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by Dr. Avigdor Bonchek


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Parashas Pikudie (71)

Exodus 39: 43

Moses saw all the work and behold, they had made it as Hashem had commanded so had they done; and Moses blessed them.


And Moses blessed them: Rashi: He said to them: 'May it be His will that the Shechina rest in the work of your hands.' "May the pleasantness of the Lord, our G-d and make the work of our hands," etc. (Psalms 90:17). This is one of the eleven songs attributed to Moses.


A Question: What is bothering Rashi that led him to this comment?

Your Answer:


An Answer: It says Moses blessed the people but the Torah doesn't tell what his blessing was. Isaac blessed his sons (Genesis 27:27); and we are told what the blessings were. Jacob blessed his Joseph (Genesis 48:15); we are told what the blessing was. Moses blessed the people (Deut. 33:1) and the Torah tells us the blessings. But here we are not told what the blessing was. Rashi fills us in on it.

How does he conclude what exactly the prayer was?

Your Answer:


An Answer: The Jews built the Mishkan at G-d's request. G-d wanted the Mishkan so He could dwell in their midst (Exodus 25:8). So certainly his fervent blessing would be that this goal was achieved. Thus Rashi says 'May it be the will that the Shechina rest in the work of your hands.' The word Shechina comes from the word shachein' to dwell; it is sometimes called 'The In-dwelling" and it means He dwells in our midst.


Then Rashi adds the verse from Psalms (90). "May the pleasantness of the Lord, our G-d be upon us, and make the work of our hands established for us, and the works of our hands, establish it."

This phrase is particularly apt for this occasion for several reasons:

* Psalm 90 is Moses' prayer (called "A prayer by Moses")

* It mentions "the works ( Hebrew 'ma'asei yadeinu') of our hands". The verb "to make" ( Hebrew 'Vaya'asu') is repeated dozens of times in this parasha.

* The word pleasantness ( Hebrew 'noam') is associated with the Temple. As it says: "One thing I asked of Hashem, that I shall seek: That I shall dwell in the house of Hashem all the days of my life to behold the pleasantness ( Hebrew 'noam') of Hashem and to visit early in His Sanctuary" (Psalms 27:4).

So it very appropriate as the prayer for the construction of G-d's place of dwelling.


Moses quotes the verse which says: "and make the work of our hands" etc. Moses says 'our hands'; but was Moses personally involved in making the Mishkan?

Your Answer:

An Answer: Yes, he was. See verse 40:18 "And Moses set up the Mishkan" and later verse 40:33 "And Moses completed the work." So Moses was more than an overseer of the construction of the Mishkan; he personally participated in its construction.

The verse repeats the words "make the work of our hands established for us, and the works of our hands, establish it." What does this repetition refer to?


The commentaries say that the first phrase refers to holy work like the building of the Mishkan. The second phrase "and the works of our hands, establish it" refers to each person's own personal work, his vocation. The prayer is that he should be successful both in his holy work and in his every day work.


What do the additional words "This is one of the eleven Psalms attributed to Moses" mean?"

Psalm number 90 says explicitly "A prayer of Moses" but none of the next ten mentions Moses as the author. But Psalm number 101 begins "To David, a psalm", so all the intervening songs between 90 and 101 are attributed to Moses until a psalm that is attributed to someone else.


It is not clear why Rashi has to mention that the eleven psalms are attributed to Moses. It does not appear to be relevant.

A question!

Shabbat Shalom
Avigdor Bonchek

"What's Bothering Rashi?" is produced by the Institute for the Study of Rashi and Early Commentaries. The five volume set of "What's Bothering Rashi?" is available at all Judaica bookstores.

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