TORAH GEM - VAYAKHEL - PEKUDEI / HACHODESH
This Shabbat we bless the new month of Nissan, which begins Tuesday, March 28th. May it bring to us the blessings of Hashem.
Our Parshah begins with Moshe gathering the nation together, all the men, women and children after they received the second set of tablets on Yom Kippur. Moshe teaches the Mitzvah of building the Mishkan (Tabernacle) to every individual because each of us has the responsibility and indeed the privilege of using our unique talents to build a dwelling place for Hashem in this world.
As you may have noticed, we are living in an information age. People rarely produce goods, instead they sit in front of computers and other devices and exchange bits and bytes.
New technology offers the opportunity to access more Torah knowledge than ever before. It can also lower a person to the depths of spiritual emptiness; the choice is ours.
There was a time, however, when physical labor – building something permanent with one's own hands was considered a great achievement. Consider the two Temples in Jerusalem.
King Solomon's Temple as well as the second Temple were both magnificent structures that stood for many years. They were built, however, largely by paid workmen. Eventually they fell into enemy hands and were destroyed.
Our Parshah goes to great lengths to describe the building of the Tabernacle (Mishkan) in the desert by men of outstanding righteousness and skill. They put their heart and soul into the project and did not delegate the intricate detail work to just anyone. Perhaps, the amount of gold and silver used in the Tabernacle was insignificant compared to that used in the Temples. Hashem dwelled in the Mishkan because of the love and care that went into building it.
Sforno comments that both Temples were eventually desecrated but the Tabernacle always remained intact; never captured or destroyed in times of war.
Pirkei Avot 1:10 teaches in the name of Shmaya that one should love work. The Maharal quotes the Talmud, Brachot 8a saying that one who enjoys the efforts of his own hands is even greater than one who fears heaven. The Maharal explains that when you experience the joy and fulfillment of your own labor, you come to love Hashem, who is that source. And love of Hashem is at a higher level than fear. You then realize that happiness is yours when you are in the flow of your work (this is a gift from Hashem).
This week, as we complete Sh'mot, the second book of the Torah, we at CHADISH feel a great sense of love for Hashem who gave us the privilege of sending this Torah Gem to your family. It was a labor of love!
"Chazak! Chazak! V'nitchazeik! Be strong! Be strong! And
may we be strengthened!"
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Kol Tov! Our best to you...it's all good. Shabbat Shalom, CM
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The Mishkan was built by men of great righteousness and skill who enjoyed doing the labor. Have you ever built something that gave you joy?