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Last night my chavrusa and I were comparing the language surrounding the command of the construction of the Tabernacle versus the language used to describe the fulfillment of that command.

By the aron, the language is nearly an exact, word for word transposition in tense. This was unsurprising.

What we noticed was that the command to "install" the badim/staves in the aron was lacking a word present in Terumah: "Lase'es es ha'aron bahem."

Parshas Terumah

כה:יד וְהֵבֵאתָ אֶת-הַבַּדִּים בַּטַּבָּעֹת, עַל צַלְעֹת הָאָרֹן, לָשֵׂאת אֶת-הָאָרֹן, בָּהֶם

Parshas Vayakhel

לז:ה וַיָּבֵא אֶת-הַבַּדִּים בַּטַּבָּעֹת, עַל צַלְעֹת הָאָרֹן, לָשֵׂאת, אֶת-הָאָרֹן

Considering how exact the rest of the wording is, this deviation seems notable.

We searched in vain for a commentary that addresses this linguistic deviation. I was wondering if anyone here had heard of an explanation for this.

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    The closest idea we could think of was that this was the source of the Chazal that the aron "carried itself/carriers" - that the instruction was to provide a place to grasp (bahem) for carrying, but de facto the installation of the badim is what "actually carried" the aron. – Isaac Kotlicky Feb 26 '16 at 17:48
  • Isaac. I'm somewhat curious why you focused on just the language for the Aron. There are a few other places where a word is missing in Vayakhel or Pekudei or words are added in Vaykhel / Pekudei. – DanF Feb 26 '16 at 20:02
  • @DanF We've been focusing the past several weeks on the badim and their presence/absence on the different kelim. As it happens to be, if you're going through Terumah in order and comparing it to Vayakhel, this is the first oddity that shows up. – Isaac Kotlicky Feb 26 '16 at 20:14
  • Sidebar - If you do this shiur / learning at night mid-week and might consider Skyping, let me know. My son and or I may be interested. – DanF Feb 26 '16 at 20:17
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I would suggest the following Chiddush, but I welcome feedback as usual.

The prohibition of removing the Badim immediately follows in Shemos 25, but not in Shemos 37. I would like to suggest that the word "Bahem" was only present in Shemos 25:14 in order to emphasize that they must be what the Aron is carried with and therefore they may never be removed. See various Rishonim to 25:15 that link the carrying of the Aron with the prohibition of removing the Badim. Thus, when that commandment is not repeated, the extra emphasis is not repeated either.

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I've noticed that a general pattern to many of the differences between Terumah and Vayakhel is that Terumah has a more precise account of the relationship between different parts or descriptions of the Mishkan. I think this indicates a difference between Hashem's understanding of the Mishkan and a human understanding. Betzalel and his workers created the Mishkan as Hashem said and could understand each piece in isolation, but didn't quite understand the whole picture of the Mishkan.

Some examples:

  • Your example of the poles - בהם indicates the relationship between the poles and the Aron, which the people building the Mishkan couldn't quite get.
  • Several times (regarding the yerios and also the yados of the kerashim) it says אשה אל אחותה in Terumah, indicating the relationship between the two curtains or yados, while in Vayakhel it says אחת אל אחת.
  • Regarding the menorah, in Terumah it says בַּקָּנֶה הָאֶחָד twice, while in Vayakhel the second time it says בְּקָנֶה אֶחָד. This isn't 100% the same as my other examples, but it goes in a similar direction - while Hashem sees each branch's special task, a human can only understand part of it, and the second one is just "a branch".
  • I originally included this one, but it's probably incorrect because all the manuscripts quoted by Daat Mikra have a kamatz in both Terumah and Vayakhel.

    At the end of the menorah, in Terumah it says כִּכַּר זָהָב טָהוֹר, "you should make it out of a talent of pure gold", while in Vayakhel it says כִּכָּר זָהָב טָהוֹר, "he made it a talent, out of pure gold" (note Artscroll misses this subtle difference). Hashem sees the relationship between the two adjectives, a human only sees that it weighs a talent and that it's made of pure gold, in isolation.

I'm the first to admit that this is lacking details, but I think as a general picture it works.

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[This doesn't directly address your specific example, but it is perhaps a general answer to these types of questions. I imagine that those who did not like this answer might also not like this one.]

In Parshas Terumah (26:8-9) we have the following verses:

אֹרֶךְ הַיְרִיעָה הָאַחַת שְׁלֹשִׁים בָּאַמָּה וְרֹחַב אַרְבַּע בָּאַמָּה הַיְרִיעָה הָאֶחָת מִדָּה אַחַת לְעַשְׁתֵּי עֶשְׂרֵה יְרִיעֹת וְחִבַּרְתָּ אֶת חֲמֵשׁ הַיְרִיעֹת לְבָד וְאֶת שֵׁשׁ הַיְרִיעֹת לְבָד וְכָפַלְתָּ אֶת הַיְרִיעָה הַשִּׁשִּׁית אֶל מוּל פְּנֵי הָאֹהֶל

The length of each curtain shall be thirty cubits, and the breadth of each curtain four cubits; the eleven curtains shall have one measure. And thou shalt couple five curtains by themselves, and six curtains by themselves, and shalt double over the sixth curtain in the forefront of the tent. (Mechon Mamre)

In Parshas Vayakhel (36:15-16) we have the parallel:

אֹרֶךְ הַיְרִיעָה הָאַחַת שְׁלֹשִׁים בָּאַמָּה וְאַרְבַּע אַמּוֹת רֹחַב הַיְרִיעָה הָאֶחָת מִדָּה אַחַת לְעַשְׁתֵּי עֶשְׂרֵה יְרִיעֹת וַיְחַבֵּר אֶת חֲמֵשׁ הַיְרִיעֹת לְבָד וְאֶת שֵׁשׁ הַיְרִיעֹת לְבָד

The length of each curtain was thirty cubits, and four cubits the breadth of each curtain; the eleven curtains had one measure. And he coupled five curtains by themselves, and six curtains by themselves. (Mechon Mamre)

There is a very clear difference here – the last clause of the first version about doubling the sixth curtain is entirely absent in the second version. Ibn Ezra noticed this and writes:

ולא הזכיר כפל היריעה כי הכתוב אחז דרך קצרה

[The Torah] did not mention the doubling of the curtain because it grasped the path of brevity.

While it is not entirely clear what his exact point is, I think he is saying that because everything was already stated with all the details in Parshas Terumah, the Torah has no obligation to repeat every detail here, and thus if a detail was left out it is a non-issue. We can apply this to the entire topic of the repetition of this parsha – for the most part the Torah repeated everything, but it felt no need to repeat every single detail, and there might not be any point in asking why a specific detail was not repeated.

Similarly, Ralbag has a discussion about why the Torah repeated everything to begin with, and one of his suggestions is that this was simply the way that people told stories back then and the Torah conformed to the normal way of talking. This also might indicate that there is not necessarily a real "reason" for any particular inclusion or deviation.

ואפשר שנאמר שכבר היה מנהג האנשים ההם בזמן מתן תורה שיהיו סיפוריהם בזה האופן והנביא אמנם ידבר לפי המנהג

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This is clear textual inconsistency. Samaritan Pentateuch has this word in SP Shemot 37:5

There is nothing to ponder about. Just corrupted text.

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    Indeed, classic Samaritan Pentateuch adding in words to fix apparent lacunae. The SP regularly makes up entire passages that it feels improve the text, eg Gen 31. I don't see any reason to value these changes in any way. – Double AA Feb 27 '16 at 23:49
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    The Samaritans had a habit of ignoring traditionally accepted methods of exegesis in favour of revising the text. Talmudic methodology would recognize this as a departure worth investigating rather than a mistake needing correction. – Isaac Kotlicky Feb 28 '16 at 0:24
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    @AleksandrSigalov Are you omniscient, that you are capable of unilaterally declaring "there is no possible way?" It's rather foolish for you to insist upon it. You seem to be arguing this from a non Jewish system of understanding, which doesn't really apply here on MY. – Isaac Kotlicky Feb 29 '16 at 9:31
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    We do use logic and reason, but we do NOT throw away tradition in order to do so. You are positing that we must ignore the text as it is written and adopt the text of a third party instead. Why not "answer" from the New Testament? Because it's not Jewish, and this is specifically a site for answers couched within Jewish understanding. I'm not saying that you're objectively wrong, only that your answer doesn't fit the purpose and format of this site. No one here is "speaking for God," we are asking how our tradition handles certain questions. Don't be upset if your answer is non-traditional. – Isaac Kotlicky Feb 29 '16 at 20:39
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    Although I would not generally deign to respond to Sigalov, as he does not seem interested in engaging in productive dialogue, for the purpose of other readers here, I will respond to his comments. In descending order of incorrectness. His comment about the Midrashim being being fairy tales in an oversimplification of aggadic Midrashim, and belies total ignorance of the Halakhic Midrashim. However, characterizing them is irrelevant to textual investigation. Their worth in this regard stems from the evidence of the text they had; not what explanations for said text they propose. – mevaqesh Mar 4 '16 at 19:07

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