By: Herschel Karp (11th Grade)
Regarding the first of Nissan, our Sages teach, “that day took ten crowns.”
Tosfot asks: Why do the sages not mention that it was the first day of constructing the Mishkan? He answers that on each of the seven days of inauguration Moshe built and deconstructed the Mishkan. Alternatively, the Sages are addressing the construction of the Mishkan (which is why it is not mentioned as one of the crowns), meaning that the day of the construction of the Mishkan “took ten crowns”.
These two answers are polar opposites. According to the first answer, the construction of the
Mishkan is not mentioned because it is not on the same level as the other crowns (because
the Mishkan had already constructed during the seven days), while according to the second
answer, the construction of the Mishkan is not mentioned because it is superior to the other ten crowns.
We will understand this by prefacing the question as to why Moshe constructed the Mishkan
during the seven days of inauguration, although he was not explicitly commanded to do so.
The Ramban explains that the commandment “ And you shall erect the Mishkan according to
its proper manner, as you will have been shown on the mountain ” is a commandment to erect
the Mishkan as soon as possible, even before the first of Nissan. The Ramban’s explanation is
consistent with the first interpretation of Tosafos, which says that the first of Nissan was not the first time the Mishkan was built (which is why the construction of the Mishkan is not considered one of the ten crowns of the first of Nissan).
According to Rashi, Moshe constructed the Mishkan during the seven days of inauguration,
because he understood from other commandments that he should do so. Aharon and his sons
were commanded not to go out of the Tent of Meeting during the seven days. Moshe was
commanded to inaugurate Aharon and his sons. From these commandments Moshe understood that it was necessary to construct the Mishkan for the purpose of the inauguration of Aharon and his sons. It follows then, that the first of Nissan was the first time the Mishkan was constructed for the sake of the commandment of constructing the Mishkan. This is consistent with the second answer of Tosafos which implies that the construction of the Mishkan is greater than the ten crowns.
An additional explanation gives the two answers of Tosafos differ regarding the question of which is superior, quality or quantity. According to the first answer, quantity is superior, therefore the construction of the Mishkan on the first of Nissan is not considered a crown because the Mishkan has already been constructed seven times, (which is a greater quantity than the construction of the first of Nissan). According to the second interpretation of Tosafos, however, the construction of the Mishkan on the first of Nissan is greater than the ten crowns, because the construction on the first of Nissan was of a superior quality, and quality is superior.