(Permission is granted to print and redistribute this material
as long as this header and the footer at the end are included.)


brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof
Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld

Ask A Question about the Daf

Previous daf

Berachos 55


QUESTIONS: The Gemara relates that when Moshe reversed the order for the building of the Mishkan and its vessels, Bezalel immediately corrected him. "If I build the Aron first," he said, "where will we put it until the Mishkan is built?" (see also Rashi Shmos 38:2). A number of obvious questions may be asked on this Gemara:
(a) Why did Moshe reverse the order of Hashem's commandments? (PNEI YEHOSHUA)

(b) Even if Bezalel built the Mishkan first, could he really keep the Aron there? The Mishkan wasn't actually erected until Rosh Chodesh Nisan (Shmos 40:1 and Rashi 39:33), while the Aron was completed by the previous Chanukah, according to the Midrash. Where did he keep the Aron until Nisan, then? (PNEI YEHOSHUA, MELO HA'RO'IM)

(c) It seems clear from the verses that Hashem Himself told Moshe to build an Aron before constructing the Mishkan (Shmos 35,36)

(d) A very perplexing twist is that the Midrash (Shmos Raba 50:2 and numerous other places) recounts exactly the opposite story. Hashem told Bezalel to make a Mishkan and then its vessels (in Ki Sisa, Shmos 31:7), while Bezalel protested that it is not respectful to push off building the Aron. Due to its inherent sanctity, it must be built first! (MAHARZU and other commentators)

ANSWER: It may be suggested that there were two stages to the completion of the Mishkan. The first stage involved the *construction* of the Mishkan and its contents from the raw materials. The second stage involved the erection of the Mishkan after all of its contents were already prepared. (This stage repeated itself every time the Jews traveled and erected the Mishkan.)

In the first stage the Aron preceded the Mishkan, as Hashem commanded Moshe in Terumah, due to its sanctity. (Since the Aron was the main part of the Mishkan, it must be prepared first, in the spirit of "Sof Ma'aseh b'Machshavah Techilah.) This was what Moshe meant when he told Bezalel begin the construction with the Aron. However, when the Mishkan was *erected* and the Shechinah rested upon it, the Mishkan was to precede the Aron. This is why Hashem mentioned the Mishkan first in Ki Sisa.

Bezalel, when he heard from Moshe that he was to begin the *construction* with the Aron, realized that when it comes to the erection of the Mishkan, the Mishkan would have to precede the Aron, since it is not proper for Hashem to rest His Presence upon the Keruvim in the open, without being enclosed by the Mishkan, in the spirit of modesty. As the verse states, "Hashem rests His presence in the *shade* (b'Tzel)" -- Tehilim 91:1. This is the intention of our Gemara. When Moshe heard that he exclaimed, "Have you then witnessed the *shade* (Tzel) of Hashem?" The Midrash (d) that stated the opposite means to say that Bezalel also realized why Moshe ordered that the *construction* of the Aron precede the construction of the Mishkan. It was only appropriate to begin by preparing the most valuable part of Mishkan (i.e., the Aron) first. (M. Kornfeld)


QUESTION: What is Ayin ha'Ra, and how is it avoided by holding one's thumbs or staring at one's nostril?

ANSWER: One should not arouse the jealousy of others by flaunting that which he has and others do not have. Doing so may cause Hashem to take the object away from him and give it to the others instead. (As Rava said, "Let my enemies rejoice in my lack of good health, so that Hashem will bring an end to my suffering because of their mocking.)

The Gemara explains that the procedure for stopping Ayin ha'Rah from affecting one's self is to hold two thumbs in opposite hands, as if to say, "I'm not showing pride in amassing material possessions (or health, etc.). Rather, I have been blessed with what is my portion and was never meant for anybody else. I therefore have nothing to show off."

To prevent accidentally giving an Ayin ha'Rah to others, one should look down at his left nostril, as if to say that he is looking only at his own belongings and does not even notice the belongings of others. (M. Kornfeld)

Next daf


This article is provided as part of Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Permission is granted to redistribute electronically or on paper,
provided that this notice is included intact.
For information on subscriptions, archives, and other Shema Yisrael
Classes, send mail to daf@shemayisrael.co.il

Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Jerusalem, Israel

In the U.S.:
Tel. (908) 370-3344
Fax. (908) 367-6608

Toll free line for dedications: 1-800-574-2646