Welcome to Yeshiva Tiferet, your post-highschool American yeshiva in Jerusalem, Israel.

The Hidden Present

R Pesach Siegel

Parshat Vayakel

Mar 16, 2012

The Hidden Present



In this week’s Torah portion, Hashem tells Moshe to gather the "Adas Yisroel" from the Jewish people, and to command them to give Trumah to the Mishkan. Then Hashem tells Moshe to keep the holy Shabbos, and that all those who desecrate it will die.


The posuk continues by saying that lighting a fire would be considered a desecration.


The Gemorah in Yevamos (Daf 6b) says that because only fire is mentioned here, the posuk is hinting to the death penalty of "Srayfa (Burning)".




The Shelah Hakadosh asks, why in this week’s parshah Moshe appears to be addressing a certain group from Klal Yisroel ("Adas Yisroel"), while in parshas Trumah the same commandment is given to the Jewish people but is addressing everyone?


In addition he asks, Why do we learn what "can't" be done on Shabbos from what "was" done in constructing the Mishkan (referring to the 39 Malachos)?


Why is the death penalty of burning introduced specifically by the aveirah of chillul Shabbos?


Background/Deeper Understanding


The Gemorah in Meseches Shabbos (Daf 10b) tells us that when one gives a gift, he must inform the recipient of the giving. We derive this from this week’s parshas. Before giving the gift of Shabbos to the Jewish people, Hashem tells Moshe Rabeinu about his giving in advance.


This Gemorah, however, queries, when Moshe came down from Har Sinai his face was glowing. Moshe himself was unaware if this gift. Why didn’t Hashem tell Moshe of this gift beforehand?


One might try to answer that because the people would realize and then tell him so he would find out anyway. But this opens the door to ask that Moshe and the Jewish people could have just looked in the Torah and they would have found out about Shabbos; why did Hashem have to tell Moshe about Shabbos beforehand?


This question is then answered by the Gemorah that by Shabbos there was a hidden aspect given over that was not mentioned in the Written Torah. Hashem told Moshe, who told the Jews through word of mouth (Torah Shel Bal Peh). There is something else going on behind the scenes here regarding what the holy Shabbos represents. The Bnei Yisroel would not discover this secret by a cursory look into the Torah.


On Shabbos the prayer recited by the Levites is "Mizmar Shir Liyom Hashabbos …. Mizmor Shir Li’Asid Lavo."  Shabbos is compared to " Li’Asid Lavo (The World To Come). Shabbos has a connection to Gan Eden.


When Shabbos arrives things don't merely alter regarding the Halachos of what can and can't be done; the whole world changes. Shabbos is a gift that Hashem gave to us to treat this world like Olam Haba. We relax while everything is given to us. All the food is prepared, one can rest as long as they desire, the family spends more time with each other; it's a paradise in this world. Shabbos, in truth, is a spiritual recharge the Jewish people. By staying away from materialistic entities the rest of the world is cut off.


Hashem has a direct connection to His people, and this is the present hidden within Shabbos.




To answer what the connection between what was done in constructing the Mishkan and what can't be done on Shabbos, is that the six days of the week parallel the building of the Mishkan. The Mishkan itself represents Shabbos. What was the Mishkan? It was a place where "Bechira (Choice)" didn't really exist. For this reason, in the Mishkan, one would be put to death for doing even the slightest thing wrong. Miracles were taking place on a consistent basis, and Hashem had a direct connection to the Bnei Yisroel; the same connection that resides in His gift of keeping Shabbos.


And why was the death penalty of "Srayfah" the only punishment being alluded to by the mention of fire? Because the essence of fire is Din (exactitude). Fire brings out the entire potential in things. When a piece of wood is burning, all the particles and elements return to their exact original individual form.


The Medrash brings down that before Hashem revealed Himself to Avrohom Avenu, He showed him a mansion that was on fire. Avraham tried to find the entrance of this fabulous mansion, but failed. He reasoned, if there is a mansion, there must be a master of the mansion. Upon seeing this, Hashem opened a door for Avrohom to enter the mansion. The mansion represents our world. The meaning of the fire is that our world is filled with latent potential which is to be constantly released in a burst of energy.


The release of this potential is what occurs in our daily lives in the six days of the week. This is to be found in the work of the construction of the Mishkan. Once the MIshkan is completed, all the potential has been released. It is exactly the way it should be. This is what takes place every Shabbos. The construction of the Mishkan and the six days of the week are a journey towards realizing the potential connection with Hashem, and only once the Mishkan was complete and the Shabbos day finally comes do we receive this amazing gift of utter relationship with Hashem.


Shabbos is the fuel of the world. Shabbos is the recharge for the following week. Shabbos is where one can achieve a clear understanding of how Hashem connects to His people.


When we arrive at the ultimate Shabbos, at the level referred to as Mishkan, then we are truly unique. We are Adas Yisroel – The Congregation of the Nobilty of G-d.
Site Contents ©2018 by Yeshiva Tiferet. American Friends of Yeshiva Tiferet is a tax exempt non-profit organization under the IRS code 501(c)(3). Terms of Use Site Security Credits