Shiurim by Menachem Leibtag
In Memory of Rabbi Abraham Leibtag




1. The opening pasuk of the parsha describes the mitzva to light the menora, which is then referred to as a ner tamid [an 'everlasting' light]. On what other "keilim" (vessels) in the mishkan do we find an 'avoda' (a ritual) which relates to the word tamid?

As you review the sources relating to the other "keilim" i.e. the 'shulchan', 'mizbach ha-ola', 'mizbach ha-ktoret', and the 'aron'], see if you can find this word "tamid" - and if so, be sure to note the context.

[If/when you give up, see 25:10-30; 29:38-42;30:1-8]

Which of these 'keilim' does not have an 'avodat tamid'?

Can you explain why?

As you review those sources, note the phrase "lifnei Hashem" or "lifnei ha'eydut" in relation to each "avodat tamid". Can you explain the connection?

In your answer, relate the concept of 'avodat tamid' to Ramban's explanation of the purpose of the mishkan as a perpetuation of Har Sinai (as he explains in his introduction to Parshat Teruma.


2. Parshat Tetzaveh discusses the appointment of the kohanim to work in the mishkan, and hence the need for a special uniform.

For future generations, what other responsibilities do the kohanim have in addition to working in the Temple?

[In your opinion, is there enough work in the mikdash to keep all the kohanim in Am Yisrael busy all year long?]

What are the kohanim expected to do with the rest of their 'spare time'?

How about the levi'im? [See Devarim 17:8-10, 33:10.]

How are the kohanim and levi'im supposed to make a living (i.e. who pays their salary and how is it collected etc.)?

[See Bamidbar 18:8-24, especially 18:12-14,21.

See also Devarim 18:1-8, in relation to 17:8-11.]

How do these implied responsibilities relate to their primary responsibility to work in the Mikdash.

Relate once again to the first Ramban on parshat Teruma.

See also Divrei Ha'yamim II chapter 29 and Nechemya chapter 8.


3. This week's parsha begins with a mitzva concerning how the kohanim are to light the menora (see 27:20-21).

Does this mitzva appear to be in its 'logical' location, or should it have been mentioned earlier with the mitzva to make the menora (see 25:31-40/ compare 25:21-22). Explain.

The next set of mitzvot in the parsha describe the 'bigdei kehuna' (the special garments of the kohanim). Why do you think is the mitzva for Aharon & his sons to light the menora juxtaposed to these mitzvot?

See Bamidbar 8:1-4. Is this the same mitzva or a different one? Does this mitzva to light the menora also appear to be out of place? What topic follows in Bamidbar 8:5-22?

In what manner do the other responsibilities of the kohanim and levi'im (i.e. outside the Mikdash) relate to the mitzva of lighting the menora?

[Relate your answer to the above question!]

4. Compare the menora to the keruvim / and the shulchan to the aron. In what manner is each vessel similar to the other?

How does the function of the keruvim relate to the function of the menora (or at least to what the menora represents)?

Attempt to correlate Moshe/aron to Aharon/menora as far as the job of each leader in relation to the people!


5. In what manner is the kohen gadol similar to a king?

[Relate also to his special garments.]

In an ideal situation, is the kohen gadol supposed to be the king? If yes, explain why?

If not, explain who should be the king, and what should be the 'balance of powers' between the king and kohen gadol.

Relate to Bamidbar 27:15-21, & Devarim 17:8-18:8!

See also I Shmuel 2:35!

6. If you have some 'spare time', see Rambam Sefer Avoda, Hilchot Klei Ha-mikdash chapters 3, 4, & 5. There he talks about the leviim, kohanim and kohen gadol. See IV.20 in relation to the above question. See also Rambam Sefer Shoftim, Hilchot Melachim chapters 1-5, especially IV.10. [If you live in chutz la-aretz, don't read V.9-12, "ve-akamal".]

KAPARA - what for?

7. In the seven day 'milu'im' ceremony (chapter 29), both the kohanim and the mizbeiach need 'kapara'.

First, verify this statement from the psukim towards the end of the chapter.

In your opinion, what is the purpose of the ceremony, and why specifically do the kohanim and mizbeiach require kapara?

What does kapara mean? [Relate to our discussion of this topic in our shiur on Yom Kippur (see TSC Web site) in regard to its 'protective' nature.]

Could this kapara also relate to 'chet ha-egel'. Would it explain why the kohanim must offer this korban? Would it explain why the mizbeiach requires kapara. [Compare the korbanot in chapter 29 to the korbanot that were offered on Yom ha-Shmini as detailed in Vayikra 9:1-6!]



1. Browse through parshiot Teruma and Tetzaveh (25:1-30:10), noting how this entire unit is included in the 'dibur' to Moshe that began in 25:1! [Note that we do not find another new dibur until the beginning of parshat Ki Tisa (see 30:11).]

Then, scan this entire unit, paying careful attention to its division into numerous 'parshiot'. As you browse through, attempt to determine the main topic of each 'parshia'. Attempt to define that topic with a word or two or at most a very short phrase.

Then, make a list of these topics (one line for each parshia, and preferably only one word or short phrase for the title of each parshia. [You should finish with about twenty some lines.]

Now take your list, and transform it into an outline.

Then, attempt to determine the principle of the internal structure of this unit.

2. Once you have determined the general logic of the progression of these parshiot, note any parshiot that don't seem to be in their 'proper' place. If you find any, can you explain why they are 'out of place'?

3. Review the second to last parshia of this unit - 29:38-46. In your opinion, what is the primary topic of this parshia? How does this topic relate to the entire unit?

In your opinion, does its location (i.e. towards the end of this unit) make sense? [How does the daily korban Tamid relate to the seven day milu'im ceremony described in 29:1-37?]

4. Carefully note the textual and thematic parallel between 29:42-46 and 25:8-9. Can you explain their significance?

In what manner could you consider 29:43-44 as a summary of the entire unit? [Relate to your outline.]

In what way do 25:8 & 29:45 enclose this unit? If so, then what would be the thematic importance of 29:46?

5. Based on your outline and your answer to the above question, what is especially strange about the location of the mizbach ha-ktoret (i.e. 30:1-10) at the very end of this unit?

According to your outline, does this parshia belong somewhere else? If so, where?

Can you explain why it is 'out of place'? [See Chizkuni and Seforno on 30:1, where they deal with this question.]

6. Compare 29:42 to 30:6. What is similar, both textually and thematically? Can you explain why?

What, in your opinion, is the function of the mizbach ha-ktoret? Why does specifically this vessel require special kapara once a year (i.e. on Yom Kippur / see 30:10)?

7. In your opinion, what is the focal point of the mishkan, the aron & keruvim and/or the mizbach ha-ola, or both?

How does the mizbach ha-ktoret relate to each of these 'focal points'?

8. Recall how Ramban (on 25:1) explained how the mishkan serves as a perpetuation (and 'model') of Har Sinai. Recall also that the ktoret, when offered, creates an anan (a cloud / see Vayikra 16:13, compare with 19:9, 24:15-16).

Based on the Ramban's 'model', what (in your opinion) would be the function of the mizbach ha-ktoret in the Mishkan?

Would this help explain why 30:1-10 is 'out of place'?

[Be sure to see Ramban's peirush to 30:1, noting how he may be relating to this point.]

9. Next, note the next set of parshiot that follow this unit, i.e. 30:11-38. In your opinion, should (at least some) of these mitzvot been included in parshiot Teruma/Tetzaveh as well?

If so, which mitzvot, and where should they have been recorded?

Can you suggest a reason why they may have been 'left out'? Relate once again to your answer concerning why the mizbach ktoret was 'left out'.

10. Finally, make a list of these 'extra' topics in chapter 30, beginning with the mizbach ktoret. Can you find a parallel between this list and your outline of Teruma/Tetzaveh (that you made to answer question #1.

Can you find a parallel? If so, can you suggest why it may be significant?


1. In the above questions, we noted how the mizbach ktoret appears to be 'out of place'. See the various commentators on 30:1, and note how they deal with this problem.

First, Rashi (on 30:1). Does Rashi deal with this problem or does his peirush deal with another question? If so, what is that question?

See Rashbam. What question is does Rashbam deal with?

[To help you answer this question, relate to what the word mizbeiach is derived from, i.e. shoresh

What is a 'zevach' normally brought from?

See Breishit 31:54, and Vayikra 3:1 & 7:11!]

Next, see Chizkuni. How does Chizkuni answer the 'preparation questions' above concerning the placement of the mizbach ha-ktoret at the end of the entire unit?

In this case, is his approach thematic or textual?

Next, see Seforno, noting how he answers these questions?

Is his answer based on thematic or textual considerations?

Finally, see Ramban. Note how Ramban deals with many of the questions (raised in the preparation section).

How does Ramban answer these questions?

As above, is Rabman's approach (here) based primarily on thematic or textual considerations?

2. Read 29:45-46.

How did you understand the phrase 'le-shochni betocham'?

First see Rashi. How does he explain and why?

Next see Ibn Ezra. Is Ibn Ezra's approach the same or different than Rashi's? Why does he refer back to 3:12?

[See also Rashbam & Chizkuni!]

Finally, see Ramban!

Why does he disagree with Rashi?

Would he disagree as well with Ibn Ezra & Rashbam?

How is Ramban's explanation of this pasuk fundamentally different than all the other parshanim?

What is its philosophical significance?

3. Note Rashi's explanation on 29:1 that the par that Aharon must bring during the seven day milu'im ceremony is to atone for his sin at chet ha-egel.

Relate this to Rashi's approach concerning when the mitzva of the mishkan was first given. [See last week's shiur.]

Then, see Rashi on the opening psukim of parshat Shmini [i.e. Vayikra 9:1-2]. Carefully note Rashi's explanation why Aharon must bring specifically an egel for a chatat on this day.

Compare his peirush to Chizkuni's (on 9:2).

Is this the same peirush or different? Read carefully!

According to Rashi, is the egel that Aharon must bring to atone for chet ha-egel or to 'make a public statement'? Explain.

4. Review 29:42, noting the word (and meaning of) "l'doroteichem". Then see the Ibn Ezra on this pasuk, where he claims that the korbanot were only offered at Har Sinai, but stopped immediately afterwards (for the next forty years) until Bnei Yisrael arrived in Israel.

See if you can follow the logic and proofs [sources] for this rather amazing Ibn Ezra, noting how he relates to several very 'realistic' considerations!



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