל בָּנַי. כֵּיוָן שֶׁשָּׁמְעוּ מַלְאֲכֵי הַשָּׁרֵת כָּךְ, הִתְחִילוּ אוֹמְרִים: רִבּוֹנוֹ שֶׁל עוֹלָם, לָמָּה אַתָּה מַנִּיחַ לָעֶלְיוֹנִים וְיוֹרֵד לַתַּחְתּוֹנִים, ה' אֲדֹנֵינוּ מָה אַדִּיר שִׁמְךָ בְּכָל הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר תְּנָה הוֹדְךָ עַל הַשָּׁמַיִם (תהלים ח, ב), כָּךְ הוּא שִׁבְחֲךָ שֶׁתְּהֵא בַּשָּׁמַיִם. אָמַר לָהֶן הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא: חַיֵּיכֶם, שֶׁאֲנִי עוֹשֶׂה כְּמוֹ שֶׁאֲמַרְתֶּם לִי. אָמַר חֲבַקּוּק: אֱלוֹהַּ מִתֵּימָן יָבוֹא וְקָדוֹשׁ מֵהַר פָּארָן סֶלָה, כִּסָּה שָׁמַיִם הוֹדוֹ וּתְהִלָּתוֹ מָלְאָה הָאָרֶץ (חבקוק ג, ג).

Before the Temple was established the world rested on a foundation of two pillars, but after the Temple was erected, the world became firmly established. You should not assert that the Temple alone made the world secure, for the Sanctuary was also vitally important to the nations of the world. Why was that? Prior to the erection of the Temple, the idolatrous nations, upon hearing the voice of the Lord, became panic-stricken within their tents. The Holy One, blessed be He, therefore, said to Moses: Make Me a Sanctuary, that I may speak with thee in it. Furthermore, I am anxious to dwell among My children. When the ministering angels heard that, they began to cry out: Master of the Universe, why do you leave the heavenly spheres in order to descend to the lower spheres? O Lord, our God, how glorious is Thy name in all the earth! Whose majesty is rehearsed above the heavens (Ps. 8:2). Such is Your glory that You should remain in heaven. Whereupon the Holy One, blessed be He, replied: Be assured, I am doing what you told Me. Habakkuk said: God cometh from Teman, and the Holy One from Mount Paran. His glory covereth the heavens, and the earth is full of His praise (Hab. 3:3).

13 יג

בַּתְּחִלָּה כִּסָּה שָׁמַיִם הוֹדוֹ, וְאַחַר כָּךְ וּתְהִלָּתוֹ מָלְאָה הָאָרֶץ. אָמַר לָהֶם דָּוִד: שׂוֹחֵק הוּא עֲלֵיכֶם, הוֹדוֹ נוֹתֵן עַל הָאָרֶץ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: יְהַלְלוּ אֶת שֵׁם ה', כִּי נִשְׂגָּב שְׁמוֹ לְבַדּוֹ, הוֹדוֹ עַל אֶרֶץ (תהלים קמח, יג), וְאַחַר כָּךְ עַל שָׁמַיִם. אָמַר לָהֶם הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא: וּמָה אַתֶּם תְּמֵהִים עַל זוֹ, רְאוּ מָה אֲנִי מְחַבֵּב אֶת הַתַּחְתּוֹנִים, שֶׁאֲנִי יוֹרֵד וְשׁוֹכֵן בְּתוֹךְ יְרִיעוֹת עִזִּים, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: וְעָשִׂיתָ יְרִיעֹת עִזִּים.

At first, His glory extended over the heavens, but later the earth was full of His praise. David said to them: He mocks you, for His praise extends over the earth, as it is said: Let them praise the name of the Lord, for His name alone is exalted; His glory is above the earth and heaven (Ps. 148:13). The Holy One, blessed be He, continued: Why do you wonder about this? Observe how very much I love the earthly beings that I shall descend and dwell behind a curtain of goats’ hair for their sake. As it is said: Thou shalt make curtains of goats’ hair (Exod. 26:7).

14 יד

רַבִּי יְהוּדָה וְרַבִּי נְחֶמְיָה. רַבִּי יְהוּדָה אוֹמֵר: חַיָּה טְהוֹרָה גְּדוֹלָה הָיְתָה בַּמִּדְבָּר וּמִמֶּנָּה עָשׂוּ יְרִיעוֹת. וְרַבִּי נְחֶמְיָה אָמַר: מַעֲשֵׂה נִסִּים הָיְתָה וּלְשָׁעָה נִבְרֵאת וְנִגְנְזָה. תֵּדַע לְךָ, שֶׁכָּתוּב וְעָשִׂיתָ יְרִיעֹת עִזִּים אֹרֶךְ הַיְרִיעָה הָאַחַת שְׁלֹשִים, מֵהֵיכָן אַתָּה מֵבִיא יְרִיעוֹת שֶׁל שְׁלֹשִׁים אַמָּה. מִכָּאן אַתְּ לָמֵד כְּדִבְרֵי רַבִּי נְחֶמְיָה. וְלֹא תֹּאמַר בַּיְרִיעָה, אֶלָּא אֲפִלּוּ בַּקְּרָשִׁים הָיָה מַעֲשֵׂה נִסִּים. וּמֵהֵיכָן הָיוּ הַקְּרָשִׁים? יַעֲקֹב אָבִינוּ נָטַע אוֹתָם בְּשָׁעָה שֶׁיָּרַד לְמִצְרַיִם. אָמַר לְבָנָיו: בָּנַי, עֲתִידִים אַתֶּם לְהִגָּאֵל. מִכָּאן, וְהַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא עָתִיד לוֹמַר לָכֶם מִשֶּׁאַתֶּם נִגְאָלִין, שֶׁתַּעֲשׂוּ לוֹ אֶת הַמִּשְׁכָּן, אֶלָּא עִמְדוּ וְנִטְעוּ אֲרָזִים מֵעַכְשָׁו, שֶׁבְּשָׁעָה שֶׁיֹּאמַר לָכֶם לַעֲשׂוֹת לוֹ אֶת הַמִּשְׁכָּן, יִהְיוּ הָאֲרָזִים מְתֻקָּנִים לָכֶם. מִיָּד עָמְדוּ וְנָטְעוּ וְעָשׂוּ כֵּן.

R. Judah and R. Nehemiah discussed this matter.17See above, sect. 6. R. Judah was of the opinion that the animal from which they made the curtain was a large, pure animal that roamed the desert. R. Nehemiah maintained that it was a miraculous event. It was created for that particular moment, and then it disappeared. You may know that this is so from the scriptural verse: And thou shalt make curtains of goats’ hair, and the length of each curtain shall be thirty cubits (ibid., v. 8). How else could one possibly obtain a curtain thirty cubits in length (other than from a miraculous creation)? From this you learn that it must have been as R. Nehemiah stated. However, you must not be of the opinion that the curtains alone came from a miraculous event, for the cedar beams did likewise. Where did the cedar beams come from? Jacob our patriarch planted them at the time he descended to Egypt. He told his children: My sons, ultimately you will be redeemed from this place, and the Holy One, blessed be He, will say to you: “You will be redeemed,” so that you may build a Sanctuary for Him. Therefore, go plant cedar trees now so that when He commands you to erect a Sanctuary for Him, beams of cedar will be available. Forthwith they arose and planted as he had commanded them to do.

15 טו

אָמְרוּ רַבּוֹתֵינוּ זִכְרוֹנָם לִבְרָכָה: וְהַבְּרִיחַ הַתִּיכֹן בְּתוֹךְ הַקְּרָשִׁים, יָרַד בְּיַד יַעֲקֹב אָבִינוּ לְמִצְרַיִם, שֶׁהָיָה קָשֶׁה שֶׁיְּשַׁמֵּשׁ מִן הַקָּצֶה אֶל הַקָּצֶה. וְלֹא עוֹד אֶלָּא שֶׁאוֹתָן הָאֲרָזִים הָיוּ אוֹמְרִים שִׁירָה לִפְנֵי הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא. הֵיאַךְ שִׁירָה אוֹמְרִים? שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: אָז יְרַנְּנוּ עֲצֵי הַיָּעַר מִלִּפְנֵי ה'. וְאֵין אָז אֶלָּא שִׁירָה, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: אָז יָשִׁיר מֹשֶׁה (שמות טו, א). וְאֵימָתַי? כְּשֶׁנַּעֲשָׂה מֵהֶן הַמִּשְׁכָּן. כְּשֶׁאָמַר הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא לְמֹשֶׁה עַל הַמִּשְׁכָּן, אָמַר לוֹ: וְעָשִׂיתָ אֶת הַקְּרָשִׁים לַמִּשְׁכָּן עֲצִי שִׁטִּים עֹמְדִים (שמות כו, טו). וְעָשִׂיתָ קְרָשִׁים לֹא נֶאֱמַר, אֶלָּא וְעָשִׂיתָ אֶת הַקְּרָשִׁים, אוֹתָן שֶׁהִתְקִין לָהֶן יַעֲקֹב אֲבִיהֶם. עֹמְדִים, אוֹתָן שֶׁהֻעְמְדוּ קֹדֶם לָכֵן.

Our sages of blessed memory said: And the middle bar in the midst of the boards (ibid., v. 28). They went down to Egypt with Jacob our patriarch, for it was difficult for them to bolt the boards from end to end. Furthermore, these cedars intoned a song before the Lord. Whence do we know that they sang a song? Because it is written: Then shall all the trees of the world sing for joy before the Lord (Ps. 96:12). The word then is employed in reference to a song, as is said: Then sang Moses (Exod. 15:1). When did that occur? At the time the Sanctuary was erected from them. The Holy One, blessed be He, commanded Moses concerning the Tabernacle: And thou shalt make the boards for the Tabernacle of acacia wood, standing up (ibid. 26:15). “Thou shalt make boards” is not written here, but rather Thou shalt make the boards standing, that is, they should use those boards that their fathers had previously prepared for them. The word standing refers to the boards that were already in existence.

16 טז

אָמַר רַבִּי שְׁמוּאֵל בַּר נַחְמָן: עֶשְׂרִים וְאַרְבָּעָה מִינֵי אֲרָזִים הָיוּ, וּמִכֻּלָּם לֹא נִבְחַר אֶלָּא שִׁבְעָה, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: אֶתֵּן בַּמִּדְבָּר אֶרֶז שִׁטָּה וַהֲדַס וְעֵץ שָׁמֶן, אָשִׂים בָּעֲרָבָה בְּרוֹשׁ תִּדְהָר וּתְאַשּׁוּר יַחְדָּו (ישעיה מא, יט). בְּרוֹשׁ, אֶלַטִין. תִּדְהָר, אִיסְפוּ נְרַמוּז. תְּאַשּׁוּר, פִּקְסִינוֹן. וְנִקְרָא תְּאַשּׁוּר, שֶׁהוּא מְאֻשָּׁר מִכָּל מִינֵי אֲרָזִים. וּמִכֻּלָּם לֹא נִבְחַר אֶלָּא הַשִּׁטָה בִּלְבַד, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: עֲצֵי שִׁטִּים. לָמָּה קוֹרֵא אוֹתָם עֲצֵי שִׁטִּים? כְּדֵי לְרַפֹּאת מַה שֶּׁעֲתִידִין לַעֲשׂוֹת בַּשִּׁטִּים, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: וַיֵּשֶׁב יִשְׂרָאֵל בַּשִּׁטִּים (במדבר כה, א). וְלֹא תֹּאמַר בָּאָרוֹן שֶׁעָשָׂה מֹשֶׁה, אֶלָּא אֲפִלּוּ כָּל אָרוֹן שֶׁיִּשְׂרָאֵל עוֹשִׂין, צְרִיכִין לִתֵּן אֶרֶז שֶׁל שִׁטָּה בּוֹ.

R. Samuel the son of Nahman held: There are twenty-four varieties of cedar, but only seven were selected, as it is said: I will plant in the wilderness the cedar, the acacia tree, and the myrtle, and the oil-tree; I will set in the desert the cypress, the plane tree, and the larch together (Isa. 41:19). The cypress refers to the fir tree; the plane tree to the maple; the larch to the boxwood tree. It was called te’ashur (“larch”) because it was the most fortunate (me’ushar) of all cedars. From among them all only the acacia tree was selected, as it is said: The Tabernacle of acacia-wood. Why did He call them shittim (“acacia”)? He did so in order to offset what would ultimately transpire at Shittim (i.e., Israel’s sin), as it is said: And Israel abode in Shittim (Num. 25:1).18Where they engaged in harlotry with the Moabites (see Num. 25). You must not believe that only the Tabernacle made by Moses was constructed with acacia-wood. Indeed, every ark that the people of Israel constructs must have boards of acacia-wood in it.

17 יז

דָּבָר אַחֵר, חָטְאוּ בַּשִּׁטִּים, וְלָקוּ בַּשִּׁטִּים, וּמִתְרַפְּאִין בַּשִּׁטִּים. חָטְאוּ בַּשִּׁטִּים, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: וַיֵּשֶׁב יִשְׂרָאֵל בַּשִּׁטִּים. לָקוּ בַּשִּׁטִּים, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: וַיִּהְיוּ הַמֵּתִים בַּמַּגֵּפָה (במדבר כה, ט). וּמִתְרַפְּאִין בַּשִּׁטִּים, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: עֲצִי שִׁטִּים. אַתָּה מוֹצֵא שֶׁלֹּא זָזוּ מִשָּׁם עַד שֶׁעָמַד פִּינְחָס וְהֵשִׁיב אֶת הַחַמָּה, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: פִּינְחָס בֶּן אֶלְעָזָר בֶּן אַהֲרֹן הַכֹּהֵן וְגוֹ' (במדבר כה, יא). אָמַר הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא: לָעוֹלָם הַבָּא אֲנִי מְרַפֵּא אֶת הַשִּׁטִּים, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: וְהָיָה בַיּוֹם הַהוּא יִטְּפוּ הֶהָרִים עָסִיס וְהַגְּבָעוֹת תֵּלַכְנָה חָלָב וְכָל אֲפִיקֵי יְהוּדָה יֵלְכוּ מַיִם וּמַעְיָן מִבֵּית ה' יֵצֵא וְהִשְׁקָה אֶת נַחַל הַשִּׁטִּים (יואל ד, יח).

Another explanation. They sinned at Shittim, they were smitten at Shittim, and they were healed by means of Shittim. They sinned at Shittim; as it is said: And Israel abode in Shittim (Num. 25:4); they were smitten at Shittim, as it is said: And those that died by the plague (ibid., v. 9); and they were healed by means of Shittim, as it is said: Boards of acacia (shittim) wood. You find that they did not leave that place until Phinehas arose and turned away His wrath, as it is said: Phinehas the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, hath turned My wrath away from the children of Israel (ibid., v. 11). The Holy One, blessed be He, declared: In the world-to-come I will heal at Shittim, as it is said: And it shall come to pass in that day, that the mountains shall drop down sweet wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, and all the brooks of Judah shall flow with waters, and a fountain shall come forth of the house of the Lord, and shall water the valley of Shittim (Joel 4:18).