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by Dr. Avigdor Bonchek


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Parashas Pikudei


Exodus 39:32

And all the work (avodah) of the Tabernacle, the Tent of Meeting, was completed and the Chldren of Israel made according to all that Hashem had commanaded Moses, so they did.

And the Children of Israel made: Rashi: the work (the melachah) according to all that Hashem commanded etc.

Rashi adds just the two words, "the work." He is telling us that the Israelites did the work of the Tabernacle But this is obvious. That is what the first half of the verse says, "And all the work of the Tabernacle was completed..."

What is Rashi adding to our understanding?

What is Bothering Rashi?

Did you notice that the word "to do" is repeated in this verse? "And the Children of Israel did all that Hashem commanded Moses, so they did."

This repetition of the word "did" is what is bothering Rashi.

By adding the words "the work" Rashi deftly accomplishes two things.

First he clarifies a possible misunderstanding. He tells us that the word "v'asu" means "to make" and not "to do." They made the work (meaning, the Tabernacle and the vessels ).

Secondly, he shows us that there is no repetition here. The verse is to be read as two separate clauses. It now reads "And the Children of Israel MADE (the Tabernacle). Just as Hashem had commanded Moses so they DID."

If we look closer we see another trick of Rashi. The Torah uses the words "avodah" Rashi uses the words "melachah." Why?

While both these words are translated into English as "work" they really have two different meanings. "Avodah" means work in the sense of "toil." The word "melachah" on the other hand means "articfact" something created.

One makes an artifact, and one does work. But one doesn't do an artifact, nor does one make labor. Now we understand why the two words "asu" have two different meanings. Rashi tells us that "vaya'asu" used with "avodah" means "to do" while "asu" use with "melacha" means " to make." Rashi's verbal precision is amazing.

A note to our readers: We are preparing to publish the Vayikra volume of "What's Bothering Rashi?" It will add another dimension to the study of Rashi - this time Rashi's creative use of the midrash. We are looking for sponsors of this volume to enable us to publish it. Contributions can be made in Memory of or in Honor of close ones. The previous volumes of "What's Bothering Rashi?" have been adopted for use in many schools and into many Jewish homes. Your sponsorship will make it possible to continue and enlarge this project. Those interested can write msbonch@mscc.huji.ac.il

Shabbat Shalom

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