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Shalom and Bracha!
This Shabbat we read the portion of Ki Tisa. Amongst the things
which are discussed in this week’s portion is the commandment to
make the Kiyor, the washing basin. Hashem commanded that a
washing basin of copper be made and placed in between the altar
and the tent of the Ark. The Kohen had to wash his hands and
feet from the basin before serving in the Temple. This was so
critical that if a Kohen served before washing, whatever service
he performed was invalid and he deserved to die by the Hand of
The copper that was used for this washing basin came from
mirrors that were donated by the Jewish women. At first, Moshe
refused to accept them, because mirrors are objects of vanity.
Hashem told Moshe to accept them, and further told him that
these were the most precious of all of the donations to the
Temple. During the worst period of the servitude, when the
Jewish men were exhausted and despondent and had no interest in
procreation, these mirrors were used by their wives in order to
beautify themselves and arouse their husbands, assuring the
continuation of the Jewish nation.
This gives us a beautiful lesson that relates to our time. We
know that our service of Hashem in the time of Galut (exile) is
imperfect, marred by distraction and insincerity. Often we fall
short of our own goals, and far short of Hashem’s expectations.
When we reflect upon the greatness that will permeate the world
when Moshiach comes, we sometimes feel that all that we do in
exile will be totally insignificant. The Kiyor teaches us that
the opposite is true. Even the mundane objects that we use to
survive Galut and hasten the redemption become an integral part
of Hashem’s sanctuary in the time of Moshiach.
The numerical value of the letters of the word Kiyor represent
revealing Hashem in the Galut. Every Hebrew letter has a
numerical value. Kiyor has 4 letters: Kaf (20) Yud (10) Vav (6)
and Reish (200). The Kaf and Vav add up to 26, which is the
numerical value of the name of Hashem. The Reish and Yud add up
to 210, which is the number of years we were enslaved in Egypt.
The letters are intertwined, symbolizing infusion Hashem into
From the Kiyor we also learn a Halachah relevant to our times.
Our prayers parallel the service in the Temple. Just like the
Kohanim had a special way to wash, every morning when we rise we
must wash our hands, using a vessel. The vessel should be filled
with water, lifted with the right hand and transferred to the
left hand, and then water should be poured over the entire right
hand until the wrist. Then the vessel should be transferred to
the right hand and water should be poured of the entire left
hand. This should be repeated three times, so that each hand
should be washed three times alternately (right, left, right,
left, right, left). Kaballah and Chassidut explain that the
right side represents kindness and the left severity.
By repeatedly washing the right hand first, will elicit that
Hashem’s kindness should preceed and outweigh His stern
judgement. Left handed people do the reverse. Thereafter the
blessing Baruch Atta A-donai E-lohainu Melech Haolam Asher
Kid’shanu B’mitzvotav V’tzivanu Al Netilat Yadayim should be
said. By washing this way, we cleanse ourselves from impurity,
we celebrate that Hashem has renewed our life, and we
commemorate the service in the Temple, thereby awakening and
demonstrating our yearning for Moshiach. May we speedily see
Moshiach and the Kohanim performing their service in the Holy
Dedicated in merit of David Ben Sarah
A project of Chabad of Great Neck
400 East Shore Rd.
Great Neck NY 11024
516 4874554 fax