web analytics
August 23, 2014 / 27 Av, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat (L) visits the JewishPress.com booth at The Event. And the Winners of the JewishPress.com Raffle Are…

Congratulations to all the winners of the JewishPress.com raffle at The Event



Facing The World – Minchat Lechem Hapanim


As I headed to work on the subway one morning, two men boarded the train carrying on their shoulders crates of sandwiches and toiletries. They put the crates down and invited anyone who might be hungry or had not slept in their own bed that night to help themselves from the crates. Everybody hid behind his or her newspaper.

“Don’t be shy,” they said. “If you are living from check to check, from month to month, as most of you on this train probably are, you are not that far from the poverty line yourselves. Maybe some of you have lost your jobs already and are too embarrassed to go home to your families. Please don’t let your pride keep you hungry and dirty.”

Twelve loaves of bread lay on the shulchan in the Temple sanctuary. These twelve loaves were a source of sustenance for the twelve tribes of Israel. The shulchan, in the north, which signified wealth, faced the menorah, the symbol of Torah, in the south. The message was clear. As long as we keep the Torah close while we work for a living, we have God’s blessing that we will not be shamed into dependence on other humans. The lechem hapanim, the showbread, allows us to show our faces in public. He will always look after us if we look after His Torah.

Some say the lechem hapanim was shaped like an open box, with no lid and open on two sides. Others say it was triangular in shape, like the hull of a ship on stormy waters. Either way, the lechem hapanim signified the lack of security and the fragility of success that typify the struggle for livelihood.

And yet, like the lechem hapanim, which miraculously remained warm and fresh from Shabbat to Shabbat, we too continue to survive from Shabbat to Shabbat.

Each of the lecham hapanim was made of two issaronim (one issaron equals between 11 and 21 cups or between 86.4 and 172.8 fluid ounces) of flour derived from fine wheat. The flour was kneaded and shaped outside the Temple and placed into 12 metal molds, shaped like an open box, as described above. Each Friday, the 12 metal molds were taken to the Temple where they were baked in ovens. After the baking was complete the 12 unleavened loaves were removed from their metal molds and placed into golden molds where they waited until the next day, Shabbat, to be taken into the Temple sanctuary and placed on the shulchan.

The shulchan was constructed in such a way as to make sure there was sufficient air between the loaves to keep them fresh from Shabbat to Shabbat. Just as we contribute daily to the miracle of our survival by working hard, so too the kohanim had to contribute to the miracle of the lechem hapanim by constructing the table in such a way that would assist in keeping the loaves fresh.

The first two loaves of showbread were placed directly on the shulchan. The remaining 10 loaves were stacked on top of the first two, on shelves consisting of cross bars, or tubes, referred to in the Torah as kesotav. These were hollow golden canes split lengthwise. Their purpose was to separate the loaves from one another and allow air to circulate freely between them. In this way, the showbread was kept fresh and free from mould. Three such tubes held each of the twelve loaves, except at the top, where the shelf of each set had only two tubes, making 28 tubes in all. The shelves rested upon notches, cut unto six vertical bars and referred to by the Torah as menakiotav, rising on each side of the table, from the floor to above the level of the top shelf.

Placed on the shulchan between the two sets of showbread were two golden cups with long protruding handles in which the levonah, the frankincense, was kept. These cups are referred to as bezikin.

Each Shabbat the showbread and levonah of the previous week were removed and a new set was replaced. Eight kohanim would enter into the sanctuary. Two of them would carry in six loaves each of newly baked bread, two of them would carry in two new bezikin of levonah, and four of them would carry out the previous week’s showbread and levonah from the shulchan. According to one opinion in the Talmud, the removal and the replacement of the bread and the incense happened simultaneously, so that the table would never be bare of bread and incense even for one moment.

Once outside the sanctuary, the kohanim who removed the bread of the previous week placed it on a golden table and then burned the levonah of the previous week on the outer altar. With the burning of the incense complete, the kohanim were now permitted to eat the 12 loaves of fresh bread of the previous week.

It is said that just one bite-size of the lechem hapanim was sufficient to sustain one kohen. Like the widow’s jug of flour that was able to replenish itself with Elijah’s blessing, so too the 12 loaves were able to sustain the people of Israel from week to week with God’s blessing. It seems that with the correct focus, one does not need that much to survive.

About the Author: Raphael Grunfeld’s book, “Ner Eyal on Seder Moed” (distributed by Mesorah) is available at OU.org and your local Jewish bookstore. His new book, “Ner Eyal on Seder Nashim & Nezikin,” will be available shortly.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Facing The World – Minchat Lechem Hapanim

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
4 yr old Israeli Daniel Tregerman, murdered by Hamas rocket on Aug. 22, 2014.
IDF: Israeli Toddler Murdered by Rocket Fired Near UNRWA School/Shelter
Latest Judaism Stories
Parsha-Perspectives-logo

Eisenhower understood that motivated men will fight much harder and longer than unmotivated men.

PTI-082214

Who does not want to get close to Hashem? Yet, how do we do that?

Weiss-082214-Beloved

Hashem recalls everything – nothing is hidden from His eyes.

Taste-of-Lomdus-logo

According to Rabbi Yishmael one was not permitted to eat such an animal prior to entering Eretz Yisrael, while according to Rabbi Akiva one was permitted to eat animals if he would perform nechirah.

An interview was overheard in which an Arab asked a Hamas commander: “What’s the problem? Why aren’t you hitting your targets? Don’t you know how to aim?” To which he was answered: “We know how to aim very well. We are experts. But their G-d moves the missiles.”

Discretion
‘Vendors Of Fruits And Clothing…May Sell In Private’
(Mo’ed Katan 13b)

Question: The Gemara in Berachot states that the sages authored our prayers. Does that mean we didn’t pray beforehand?

Menachem
Via Email

If a man sins and follows his inclinations, he will find comfort in this world – but when he dies, he will go to a place that is all thorns.

Nothing is more effective to diminish envy than gratitude.

The first prayer of Moshe was Vayechal, where Moshe’s petition was that no matter how bad bnei Yisrael were, the Egyptians were worse.

“We’re leining now, and shouldn’t be talking,” Mr. Silver gently quieted his son. “At the Shabbos table we can discuss it at length.”

If we regard pain and suffering as mere coincidence, we will feel no motivation to examine our lives

Culture is not nature. There are causes in nature, but only in culture are there meanings.

Rabbinic law is pivotal but it’s important to understand which laws are rabbinic and which biblical.

We give slave gifts? If he wants to stay, we pierce his ear?!

More Articles from Raphael Grunfeld
Grunfeld-Raphael-NEW

Based on the opinion of the Ramban, the Territorial School believes that leaving any territory of the Land of Israel in the possession of non-Jews is a violation of a biblical mandate.

Grunfeld-Raphael-NEW

To properly fulfill the mitzvah of listening to the megillah, each word must be heard.

If the only person available to perform the milah on the eighth day is a person who is not an observant Jew, the milah should be postponed until a devout mohel is available.

The kohen gadol may not enter the Temple unless his hair is cut every seven days.

A commonly employed and permissible device regarding the prohibition of wearing fresh clothes during the Nine Days is to don them for a moment or two before the Nine Days.

The prayer of Mashiv haruach u’morid hageshem mentions God’s rainmaking powers but it is not an immediate request for rain.

According to the Bach, Rosh Hashanah is referred to as moed, festival, the same term the Torah uses to describe Pesach, Shavuot and Sukkot.

If the survival of Judaism is dependent on the next generation, there is no doubt that the most important person in the synagogue is the Candy Man.

    Latest Poll

    Do you think the FAA ban on US flights to Israel is political?






    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/halacha-hashkafa/facing-the-world-minchat-lechem-hapanim/2013/12/19/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: