Extra Shabbat Soul – Short Dvar Torah on Parshat VaYakhel 5776 2016

photo-1444080748397-f442aa95c3e5 (640x360)
In today’s Sidra we read how Moshe gave instructions to begin building the Mishkan. He starts, however, by emphasizing that the Shabbat is not to be desecrated, implying that even in building the Mishkan, the Shabbat has to be observed. Later Chazal learned the laws prohibiting work on Shabbat from the work necessary in building the Mishkan.

Rabbi Moshe Zevi Neriah, one of the founders of the Benei Akiva Yeshivot in Israel, points out that not only do we learn the negative laws of Shabbat from the Mishkan but also the positive laws.

The practice of wearing special clothes of Shabbat comes from the fine clothes that that Kohanim had to wear in the Mishkan. Lighting Shabbat candles mimics the Menorah or candelabra. The Shabbat table with its distinguished Shabbat meals comes from the Shulchan or table for the Showbread in the Mishkan.

When Shabbat enters the Jewish person is transformed into a holy soul,

just like the holiness of the Mishkan.  He, indeed, gets a Neshama Yetera, an extra Shabbat Soul.

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 Vayakhel 2014 5774 – United We Stand

The Portion starts with the words: וַיַּקְהֵל מֹשֶׁה אֶת כָּל עֲדַת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל, “Moshe assembled the entire assembly of the Children of Israel…”. (Ex. 35,1) He gathered all the people and his purpose was to instruct them in building the Mishkan. He first reminds them to observe the Shabbat as previously instructed. Rashi explains that he was telling them that although they are about to build the holy Mishkan, they were not to do any construction on Shabbat.

It is strange that in instructing the building of the Mishkan Moshe gathered all the people. He did not do so in all the other Mitzvot of Hashem. With other Mitzvot he first taught them to Aharon and them to Aharon’s children and so forth. There was a definite method. For the Mishkan he gathered all the people.

Perhaps the reason for this different approach is because of what happened with the destruction of the second בית המקדש. We are told that the Temple was destroyed because of שנאת חינם, unfounded hatred. Hence Moshe wanted to gather all the people in building the משקן so that the people will all be united and there would be no different factions.

This is a worthy objective that we should keep in mind in working with others to create an important project. There must be agreement at the start as to how things will be carried out.

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 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.

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.