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I have seen sefarim, and heard people giving derashos, use the expression "kaftor vaferach" to mean that an idea works out very nicely, or everything comes out very cleanly.

The words kaftor vaferach are part of the instructions of how to form the menorah (Shemos ch. 25), and they mean "knob and flower." Why does this phrase mean, essentially, "very nice"?

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    Maybe because the Menorah was pretty? – Double AA Sep 16 '14 at 3:40
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    @DoubleAA specifically the knobs and flowers were pretty? – Y     e     z Sep 16 '14 at 3:42
  • They made it pretty. Like how corinthian capitals are prettier than doric ones – Double AA Sep 16 '14 at 3:50
  • It isn't that the menorah was pretty as much as that the knobs and flowers were "just so" – Yitzchak Oct 6 '14 at 2:33
  • @Yitzchak if you can source that, it would constitute a valuable answer. – Y     e     z Oct 6 '14 at 2:36
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The source of this phrase in the context you've seen it is found in the Medrash Rabba in parshas Mikeitz parsha 91 ois 9. When someone said something proper before Rabi Tarphon he would say 'Kaphtor Vipherech'. And when someone would say something foolish he would say 'lo yeireid bni imachem'.(my son will not go down with you, Yaakov's response to Reuvein). 'Rashi' on the medrash explains kaphtor vipherech means the idea is beautiful like the kaphtor and pherech. He explains Lo yeireid bni imachem as the word bni being a reference to bina, understanding, meaning he doesn't understand what was spoken.

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Kaftor Vaferech ("Book of Button and Flower") is a Hebrew idiom derived from the description of the menorah in the Temple (Exodus 37:17) and means a "work of art". Source: WP.

Or, as the dictionary entry says:

. כפתור ופרח ( ביטוי המציין התלהבות ושבח למישהו או דבר שנעשה בצורה יפה וטובה. מקור הביטוי בספר שמות, כה', לג' בתנ"ך בו נכתב על יצירת מנורת הזהב במשכן שכל אחד מששת הקנים במנורה היה מעוטר בשלושה קישוטים שצורתם כשל גביע וכל אחד מהם היה עשוי מכפתור שהינו כצורת ציץ הפרח ומעלי הפרח שעיטרו את הכפתור.) ‏

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In Matnas Chaim by R' Matisyahu Salomon he writes that the Menorah represented the Torah, and it was the source of Torah wisdom - thus הרוצה להחכים ידרים (Bava Basra 25b). The kaftor and ferach are described (Shemos 37:17) as being ממנה - from it (the Menorah). Therefore a quality Torah thought is compared to the kaftor vaferach, which were from the Menorah.

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