THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof
Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld
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1) THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE MENORAH
QUESTIONS: The Gemara quotes a Beraisa which states that "the Menorah was
made from 'ha'Eshes' and from gold. If it was made from 'Geruta'os, then it
is invalid. If it was made from any other type of metal, then it is valid."
The Beraisa is saying that the requirement that the Menorah be made from
"ha'Eshes" and not from "Geruta'os" is even b'Di'eved; the Menorah is not
valid if this requirement is not fulfilled. However, the requirement that
the Menorah be made from gold, and not from other metals, is only
l'Chatchilah. B'D'ieved, if the Menorah was made from other metals, it is
There are a number of points in this Beraisa that need clarification.
(a) What constitutes making a Menorah from "ha'Eshes," and what constitutes
making it from "Geruta'os?"
(b) What is the source for this Halachah?
(c) If a Menorah is made out of any metal other than gold, does the
requirement that it not be made from "ha'Eshes" still apply?
(a) We find two basic explanations for the meaning of "ha'Eshes" and
1. RASHI explains that "ha'Eshes" refers to making a Menorah by taking a
solid Kikar of gold and forging it into the shape of a Menorah. Rashi
explains that "Geruta'os" refers to "broken pieces of gold." It seems that
Rashi understands that even if these broken pieces of gold would be melted
down into a Kikar of gold from which the Menorah would be fashioned, the
Menorah would still not be valid. If this is not Rashi's intention, but
rather he means that the Menorah is invalid when constructed from many
separate pieces of gold, then the Beraisa is not teaching anything new by
telling us that the Menorah may not be made from Geruta'os. We know that
even if the various parts of the Menorah would be made individually (from
Geruta'os) and later assembled, the Menorah would be invalid. Certainly,
then, if the Menorah would be made from hundreds of pieces of gold that were
attached together, it would be invalid. It must be that the Beraisa is
teaching that even if the gold pieces are melted and made into a single
block of gold, the Menorah is invalid.
(b) The source for the requirement of making the Menorah from "ha'Eshes" is
the verse, "Mikshah" (Shemos 25:31), as the Gemara here mentions.
How, though, is this requirement derived from the word "Mikshah?"
(Even though the single Kikar of gold originally must have come from much
smaller pieces that were quarried, the Torah requires that the Kikar used
for the Menorah be the original result of the refining of the gold, and not
that the gold was refined into smaller pieces and then melted again to make
2. The NETZIV (in EMEK HA'NETZIV to the Sifri, Parshas Beha'aloscha, Piska
3) understands that the Pesul of Geruta'os is due to the fact that the gold
originally was used in the form of other utensils. This implies that if the
Geruta'os of gold were never used for utensils, but were melted into a
single block and made into the Menorah, the Menorah would be valid. This is
not the view of Rashi, for Rashi does not write that Geruta'os are "broken
[pieces of] utensils" ("Kelim Shevurim"), but rather that they are "broken
[pieces of] gold" ("Zahav Shavur"), implying that even if the Geruta'os were
never used for other utensils, they still may not be used to make the
The Netziv asks an obvious question on the requirement that the Menorah be
made from a single block of gold and not from Geruta'os. The Torah (in
Parshas Terumah) clearly states that the Jewish people contributed gold to
the Mishkan by bringing their ornaments and jewelry, and this gold was used
in the construction of the Mishkan and its vessels. How could this gold be
used if the Menorah and other vessels had to be made from a single block of
new gold? (The Netziv infers from the wording of the Sifri that all of the
vessels of the Mishkan needed to be fashioned from "ha'Eshes" l'Chatchilah,
and it is not reasonable to assume that they were constructed in a b'Di'eved
manner by using Geruta'os.)
The Netziv answers that the vessels of the Mishkan and Beis ha'Mikdash were
not fashioned from the ornaments themselves. Rather, the people donated
their ornaments, and those were then bartered and exchanged for solid blocks
of new gold and silver (from the surrounding nations).
1. RASHI explains that the word "Mikshah" comes from the word "Nokesh,"
which means to bang or to hammer. The verse is teaching that the Menorah
must be formed by chiseling and pounding a single piece of gold into the
desired shape. Melting gold pieces into a single block of gold and then
pounding it is not considered "Mikshah," since the single block was not
originally made into one block of gold.
(c) If a Menorah is made out of any metal other than gold, does the
requirement that it not be made from "ha'Eshes" still apply? The Gemara
derives from a verse (Bamidbar 8:4) that "when it is made out of gold, it is
made 'Mikshah,' but when it is not made out of gold, it is not made
'Mikshah.'" This means that if the Menorah is constructed from other types
of metals, it does not need to be made "Mikshah." Since the requirement to
make the Menorah from "ha'Eshes" and not from Geruta'os is also learned from
the word "Mikshah" (in Shemos 25:31), it seems that when the Menorah is made
from other metals, the requirement that it be made from a single block does
not apply. (Some suggest that this can be inferred from Rashi's words,
"Zahav Shavur," which imply that only *gold* that is not a complete block
cannot be used, but other metals may be used when they are not a complete
2. The NETZIV understands from the Sifri that "Mikshah" is a contraction of
the words, "Min Kasheh" -- from hard gold. If the gold was already formed
into other vessels, then it was made soft and does not qualify as "Min
3. RABEINU HILLEL on the Sifri explains that "Mikshah" means "Ma'aseh
Kasheh." This refers to the extremely difficult manner of making the Menorah
by chiseling it out of a single block of gold, and not forming it with a
mold or by attaching separate pieces together.
However, the RAMBAM (Hilchos Beis ha'Bechirah 3:5) states explicitly that a
Menorah made from Geruta'os is invalid, whether it is made from gold or from
any other metal. How does the Rambam reconcile his ruling with the words of
We find that the Rambam interprets the word "Mikshah" in a different way.
The Rambam (in Perush ha'Mishnayos to Midos) explains that "Mikshah" means
"full," as opposed to hollow. The Menorah must not be made with any hollow
space left inside. With regard to this requirement of "Mikshah" (that the
Menorah not be hollow), the Rambam *does* cite the Gemara that says that
when the Menorah is made from other metals, it does not need to be
"Mikshah," but it may indeed be hollow. Nevertheless, the Rambam still
understands that the only Halachos that do not apply to a non-gold Menorah
are those Halachos that pertain to the different shapes used for the
Menorah, and to the size of the Menorah. As the Gemara says, the Menorah
needs to be constructed from a Kikar (a measurement of weight) only when it
is made from gold, but not when it is made from other metals. Similarly,
the Menorah needs Gevi'im and Kaftorim only when it is made from gold, but
not when it is made from other metals.
Similarly, the requirement of "Mikshah," according to the Rambam, is a
requirement in the shape of the Menorah. With regard to the shape, the Torah
teaches that only when it is made from gold must it be full and not hollow.
When the Menorah is made from other metals, then it may be hollow.
(We may suggest that the reason why the aesthetic requirements of a gold
Menorah are different than the requirements of a Menorah of other metals is
because gold itself has a different appearance than other metals.)
However, with regard to the actual manner in which the Menorah is
constructed, the Rambam rules that "Mikshah" teaches us that it must be
built from an original, whole piece of gold. This requirement applies even
when it is built from other metals, since it does not pertain to how the
Menorah looks, but rather to how it is built. Therefore, the Rambam rules
that a Menorah made from Geruta'os is invalid even when it is made from
other metals. (Mordechai Zvi Dicker)
2) HALACHAH: MAKING A MENORAH SIMILAR TO THE ONE IN THE BEIS HA'MIKDASH
OPINIONS: The Beraisa states that one may not construct a Menorah similar
to the Menorah in the Beis ha'Mikdash. This prohibition includes
constructing a Menorah out of metals other than gold, since the Menorah in
the Beis ha'Mikdash is valid even when made from other metals. What, though,
is the Halachah with regard to building a Menorah in a way that it would be
invalid in the Beis ha'Mikdash? For example, may one build a Menorah out of
gold without the Gevi'im and Kaftorim? Is it permitted to build such a
Menorah, since such a Menorah is invalid for use in the Beis ha'Mikdash?
(a) REBBI AKIVA EIGER (Hagahos to Shulchan Aruch YD 141:8) reasons that
since a gold Menorah is invalid without the Gevi'im, it should be permitted
to make it in this manner.
(b) However, Rebbi Akiva Eiger cites the TEVU'OS SHOR who prohibits making a
Menorah even in such a manner. This is also the view of the BI'UR HA'GRA,
who explains that since a Menorah made out of other metals is valid without
Gevi'im, a gold Menorah made without Gevi'im is "still a Menorah" and thus
it is prohibited to make a Menorah from any type of metal even if one makes
it without Gevi'im. The reasoning behind this seems to be that the Torah
prohibits making any Menorah in a fashion ("Tzurah") that is similar to the
Menorah in the Beis ha'Mikdash, even though it is not identical in all
aspects of Kashrus. Since we find that a Menorah made out of other metals is
valid without Gevi'im, it must be that Gevi'im are merely additions to the
Menorah and are not an essential, defining feature of the Menorah. (Even
though a gold Menorah is invalid without Gevi'im, that is not because it is
not considered a Menorah, but rather it *is* a Menorah, but it is a Menorah
that is lacking one of its requirements.) Therefore, it is prohibited to
build a Menorah out of gold even if one does not build the Gevi'im, because
even though its is not similar in Kashrus to the Menorah in the Beis
ha'Mikdash, it is similar in fashion.
Another example of such a Menorah that is not valid for use in the Beis
ha'Mikdash but that is still prohibited to build is a Menorah made of gold
but not "Mikshah." Such a Menorah is invalid in the Beis ha'Mikdash, but it
is still prohibited to build for personal purposes, because we find that a
Menorah made of other metals does not have the requirement of "Mikshah."
(Even according to the RAMBAM (see previous Insight) who maintains that a
Menorah made from Geruta'os is invalid even when the Menorah is made out of
metals other than gold, it will be prohibited to such a Menorah (from
Geruta'os, with other metals) for personal use. As we explained earlier (see
previous Insight), the requirement that the Menorah not be made from
Geruta'os is not a Halachah pertaining to the appearance of the Menorah, but
rather it is a Halachah pertaining to the type of raw material that may be
used. Even if Geruta'os are a type of raw material that may not be used, the
fashion of the appearance of the Menorah remains the same. Consequently, it
is prohibited to build a Menorah from Geruta'os even according to the
Rambam.) (Mordechai Zvi Dicker)