Wednesday, August 13, 2014

416 - Vayakhel

While the parshiyos of Terumah and Tetzaveh recount Hashem's commandment to build the Mishkan, the parshiyos of Vayakhel and Pekudei recount the actual construction of the Mishkan. Regarding each aspect of the Mishkan the Torah writes simply, "And he made. . ." Yet, when describing the construction of the Aron, the Torah writes, "And Betzalel made the Aron." Rashi explains that because Betzalel expended great effort in building the Aron, it was "called by his name."

Rav Wolbe (Shiurei Chumash) cites another few places that we find this idea. Shimon and Levi are described as, "Dinah's brothers" (Bereishis 34, 25) because they put their lives on the line to save her from the clutches of Shechem. Miriam is referred to as, "the sister of Moshe" (Shemos 15, 20) because she was moser nefesh for him when he was placed in the Nile. The very last prophecy recorded in Tanach, "Remember the Torah of Moshe My servant" (Malachi 3, 22) refers to the Torah as belonging to Moshe because he was moser nefesh on behalf of the Torah. 

We might add that while the Torah is specifically referred to as belonging to Moshe, Chazal tell us that the Torah becomes the personal acquisition of anyone who expends effort and toils in its study. "Said Rava, 'initially the Torah is ascribed to Hashem, and eventually it is ascribed to him'" (Avodah Zara 19a). Rashi explains that, "him" refers to the student who toiled in the study of Torah. This acquisition is not external, says Rav Wolbe, for the Torah changes the very essence of he who toils in its precepts. 

We can learn, daven and perform numerous mitzvos without them having a profound effect upon us. If we want the Torah and mitzvos to be truly ours, to change our essence and create a real connection to Hashem, then we must expend effort in their performance. This might translate into an extra five minutes of learning after one has decided that he is ready to close the Gemara, or making an added effort to concentrate during Shema or the first bracha in Shemoneh Esrei. In the area of chesed it might mean helping someone at the expense of a personal pleasure or making a difficult phone call that might help someone with a shidduch. The opportunities are endless, and many can be found in one's very own home! People are wont to say, "You get what you pay for." Similarly the spiritual reward in this world is directly proportionate to the effort expended in the performance of Hashem's will!

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