R’ Eliyahu Mizrachi comments: “that the Midrash argues with the first explanation. ‘so did he make’ ( Kein Asah) is similar to “And [someone] told Jacob (Gen 48:2)” [ meaning that (the text) does not specify who (told him)]. Thus the explanation of “who made it” is: The one who usually made [the vessels] namely Bezalel. But the Midrash says that it “was made” by Hashem Holy One, Blessed is He, who is mentioned previously [at the beginning of the Parsha].”
One must understand:
The Midrash seemingly does not have a basis according to Pshat. For how could: “so did he construct the menorah” refer to G-d? For if so, the entire subject – “according to the form that the (L-rd) had shown Moses” – does not make sense. What would be the point of Hashem making the Menorah according to what he showed Moses?!
[And this is stressed also in Rashi’s wording, for he precedes this explanation with [[the phrase] “The Aggadic Midrash” even though previously in Parshat Terumah on the verse:
“And you shall make a menorah of pure gold. (Ex 25:31) Rashi states: “By itself etc. the Holy One, blessed is He, said to him, ‘Cast the talent [equivalent to sixty-four pounds of gold] into the fire, and it will be made by itself’” and Rashi does not state that this is a “Aggadic Midrash” – However in our verse, he does state that it is an “Aggadic Midrash”
Accordingly, why does Rashi need to bring this explanation at all?
And it is difficult to say [that Rashi needs to bring an explanation] because according to the first explanation, the verse is “elliptical” (Mikrah Katzar) and it is not clear who made it. Because Rashi has already established [a rule that]: “This is customary for all elliptical verses. Concerning the one who is to do [the thing], they leave the matter unspecified.”
Here too, our verse: ‘so did he make’ (Kein Asah) is unspecified, for it refers to “The one who usually made [the vessels]”
[And even though in general it is better to explain that it is not an elliptical verse, it our case where the Midrash is far from the Pshat, the rule of “Mikrah Katzar” is not sufficient to bring this (Midrashic) explanation]
On the other hand, if we answer that it is not an “elliptical verse” Rashi should have explained like the Ibn Ezra and the Ramban that ‘so did he make the Menorah’ refers to Moses, that “he struggled with its teaching and made it as commanded”.
And like Rashi states in Parshat Naso ( Num7:1) “on the day that Moses finished: Bezalel, Oholiab, and all the wise-hearted [men] assembled the Mishkan, yet Scripture credits Moses with it, because he utterly devoted himself to it, overseeing that the design of each article [conformed with what he was shown on the mount], to instruct the craftsmen, and he did not err in any design”. In our case we could also explain that that the verse credits Moses with the making the Menorah.
This is understood by prefacing the general question of what the whole verse - “This was the form of the menorah” - is teaching us? For the essential commandment for the Menorah was already specified in Parshat Terumah. And even the part that G-d showed the form of the Menorah to Moses (“according to the form that the Lord had shown Moses”) is explained there. And as Rashi cites the verse [of Parshat Terumah]: “Now see and make, according to their pattern [which you are shown on the mountain]” (Exod. 25:40). If so what is being innovated in this verse?
(1) Nothing is changed in all the specific laws of making the Menorah except the part that it has to be “hammered work”. And what is so different about this aspect [from the other laws] that it needed to be said here?
(2) Even if one were to say that there is a Chiddush (innovation) in this verse – why was this Chiddush not explained previously in its place in Parshat Terumah?
In the commandment on the beginning of the Parsha: “"When you light the lamps, the seven lamps shall cast their light toward the face of the menorah." Rashi has already explained the intent of the words [by stating]: “For when Aaron saw the dedication [offerings] of the chieftains, he felt distressed etc. So God said to him, “By your life, yours is greater than theirs, for you will light and prepare the lamps.” But for the verse: “This was the form of the menorah”, what is it doing here?
And the question is even greater – many commentators ask this very question. Yet specifically in Rashi, we do not seemingly find even a hint of an answer.
One could explain: In his commentary on “Behaalotecha” Rashi stresses that G-d tells Aaron “yours is greater than theirs, for you will light and prepare the lamps” Namely that not only does Aaron have a portion in the dedication of the Mishkan, but more so, “yours is greater than theirs” for he dedicated the Menorah (as explained at length in L.S. Vol. 18 pg. 94 etc., that this is the intent of Rashi here in stating that “you will light and prepare the lamps”. That the intent is not just to tell Aaron that he has the merit to light and prepare the lamps, but that with this Aaron also has a portion in the dedication of the Mishkan, for he dedicates the Menorah)
One must understand,
Just as Aaron dedicated the Menorah, so too the chieftains dedicated the Altar (as explained in Parshat Naso, that the offerings of the chieftains were for the “dedication of the Altar”). Therefore, how is Aaron’s portion greater than that of the chieftains?
And even though Aaron lighted and prepared the lamps himself ( as Rashi stresses: “for you will light and prepare the lamps”) whereas the chieftains merely brought their offerings, and the actual offering was not by their hand – from the fact that G-d comforted Aaron specifically with the portion of the Menorah, is understood that, the main comfort is not that Aaron performs the actual Avodah in the Mishkan ( which includes offering the Korbanot on the Altar) but rather that he specifically dedicates the Menorah.
And even if you want to say that the Menorah is in the sanctuary (Heichal) [and thus on a higher level] – it still need to be explained (like the question of the Ramban) “Why was he comforted with the lighting of the Menorah, and not comforted with the morning and evening incense”?
On could answer that these questions are answered by the verse itself – by the addition here of: “This was the form of the menorah” etc.:
The menorah was distinct from all the other vessels in the Mishkan, in that G-d showed Moses the form of the menorah. And as Rashi comments in Parshat Terumah: “He showed him a [model] menorah of fire” (The Talmud states this also about the Ark and the Table, but Rashi’s commentary on Torah cites this only regarding the menorah)
And even thigh the necessity for this was simply because “Moses had difficulties with the construction of the menorah”, it is understood (even according to Pshat) that this shows the advantage of the menorah over all the other vessels in the Mishkan, for there was a special difficulty in its making that could only be resolved by G-d showing Moses its form.
And one could say that this uniqueness of the menorah over all the other vessels in the Mishkan is understood according to Rashi (in Parshat Emor) for the western lamp (neir HaMaravi), of the menorah is a testimony to all the creatures on earth that the Shechinah rested upon Israel”. Therefore its construction is also in a special manner of “revelation of the Shechinah”, for G-d showed Moses the form of the Menorah.
And this is the intent of the verse: “This was the form of the menorah” for the portion of Aaron is greater than the chieftains for he dedicated the Menorah. For the menorah is a general vessel (Kli Klalli) and very special, so much so that it was made according to “form that the L-rd had shown Moses”
And with this one can also explain the comment of Rashi on [the verse 8:4]: “This was the form of the menorah” - As God had shown him with His finger, for he had difficulty with [constructing] it. That is why it says, “This is…” For what (seemingly) is troubling to Rashi in the words: “And this was the form of the menorah” that he needs to explain that the intent is that “God had shown him with His finger”? But [we must say] that there is no need to explain from the words “And this” but his comment is in conjunction with the general intent of the verse. For the whole verse only comes to classify and to explain the specialty of the menorah that it was (as the verse continues) “according to the form that the Lord had shown Moses”. And consequently it is logical that also the specific wording “And this was the form of the menorah” [is stated].
And this itself is the reason that it states here the particular that it has to be “hammered work”. For the main difficulty in making the menorah (because of which, G-d showed Moses the form of the Menorah) is (not the many particular s of the menorah itself, but) because of the special law of the manner of its making that it has to be “hammered work”. For it is extremely difficult to make each part in a manner of “hammered” – The craftsman takes a “block “of gold weighing a talent ... He pounded it with a hammer, and cut it with a chisel to extend its limbs in the prescribed manner” and as verse adds: “from its base to its flower: and Rashi explains: “That is to say, the menorah itself and everything attached to it. From its base: Which was a large unit. To its flower: Which was its finest work-it was all hammered work.”
4. According to the above, it is understood why Rashi does not explain that: “so did he construct the menorah” refers to Moses, For according to this explanation it appears that the intent of the verse is to tell the praise of Moses, that he constructed it exactly according to the form that the Lord had shown him [Like Rashi comments in verse 8:3: “Aaron did so: This shows Aaron’s virtue that he did not deviate from God’s command.”] But according to the simple understanding of the verse it is difficult to explain so, for what is the point here (in Parshat Behaalotecha ) in telling the praise of Moses in making the menorah?
Therefore Rashi explains ‘so did he make the Menorah - The one who usually made it”. Namely that the Torah specifically and intentionally did not explain who made it, for the intent is not to tell the praise of the one who made it but to describe the greatness of the menorah (without regard to who made it) for the making of the menorah ( through “The one who usually made it”
i.e. “who is required to make it”) was “according to the form that the L-rd had shown Moses”
Accordingly it is understood what Rashi was not satisfied with the first explanation but brought the “Aggadic Midrash” that “it was made by itself through the Holy One, Blessed is He.”. For according to this explanation it depicts, even more so, the advantage of the menorah from all the other vessels in the Mishkan, that not only was it made “according to the form that the L-rd had shown Moses”, but also that its actual construction was through Hashem. Thus Aaron merited dedicating a vessel that was made by G-d!
5. However, it still needs to be understood, the wording of Rashi in the second comment that “it was made by itself through the Holy One, Blessed is He.”. For, at first glance, the issue here is only who “made the menorah”. What point is there here in explaining how it was made (by itself)
And on the contrary, the verse states: “so did he make the menorah” which simply means that there was a construction, and not that it was “made by itself” [n.b. whereas previously in Parshat Terumah it states “And you shall (Teiasheh) make a menorah” a passive verb (Niphal) and therefore Rashi states: “By itself”]
And the question is even greater: In the Midrash the wording is: “so did Moses construct is not stated here rather simply ‘so did he construct’ - who made it? - the Holy One, Blessed is He.”
Yet Rashi changes the wording and writes: “it was made by itself through the Holy One, Blessed is He.”!
And it appears that the intent of Rashi, with this, is to stress that it is not the (Midrash’s) intent to break the simple meaning of the verse ( that making the menorah was though a person, that the menorah was made “according to the form that the Lord had shown Moses”, but only to add that, the reason it does not explicitly state who made the menorah is because the menorah was not actually made through a person (“who made it”) but together with HaShem’s work. And simply (And according to Rashi in Parshat Terumah) – Betzalel ( or Moses) just threw the talent into the fire [and specifically according to many commentators that Moses also hammered etc] – and afterwards, “it was made by itself through the Holy One, Blessed is He.”
And we thus find that both [comments] are true. There was a physical (human) construction,
“According to the form that the Lord had shown Moses, so did he construct the menorah”. But in not stating the name of the maker, there is a hint (in addition to the actual verse) that the menorah was made in conjunction with HaShem’s handiwork.
And this is also the exactness of Rashi’s wording: “it was made by itself” - for this stresses that the human action (according to the effort involved – throwing the talent into the fire) was considered as if the menorah was “made by itself” since his effort was not sufficient to make the menorah.
And like Rashi explains by the erection of the Mishkan through Moses