Parshas Terumah - Beam Me Up!

By Reb Eliezer Bulka

Posted on 02/17/18

Tomorrow, 2 Adar, is the yahrtzeit of my Zadie, Rabbi Yaakov Bulka. The shtikle is dedicated le'iluy nishmaso, Chaim Yaakov ben Yitzchak, z"l.

In this week's parsha, as part of the description of the construction of the mishkan, the beams are described (36:29) as being paired at the bottom as well as the top. The terminlogoy used  (26:24) is, "and they shall be soamim on the bottom and together they shall be samim on top." The words toamim and tamim mean essentially the same thing. They are to be paired. As Rashi describes, the beams had to be flush with each other from the bottom to the top and were joined together with a ring on top. Why is a different word used for the bottom and the top?

When Rivkah gives birth to Yaakov and Eisav, the pasuk (Bereishis 25:24) states "behold there were somim in her womb." Rashi notes that here the word tomim, which is missing an aleph, is used whereas when Tamar gives birth to Peretz and Zerach (Bereishis 38:27) the word te'omim (with an aleph) is used. The reason given is that Tamar's two children would both grow up to be righteous men whereas one of Rivkah's children would grow up to be an evil man. The word te'omim written in full denotes a greater similarity between the twins. When it is written missing an aleph, it denotes twins which are not so identical.

If one were to survey the beams of the mishkan on the bottom and the pegs that held them in place they would see a relatively uniform pattern as they went around. However, they might notice a slight change when they observe the tops of the beams. The rings that held the beams together on top rested in an indentation made in each beam. Joining the corner beams was a little more difficult. Rashi (26:24) describes the process which ultimately required the indentation to be in a different spot in that beam. The picture books on the mishan make this more clear. Here is an example. Perhaps this is why the word tamim is used to describe the pairing of the beams on top. The pairing did not appear uniform throughout. But for the pegs that held the beams in place on the bottom, the word toamim is used to denote their uniform appearance.