Thursday, May 21, 2015

468 - Vayakhel - Pekudei

It is interesting to note that while Betzalel directed the construction of the entire Mishkan and its vessels, his name is mentioned only in conjunction with the aron: "And Betzalel made the aron of acacia wood. . ." (Shemos 37:1). The Ramban (ibid.) explains that since Betzalel was the greatest craftsman from amongst Bnei Yisrael he alone was instructed to fashion the aron. He was charged with this assignment not because the aron was the most difficult part of the construction of the Mishkan. Rather, since he was filled with Divine wisdom, he had the ability to contemplate the aron's construction and fashion it with the proper intentions.

Rav Wolbe comments (Shiurei Chumash Vayakhel 36:8) that we can deduce from here that greatness is measured by the amount one contemplates (hisbonenus). A doctor who performs a medical examination by taking a cursory glance at a patient before scribbling a prescription, would not be considered an expert. A skilled practitioner will first listen carefully to all the patient's symptoms and then analyze them before offering a diagnosis.

Greatness is gauged not as much by the extent of one's wisdom as much as by the amount that one contemplates. Whenever Rav Wolbe was asked a question, before presenting his answer he would take some time to ponder the question and to formulate a proper answer. Although he most probably had the answers to many of the questions on the tip of his tongue, he would always take the time to consider the question (and the questioner) before answering.

Hisbonenus does not necessarily have to be a time consuming endeavor. Spending a few seconds before davening thinking about Whom one is about to speak to, can change this thrice daily experience. A few minutes spent contemplating one's spiritual state in light of what he has studied in a mussar sefer can effect a change that many hours of perfunctory reading cannot. Small amounts of mental exertion can garner great amounts of spiritual acquisitions!

No comments: