Parshios Vayakhel & Pekudei
Why Did Moshe Save His Blessing For Parshas Pekudei?
These divrei Torah were adapted from the hashkafa portion of Rabbi Yissocher
Frand's Commuter Chavrusah Tapes on the weekly portion: Tape # 805, Barch
Sh'omar, Ashrei and Yishtabach. Good Shabbos!
Parshas Pekudei is the last of 5 Parshiyos in the second half of Sefer Shmos
that contains the details of how the Mishkan was built. If we feel a sense
of accomplishment at having learned these 5 parshas, we can imagine the joy
the people experienced at the momentous occasion in Parshas Pekudei, when
the Mishkan was finally assembled for the first time. We read in the parsha
that "Moshe saw all the work, and behold! - They had done it as Hashem had
commanded; so had they done; and Moshe blessed them. [Shmos 39:43]"
Rashi quotes Chazal that the blessing Moshe gave them was "May the Divine
Presence of G-d rest in the work of your hands". Now that all is said and
done, the blessing was that the L-rd should rest His Presence on the people
and on the building.
Rav Simcha Schepps, who was a Rosh Yeshiva in Torah VoDaas, shared an
interesting insight. Rav Schepps says that a more logical place to have
given the Jewish people this Bracha [blessing] would have been at the outset
of the building of the Mishkan. The pasuk near the beginning of Parshas
Terumah says: "They shall make Me a Sanctuary so that I may dwell among
them" [Shmos 25:8]. This Bracha of "May the Divine Presence of G-d rest in
the work of your hands" would have been a very appropriate blessing to say
at that moment. Why does Moshe save it for the end of the process?
Rav Schepps answers based on a pasuk in Tehillim, with which most of us are
familiar: "Who will go up upon the Mountain of Hashem and who will rise
up to His holy place?" [Tehillim 24:3]. All the commentaries say that this
pasuk alludes to the fact that there are two different challenges in life.
There is the "Who will go up upon the Mountain of Hashem?" This means who
has the strength of character and the drive to go up to the Mountain of G-d?
This is one challenge. But there is an even greater challenge than getting
up there. The greater challenge is once you are already at the top of the
mountain, to be able to stay up there.
In fact, it is easier to climb to the top of the Mountain of Hashem than it
is to remain there. Repetition and boredom set in. The day in, day out,
monotony sets in. Remaining on the Mountain of the L-rd is a much more
difficult task than going up there in the first place.
In August / September, during Elul Zeman in Yeshivos - everyone is
enthusiastic. By the time we reach the end of Adar, only the elite are still
standing at the peak of the Mountain of Hashem. It is like that in many
areas of life.
When we were Bar Mitzvah boys and we started putting on Tefillin, the ritual
involved great excitement. When one has been putting on Tefillin for 40 or
50 years, some of that enthusiasm is lost. The truth of the matter is that
this is the way it is in most marriages as well. "The first year" is great.
It is the honeymoon period. But when one has been married 10, 20, or 30
years, the excitement of that first year does not seem to persist.
We cannot let that happen. The challenge is not only "Who will climb up the
Mountain of G-d?" to reach the peak of the mountain. The challenge is even
more so, "who will remain standing on His holy place?"
So, at the beginning of the building of the Mishkan, everyone was enthused.
Remember the context. They had committed the sin of the Golden Calf. The
Almighty threatened to wipe them out. Moshe Rabbeinu prayed on their behalf
and finally on Yom Kippur, he descended again from Mt. Sinai with the second
Luchos. They started building the Mishkan on the day after Yom Kippur.
Everyone participated with adrenalin and emotion. That is the phase of "Who
will climb up the Mountain of G-d?"
However, now that the Mishkan is built, the excitement dissipates. Now
starts the day in, day out, repetitive routine. Morning, evening, morning,
We bring the same Korban Tamid, day in and day out. Therefore, Moshe
Rabbeinu's Bracha to them is "May it be His will that His Divine Presence
abide in the handicraft of your hands." In other words, may the initial
enthusiasm be maintained throughout the ongoing phase of the Mishkan's daily
Using the Term "House of Israel" Instead of the Term "Children of
I heard the following thought in the name of Rav Nochum Lansky, one of the
Roshei Yeshiva in Yeshivas Ner Yisroel.
Parshas Pekudei marks the end of the Book of Shmos. The last pasuk in the
Book of Shmos reads as follows: "For the cloud of Hashem would be on
the Mishkan by day, and fire would be on it at night, before the eyes of all
the House of Israel in all their journeys." [Shmos 40:38]
Let us contrast the use of the wording "House of Israel" with the last pasuk
at the end of the Book of Vayikra: "These are the commandments that
Hashem commanded Moshe to the Children of Israel on Mount Sinai." [Vayikra
27:34] Similarly, the last pasuk at the end of the book of Bamidbar says:
"These are the commandments and the ordinances that Hashem commanded through
Moshe to the Children of Israel in the Plains of Moav, at the Jordan, by
Jericho." [Bamidbar 36:13]
Both the book of Vayikra and the book of Bamidbar end with the more commonly
used expression Children of Israel (Bnei Yisrael), while the book of Shmos
ends with the less commonly used designation "House of Israel" (Beis
Yisrael). What is the nuance here? What is the Torah hinting at?
Rav Lansky suggests that there is a tremendous symmetry here. How does the
Book of Shmos begin? The opening pasuk reads: "And these are the
names of the Children of Israel who came to Egypt with Yaakov, each man AND
HIS HOUSEHOLD (u'beiso) came." [Shmos 1:1] This book is about the
genesis of the Jewish people. This is where we became a nation. But a nation
is not a conglomeration of millions of people. A nation - at least the
Jewish nation - is a nation of families. That is what makes us into an "am"
[nation]. It is the BAYIS [household] that makes us into a nation. If we
think back to the narrative of the Book of Shmos, we will see this emphasis
on the BAYIS over and over again. "They should take a lamb for the
HOUSEHOLDs of the fathers; a lamb per HOUSEHOLD" [Shmos 12:3]. The Korban
Pessach was brought together with one's family. "Thus shall you say to the
HOUSE (beis) of Yaakov..." [Shmos 19:3]. The formation of the Jewish nation
is family by family. This is our strength.
We hear so much about the dissolution of American society and how we are
losing the structure of our society because the nuclear family is breaking
up. Just as a chain is only as strong as its links, so too a nation is only
as strong as its families. That is why the book of Shmos places such an
emphasis on the building of 'Bayis' - faithful households.
Rav Shimshon Raphael Hirsch notes that the halacha exempts a groom from
going off to war during the first year of marriage. The rule of thumb is
that whenever there is a clash between a mitzvah incumbent on the public
(mitzvah d'rabim) and a private mitzvah (mitzvah d'yachid), the public
mitzvah takes precedence. In light of this principle, Rav Hirsch asks why
the personal mitzvah to rejoice with one's wife the first year of marriage
trumps the public mitzvah to go out to battle with the nation. Rav Hirsch
answers that building and cementing the relationship that is the foundation
of a Jewish household IS a mitzvah d'rabbim (a mitzvah affecting the
nation). This is a contribution to the entire community. We are only a
nation by virtue of the fact that we are a nation of strong
For this reason, the book of Shmos begins with the pasuk that emphasizes
that the Jewish people came down to Egypt - "each man with his
HOUSEHOLD" and ends with the pasuk which emphasizes "the entire HOUSE of
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?
Tape #1068 - "This (Aron Kodesh/Ner Tamid/Window) Is Donated By".A Good Idea
Tape #1111 - Paying the Baal Koreh/Chazan/Babysitter for Shabbos
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