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Parshat Vayakhel - The Mirrors of the Kiyor
By: SFW Students & Alumna
Alexis Levy (SFW í08)
"He made the basin of copper and its base of copper, from the mirrors of the legions (tzovot) who massed at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting.í
Who are these tzovot, legions? All the commentators agree that the legions referred to here are none other than the women of Bnei Yisrael, who rushed to bring the shiny copper plates they used as mirrors, as a donation to the building of the Mishkan.
††††††††††† According to the Ibn Ezra, the kiyor, the basin, is given no size limit because every single mirror donated had to be used in its construction, no matter how big it would become. This shows the value and holiness of these mirrors to Hashem. What was so special about these mirrors that not even one could be left out?
††††††††††† One answer brought in the Midrash Tanchuma states that the legions were the mothers of many children, and the mirrors represented their faith in the Jewish destiny and Jewish future. Who are these mothers and what did they do that showed such tremendous faith?
††††††††††† When Bnei Yisrael were in Egypt, Pharaoh kept the men away from their wives so that no children would be born and the Jewish Nation would end. In addition to this, the men could not bring themselves to father children who would enter a world of slavery. Their spirits had been broken by the enslavement. However, the women used the mirrors to attract their husbands in order that the Jewish People would continue to multiply. On a deeper level, the women used the mirrors to alter the menís vision. What does a mirror do? It reflects, but it also narrows the field of vision. Looking into the mirrors, the men could see only the Jewish reality, not the backdrop of the Egyptian enslavement. It was that vision, that conviction that they needed to focus upon, the faith in the Jewish past and the Jewish future, that allowed the women to realise the importance of bringing another generation of Jews into the world.
Throughout the Torah we see that women always have a perception of truth that is above and beyond that of men. It is the women who are the foundation of Judaism, who are the driving force behind the men.
Therefore, when the women rushed to bring their mirrors to contribute to the Mishkan, all the mirrors were to be used; for the mirrors reflect the vision that will keep the Jewish people alive.
It was the women who brought about the redemption from Egypt and it is up to women to lead the Jewish People down the path of Torah to the Land of Israel to be the driving force for the next, and final, redemption.
When we look into the mirror do we see a reflection of ourselves, or a reflection of the women of previous generations passing on the mission, of carrying the vision of the Jewish future, to redeem us once again?
1: Parshat Shavua