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Ki Tisa

  
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 30:22  30:23
 30:24
 30:25
30:22 God spoke to Moses, saying:
Vayedaber Adonay el-Moshe lemor.
30:23 You must take the finest fragrances, 500 [shekels] of distilled myrrh, [two] half portions, each consisting of 250 [shekels] of fragrant cinnamon and 250 [shekels] of fragrant cane,
Ve'atah kach-lecha besamim rosh mor-deror chamesh me'ot vekinmon-besem machtsito chamishim umatayim ukneh-vosem chamishim umatayim.
30:24 and 500 shekels of cassia, all measured by the sanctuary standard, along with a gallon of olive oil.
Vekidah chamesh me'ot beshekel hakodesh veshemen zayit hin.
30:25 Make it into sacred anointing oil. It shall be a blended compound, as made by a skilled perfumer, [made especially for] the sacred anointing oil.
Ve'asita oto shemen mischat-kodesh rokach mirkachat ma'aseh roke'ach shemen mishchat-kodesh yihyeh.



Commentary:

500 shekels
  Around 25 pounds.

distilled
  (Septuagint). Deror in Hebrew. Or, 'free of impurities' (Ibn Janach; Radak, Sherashim); or 'wild' (Ramban; Bachya). On the basis of Semitic cognates, some suggest 'flowing' or 'congealed into pearls.'

myrrh
  (Raavad, Kley HaMikdash 1:3; Ramban; Bachya; Septuagint). Mor in Hebrew. Myrrh is a gum resin produced by trees and shrubs of the family Burseracea, most notably Commiphora myrrha, Commiphora abysinica, and Commiphora schimperi. The resin is obtained from Arabia and adjacent Africa, and is taken from the small, prickly gray-barked trees. Pearls of myrrh are brown, red or yellow, with an oily texture, becoming hard and brittle with age. It has a pleasing fragrance, very much like balsam, and a lasting, bitter, aromatic taste, hence the name mor, which signifies bitterness.

According to many authorities, however, the mur here is not myrrh but musk (Saadia; Yad, Kley HaMikdash 1:3; Abarbanel; cf. Radak, Sherashim; Ibn Janach). This is an extract taken from the musk deer (Moschus moschiferus) which lives in Nepal and Tibet (see Ibn Ezra).

two half portions
  (Rashi, Kerithoth 5a; Bachya; Ralbag; cf. Yad, Kley HaMikdash 1:2). According to Josephus, however, it would be translated, 'a half portion...' (Antiquities 3:8:3).

fragrant cinnamon
  (Rashi; Septuagint; Abarbanel, Canela in Spanish; Ibn Janach; Rambam on Kerithoth 1:1, but see Ramban on Exodus 30:34). Kinman in Hebrew. This is the dried bark of the cinnamon tree, Cinnamomum zeylanicum, a species of laurel cultivated mainly in Ceylon (cf. Yad, Kley HaMikdash 1:3; cf. Theophrastus, Plants 9:7; Herodatus 3:111).

According to others, however, the kinman of the Bible is aloeswood or lignum aloes (Radak, Sherashim; cf. Saadia; see Ramban on Exodus 30:34). This is the resinous hartwood, Aquilaria agallocha of the family Thymalaeaceae, which grows in the East Indies and tropical Southeast Asia, and is still used for incense and perfumes.

According to other ancient sources, the 'cinnamon' of antiquity was not the Ceylonese product, but an herb coming from Arabia (Theophrastus, History of Plants 9:4; Strabo 16:778; Diodorus Sicculus 2:49, 3:46) or Ethiopia (Pliny 12:42). Some identify it with 'Mecca Straw' (paja de Mecca in old Spanish; Ramban; Abarbanel), which was used as fodder for camels (Shir HaShirim Rabbah on Exodus 4:4). There are also indications that the 'cinnamon' of antiquity grew in the Holy Land (Yerushalmi, Peah 7:4; Bereshith Rabbah 65:17; see Kaftor Va Pherach 10, 31a).

fragrant cane
  Keneh bosem in Hebrew. Ancient sources identify this with the sweet calmus (Septuagint; Rambam on Kerithoth 1:1; Saadia; Ibn Janach). This is the sweetflag or flag-root, Acoras calamus which grows in Europe. It appears that a similar species grew in the Holy Land, in the Hula region in ancient times (Theophrastus, History of Plants 9:7). Other sources apparently indicate that it was the Indian plant, Cympopogan martini, which has the form of red straw (Yad, Kley HaMikdash 1:3). On the basis of cognate pronunciation and Septuagint readings, some identify Keneh bosem with the English and Greek cannabis, the hemp plant.

There are, however, some authorities who identify the 'sweet cane' with cinnamon bark (Radak, Sherashim). Some say that kinman is the wood, and keneh bosem is the bark (Abarbanel).

cassia
  (Radak, Sherashim; Peshita; Vulgate). Kidah in Hebrew; ketzia in Aramaic (Targum; Rambam on Kelayim 1:8). Cassia is the common name for the bark of the tree Cinnamomum cassia or Cassia lignea belonging to the laurel family, which grows in China. (Pachad Yitzchak, s.v. Ketoreth; cf. Pliny 12:43; Theophrastus, History of Plants 9:7; Diodorus Siculus 3:46; Herodatus 3:110).

There are some, however, who identify the 'cassia' of the ancients, and hence kidah here, with costus, known as kosh't in the Talmud (Yad, Kley HaMikdash 1:3; Saadia; Ibn Janach; cf. Rashi). Costus is the root of the annual herb, Sausurea lappa, which grows on the mountain slopes of Kashmir, and is used for incense and perfume.

The Septuagint translates kidah here as iris, possibly Castus speciosus. Others suggest that it is kitto or mosylon, a plant very much like cassia, coming from Meuzel on the African coast (cf. Dioscorides, De Materia Medica 1:13).

gallon
  Hin in Hebrew. Actually 0.97 gallon, or 3.6 liter.

blended compound
  The anointing oil was made by soaking the aromatic substances in water until the essential essences are extracted. The oil is then placed over the water, and the water slowly cooked away, allowing the essences to mix with the oil (Yad, Kley HaMikdash 1:2; from Kerithoth 5a). According to another opinion, the oil was cooked with the aromatic herbs, and then filtered out (Ibid.).





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