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Parshat Trumah - Questions for Self Study

Questions for the Shabbat Table
Questions for Shiur Preparation
Questions on Parshanut

Part I - Questions for the 'Shabbat Table'

1. In Parshat Terumah, how does the wording of the opening commandment to build the "aron" differ from the opening commandment to build all of the other vessels? [See 25:10,17,23,31 etc., (noting if the command is in singular or plural).]
Attempt to explain why.
Be sure to Ramban on 25:10 for a beautiful explanation.
In addition to this difference, in what manner does the function of the aron differ from the function of all the other vessels of the Mishkan? Would you say that the aron is 'part' of the Mishkan, or that the Mishkan is built 'for' the aron?
Relate this distinction to the above question!

2. Relate the purpose of the aron (see 25:21-22) to the reason that Moshe ascends Har Sinai for forty days, as explained in 24:12.
Does this explain why it is the first vessel of the Mishkan described in Parshat Terumah? Can you suggest any other reason?
How do all of the other vessels of the Mishkan relate to the aron?
Relate in your answer to 29:42-46!
In what manner do these psukim relate to 25:8 and 25:21-22?

3. In relation once again to 25:21-22, how does the function of the aron relate to the function of the keruvim?
How does this function relate to Bnei Yisrael's request (at Ma'amad Har Sinai) that Moshe speak to them instead of God (see Shmot 20:15-16 and Devarim 5:20-28)?
How does this relate to the location of Parshat Terumah in Chumash?

4. In what context is the word "keruvim" used in Sefer Breishit?
[In case you forgot, re-read the end of Breishit chapter 3!]
Can you relate its meaning there to the function of the keruvim in the Mishkan?
Be sure to note where the "keruvim" are found in the Mishkan (see 25:17-22, 26:1 and 26:31).
Relate your answer to Mishlei chapter 3, especially 3:18 - but be sure to read that entire chapter!

5. What is the precise meaning of the word "Mishkan" in 26:1 and in the remainder of chapters 26 and 27? Relate also to 25:9.
Does the word Mishkan also have a more general meaning?
If so, explain what it is and why it has a 'double' meaning.
Relate to the structural difference between the Mishkan and the Bet Ha'Mikdash.

Part II - Questions for Preparation (for weekly shiur)

1. Review Shmot 24:12-18. Based on these psukim, for what purpose does Moshe ascend Har Sinai in 24:12? Up until this point, have Moshe and/or Bnei Yisrael received any other mitzvot from God? If so, which mitzvot, and when (and where) were they given? How do (or should) those mitzvot differ from the mitzvot that Moshe is now about to receive on Har Sinai?
Note from 24:18 that Moshe will now spend forty days on Har Sinai. In your opinion, how much of the Torah does he receive during these forty days? Can you explain why it will take so long?
Does he receive the entire Torah during these forty days? If not, what does he (and what doesn't he) receive at this time? When does he receive all of the other remaining mitzvot?
[If you have time, note the various commentaries on Shmot 34:32 and explain why that pasuk may relate to 24:12 as well.]

2. Even though 24:12-18 is a narrative, the Torah does not continue this narrative until Moshe descends from Har Sinai in chapter 32.
In the interim, i.e. chapters 25-31, the Torah records many parshiot of mitzvot.
Scan this unit, noting what general categories of the mitzvot that are discussed. Can you identify one general category, or is this simply an assortment of various mitzvot?
If there is one general category, can you explain why specifically this category of mitzvot is discussed by Chumash at this time?
In you opinion, do chapters 25 thru 31 contain all of the mitzvot that Moshe received from God during those forty days?

    a. If not, why are only these specific parshiot recorded at this point in Sefer Shmot, and not the others?
    b. If yes, why do think that these are the only mitzvot that Moshe receives at this time?

3. As you probably realized, chapters 25 thru 31 discuss the various laws concerning the Mishkan. As you study these laws, and the various vessels of the Mishkan and its structure, can you identify any thematic parallels between these laws and the events that took place at Ma'amad Har Sinai (as described in Shmot chapters 19,20 & 24? Relate especially to 19:9-15,20-24 and 24:1-12.
Can you suggest a reason for any of the parallels that you find? Be sure the study the first Ramban on Parshat Terumah, where he discusses the significance of these parallels.

4. In a similar manner, attempt to identify any thematic parallels that may exist between this section about the Mishkan and the events that take place during the events of "chet ha'egel".
Relate to the person who was chosen to construct the Mishkan (i.e. his grandfather, see 31:2; the need for Aharon to bring a "korban chatat" during the miluim ceremony (see 29:14), and the need to 'count the people' prior to its construction (30:16).

5. Based on your answers to the above two questions, attempt to explain the reason for the controversy between Rashi and Ramban concerning when the parshiot of the Mishkan were first given to Moshe Rabeinu.
Be sure to Rashi on 29:1 and Chizkuni on 31:2.
Then, see Rashi on 31:18, and be sure that you understand the reason for this conclusion that these events took place before God's commandment to build the Mishkan in Parshat Terumah.

6. When Rashi (on 31:18) says: "ein mukdam u'muchar" [the parshiot in Chumash are not necessarily written in chronological order], does it mean that the Torah is written in random order?
If not, then in what order is it written according to Rashi?
Why do you think Ramban disagrees with this principle?
[See also Chizkuni on 34:32 for an extra insight on this matter!]

7. Review 33:7, noting its context within 33:1-11. Note the word "ohel moed", and be sure that you understand its meaning within that context.
Compare this with 25:8, noting its parallel with 29:42-46, and use of the word "ohel moed" in those psukim (29:42,44).
How would this thematic and textual parallel provide support for Rashi's opinion? According to Ramban's opinion, how could one explain the nature of this parallel?

8. According to Rashi, who claims that the commandment to build the Mishkan was first given only after the events of Chet Ha'Egel, does this imply that had it not been for Chet Ha'Egel there would never have been a need for a Mikdash?
In your answer, relate to Shmot 15:17, 20:19-22, 23:14-19, and Breishit 28:16-18!
Do any (or all) of these psukim indicate that there may have been a Mikdash, even had Bnei Yisrael not sinned during the events of "chet ha'egel"?
If so, how could this be explained according to Rashi's opinion that the Mishkan came after "chet ha'egel"?
[See and relate to Chizkuni on Shmot 20:20-21 and 31:18. See also Seforno on 20:20-21.]

Now that you've prepared, go to the shiur.

Part III - Parshanut

1. In addition to the first Ramban on Parshat Trumah, see also the first Ramban on Sefer Vayikra, and the first Ramban on Sefer Bamidbar.
Review as well, the first Ramban on Sefer Shmot.
What conclusion can you make from these Ramban's, in regard to his understanding of the thematic importance of the Mishkan?

2. Re: the Menorah, read 25:37 - and translate the pasuk into English, based on what you always thought this pasuk meant.
Now, read the entire parshia from 25:31-40, and pay careful attention to how you translate 25:37 in the context of the entire parshia.
What are the "neirot" of the Menorah?
Are they an integral part of the rest of the Menorah as described in 25:31-36?
[If not, why not?]
Based on your answer, what should "v'he'a'la et neirota" imply? To light [kindle] the Menorah? Or to place the "neirot" upon the Menorah?
Relate your answer to the standard meaning of the Hebrew word "l'ha'alot."

Next, see Rashi on 25:37.
How does Rashi's explanation relate to the above questions?

Finally, see Bamidbar 8:1-4.
Based on your answer to the above question, how would you translate these psukim, especially the word "bha'alotcha?"

3. How do we know that the mitzvah to build the Mishkan applied to all generations, and is not just something special for the generation in the desert? (Or is it?)
Is there any pasuk that indicates that the Mishkan should also be set up once Bnei Yisrael enter Eretz Canaan?
See Rashi on 25:9.
See also Chizkuni and Ibn Ezra.
See Ramban Hilchot Beit Ha'bchira 1:1-3.
Then, review Devarim 12:5-12, Shmot 23:14-19 & 20:18-22, and attempt to find a connection between those psukim and the wording of Rambam's first halacha in Hilchot Beit ha'bechira.

4. What does the word Mikdash imply?
For example, does Shlomo ha'melech build a Mikdash or a Mishkan? Can you explain why?
How does a Mikdash differ from a Mishkan, or do both words refer to the same thing?
Relate to 25:8. See Rashi, Rasa"g, Rashbam, Ramban, Chizkuni & Ibn Ezra on this pasuk!
Attempt to explain how and why each commentator provides a different interpretation.
Finally, see Rambam Hilchot Beit Ha'Bechira I.1->3, noting how he relates to this pasuk.