Mazel Tov! I officially have a sister-in-law! WOW! It’s been quite a week! Thank G-d, every second of the wedding was so amazing, fun, emotional, and awesome. I hope everybody will be able to celebrate such awesome family simchas/celebrations all in the right time! I went back to Milwaukee for three short days this week, and now I’m back in Monsey for Shabbos Sheva Brochos! Talk about a whirlwind!
Parashas Vayakhel is all about the particulars of the building of the Mishkan/Tabernacle.
We start off learning about the relationship between the Mishkan and Shabbos. Although the Mishkan is of course of utmost importance to Hashem, guarding the Shabbos is even more important. Throughout history, the thirty-nine activities that are forbidden on Shabbos are the ones that were used to build the Mishkan.
It was March 25th when Parashas Vayakhel was read in the year 1911.
That same Shabbos was the infamous Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, when 146 workers were killed because they couldn’t get out of the burning building.
Just a week before, Ida Berkowsky, a young 19-year-old girl, was searching for a job offer. Finally, she managed to get an interview. After speaking with the manager, she was torn. The rules had been laid out in clear black and white: If she wanted the job, which included the opportunity for overtime (so she could make more money!) she’d have to work on Shabbos. Every Shabbos, without fail, she’d have to report to the sweatshop and work the machines, violating the Shabbos to earn a living.
Ida wasn’t sure what to do. Alone in Manhattan, with her parents over two hours away, the thought flew across her mind: “America’s different than the old country. Many people work on Shabbos and are still good Jews besides that.” Then a picture popped into her mind, of her father making Kiddush (sanctifying the wine) over his chipped silver kiddush cup on Shabbos morning while other fathers slaved away in their workshops to support their families. Support that compromised the whole basis of their belief system.
Ida shook her head resolutely and turned back to the manager with a decided look on her face. She didn’t take the job.
Parashas Vayakhel teaches us the laws of the Shabbos. “Lo siv’aru aish b’chol moshvosaychem b’yom haShabbos” – “Do not kindle a fire in all of your dwelling places on the day of the Sabbath.” That Shabbos in 1911, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, where Ida had opted not to work and break Shabbos, burned down. And Ida was spared, because she knew that Shabbos takes precedence.
(story adapted from Echoes of the Maggid by Rabbi Paysach Krohn)
Did you ever give something up in order to keep Shabbos?
I’d love to hear about it in the comments section below!
Listening to a Shabbos song on jewishmusicstream.com: “Singing with the Angels” by Benny Friedman on his newest album “Bnei Heichala – a Shabbos with Benny Friedman”! I LOVE this album!!
Have a beautiful Shabbos!