Dvar Torah Parshat Vayakhel 5771 2011

We know that there are thirty nine types of MELACHOT or tasks that we are forbidden to perform on Shabbat. From where do we learn which tasks are forbidden? According to Chazal, those acts that were necessary to execute in the construction of the Mishkan are the acts that are forbidden on Shabbat.

What is the connection between Shabbat and the Mishkan? In reply and as a start, we can point to the beginning in this week’s Portion where we are told about the contributions necessary to build the Mishkan and then we find instructions on what exactly should be built. Before relating to the Mishkan, Moshe gathers all the people and admonishes them once again about the Shabbat. Hence, Chazal taught, the proximity between these two subjects, the Mishkan and the Shabbat, connects them and is an indication that there is a relationship between them.

It is not clear, however, how we learn that the connection between them refers to the actual tasks that had to be performed in building the Mishkan and the tasks that are forbidden to perform on Shabbat.

The answer to this question we find in next week’s Portion. In proclaiming the prohibitions of Shabbat, Moshe uses the word MELACHAH (Ex. 35,2) for the forbidden tasks. In describing the work that was done in construction of the Mishkan the Torah refers to all the different tasks also as MELACHAH. The word appears there 21 times. Hence we see that the MELACHAH prohibited on Shabbat corresponds to the MELACHAH required in building the Mishkan.

Many things Chazal said may seem strange to us. They, however, had convincing reasons for their statements and declarations.


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