Dvar Torah Vayakhel – Pekudei 5775 2015

Moshe had asked the people to contribute to the construction of the Mishkan. The people were so generous that more contributions than were needed came in. Moshe then told the people that there was enough to finish the construction and more contributions were not needed.

The language Moshe used to tell them was somewhat dubious. He asked that an announcement be made: אִישׁ וְאִשָּׁה אַל יַעֲשׂוּ עוֹד מְלָאכָה לִתְרוּמַת הַקֹּדֶשׁ, “…Man and woman shall not do more work toward the gift for the Sanctuary.” (Ex. 36,6) Why did he not simply say that they should stop bringing their contributions for they were no longer needed?

Perhaps the reason was that we must never imply that contributions are not needed. You can say that for a particular cause no more contributions are needed. You should never express yourself in such a manner as to tell people to stop giving.

Parents must impress upon children the importance of giving donations and contributions for all good causes. Rabbis and leaders of organizations must constantly influence their followers to donate and stress the need. Moshe did not tell them to stop giving. He told them that there was no longer a need for their contributions towards construction of the Mishkan.


Dvar Torah Parshat Pekude 5774 2014 – in the merit of their fathers..

The Torah, summarizing the construction of the Mishkan, mentions: בְצַלְאֵל בֶּן אוּרִי בֶן חוּר לְמַטֵּה יְהוּדָה, “Bezalel, son of Uri son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah did everything that Hashem commanded Moshe.” (Ex. 38,22) Why was it necessary for the Torah to go back in history and mention Bezalel’s grandfather and his tribe? Usually, in Jewish practice, when identifying a person, only his name and the name of his father are given.

Chazal tell us that when people are active in community work they should do so for the sake of heaven, because then זכות אבותם מסייעתן, “the merit of their fathers will aid them”.

Community workers may have the feeling that they can do as they please and that they are not accountable to anyone. By mentioning Bezalel’s ancestry the Torah is telling us that one should always keep in mind his background, his parents and their parents. By remembering them, their memory will aid them in doing their work honestly and faithfully for the cause.

The saying is, “power corrupts”. This may be true, but recalling whence we stem from may help overcome the trend.

Dvar Torah Parshat Vayakhel Pekude 5772 2012

וַיַּקְהֵל מֹשֶׁה, Moshe gathers all the people to tell them about the construction of the משכן, the Tabernacle. This is somewhat strange, for at no other time when he conveyed a Mitzvah to them does the Torah tell us that he gathered all the people together.

Perhaps the reason was based on his prophetic vision when he foresaw that the בית המקדש or Temple in Yerushalayim will be destroyed because of שנאת חינם, unfounded hatred. Jews at that time would be disunited and dislike each other for no valid reason. Because of this needless hatred Hashem will have the בית המקדש destroyed.

To avoid this same fate befalling the Tabernacle that Moshe was about to build in the Wilderness, he gathered the people and wanted them to agree to build the משכן in unity. There was to be no hatred or bad feelings among them.

Other Mitzvot were given without fear of their being abandoned because of poor relationships between Jewish people. Hence it was not necessary to gather the people when conveying Hashem’s Mitzvot. The building of the משכן was different. Moshe wanted to avoid that the Mishkan should suffer the same fate that was going to happen centuries later with the בית המקדש. Hence he had to gather the people and emphasize to them the importance of their unity.

Dvar Torah Parshat VaYakhel – Pekude 5770 2010

The method of conveying the Torah to Bnei Yisrael was that first Moshe heard the word of Hashem and then he transmitted it to Aharon. Then it was given to Aharon’s sons and finally to the people at large. In this week’s Portion we see a deviation from this order. The Torah starts here by saying that Moshe called all the people together at one time and he related his message directly to all the people simultaneously.

Why the difference? Rabbi Yaakov Kaminetzky gives a very interesting insightful explanation. He says that when our people were standing at Har Sinai ready to receive the Torah, we are told they were united BELEV ECHAD. They were all of one mind. They stood together and there were no disagreements among them.

When they wanted to build the Golden Calf, the Talmud Yerushalmi (San. 10;32) tells us, they were so disunited and there were numerous opinions as to what kind of idol they should build, that they finally ended up with a different idol for each tribe.

Now when Moshe was giving instructions about constructing the Mishkan and the contributions needed to build it, he had to reunite them. Hence he spoke to them all together to bring them back into the mood of LEV ECHAD, one mind. To succeed in building something holy there must be unity among the people.

Dvar Torah Parshat Vayakhel – Pekudei 2009 5769 דבר תורה פרשת ויקהל פקודי

We are told that when Bnei Israel stood at Mt Sinai to receive the Torah they were united as one man with one heart. When they transgressed and created the Egel Hazahav we are told they became disunited everyone pulling in a different direction. As a matter of fact the Talmud Yerushalmi tells us that they could not even agree on what kind of Egel they should make. Each tribe made its own.

Moshe was about to instruct the tribes to build the Mishkan and we read in today’s Torah Portion: VAYAKHEL MOSHE ET KOL ADAT BNEI ISRAEL “And Moshe assembled all the congregation of the Children of Israel…”. (Ex. 35,1) Moshe had to assemble the people and bring them together again. Before building the Mishkan Moshe had to reunite the people. Only as a unified people were they able to build the House of Hashem.

This is a very significant message for all times. When people are interested in building a synagogue or a Yeshiva or any type of a religious institution there most be unity among them. They must be of one mind and one heart. You cannot have everyone pulling in a different direction. Working together Lema’an Hashem they can succeed.

Dvar Torah Pekude 2008 – 5768 דבר תורה פיקודי

Our Portion this week gives a complete accounting of all the materials that went into the construction of the Mishkan that Betzalal was assigned to make. We are told all the work was completed and the Torah adds: VAYA’ASU BNEI YISRAEL KECHOL ASHER TZIVA, “…and the Children of Israel did all as Hashem had commanded…” (Ex. 37,32) The Torah commentaries point out the fact that not all the Children of Israel built the Mishkan. It was only Betzalel and his workers who worked on the construction.

Here the Torah gave credit to all the people because everyone had some share in its construction. Some people donated the gold, silver and copper and other necessary ingredients. Some did the knitting of materials. Some did the coloring of the skins. Some made the utensils that were to be used. Since everyone did something that was necessary it was considered as if they had actually all built the Mishkan.

We often think of the individual or persons that we know worked on a project as the people responsible for its success. We forget all the back up people who were needed to bring the venture to a successful completion. This Pasuk emphasizes that for a successful undertaking it takes the cooperation of many different people and all are to be given credit for the accomplishment.

Dvar Torah Vayakhel Pekude 2007 – 5767 דבר תורה ויקהל פקודי

The Chumash Shemot ends by telling us about the construction of the Mishkan. After the work was completed we are told VAYEVARECH OTAM MOSHE, “…Moshe blessed them…” (Ex. 39,43) If one looks closely at the Pesukim he will notice that Moshe blessed the people before the Mishkan was erected. So far only the different components of the Mishkan and utensils were finished. Later Moshe set up the Mishkan. Why did he not wait until all was set up?

When a workman is hired to do a job, he is not paid until it is completely finished. Payment is delayed to make sure all parts fit and the item functions properly. Moshe should have waited also until the Mishkan was completed to see if it can stand up and meet the necessary requirements. Obviously the answer is that Moshe was not afraid it would not stand up. The Torah emphasizes all through the work that it was being done according to the instructions Moshe got from Hashem. It had to hold up properly.

What was the blessing Moshe gave to the people? Rashi tells us that Moshe prayed that the Shechina or Divine Presence dwell upon the work of their hands. Even after all is done according to plan, the blessings of Hashem are still needed that things function as hoped. One should always recognize that success comes from the Almighty and not from one’s hands alone.