Vayak'hel: Chapter 17

The secret of the Torah scroll


In this section we are reminded that we have already been told why the Torah scroll is read on Shabbat, and that the mysteries of all the small details of the text were given to Moses on Mount Sinai. The question is asked why then the scroll is lacking all those mysteries of verse division, tonal accents and Massoretic readings. We are told that the bare letters of the Written Law, Tiferet, are brought into the Oral Law, Malchut, and cause her to conceive the accents and Massoretic readings. He explains why on the Shabbat seven people read the Torah in public, yet on festivals only five people read and on Yom Kippur six people are called up. We read about the throne chair that is made into the reader's desk; when the Torah scroll is put there the people should concentrate as though they were standing below Mount Sinai to receive the Torah. We learn about the prayer that should be prayed, and that only one person is allowed to read, as though Elohim were reading to the people below. The reader should perfect his reading, and never read into the portion of the next Shabbat. 53 Chariots are assigned to the service of the Torah, each one to a portion of a certain Shabbat. The Chariot raises the reading before God; then the portion, the throne and Zeir Anpin all become one.