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Torah Attitude: Parashas Vayakhel/Pekudei-Parashas HaChodesh: "We are all musicians in G'd's Orchestra."

Summary

Moses assembles every member of the Jewish people and instructs them to participate in the building of the Tabernacle. From every repetition we learn new lessons and teachings. When everyone gave a half shekel towards the building of the Tabernacle, they each had an equal share in the Tabernacle. The Tabernacle was a miniature replica of the entire universe. If the microcosm of the Tabernacle needed the participation of every member of the Jewish people, we can well understand the importance of every single Jew participating in the study and observance of the Torah and its laws. Rabbi Paysach Krohn told a story that illustrates the importance of every single musician playing their instrument. The famous symphony conductor, Arturo Toscanini, heard that one violin was missing. To the Conductor of the World Symphony, every word of Torah that is studied, every prayer that is uttered, and every mitzvah that is fulfilled, makes a difference. "We are all musicians in G'd's Orchestra."

Building the Tabernacle

In the first of this week's two parshios, Parashas Vayakhel, Moses assembles every member of the Jewish people and instructs them to participate in the building of the Tabernacle, according to the directions mentioned in the three previous parshios. In the second parasha, Parashas Pekudei, we find a detailed account of all the materials used for the Tabernacle. Afterwards, the Torah describes how they made the special garments for Aaron and his children. Finally, the Torah relates how they erected the Tabernacle and all the holy vessels that were needed for the daily service.

Repetitions

The fact that the Torah repeats several times the instructions to build the Tabernacle, and how everyone should be involved, shows G'd's love for every Jew and the importance of the construction of a place of worship, where everyone can feel that this is his place to connect with G'd. The Ohr HaChaim compares this to the several repetitions when Eliezer, the servant of Abraham, went to find a wife for Isaac. There Rashi (Bereishis 24:42) quotes from the Midrash Rabbah (ibid 60:8) that explains that the repetitions are an indication of the importance of what happened then. Rabbi Chaim Shmulevits elaborates on this and discusses how from every repetition we learn new lessons and teachings.

Equal share

In the beginning of last week's parasha, G'd instructed Moses to count the Jewish people. The counting took place by everyone having to give half a shekel towards the building of the Tabernacle. In this way, everyone knew that they had an equal share in the Tabernacle. On top of that, there were other opportunities to donate, each one according to their generosity. And whoever wanted to participate in the actual work to produce the various vessels and garments, as well as the Tabernacle itself, were welcome to do so, as it says (Shemos 35:22): "And the men came together with the women, all who were generous at heart "

Replica of the universe

The Midrash Tanchuma (Pekudei 2) explains that the Tabernacle was a miniature replica of the entire universe. In order to build such a microcosm of the universe, Bezalel was blessed with a Divine spirit, as it says in last week's parasha (Shemos 31:1-3): "And G'd said to Moses see I have appointed Bezalel and I have filled him with a spirit of G'd with wisdom, understanding and knowledge." The Talmud (Berachos 55a) learns that this teaches us that Bezalel was Divinely inspired to understand how to combine the letters of the alphabet as G'd had used them to create Heaven and Earth. This, says the Talmud, is alluded to in his name, as Bezalel can be read as "Bezeil Keil" which means "in the shadow of G'd." G'd allowed Bezalel to "shadow" Him so that he should be able to build the Tabernacle in its physical form with the proper spiritual dimension, so that it could be a true miniature of the world.

Importance of every single Jew

Last week we compared the creation of the world to a beautiful piece of music. We spoke about the importance of every musician playing their part in order that the full orchestra can do justice to the beauty of the music. If the microcosm of the Tabernacle needed the participation of every member of the Jewish people, we can well understand the importance of every single Jew participating in the study and observance of the Torah and its laws, as this is the only way we can produce the "sound" of the Creator's beautiful composition.

Rabbi Krohn

A few years ago I heard the famous author and beloved speaker, Rabbi Paysach Krohn, speak at a parlour meeting. He told a story and brought out a beautiful point that illustrates the importance of every single musician playing their instrument (the story has recently been printed by Artscroll in Rabbi Krohn's book "In the Splendour of the Maggid").

One missing

An accomplished writer was working on a biography of the famous symphony conductor, Arturo Toscanini. One day the writer called Toscanini and asked if he could visit him the following night. The great maestro told him that he could not meet that night, as he was planning to listen to a concert on the radio of an orchestra that he had conducted himself the previous year. The writer asked if he could join him and discuss the concert after it was over. Toscanini agreed on condition that he would not be disturbed during the concert, as he did not want to be distracted. The next night they listened together to the orchestra's performance, and when it was finished the writer said, "Wasn't that magnificent?" "No it wasn't", Toscanini answered sternly. "There were supposed to be 120 musicians, among them 15 violinists, but only 14 were present." The writer could not believe his ears, but did not dare question the great maestro. However, he wanted to investigate to verify if Toscanini was right. The next morning he called the director of the orchestra and asked him how many musicians were supposed to be in the orchestra, and how many had actually shown up. The director told him that there were supposed to be 120 musicians, but one of the 15 violinists called in sick. The writer was in awe and could not understand how Toscanini could have noticed the missing sound of one violin. That night he returned to Toscanini and asked him how he was able to discern the missing violin in an orchestra of 120 musicians. Toscanini answered with authority and said, "There is a great difference between you and me. As part of the audience everything sounds great to you. But I, being a conductor, must know every sound that comes forth from the orchestra. When I heard the concert, I noticed that some notes were missing, and I knew immediately that one violinist was missing."

Every note makes a difference

Rabbi Krohn told this story in the name of Rabbi Moshe Plutchok from Yeshiva Derech Chaim in Brooklyn, who had heard it on a Jewish radio station. Rabbi Plutchok used this story to teach an amazing insight. It may not make any difference to us whether another person is studying Torah or observing a commandment, for we are all part of the audience. But to the Conductor of the World Symphony, Who knows every note of music that can come forth, to Him every word of Torah that is studied, every prayer that is uttered, and every mitzvah that is fulfilled, makes a difference.

G'd's Orchestra

Rabbi Krohn concluded and said, "We are all musicians in G'd's Orchestra. The drummer cannot play the cello, the cellist cannot play the flute, and the flutist cannot play the violin. Each must play his instrument to the best of his ability. We are all different and we must perform with the talents, mindset and personalities we were given. We must always focus on the best we can be and perform on the highest level of our capability for the Conductor of the World Symphony."

These words were based on a talk given by Rabbi Avraham Kahn, the Rosh Yeshiva and Founder of Yeshivas Keser Torah in Toronto.

These words were based on a talk given by Rabbi Avraham Kahn, the Rosh Yeshiva and Founder of Yeshivas Keser Torah in Toronto.

Shalom. Michael Deverett

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