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Simcha Groffman

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Parashas Vayakhel/Pikudei

Hashem Helps You

"Betzalel, the son of Uri, the son of Chur, of the tribe of Yehuda, did everything as Hashem had commanded Moshe" (Shemos 38:22). What a strange statement! Hashem commanded Moshe to make the Mishkan. He explained all of the details to him. Moshe, in turn, commanded Betzalel to carry out the construction. It was Moshe, and not Hashem, who related the details to Betzalel. Why doesn't the verse relate what really happened by saying, "Betzalel did everything that Moshe commanded him." There must be a deeper meaning to this statement. The Gemora Yerushalmi (Peah 1:5) states that Betzalel did not hear all of the details from Moshe Rabbeinu. Still, he completed the work exactly as Hashem wanted. How was this possible? If he never heard the correct instructions, how could he perform the work correctly?

The Torah Temima explains that the secret is Siyata Di'Shmaya (Heavenly Assistance). When a person sets out to do a mitzvah, he has a certain intention. He may want only to fulfill the minimal requirements. He will only learn the basic halachos, spending little time, effort, and thought on the mitzvah. At the other extreme is a person who wants to fulfill Hashem's will to the best of his abilities. He will make the effort to learn as much about the mitzvah as he can. However, he may still find himself lacking. Who can possibly know all of the intricate details and deep kavannas (intentions) of even the "simplest" mitzvah? Hashem understands this. He sees that a person sets out to perform a mitzvah with no ulterior motive other than li'shaim Shomayim (for the sake of Heaven). He carries out the mitzvah to the best of his abilities, even though he may be lacking some information. Such a person receives Siyata Di'Shmaya and ends up doing the mitzvah exactly as Hashem wanted it.

That is the meaning of the verse, "Betzalel ... did everything as Hashem had commanded Moshe." Although he did not hear everything from The Almighty, he made it exactly as Hashem wanted. How? He received Siyata Di'Shmaya because he had kavannah li'shaim Shomayim to do the job perfectly. When a person wants so much to please Hashem, his reward is that he reaches perfection in his avodah.

Kinderlach . . .

Motivation and hard work are the keys to success in mitzvos. Mitzvos are sublime, complicated, and deep. How can we hope to perfect them? It may seem impossible. However, we have a lot of help. Hashem looks at our intention in performing the mitzvah. Are we doing it li'shaim Shomayim? He also looks at our effort. Are we putting in our maximum effort to do the mitzvah right? If the answer to these two questions is positive, then He will help us carry out the mitzvah exactly as He wants it to be done! Fantastic! Kinderlach may you always have Siyata Di'Shmaya in all of your mitzvos.

To Love the Mitzvah of Giving

"What disrespect! The students did not honor their Rebbe."

"Oy vey. What happened?"

"Look at the very end of the first aliyah in this week's parasha. The Torah states that the entire congregation of Bnei Yisrael left Moshe's presence without permission (Shemos 35:20)."

"They walked away from their Rebbe? How disrespectful!"

"Exactly. The Ohr HaChaim HaKadosh points out their apparent mistake and then justifies their actions. The Bnei Yisrael had just been commanded to take from their possessions, with a giving heart, the materials needed for the building of the Mishkan (Shemos 35:5-9). They had a great love for this mitzvah of building the Beis Hashem. The Torah is bringing us an example of the principle of 'ahavah mikalkeles es hashura' (love breaks the straight rules). They cherished this mitzvah so much, that in this case it was permitted for them to leave their Rebbe, go ahead him, and perform it first."


"There is another reason that they went before Moshe Rabbeinu. He was a very wealthy man, and had a tremendous love of the mitzvos. They were afraid that he would contribute all of the materials himself, leaving nothing for them to give. They so dearly wanted to donate the materials for the Mishkan that they went ahead of Moshe to prevent him from taking the entire mitzvah for himself."

"This story brings tears to my eyes. Such a love of mitzvos! Such a passion for giving! Our ancestors were truly selfless individuals."

"The Ohr HaChaim reveals another aspect of their generous hearts in the very next verse. 'Every man whose heart inspired him came; and everyone whose spirit motivated him brought the trumas Hashem.' (Shemos 35:21). There are two levels of giving revealed in this verse - a motivated spirit, and an inspired heart. A man with a motivated spirit gives what he can. The more he has, the more he donates. It is not a burden for him; rather he gives willingly with a happy heart. However, there is a higher lever - inspired heart. Such a person gives even more than he can. His heart is filled with such goodness that he gives above and beyond. His heart convinces him to give something valuable by telling him that he is richer than he thinks."

"His heart is right. He truly is rich. One who has such a great love of mitzvos along with a tremendous desire to give to Hashem is fabulously wealthy."

"Yes. The Torah calls him an 'ish'. This describes his supreme importance. One who calculates how much he can afford has not yet reached this madrayga (spiritual level). Only one with an inspired heart, who is so filled with goodness that he gives above and beyond, earns the exalted title of 'ish'."

"May we all reach that madrayga."

Kinderlach . . .

Our ancestors' love of mitzvos knew no bounds. They were afraid that they would not be able to contribute to the Mishkan. Therefore, they went ahead of their leader - Moshe Rabbeinu. Amazing. We sometimes see people pushing ahead to take something. Can you imagine pushing to the front in order to give tsedaka? Pushing because you are worried that you will not get a chance to contribute? How about a slightly different example - waiting at the back of the crowd at the bus stop to let people ahead of you. Waiting until everyone else is seated before you take a seat. Kinderlach, we can all increase our love for mitzvos. We can all learn to cherish self-sacrifice. Love those mitzvos! Especially the mitzvah of giving!

Parasha Questions:

Which materials did they contribute to the Mishkan? (35:5-9)

How did the women spin the goat hair thread? (Rashi 35:26)

Who was the mother of Chur? (Rashi 35:30)

How do we know that Hashem did not show favoritism to the aristocratic tribes? (Rashi 35:34)

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