Parshat Terumah is the first of four parshiyot dealing with the construction of the mishkan. The first two - Terumah and Tetzaveh record Hashem's instruction to build a mishkan. Parshat Ki Tisa interrupts the narrative by describing 'Chet haegel'. Parshiyot Vayakhel and Pekudei resume describing 'Bnei Yisrael' implementing Hashem's instructions.
In Parshat Terumah, the Torah (25:10) first mentions the obligation to construct the
·'FURNITURE' of the mishkan - the Ark, menorah and table. In Parshat Vayakhel, the Torah (35:10) reverses the order and mentions constructing the 'BUILDING' first and the FURNITURE second.
What could be the reason for this inverse order?
I would suggest an explanation based on the "Alei Shur'', who raises a similar problem
regarding 'Kriyat Shema':
In the first paragraph of 'Kriyat Shema', [פרשת ואהבת] the mitzvah of learning Torah precedes the mitzvah of tefillin. [Devarim 6, 7-8]:
"ושננתם לבניך ודברת בם בשבתך בביתך..."
"וקשרתם לאות על ידך והיו לטטפת בין עיניך "
''You shall teach them (words of Torah) thoroughly to your children and speak of them while you sit in your home..."
"Bind them (tefillin) as a sign upon your arm and let them be ornaments between your eyes".
Yet in the second paragraph of 'Kriyat Shema' [פרשת והיה אם שמע] the Torah mentions the.mitzvah of tefillin first·and mitzvah of learning Torah second. [Devarim 11, 18-19]:
"וקשרתם אתם על ידכם והיו לטוטפת בין עיניכם"
"ולמדתם אתם את בניכם לדבר בם בשבתך בביתך..."
"You shall bind them upon your arms·and let them be an ornament between your eyes."
"You shall teach·them (words of Torah) to your children to discuss them while you sit in your home... "
The Alei Shur explains that the context of the two paragraphs of 'Kriyat Shema' are different.
The first deals with an ideal situation where a tzadik is permeated with love for Hashem with all his "heart, soul and might". In that situation, learning Torah thoroughly not only draws one to love Hashem, but also is in itself a form of loving Hashem. The practical mitzvah of tefillin that follows "merely" serves as a tangible reminder of a "Love of Hashem" that already exists.
The second paragraph deals with a situation where 'Am Yisrael' have sinned and are now in exile. In those difficult circumstances where their inner world of faith and trust has been broken, the "first aid" to be administered is to build at least the world of action and slowly the effects of doing mitzvoth will influence 'Am Yisrael's' inner world as well.
Hence, the practical mitzvah of tefillin is mentioned first and only afterwards the mitzvah of learning Torah.
Similarly, Parshat Terumah describes an ideal situation of one being connected to the Ark and the 'Luchot Habrit' therein. Parshat Vayakhel written after the fall of 'Am Yisrael' in the wake of "Chet haegel", emphasizes the need to build a physical structure and framework, and from there proceed to connect to 'Aron Haedut'.
Dvar Torah written by Rabbi Raphael Katz, Former Rosh Kollel in Johannesburg (1998-2002), currently Rav of Beit Knesset Hechadash, Netanya Comments: [email protected]
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