Enduring Investment Parshat Vayakheil-Pikudei, 5778 The Nesi’im The Nesi’im (Princes of the Tribes of Israel) make a magnanimous gesture of philanthropy; they underwrite all the donations and contributions needed to build the elaborate Mishkan (Tabernacle) in the dessert. After the community has brought its donations, the Nesi’im generously offer to make up any shortfall. To their surprise, there was no shortfall. The community had overdelivered and there was no need for the Nesi’im to contribute anything at all; so they donated the precious stones of the Eifod a..
Shemot, 35:2 The Way we Celebrate Shabbat In our lonely, too busy and alienated world, socially vibrant Shabbatot often attract people to religious observance. However, the way we observe Shabbat has sidetracked us far from the intention of the Architect of Shabbat and the Artist of its majestic beauty. Our Shabbatot are often glorious days of social networking, entertaining, sumptuous kidushes and meals (with sometimes exotic and over-abundant drinking). Many Shuls are full on Shabbat not because of the charisma of the rabbi, the wisdom of his derashot nor for the..
Shemot 35:1-4 Gathering the people together in the opening of our Parsha, Moshe promises a summary statement of the essence of everything Hashem has commanded us: “These are the matters that Hashem has commanded us to do them”, he declares. What follows is only one area of halacha, Shabbat; and even that area he treats from the perspective of its negative mitzvoth: “Anyone who does melachah on Shabbat will die” Hardly a moment of inspirational upliftment! Then, (in 35:4) he repeats his intention to summarize the essence of the Torah “This is the one matter Hashem ..
It’s so odd! Betzalel’s task was to construct the Mishkan with meticulous faithfulness to its Divine design. I understand the need for him to be a talented multi-medium craftsman, which he was. But why was it also necessary for him to be so ultra-creative that he was able to conceive of ideas and designs that had never before been seen? I’ll answer that question at the end of this essay. New parents whose hearts are overflowing with the desire that their newborn will grow into an authentic Oveid Hashem (Servant of G-d), are granted an almost prophetic insight whe..