We Toil And Receive Reward -- For The Toil!
These divrei Torah were adapted from the hashkafa portion of Rabbi Yissocher
Frand's Commuter Chavrusah Tapes on the weekly portion: Tape # 231, Making a
Siyum. Good Shabbos!
Parshas Pikudei concludes the construction of the Mishkan. After the
construction of all the individual components of the Mishkan, they brought
the parts to Moshe. Rash"i quotes the Medrash Tanchuma, which explains that
the reason why the Mishkan was brought to Moshe was because everyone else
was unable assemble it. The Mishkan was simply too heavy for anyone to lift.
Since Moshe had not been personally involved in any part of the construction
of the Mishkan, HaShem [G-d] reserved the privilege of final assembly for him.
When HaShem told Moshe to assemble the Mishkan, Moshe protested that it was
too heavy for him to lift as well. HaShem told Moshe to make the effort.
"Make it look like you are trying to erect it." Moshe made the effort and
miraculously, the Mishkan was assembled by itself. Since Moshe made the
effort, he received the credit for having put it up.
Rav Meir Rubman explains that we can learn a very important insight
regarding spirituality from this Medrash. The Medrash teaches us that
regardless of the difficulty of the task, we must make the effort. In other
areas of endeavor, a person is only given credit for producing. However,
when it comes to Judaism, HaShem is not necessarily interested in results;
He is interested in the effort.
The concept that a person receives an "A" for effort is usually a backhanded
compliment. In actuality, you received a "D", a near failing grade, but at
least you received an "A" for effort. That is the way it is in other areas
of life. But when it comes to Mitzvos, all Hashem asks from us that we make
the effort. Whether the task is actually accomplished or not is often out of
our control and up to Hashem.
At the conclusion of a Mesechta [tractate of the Talmud], we say the prayer
"We toil and they toil. We toil and receive reward and they toil and do not
receive reward." What does it mean, "they toil and do not receive reward"?
This does not seem to be a true statement. People do not work without
The answer is that when we work (at religious tasks), we are paid for the
effort, regardless of whether or not we produce. But 'they' are only paid
for the bottom line. In all other areas of endeavor, toil that does not
produce results does not receive reward.
Not long ago (1992), I was in Atlanta for a Torah retreat. Atlanta is an
amazing community. Thirty years ago they did not have a minyan [quorum] of
Sabbath observers. Today, over 300 people come to shul on Shabbos -- all of
them are in some stage of having intensified their observance of mitzvos.
I asked Rabbi Emanuel Feldman (Rabbi Emeritus of Congregation Beth Jacob in
Atlanta), "What is the key to your success?" Rabbi Feldman told me that the
key is to try to plant seeds. That is all a Rabbi can do. He can try to
nurture and water the seeds, but really all he can do is try. He never knows
for sure whether his efforts will succeed.
For example, one individual who recently returned to intensive Jewish
involvement and observance told Rabbi Feldman that he made his decision
because of a Yom Kippur sermon that Rabbi Feldman delivered 15 years
earlier. A comment in that sermon had struck home. He did not act upon it
then, but 15 years later, he decided to become religious.
Success is not what Kiruv Rechokim is about. Kiruv Rechokim is about effort.
Whether or not the Mishkan is actually erected is HaShem's worry. We toil
and we receive reward - for the effort.
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 Shabos
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
Tape # 805 Baruch Sh'omar Ashrei, and Yishtabach
Tape # 849 Saying L'shem Yichud A Good Idea?
Tape # 893 The Unique Parshas Sh'kolim
Tape # 937 Magnetic Forces
Tape # 980 Siyum M'sechta: For The Past Or For The Future?
Tape #1024 Turning That Old Dress Into A Cover for a Sefer Torah?
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