סדר תצוה

ואתה תצוה את בני ישראל ויקְחו אליך שמן זית זך כתית למאור

And you shall command the people of Israel, that they bring you pure beaten oil olive.

Exodus 27:20

Rashi comments: Clear — without dregs — as we learn in Menahot (86a) “he lets it ripen on top of the olive tree.”

See the Siphtei Hakhamim who observed that Rashi tried to explain how oil could be found without dregs. Our master suggests that the Siftei Hakhamim was not careful in reading Rashi, because, according to the Siphtei Hakhamim, Rashi did not answer his question. Furthermore, the Scripture itself did not write “without dregs,” but instead wrote “זך” (pure). But pure oil is readily available, so what purpose would be served by letting the olive ripen at the top of the olive-tree. Our master explains simply that the word “זך” refers not to the oil, but to the olive. This is also shown by the cantilation which separates “שמן” (oil) from “זית זך” (pure olive). This is also shown by the word “כתית” (beaten), which is written afterwards and certainly refers to the olive and not to the oil. Thus, if “זך” referred to the oil, then the word “כתית” should have preceded “זך”. See the Ibn Ezra. Rashi therefore explained that, as we learned in Menahot, there is a pure olive which ripens on top of the tree. (שביבי אש)

להעלת נר תמיד

For the lamp to burn always.

Exodus 27:20

Rashi explains that “להעלת” (to kindle) means that the light should be kindled until the flame rises on its own.

The Siphtei Hakhamim explains that Rashi meant to exclude a possible interpretation that as soon as  the light is kindled the kindling should cease so that the flame ascends by itself fueled by the oil. Here again, with all respect for his scholarship, the Siphtei Hakhamim was not precise, for if one looks at the Talmud (Shabbat 20a) it is clear that this verse came to be lenient, and that the High Priest need not kindle the light entirely, but need kindle it only until the flame begins to ascend on its own. See Rashi and Tosafot there. The Talmud deduces this because from the word “להעלת” (to cause to ascend) rather than “לעלת” (to raise). The Talmud (Shabbat 21a) further deduces that wicks and oils that may not be lit on the Sabbath may not be lit in the Temple, because those oils and wicks, even after having been lit, require adjustment and tilting. And this prohibition is inferred from the verb “’,להעלת” meaning that the flame must be kindled until it ascends on its own. In other words, after being kindled, the flame should require no further adjustment, but should burn by itself throughout the night. But the requirement that the flame not be left to ascend on its own immediately after being kindled required no specific Scriptural basis, nor could it be deduced from the verb “לְהַעֲלֹת.” On the contrary, the verb “לְהַעֲלֹת” could have been understood to mean precisely that it would have been sufficient to kindle the flame and allowed to ascend on its own. (שביבי אש)

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