Rabbi Frand on Parshas Vayakhel-Pekudei
These divrei Torah were adapted from the hashkafa portion of Rabbi Yissocher
Frand's Commuter Chavrusah Tapes on the weekly portion: Tape # 275,
Electricity In Halacha.
Dedicated This Year Le'eluy Nishmas Chaya Bracha Bas R. Yissocher Dov -
In memory of Mrs. Adele Frand
What Seems Futile In The Near Term May Have Long Term Results
In this week's reading there is a pasuk [verse] (similar to one found in
Parshas Ki Sisa) which reads "See, G-d has designated with a name (karah
b'shem) Betzalel son of Uri son of Chur" [Shmos 35:30]. Betzalel was the
"general contractor" of the Mishkan. Each time he is introduced, the Torah
makes a point of tracing his lineage both to his father and his grandfather.
Chur, Betzalel's grandfather, was the individual who stood up and objected
vociferously to the construction of the Golden Calf. He paid for this
protest with his life; Chur was killed. This was, in fact, one of the
sobering factors that caused Aharon to go along with the request to make a
It would seem that Chur sacrificed his life in vain. Nothing was
accomplished by his death. He tried to stop the Jewish People from making
the Golden Calf, but they killed him and made it anyway. By repeatedly
tracing Betzalel's lineage back to Chur, the Torah is emphasizing that Chur
did not die in vain.
Our Sages say that the reason why Betzalel was chosen to build the Mishkan
was because he was b'tzel - kel (in the shadow of G-d). He was not chosen
as a result of being the Frank Lloyd Wright of his generation. We do not
have any indication that Betzalel was a great architect or artisan, one who
innately possessed all the talents that his job required. What Betzalel did
have was an unbelievable attachment to G-d. Such an attachment to G-d is
necessary in order to create a place in this world that will be a Residence
for the Divine Presence (haShra-as haShechinah).
Where did Betzalel obtain this quality of b'tzel - kel? By taking his
genealogy back to Chur, the Torah emphasizes that these qualities did not
come from just anywhere. They are qualities that he inherited from his
grandfather. That quality that Chur exhibited -- a willingness to give his
life (be moser nefesh) for G-d's Honor -- was transferred through his son
Uri to his grandson Betzalel.
We always tend to consider the "bottom line": Did Chur accomplish anything
or not? Did he or did he not prevent the sin? Based on this narrow
evaluation, Chur was a failure. They made the Golden Calf anyway. However,
that narrow view is based on our view of the world. In G-d's world, that is
not the end of the story. A grandfather's dedication and sacrifice (mesiras
nefesh), which during its time may have been seen as futile, may still have
major impact on the potential accomplishments of future generations.
Moreover, our Sages say that the Mishkan was an atonement for the sin of the
Golden Calf. This atonement was brought about through the efforts of
Betzalel, who himself came from Chur. Thus, Chur was ultimately responsible
for the atonement for the sin that he tried to stop. Ultimately, Chur did
stop the Golden Calf -- he stopped its effect, by providing for its
The lesson of this verse is that we should not always look for instant
success. We live in a society where even "FedEx Overnight Delivery" is
no longer acceptable. "Fax it to me, now!"
However, that is not how G-d operates. Success is not evaluated
instantaneously. Chur's accomplishment was not perceived at the time, but
Chur did, in effect, provide the atonement for the sin of the Golden Calf.
This is the reason for the emphasis on the word "Re-uu" (See) which
introduces Betzalel. Re-uu means - think about it; SEE how life sometimes
Sunken Gates Will Be Appended to Prefabricated Third Temple
The pasuk says "Tavu b'Aretz She-areha..." [Eicha 2:9] -- the gates of the
Beis HaMikdash, the Temple, were hidden away, sunken into the ground,
before the Temple itself was destroyed. For some seemingly inexplicable
reason, G-d allowed the entire Beis HaMikdash to be destroyed, but left the
doors intact. This requires explanation.
Furthermore, the last 5 parshios -- Terumah, Tezaveh, Ki Tisa, VaYakhel and
Pekudei -- have been dealing with the mitzvah of "You shall make for me a
Sanctuary and I will dwell therein" [Shmos 25:8]. Apparently, this is a
mitzvah that none of us will ever have the opportunity to fulfill. Even if,
G-d willing, we will live to see the coming of Moshiach, it seems that we
will still not be able to fulfill this commandment. The reason for this is
because our Sages tell us that the Third Beis HaMikdash will descend from
Heaven - theoretically complete. This would appear to mean that in His
Kindness, G-d is removing this mitzvah from us. G-d will do it for us! If
so, what are _we_ going to do? Is G-d not going to allow us to participate
in this Mitzvah at all?
The Maharil Diskin (1818-1898) teaches a beautiful insight. The Talmud says
[Bava Basra 53b] "If a person builds a palace on the property of a deceased
convert (who has no legal heirs), and then a second person comes along and
establishes doors for the palace - the second person is the one who legally
acquires the property." The person who attaches the doors is considered to
have built the structure. [The Talmud explains that piling bricks one upon
the other does not acquire the property beneath it. Only once one creates a
complete enclosure is there an acquisition.]
Therefore - says the Maharil Diskin -- G-d in His Mercy knew that He had to
destroy the (Second) Beis HaMikdash, but He knew that ultimately he would
send down a replacement (Third) Beis HaMikdash. In addition, G-d knew that
by sending down a ready-made Third Beis HaMikdash He would be removing a
mitzvah from the Jewish people. Therefore, He never destroyed the doors to
the Second Beis HaMikdash.
In the future - may it come speedily in our days - the Third Beis HaMikdash
will descend from Heaven, but it will be missing one thing. It will not have
doors. The Jewish people will then attach the doors to the Third Beis
HaMikdash. As a result, it will be considered as though we fulfilled the
command of "You shall make for Me a Sanctuary". This is the meaning of the
prayer "Show us its building (har-eynu b'vinyono) and gladden us with its
establishment (v'samchenu b'Tikuno)" [Festival Liturgy]. The "show us its
building" refers to sending down the virtually completed Third Beis
HaMikdash. But we will be disappointed. We will say "What about our
obligation to perform the mitzvah of building the Beis HaMikdash?" To this
G-d will respond: "Attach the doors". We will then "establish" the Beis
HaMikdash by attaching the doors and will be gladdened by its formal
establishment and by the fact that we fulfilled the command of building it.
Such is the Kindness of our Father in Heaven. Even when he punishes and
burns our Temple, He has the forethought that in the future - even if it may
not be for over 2000 years - there will be provisions made for them to
rejoice in their participation of the final establishment of the Third Beis
Transcribed by David Twersky; Seattle, Washington.
Technical Assistance by Dovid Hoffman; Yerushalayim.
This write-up was adapted from the hashkafa portion of Rabbi Yissocher
Frand's Commuter Chavrusah Torah Tape series on the weekly Torah portion.
The complete list of halachic topics covered in this series for Parshas
Vayakhel-Pekudei are provided below:
- Tape # 047 - Pikuach Nefesh: To Save a Life
- Tape # 090 - The Melacha of Carrying.
- Tape # 138 - The Melacha of Tying Knots
- Tape # 185 - The Melacha of Writing
- Tape # 231 - Making A Siyum
- Tape # 275 - Electricity in Halacha
- Tape # 321 - Leap Year and the Second Adar
- Tape # 365 - The Melacha of Tearing
- Tape # 409 - The Melacha of Melabain (Laundering)
- Tape # 453 - Wearing a Watch on Shabbos
- Tape # 497 - The Tefillah of B'rich Sh'mei
- Tape # 541 - Learning Kabbalah
New! Yad Yechiel Institute is on-line! Visit http://www.yadyechiel.org !For information via email, you may also write to [email protected]
Tapes or a complete catalogue can be ordered from:
Yad Yechiel Institute
PO Box 511
Owings Mills, MD 21117-0511
Call (410) 358-0416 for further information.
Also Available: Mesorah / Artscroll has published a collection of Rabbi Frand's essays. The book is entitled:
Rabbi Yissocher Frand: In Print
and is available through your local Hebrew book store or from Project Genesis, 1-410-654-1799.
Rav Frand Books and Audio Tapes are now available for sale! Thanks to www.yadyechiel.org and Artscroll.com.