This D’var Torah should be a Zechus L’Ilui Nishmas my sister, Kayla Rus Bas Bunim Tuvia A”H, my maternal grandfather Dovid Tzvi Ben Yosef Yochanan A”H, my maternal grandfather Dovid Tzvi Ben Yosef Yochanan A”H, my paternal grandfather Moshe Ben Yosef A”H, my uncle Reuven Nachum Ben Moshe & my great aunt Rivkah Sorah Bas Zev Yehuda HaKohein.
It should also be in Zechus L’Refuah Shileimah for:
-My father Bunim Tuvia Ben Channa Freidel
-My grandmothers Channah Freidel Bas Sarah, and Shulamis Bas Etta
-MY BROTHER: MENACHEM MENDEL SHLOMO BEN CHAYA ROCHEL
-Mordechai Shlomo Ben Sarah Tili
-Noam Shmuel Ben Simcha
-Chaya Rochel Ettel Bas Shulamis
-And all of the Cholei Yisrael, especially those suffering from COVID-19 and the Meiron tragedy.
-It should also be a Z’chus for an Aliyah of the holy Neshamos of Dovid Avraham Ben Chiya Kehas—R’ Dovid Winiarz ZT”L, Miriam Liba Bas Aharon—Rebbetzin Weiss A”H, as well as the Neshamos of those whose lives were taken by terrorists (Hashem Yikom Damam), COVID-19, and the Meiron tragedy.
-It should also be a Z’chus for success for Tzaha”l as well as the rest of Am Yisrael, in Eretz Yisrael and in the Galus.
לע”נ שמואל מנחם בן אריה לייב
לע”נ לאה בת אברהם
לע”נ יהודה חסדא יקיר בן הרב שלמה
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Parsha Paradise/פרשה פרדס – Mishpatim: The Sapphire Brickwork ?????
At the end of Mishpatim, the Torah describes the scene of Kabbalas HaTorah, but from the unique and loftier vantage point of the Zikeinim. What did they see? The Torah describes as follows [Shemos 24:10]
“… כְּמַֽעֲשֵׂה֙ לִבְנַ֣ת הַסַּפִּ֔יר וּכְעֶ֥צֶם הַשָּׁמַ֖יִם לָטֹֽהַר”
“…like brickwork of sapphire and like essence of Heaven to its purity.”
What in the world does that mean? Perhaps, that’s the wrong question. After all, the Torah is describing a sight well beyond this world. That said, the Torah uses words and images we can relate to somewhat so as to give us something of an understanding. We will use the 4 layers of Pardeis to achieve such an understanding.
Several M’forshim point out that this verse depicts a prophetic image of the Kisei HaKavod, Hashem’s Throne of Glory (See Yechezkeil 1:26 which describes stones of “Sapir”). But, what did that look like? What did they see?
The actual color of the brickwork, which the Torah describes as “Sapir,” (typically and understandably translated as “sapphire”) is subject to debate.
R’ Saadiah Ga’on, Rashbam, and Sforno suggest that “Sapir” refers to white sapphire.
Bechor Shor and Chizkuni suggest that “Sapir” could refer to either a reddish sapphire or blue sapphire (Rabbeinu Bachya maintains that Ibn Ezra’s understood the “Sapir” of our verse to mean blue sapphire, though Ibn Ezra states explicitly that “Sapir” is red).
Chizkuni adds that “Sapir” could also refer to black sapphire.
(The “blue” approach is supported by the tradition which bases the color of Techeiles [turquoise, sky blue] on the color of the sea, the sky, and and the Throne of Glory, using our Pasuk as proof. See Sotah 17A, Chulin 89A, and Menachos 43B.)
Ba’al HaTurim explains that the Zikeinim saw the image of Yaakov Avinu underneath the Kisei HaKavod, as alluded to in our Pasuk which states, “Vayiru Es Elokei Yisrael V’Sachas Raglav…”-“And they saw the G-d of Yisrael, and underneath His feet…”
This is further alluded, Ba’al HaTurim explains, to by Yechezkeil [1:10], who witnessed, in his prophecy of the Kisei, “וּדְמ֣וּת פְּנֵיהֶם֘ פְּנֵ֣י אָדָם֒” (“And the likeness of their faces were the face of man”). Ba’al HaTurim points out that the Sofei Teivos (abbreviation of the final letters of each word) spells the word “Tamim” (תמים), “wholesome,” the attribute which the Torah and Chazal reserve for Yaakov Avinu.
That they saw the image of Yaakov, Ba’al HaTurim continues, is even further alluded to in an earlier exchange between Yaakov Avinu and Rochel Imeinu, when Yaakov incredulously asked, “HaSachas Elokim Anochi?” (“Am I in place of G-d?”) which can be rendered literally, “Am I underneath G-d?” Indeed, he was (and perhaps he could have Davened more for Rochel?).
Ba’al HaTurim drives this Remez home by pointing out that the word “Anochi”-“I am” (אנכי) equals “Kisei”-“Throne” (כסא) in Gematria (numerical value).
Now, why did the Zikeinim see the form of bricks?
Rashi, Rabbeinu Bachya, and others cite the tradition of the Midrash [Vayikra Rabbah 23:8, Yerushalmi, Succah 6:3] that they saw an image that apparently remained from the time of She’ibud Mitzrayim (Egyptian subjugation), bricks, symbolic of the fact that Hashem too felt our burden of bricks as it were. Rabbeinu Bachya explains that the Zikeinim were Zocheh to behold this image as they suffered beatings for the B’nei Yisrael at the hands of the Egyptian taskmasters when they fell short in their quota of bricks.
R’ Hirsch expounds that, in contrast to the bricks we used to build for Pharaoh, as Ovdei Hashem, we build Hashem’s Kingship on earth. He explains that the bricks of sapphire are symbolic of the fusion between earthly material/effort and heavenly purity.
Ramban writes, Al Derech HaEmes (code words for Kabbalah) that the Zikeinim saw, from their Mechitzah (“V.I.P.” section), beyond what the rest of the B’nei Yisrael could see; everyone else only saw fire and smoke.
Rabbeinu Bachya adds that, Al Pi Kabbalah, the Zikeinim saw the matter on which the Kisei HaKavod was founded; water, fire, and wind, which correspond to Hashem’s attributes of Chessed, Din, and Rachamim (I believe, in this order), which are apparently manifest in the colors blue, red, and white (again, I believe, in this order). Rabbeinu Bachya explains that our verse alludes to these three materials and attributes, “Livnas” corresponding to white, “Sapir” apparently corresponding to red, and “Shamayim” corresponding to blue.
Whatever this means, it seems that the Zikeinim were privy to a “holistic view” of the Kisei HaKavod. At Har Sinai, they saw Yaakov Avinu, they recognized Hashem’s Presence during their oppression as symbolized by the bricks, and they saw each of the “colors” of Hashem’s attributes which governed His complex Master plan.
We should be Zocheh to yearn for and eventually be worthy of beholding Hashem’s Presence once again with the coming of Moshiach, Bimheirah BiYomeinu! Have a wonderful Shabbos!
-Yehoshua Shmuel Eisenberg