Dear friends and readers, I hope you will pardon – and perhaps enjoy – the informality of this rather belated parsha thought, for last week’s double portion of Vayakhel-Pekudei.  Let us dedicate our learning as a zechus for a refuah Sheleima for Yael Chana bas Tamara and Ester Shaindel bas Shoshana.


In the first Aliyah of the parsha, Moshe reiterates Bnei Yisroel Hashem’s instructions for what they needed to make an/or donate to construct, craft, enhance and establish the Mishkan.  Near the end of the Aliyah, the Torah describes, rather tersely and vaguely, the following scenario:

וְהַנְּשִׂאִ֣ם הֵבִ֔יאוּ אֵ֚ת אַבְנֵ֣י הַשֹּׁ֔הַם וְאֵ֖ת אַבְנֵ֣י הַמִּלֻּאִ֑ים לָֽאֵפ֖וֹד וְלַחֽשֶׁן:

V’hanesi’im hayvi’u eis avnei hashoham v’eis avnei hamilu’im la’eifod v’lachoshen.

And the princes brought the shoham stones and filling stones for the eiphod and for the choshen.

{Shemos 35:27}

Rashi brings down the following:

It is elucidated that the princes only began to bring their gifts when it was time to make the Mizbeyach.  R’ Natan inquires why this was so.  The answer simply is, is that the heads-of-tribes chose to wait until the masses gave, and then they’d supplement whatever materials remained to be checked off the list.  They didn’t expect such a devotion and generosity craze as that which possessed the people, inspiring them to give until Moshe had to halt them, as it says, “And the work was sufficient” {Shemos 36:7}  Therefore, the surprised princes hastened to bring the stones as quoted above in the pasuk, and also were first to provide for the inauguration of the Mizbeyach (altar).

However, since they chose to be passive and did not concern themselves with supporting the Mishkan project as soon as possible, their title in the above-quoted verse lacks the “yud’s” characterizing the normal spelling, וְהַנְשִׂיאִים.  I guess it’s like they say..: “You snooze, you lose!”

A Torah thought of my own:

The leaders of our narrative failed to apply zrizus, alacrity, to their service of G-d in this instance.  Zrizus is crucial to our performance of mitzvo;s; without it, how would we snatch up the opportunity to do a mitzvah?  Without such attention, swiftness and passion, all those moments, which could’ve been elevated to the sancitfied and eternal, are gone by and lost forever.  We must rouse ourselves to be constantly on guard, for the Yetzer Hara is a persistent little voice, urging us to be passive and indifferent to the potential of the moment, and of our true service of Hashem.  The letter that was eliminated from the princes’ mention was a yud, which bears the numerical value of the number ten, reminiscent of the Ten Commandments, the Aseres haDibros, in which all the 613 mitzvos are rooted and can be traced back to.

What might be the secret here for us today?  We are all royalty, sons and daughters of Hashem our King; but if we neglect to integrate and employ zrizus, the effort and swiftness in our personal battles to constantly cleave to the path of Hashem, then we will lose our yud, our Torah.  Hashem believes in us infinitely though, to rise up again, fight back, and succeed.


May you all be blessed with unwavering strength to overcome your personal struggles, constant hope and inspiration, even from unlikely places, and quickness of mind and body to take advantage of the G-d given opportunities sent your way to do another mitzvah and bring more light into the world, to make it a fitting home for Hashem.


The Messenger Bird

P.S.  As I’ve begun studying the character development work called Mesillas Yesharim (Pathway of the Upright) by the Ramchal, R’ Moshe Chaim Luzzato zt”l, I’ve entered the chapters focusing solely on this topic o zrizus (alacrity).  Once I review the lessons from there, and also take a peek into the Tanya, I may return to this article and add more.  Stay tuned!