This parsha-post is dedicated as a refuah shleima for Yosef Yisrael ben Rochel Raizel, my grandfather, and master of creative work in my family.
Good Shabbos all wonderful readers!
Within the past few Parshyios, we have learned much about the laws and details of building the Mishkan. We have also recounted how the Kohein Gadol’s (High Priest) garments were designed.
We can only imagine the full splendor of the Kohein Gadol’s beautiful vestments. It’s also difficult to imagine the amount of effort it took to create them.
The Ramban brings us to realize, that we can’t even accomplish such artistic feats today! That Divinely inspired knowledge and skill, has simply faded from our minds and hands… May the day soon come, when Hashem once more grants us this gift, to rebuild His Holy House!
Hashem selected two certain men from the Bnei Yisroel, who were blessed with this marvelous insight, and told Moshe to appoint them the positions of leadership in the Mishkan’s construction. The two men were Betzalel, from the Shevet (Tribe) of Yehudah, as the master architect and Oholiav, from the Shevet of Dan, as his assistant.
Some say Betzalel was only 13– just Bar Mitzvah– when he was appointed chief architect! Yet he was blessed with wisdom and insight far beyond his years, which qualified him to undertake this precious job, this exalted avoda (service) to Hashem. Betzalel can teach us to recognize our own unique potential! Hashem blessed us all with our own individual strengths and talents– how delightful it must be to Hashem, when we discover, and wisely use, these gifts He’s bestowed upon us!
Now, let us return to the Kohein Gadol’s garments, which we’ll be focusing on in this parsha-post.
This week, Parshat Vayakhel, and Parshat Pekudei, are joined together. Within them, we recapitulate the details of the Mishkan’s vessels and Kohein’s vestments. Let’s look a little closer at some of the wording, with the assistance of the commentator Netziv:
When the Torah first speaks about crafting the Kohein Gadol’s garments, the process is described in the singular form.
An example from Parshat Tetzaveh: “V-asita et-me’il ha’eiphod k’lil techeiles – You shall make the robe of the ephod of pure blue.”
“V’asita – and you shall make,” is singular, for this was a command of instruction to one person– this individual was Betzalel, who was to begin the crafting of each object in the Mishkan.
When we reassess the formation of the garments here (in Parshat Vayakhel-Pekudei), we discover that the process is illustrated in the plural form!
Another example, this time from this week’s parsha: “Vayasu al-hachoshen sar’s’ros gavlus ma’asei avos zahav tahor – On the breastplate they made braided chains of corded work in pure gold.”
“Vayasu – they made,” is in the plural, alluding to all the other artisans who served in the construction of the Mishkan!
Betzalel began all the holy garments of the Kohein Gadol, to serve in the Mishkan, and the other craftspeople concluded the projects. This was the method for nearly all the vestments, with the exception of a few, including the tzitz– head-plate, on which the words “Holy to Hashem” were engraved.
Betzalel was surely rewarded for his tremendous talent and service, but the credit for the exquisite craftsmanship for the holy clothing, went to the hard workers who came to assist Betzalel!
With much time and effort, these craftspeople invested their own gifts, talents, and blessed wisdom from Hashem, to ‘complete the deed.’
And the Netziv concludes: These hard workers are hinted to lastly, in outlining the design of the garments and vessels, so as not to delay their reward. When multiple people perform a mitzvah, the credit for it is given to the one who completed the action…. Since they were the ones who effectuated Hashem’s command, through Betzalel’s crafts , acclaim for the work was attributed to them.
We should all aspire to recognize our creative potential, and we shouldn’t let anything stand in the way of our sharing it, to delight Hashem, and better the world!
And perhaps using our creativity and effort for the right purposes, elevating it, we will merit something great. Let’s use it to build, and perhaps Hashem will grant us the wishes, and answers to our prayers, beyond our wildest dreams! May we soon merit the chance, to rebuild Hashem’s Holy House, in all its glory and splendor!
The Messenger Bird