Friday, February 23, 2007

"Did I Miss Something?"

(Illustration courtesy of The Temple Institute)

Bob Miller commenting on Engineering Questions From A Non-Engineer:

I hope someone can explain Rashi's Chumash comments on Shemos 26:28 (actually the Rashi on this is under 26:26):

A simple reading of this seems to say that each of the 3 walls has its own central rod from end to end. I see no indication here that all 3 really make up the same rod. Why no indication, or did I miss something?

ANOTHER WAY?

If I as an ordinary engineer wanted one continuous center rod without miraculous help, I might do it like this:

1. Make two long rods slightly longer than the long walls, and one short rod slightly longer than the short wall.

2. Slightly narrow and then thread one end of each long rod (male threads).

3. Drill and tap the short rod to make two threaded holes in the same side of this rod, one hole near each end, to line up with the center holes in the long walls.

4. Once all the vertical boards (with their center holes) were in position and held in place by the assembly crew, put the short rod through the short wall with this rod's threaded holes facing the holes in the long wall.

5. Insert each of the two long rods into its long wall from the open end, threaded end first.

6. Rotate the long rods to screw their threaded ends into the threaded holes in the short rod. Rotating rods this long would not be easy, because of friction and their length, but some kind of giant Vise-Grip pliers could help the crew do this.

So this is difficult but seems doable. The problem is how to keep the whole assembly together in heavy winds, etc. So even here, some type of miracle might be needed to hold it all together reliably, unless some other bracing that we don't know about was allowed.

A Simple Jew comments:

Bob: I appreciate your astute engineering feedback on this and I too read Rashi the way that you did which led me to ask the question in the first place. Perhaps, however, this just brings our discussion on emuna peshuta full circle. How does the rational mind accept or explain the miraculous story concerning the middle rod? Is anyone able to find a commentary with an explanation of this that does not rely on a miracle story? It certainly does not appear so.

I just noticed that this week's Torah Tots Midrash Maven included this story which Yitz also mentioned in his comment:

Then there's the 103-foot (72 amah) wooden beam. Ever heard of "A Tree Grows In Brooklyn?" Well, here's "A Tree Grows In Be'er Sheva". Actually, that tree had an important cameo in Jewish history that goes all the way back to Avrohom Avinu. He planted the original seed and, throughout his years, prayed and served his guests beneath the shade of its towering trunk. As the Bnei Yisroel crossed the Yam Suf, the Malachim chopped down the tree and dropped the giant trunk on the sea bed before them. The people understood that this huge relic was destined for greatness, so they took it along with them. Indeed, the giant tree trunk became the middle beam in the Mishkan.

(Illustration courtesy of Torah Tots)


UPDATE: Dixie Yid comments:

I looked this up in the sefer Shaarei Aharon this morning and found this very interesting pshat.

It is actually a machlokes. The opinion Yitz originally quoted is from the Gemara Shabbos Daf 98, which said that there was one 70 (or 72) Amah long briach hatichon that went through all three sides curving miraculously at the corners.

However Shaarei Aharon quotes the Malbim who quotes "Braisa D'Meleches Hamishkan," which says that there actually were 3 brichim tichonim; two that were 30 amos long for the sides and one that's 12 amos long for the back minus two at the corners. According to this there was no miracle necessary for the briach hatichon.

Shaarei Aharon points out that the Gemara Shabbos clearly disagrees with this Braisa regarding whether there were 3 brichim tichonim (according to the Braisa D'meleches Hamishkan), or 1 Briach Hatichon that miraculously curved, made from either the makal of Yaakov Avinu or the Aishel Avraham.

8 Comments:

At February 23, 2007 at 8:09:00 AM EST, Anonymous Bob Miller said...

If Chazal really agreed that it was a miraculous rod, it was a miraculous rod. What do we clearly know of any contrary opinions among Chazal?

 
At February 23, 2007 at 8:53:00 AM EST, Blogger DixieYid said...

Bob Miller said...

"A simple reading of this seems to say that each of the 3 walls has its own central rod from end to end. I see no indication here that all 3 really make up the same rod. Why no indication, or did I miss something?"

I looked this up in the sefer Shaarei Aharon this morning and found this very interesting pshat.

It is actually a machlokes. The opinion Yitz originally quoted is from the Gemara Shabbos Daf 98, which said that there was one 70 (or 72) Amah long briach hatichon that went through all three sides curving miraculously at the corners.

However Shaarei Aharon quotes the Malbim who quotes "Braisa D'Meleches Hamishkan," which says that there actually were 3 brichim tichonim; two that were 30 amos long for the sides and one that's 12 amos long for the back minus two at the corners. According to this there was no miracle necessary for the briach hatichon.

Shaarei Aharon points out that the Gemara Shabbos clearly disagrees with this Braisa regarding whether there were 3 brichim tichonim (according to the Braisa D'meleches Hamishkan), or 1 Briach Hatichon that miraculously curved, made from either the makal of Yaakov Avinu or the Aishel Avraham.

So that helps ASJ in his search for any possibly non-nais-driven pshat to explain the briach hatichon. Good Shabbos!

-Dixie Yid

 
At February 23, 2007 at 9:18:00 AM EST, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Dixie Yid: Since it seems you have all the answers this morning, would you happen to know where my daughter hid her hair? ;)

 
At February 23, 2007 at 10:33:00 AM EST, Blogger DixieYid said...

Did you give tzedakah and say, "Eloka D'rav Meir Aneini!"?

:-)

Also, why is it so important to find the hair? For sentimental reasons? You plan to have it re-grafted back on...? ;-)

-Dixie Yid

 
At February 23, 2007 at 11:49:00 AM EST, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Not for sentimental reasons but because I am curious why she feels that she needs to hide this from us. There has got to be something deeper to this.

 
At February 24, 2007 at 10:55:00 PM EST, Blogger DixieYid said...

Bob, I looked at Rashi on that pasuk over Shabbos and he is saying what you thought he was saying, that it was not miraculous and there were three sections to the briach hatichon. And he was quoting the "Braisa D'meleches Hamishkan," that I quoted above. So he's not bringing down the pshat like the gemara in Shabbos, but rather with the Braisa's approach. Just thought I'd add that he'orah. Gut voch.

-Dixie Yid

 
At February 24, 2009 at 9:45:00 AM EST, Blogger yitz.. said...

Keep in mind that in the kabbalah the bariach haTichon, this central beam, is a pretty huge concept that also binds all the worlds together..

It is one united 'entity' for lack of a better word.

I imagine Aishel Avraham and the Makel of Yaakov are the same thing in this regard but use different terms because of how they related to it -- just as what Avraham called a tent, Yitzhak called a field, and Yaakov called a home.

Actually it's possible the root of the difference of opinion here surrounds this particular issue of whether the three Avot were relating to one idea through three different refrences, Aishel, (Shofar*,) and Makel. Or were each of the Avot actually involved in a separate pursuit that, when united, formed the backbone of the mishkan.

Also, the mateh of Mosheh was probably related to the same idea, just through Mosheh's perception.

In light of Adar and Purim, I should add that Mordechai was said to embody the "Yesod of Abba" which to the best of my understanding is the same thing we are talking about here.

(* I threw in Shofar since it seems like the three Avot are tantamount in this and the only sort of 'straight staff-like' image/concept associated with Yitzhak is the ram's horn from the akeidah, which isn't really straight is it? -- perhaps it was the 'shofar' of Yitzhak that allowed the eshel of Avraham and the makel of Yaakov to curve around the structure of the Mishkan.)

Note that if Mosheh's Mateh was also part of the same concept, Moshe's staff transforms from staff to snake in the pshat -- while a staff couldn't curve, a snake certainly could -- so Moshe's Mateh had the capacity to curve around the Mishkan without any trouble -- to explain it in an undignified manner, maybe the same 'mojo' that Mosheh used on his staff would work on the bariach haTichon, even if it was just a long piece of wood with no illustrious history.

a final note, maybe it's too deep already, but if Mosheh's Mateh is the same thing as Yaakov's Makel, then you have to scratch your head when the Tikkunei Zohar says that Mosheh's Mateh was the arch-angel M"t.

 
At February 24, 2009 at 10:33:00 AM EST, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Thanks for your comment, Yitz.

 

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