[Kiyor - Copper Washbasin]
The kiyor was made from copper mirrors. What function did these mirrors serve in Egypt?
38:8 He made the copper washstand and its copper base out of the mirrors of the dedicated women who congregated at the entrance of the Ohel Mo'ed (Tent of Meeting).
Among the donations the women brought were their mirrors. These were made out of very highly polished, bright copper. The women would look into these mirrors when they made themselves up. These mirrors aided in the proliferation of the Jewish People. The Jewish women in Egypt would look in the mirrors so as to awaken the affections of their husbands who were exhausted by their slave labor.
When Moshe saw these mirrors, he did not want to accept them. He said, "This is something that helps the yetzer hara (evil urge). The women make themselves up and the men are led to sin. They may not be used for a holy purpose."
G-d said to Moshe, "Accept them. These mirrors are more precious to Me than anything else that was brought. Because of these mirrors, the righteous women in Egypt had many children and caused such a large number of people to leave during the Exodus.
"When their husbands were working with mortar and bricks, these women would bring them food. Each one would look at herself along with her husband. This would arouse their desire. They would come together and the women would become pregnant. When the time came for them to give birth, they would go under the apple trees and have their children.
"Therefore, the women did a holy deed through these mirrors. They made themselves up for their husbands, not for strange men. They wanted to fulfill the mitzvah of having children, causing many Benei Yisrael to come into the world."
Some say that these mirrors were made for the kohanim (priests) who would come to wash their hands and feet from the washbasin. They would look in the mirrors to see if they had any spot or stain on their vestments. They were then able to make themselves look their best before they performed any Divine service. It is thus written, "Prepare to greet your G-d O Yisrael" (Amos 4:12). This teaches that one must prepare oneself to look his best before prayer or other Divine service, just as he would prepare himself before greeting a king.
- Me'am Lo'ez
- Me'am Lo'ez