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(5731) "You may not wash in a laver which does not contain sufficient water for the sanctification of four priests" (Tal. Zevachim 19b (21b)).

The mirrors whose purpose was to "incite the evil inclination" "are dearer to me than everything else" (Rashi Vayakhel Ex. 38:8) because of the advantage of "dirah betachtonim" (A dwelling place in the lower realms).

Refining the Animal Soul

Tal. Zevachim 21b:
"You may not wash in a laver which does not contain sufficient water for the sanctification of four priests" for it says. That Moses and Aaron and his sons wash their hands and their feet thereat’.  



1. This week’s Parsha, contains the command for making the Kiyor (washstand), which is separate from all the other vessels of the Mishkan which are described in the previous two Parshiot (Terumah and Tetzaveh).

This is so, even though the Kiyor is a “major part of the building of the Temple” and with regard to its anointing with the anointing oil, is counted among the other vessels, in the latter part of the Parsha, of which all of them are termed “Kodesh Kadashim” (holy of holies).

Therefore, why is the command for the Kiyor, stated separately from the other vessels?

The commentators explain that this is because it is (not an independent aspect, but rather) a preparation to “When they enter the Ohel Mo’ed (Tent of Meeting)“ and “when they approach the altar “.

And this very difference between the Kiyor and the other vessels of the Mishkan, is expressed (not just in the place of the command from the making of the Kiyor, in Torah, as the verse states “You shall make a Kiyor“, but rather also) in the (physical) location where the Kiyor stood in the Mishkan.

The place of all of the vessels of the Mishkan was in the Ohel Mo’ed. Even the copper altar, which was in the courtyard, nevertheless stood at the “entrance of the Ohel Mo’ed “. Whereas the Kiyor’s location was not at the entrance of the Mishkan but was moved (אפגערוקט) to the side, so much so that it states “The washstand was not in front of the Tent of Meeting“.

(which is why one was able to approach it for the washing of the hands and feet, even though, according to many opinions, one was not allowed to go “between the Entrance Hall (Ulam) and the altar“, before washing the hands and feet).

2. This very aspect, that he Kiyor is a preparation to the genera Avodah of the Mishkan, is also manifested in the amount of the measurement of the Kiyor:

From the verse “Moshe, Aharon and his sons washed their hands and feet from it“

(Where the verse mentions four people, as it states: “Moshe and Aharon are two and his (Aharon’s) sons are two”)

the Talmud learns that “You may not sanctify in a Kiyor which does not contain sufficient (water) for the sanctification of four kohanim”.

Seemingly, Moshe should have washed from the Kiyor only in the Days of Inauguration (according to the view that afterwards, he did not serve in the capacity of a Kohen). Thus afterward the Kiyor was only necessary for Aharon and his sons. Therefore why should the Kiyor, that was made for posterity, need to hold water for four persons, even for the consideration of Moshe (as the question is cited there in the commentators on the Talmud)?

One could say that the explanation of this is:

The Days of Inauguration were a preparation to the general Avodah of Aharon and his sons that came later. And since the aspect of the Kiyor is also a preparation to general Avodah, as aforementioned, its measure must therefore be “in order to sanctify four kohanim“, not just “corresponding to Aharon and his sons”, who sanctified themselves from the Kiyor after the Days of Inauguration, but also “corresponding to Moshe” (all kohanim in the time of the Inauguration of the Mikdash, all) who sanctified from it in the Days of Inauguration, the time of preparation (זמן ההכנה).

Therefore it is understood that even though the Kiyor was just a preparation to Avodah, nevertheless, it possessed a special virtue, higher than the other vessels of the Mishkan. And because of this virtue, it specifically possessed an aspect which alluded to Moshe, who was also higher than Aharon. Moreover: over Moshe together with all the kohanim that existed at that time.

3. These two extremes of the Kiyor, that:

  • From one side - is just a preparation
  • And from the other side - specifically possesses the aspect of Moshe (and all the kohanim) visibly (which was not in the other vessels of the Mishkan)-

Are alluded to also in the “mirrors of the women” (מראות הצובאות) from which the Kiyor was made:

  • From one side, the “mirrors of the women” were a very base thing, so much so that even Moshe Rabbeinu, notwithstanding that he “loved Yisroel” (אוהב ישראל) , found them repulsive, since they were made “for the sake of the evil inclination.”

(and they were not counted among all the contributions to the Mishkan recounted in Parshat Pekudei . They were completely omitted from the category of the “accounting of the Mishkan”).

  • Nevertheless, specifically regarding the “mirrors of the women”, did G-d say “I cherish these above all else.”

4. The explanation of this is:

It has been mentioned many times that the innovation of “make for Me a sanctuary, and I will dwell amidst them“ manifests itself through Yidden taking physical objects and making, from them, a sanctuary/Mikdash for G-d. So much so that in the (thirteen or fifteen) physical materials it becomes “I will dwell amidst them“, which through this, is completed the aspect of “G-d desired an abode in the lower realms (Tachtonim)“ (נתאוה הקב״ה להיות לו ית׳ דירה בתחתונים).

And since the intent of “abode in the lower realms is even to the lowest levels “where there is none lower than it“, therefore the Mishkan also needed to contain an aspect of the “mirrors of the women” which are “made “for the sake of the evil inclination”, in order that also this “lowness/tachton” should become an abode for G-d.

However, notwithstanding this, Moshe was repulsed by them, since Moshe “prophesied with the phrase "this (is the word)”. This means that, he was able to see the Essence of G-dliness (מהות אלקות).

(Note: The difference between the prophecy of Moshe and the other prophets is like that of a mirror and a magnifying glass. Other prophets only saw a reflected image whereas Moshe beheld a clear magnified image of G-dliness).

Therefore he wanted that the revelation of “I will dwell amidst them“ be in a manner of seeing the Essence (ראיית המהות). And since these things are connected with the animalistic soul and the Yetzer hara/evil inclination (נה״ב און יצה״ר), even after they have been refined, they hide and conceal seeing the Essence.

(as is known regarding the “Aspaklaria Sh'eina Meira"

(A glass with a covering of “something thin and weak” – a mirror) (אספקלריא שאינה מאירה - א שפיגל),

that even though, specifically through the intermediary of the covering which is on it, can the person see behind him, which is not possible though a “Aspaklaria Ha'meira“

(אספקלריא המאירה  - a clear or magnifying glass),

Nevertheless, the sight that is through the mirror is not the thing itself, but rather an image (דמות), a “reflection” (אפשפיגלונג) of the thing.

Similarly, this also pertains to the refinement of the animalistic soul. For even though, specifically through refining the animalistic soul (the level of the “Aspaklaria Sh'eina Meira“) there is drawn down a new light (אור חדש) which is higher than light that is drawn down through the deeds of the Mitzvot (the level of the “Aspaklaria D'meira“), nevertheless, the light is not, so much, revealed, and it illuminates just in a manner of an image (דמות).

 Therefore, Moshe (who “saw through a clear lens”) did not want the “mirrors of the women” in the Mishkan,

(The level of “lens that is not clear- Aspaklaria Sh'eina Meira)  

in order that the “I will dwell amidst them“ should be in a manner of “this” (זה) - the revelation of the Essence.

Indeed the intent is “A dwelling place in the lower realms”. Yet compared to the level of Moshe

(To which level, he wanted to lift all the Yidden)

all the other things that were contributed to the Mishkan (and specifically the “copper”) are also sufficiently “low” (תחתון), through which the intent of “A dwelling place in the lower realms” can be completed.

However, to this G-d answered, that in the Mishkan, one must also possess a “low” (תחתון) which is “for the sake of the evil inclination“. And on the contrary, when one uses this extreme lowness to build the “hosts of G-d” (the Jewish People) – for (as is known) through the “mirrors of the women”, the Jewish People – the “multitude of hosts of Egypt” were established –

Where “host” depicts the Avodah of Kaballat Ol, and this Avodah visibly illuminates, specifically when there is an evil inclination etc. yet one overpowers himself over it in a manner of Kaballat Ol –

this is cherished by G-d “above all else“.

5. Just as the “mirrors of the women”, even though, outwardly, are the lowest of the contributions of the Mishkan

(and as aforementioned in Par 3, that they were not accounted among the accountings of the Mishkan)

yet nevertheless are cherished by G-d “above all else“, this also pertains to the Kiyor (which was made from them):

Even though the Kiyor is just a preparation, because of which is visibly lower from all the other vessels of the Mishkan,

(And the command for making the Kiyor is not mentioned together with the commands of the other vessels of the Mishkan)

nevertheless, it is a preparation for “washing their hands and feet” meaning washing away improper aspects. And this washing specifically is dear to G-d, more than the Avodah itself which he does later on the altar or in the Ohel Mo’ed.

For specifically this washing possessed the aspect of “subduing the Other Side/Sitra Achra) (אתכפיא סט״א) similar to the “hosts of G-d” (Kaballat Ol) which comes about through the “mirrors of the women”.

And this is also the reason why the Kiyor itself, specifically, also alludes to the aspect of Moshe (and all the kohanim) - since specifically in the aspect of “Iskafiah”  (subduing/ אתכפיא) and Kaballat Ol, is revealed the true (and complete, in all its details) aspect of bitul - the aspect of Moshe (in conjunction with Aharon and all the kohanim – whose Avodah is quietly (בחשאי) – bitul - as it states “and Aharon was separated, to be sanctified as most holy“ (וַיִּבָּדֵל אַהֲרֹן לְהַקְדִּישׁוֹ קֹדֶשׁ קָדָשִׁים) – which refers to all the kohanim).

Maamer and Sichas Shabbat Parshat Vayakhel 5719



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