Illuminations #150, Adar 5778, Parshat Terumah

KollelNerHamizrach__illumination logo

Illuminations #150, Adar 5778, Parshat Terumah

Torah Gems

There is a beautiful insight  from Rav Eliyahu Diskin, shlita. Chazal (Sanhedrin 104b) reveal that the Anshei K’nesses Hagedolah decided that Shlomo Hamelech was to be added to the list of kings who lost their portion in the World to Come because he didn’t prevent his wives from worshiping avodah zarah. An image of Dovid Hamelech appeared to them to plead on his son’s behalf, but they paid no attention to him. A heavenly fire came down and singed the benches upon which they sat, but they still continued. Then they heard a bas kol telling them to look at Shlomo Hamelech’s diligence. He built the Beit Hamikdash before he built his own palace: he completed the Beit Hamikdash in seven years, whereas his own palace took thirteen years—not because his personal home was more fancy or elaborate than the Beit Hamikdash, but because he didn’t build it with the same kind of excitement and vigor he reserved for building the holy Sanctuary. The Midrash then emphasizes the tremendous simchah that the building of the Beit Hamikdash brought to Hakadosh Baruch Hu. That year the Jews even ate on Yom Kippur! The Beit Hamikdash is the place where Hakadosh Baruch Hu’s Shechinah is always present! Yet, the fact that Shlomo Hamelech built it was not enough of a reason to save him. However, because he put his life’s emphasis there, showing that he cared more for Hashem’s honor than anything else – diligently building a home for Him – more than his own, this showed what was truly important to him and for Whom he really cared. This is what saved him!

Parsha Pearls

There is a beautiful remez on our passuk (25:8), ve’asu Li mikdash vi’shachanti betocham – “Make for Me a sanctuary and I will dwell within them.” Of course, the simple meaning of the passuk is that we are to erect a Beit Hamikdash where the Shechinah is to dwell. Indeed, both of the Batei Hamikdash, explain Rabbeinu Bechayei and the Baal Haturim, are hinted to in this passuk. The word vi’shachanti can be read as two words: vi’shachan ti and You will dwell ti (taf yud) whose numerical value is 410, which is the amount of years the first Beit Hamikdash stood. In addition, the letters of the word vi’shachanti can also be formulated to read vesheini tuf chuf, meaning, and the second one will stand for 420 years!

Glimpses of Greatness

There is a famous story involving Rav Chaim Volozhin, zt”l. After the levayah of one of the benefactors of the Yeshivah, Rav Chaim was learning in his memory. When he had a question about the sugyah, the deceased benefactor, who was not a talmid chacham during his lifetime, appeared to Rav Chaim at that moment and explained and clarified the very point! Rav Chaim commented that although he knew that benefactors of Torah receive reward and are given understanding of the Torah they supported, he never imagined that it happened immediately!

Halacha Weekly

Q. Is it permitted to sell at a discount or pay a Non-Jew more than an item is strictly worth? [1-7-223]

A. Devarim (7:2): “…You shall not seal a covenant with them, nor show them favor (lo techanem ).” Sefer Hachinuch (426, R. Aharon HaLevi) explains we learn from this verse four things [in relation to idolaters]: not to give them a free gift, not to praise them, not to sell them land in Israel, and not to seek their welfare. What about if one sells them an item at a discount or pays them more for an item than it is worth? Sefer Nishmat KalChai (55, R. Chaim Pelagi Z”L) writes that there is some aspect [of prohibition in this] of giving a non-Jew a free gift if one sells to a non-Jew dishes or other items at a discount.

Sefer Shraga Hameir (7-141, R. Shraga Feival Schneelbalg Z”L) writes that the normal manner of purchasing and selling has no prohibition of lo techanem in it. We prove this from the case of Dama ben Netinah, whom the Sages of Israel wanted to give 60 myriads [600,000 gold coins-an exorbitant amount] for the purchase of the stones of the ephod. We see that if one performs the action as a business transaction there is no prohibition [of giving a non-Jew a free gift].  We also see a proof from the Midrash that is brought by the Tur (Orech Chaim 240), which relates that a Jew added onto the purchase price of fish from a handler five gold pieces. From this we see that it is not prohibited [to give extra] if one purchases an item [as a business transaction and it is permitted] to pay them more than is strictly required.