Rabbi Frand on Parshas Vayakhel-Pekudei
These divrei Torah were adapted from the hashkafa portion of Rabbi
Frand's Commuter Chavrusah Tapes on the weekly portion: Tape # 453, The
Tefillah of B'rich Sh'mei. Good Shabbos!
The Key To Success Is Initiative
Parshas Vayakhel contains a verse describing the people who came forth in
the construction of the Tabernacle: "Every man whose heart inspired him
(asher nesa'o leebo) came and everyone whose spirit motivated him brought
the portion of Hashem for the work of the Tent of Meeting, for all its
labor and for the sacred vestments." [Shmos 35:21]
The Ramban notes that the Mishkan was an impressive structure. However,
when Moshe Rabbeinu called forth the people to come participate in its
construction, he was taking a big chance. The people were not trained
architects or builders. Most of these people did not know the difference
between a hammer and a screwdriver. However, the Ramban says that somehow
the people found it within their nature to do what they were called upon
The Ramban interprets the expression asher nesa'o leebo, literally as
"whose heart lifted him up". They had neither the training nor the skill
but they had the inspiration and daring and initiative that it took to get
the job done. That is all it took to accomplish what needed to be
accomplished. More than skill, a person needs ambition.
This Ramban is teaching us that the greatest key to success is not
necessarily the training. It is the ambition and initiative to do
The Mirer Mashgiach, Rav Yeruchem writes similarly: "If one looks at the
great people in the world, if one looks at those who have made financial
fortunes – most, if not all such people achieved their greatness thanks to
their tremendous drive and initiative." Rav Yeruchem further writes that
the difference between the Rishonim [Medieval Jewish scholars] and us is
not their IQ or intelligence. The difference is that they had a tremendous
drive and sense of ambition to know all of Torah. That is what separates
them from us!
That is the way it is in every endeavor in life. The people who have the
guts and gumption to accomplish the lofty goals they set out for
themselves are those who succeed.
Someone recently lent me a book about the Reichman family. In their
heyday, the Reichmans were the biggest real estate development company in
the history of the world. Many of us are aware of the tremendous
generosity of the family – giving out millions and millions of dollars to
Tzedaka and Torah causes.
How did they get started in the construction business? According to the
book, they had a tile business -– the Olympia Tile Company. They sold
building material. One day, they decided they needed a bigger warehouse.
They went to several different general contractors and gave their
requirements for building a new warehouse. The lowest bid that came back
was $120,000. Mr. Reichman thought to himself: "I bet that for $120,000 I
can build a warehouse myself. I bet I can build it cheaper."
At the time, he did not know the first thing about construction. He knew
nothing about building. All he knew was that he believed in himself and he
believed that he could build a warehouse that would meet his needs for
less than $120,000. So it was. He built it for $70,000. He then said to
himself, "You know -– this is not a bad business." The Reichmans started
building one story warehouses. From there they moved on to multi-story
buildings. One thing led to another until they became the biggest real
estate development company in the world. Why? Because "nesa-o leebo". It
was because of initiative. "I'll try it! I can do it."
When Moshe asked for volunteers to build a Mishkan, people came forth
willing to try and determined that they would succeed. Ambition.
Initiative. Gall. These are the keys to success.
Ironically, Rav Yeruchem says, when Moshe Rabbeinu –- for the best of
reasons -- contained his ambition, he was punished. Rav Yeruchem is
referring to the incident by the burning bush. Moshe hid his face [Shmos
3:6]. According to Rav Yehoshua ben Korcha in the Medrash, Moshe was not
acting properly at that moment. Had he not hid his face then, had he had a
little more "chutzpah" and ambition at that moment, G-d would have
revealed all the secrets of the world to Moshe –- a desire that Moshe
later had, but was denied.
Such is the beauty and power of initiative and ambition.
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
Tape # 585 – The Melacha of Trapping
Tape # 629 – Sitting in Judgement on Shabbos
Tape # 672 – The Mishebeirach in Halacha
Tape # 673 – Putting a Sefer Torah in the Aron
Tape # 717 - One Hundred Brochos a Day
Tape # 761 – Killing Two Birds With One Stone
Tapes or a complete catalogue can be ordered from the
Yad Yechiel Institute, PO Box 511, Owings Mills MD 21117-0511.
Call (410) 358-0416 or e-mail [email protected] or visit
http://www.yadyechiel.org/ for further information.
Text Copyright © 2006 by Rabbi Yissocher Frand and Torah.org.
Transcribed by David Twersky; Seattle, Washington.
Technical Assistance by Dovid Hoffman; Yerushalayim.
Rav Frand Books and Audio Tapes are now available for sale! Thanks to www.yadyechiel.org and Artscroll.com.