Parshas Vayakel-Pekudei:
 By: Yaacov Silverstein
e@mail: hm16@popeye.cc.biu.ac.il
HomePage: http://faculty.biu.ac.il/~hm16/

This Dvar Torah was prepared in the merit and memory of my grandfather: Rav Yitzchak Zev Ben Yisroel Mordechai HaKohen Solomon

Parshas Vayakel-Pekudei:


"The Nessim(tribal princes) brought the ShoHam stones and the stones used for the Ephod and Choshen".

Rashi's explanation:


Rashi comments on this Pasuk by saying that "Rav Nosson said, what made the Nessim volunteer first for the inauguration of the Alter, yet here, by the contribution for building the Mishkan (Tabernacle), they did not contribute first, rather last?

So he explains that the Nessim said to themselves, that we will let the people contribute whatever they want, and whatever is missing, we will make up.

Then when all the people brought everything which was needed for the building of the Mishkan, and there was enough, they asked what can they now bring. Thus they then brought these stones mentioned in this Pasuk.

Rashi continues and writes that because the Nessim were a bit lazy, this caused the letter "Yud" to be taken out of there name, in our Pasuk.

While further on, when dealing with the Altar, not only is there name written with a Yud, the Torah also goes into great detail to show what they contributed."

A slight mistake:


Their motive was good, they were willing to give what ever was missing, yet we see from here that they acted wrongly. They assumed that the people would not give enough, and thus they would fill in whatever was missing.

The Radv"az deals with the following issue:

If one has a choice to do a Mitzvah right away (Zerizin Makdimim L'Mitzvah), or doing a more complete Mitzvah (Mitzvah Min Ha Muvchar), what is preferred?

He comes to a conclusion that it is preferred to do the Mitzvah right away, even if later on one can do the Mitzvah in a more complete way. For who knows if that Mitzvah will still be waiting for him later.

As we know, the Nessim were great men, and how can we find fault in their actions?

Rav Henach Leibowitz writes that even the great Nessim felt a tiny drop of laziness, which tricked them into thinking that what they were doing was correct. Certainly it is not in our power to understand and feel the same type of laziness that they felt, for certainly this feeling of laziness was the tinniest of the tinniest, yet from such great people, more is expected.

He continues by explaining that let us imagine a fund raising dinner for a Yeshiva that wants to build a new building.

In comes a group of the community's leaders and they announce, "What ever money that would be missing in building the structure, we will cover."

We may look highly at these people, yet Chazal look at them differently.

They see in them a small lack of zeal.

When someone comes collecting money or is in need of help, let us try to offer right away whatever help we can, let us take this lesson from the Nessim.

Let us also learn from the Nessim, the ability to correct our past mistakes.

When a person is diligent and acts in zeal to do a Mitzvah, it shows that he is totally committed to that Mitzvah.

Rabbi Pliskin brings down a story about the "Alter of Nevordok", who once had a difficulty in deciding whether he should study Torah in the Beis Medrash or somewhere else.

He first went to the doorstep of the Beis Medrash and there he made his decision, for he wanted to remove the bias of laziness from within, and only then he would reach a decision about what to do.

HaGaon HaRav Avigdor Nebenzahl Shlita says that if the goal of donating for the purpose of the Mishkan had been to give whatever was lacking, the Nessim's calculations would have been correct. However, the donation to the Mishkan was not because the Mishkan was lacking but because the individual lacked the giving to the Mishkan. With that in mind, the Nessim should have gone running to donate whatever was possible.

One who only wishes to bring what others did not and is thus viewing himself as a giver and not a receiver is lacking a basic understanding of what it means to give to the Mishkan.

The Ksav Sofer brings down that maybe the Nessim did not want to contribute with the people, for they wanted their contribution to be something nice, something greater than what every one else gave, something that would be called by their name.

If they would bring gold and silver, they would be like everyone else and would be swallowed up with everyone else's contribution.

The letter "Yud" represents humbleness, for it is the smallest of all the letters, thus the "Yud" was lacking as a punishment.

Yet we see their real reason for contributing by the inauguration of the Altar, where they were indeed the first to give.

Let us also learn from here, the next time we help others, what are our motives: To help the other, or to receive honor for our contribution.

Finally, Rav Dovid Feinstein brings down in his Sefer Kol Dodi, that the Nessim did not behave in a way which a leader should act. They were supposed to set an example for the rest of Bnei Yisroel.

We learn from here, no matter how great a person may be, he still must look deep down into his actions and try to filter out what are his true inner motives, for that is the only thing that really counts.

Parshas Pekudei:



Rashi on the Pasuk explains "That Betzalel was so great that not only did he act as Moshe commanded, Bezalel reached the ability that with his own intuition he also understood instructions that Hashem gave over to Moshe, and were not conveyed over to him directly.

Moshe taught Betzalel the order of construction of the Mishkan, which first mentioned the building of the Ark before the building of the structure of the Mishkan. And Betzalel claimed that when building a building, the structure needs to be built before its contents.

Moshe than answered that Betzalel was correct, and not only that, but it is seen in his name, for his name is made up of the words, "Btzel-Kayl", (in the shadow of G-d). For indeed the Ark is mentioned first because of its primary importance, yet Moshe did indeed hear from Hashem that the Tabernacle must come first in the terms of actual construction." (Stone Chumash - Artscroll)

Rav Mordechai Ilan brings down in his Sefer "Mikdash Mordechai", a deeper look into the two ways of building the Mishkan.

Moshe Rabbeinu felt that first one must build the vessels in order to be able to become a recipient of the Shechina. First he must prepare the Ark to hold the Tablets, Menorah for its light...

While Betzalel held that if there is no structure built, then the Menorah can be easily extinguished.

Maybe we can apply this to ourselves, first we must build a structure, we must place ourselves amongst a Jewish community, which caters to a Jewish education, and the keeping of the Mitzvos. Only then can we hope that the light of our Torah learning will not be extinguished, through the protection of our structure.

Moshe first maybe felt that one must first become a recipient for the Shechina, for at times this may be the correct way.

While Betzalel asked, shouldn't the firm structure, the surroundings be built first, so once we place in ourselves the Torah, and the light, it wont be easily extinguished.

If we don't make for ourselves the right surroundings, then whatever light we have, may easily disappear.

Rav Henach Leibowitz asks, did Moshe Rabbeinu actually make a mistake? Also why did Betzalel question Moshe Rabbeinu?

He explains that certainly Betzalel believed whatever his Rebbi, Moshe Rabbeinu told over to him, and Betzalel felt that his lack of fully understanding Moshe Rabbeinu was his own shortcoming.

Yet he really wanted to fully understand, thus he asked Moshe Rabbeinu.

From here we can learn the correct way of learning Torah, how a Talmid should look at the words of his Rebbi.

On one hand, one should not be frightened by the greatness of his Rebbi, and not use his own mind to understand the words. Rather he should listen and try his utmost to understand and see the words of his Rebbi clearly.

This is what Betzalel did, he looked into the words of his Rebbi, and tried to understand these words, until he reached a level of understanding which even Moshe Rabbeinu didn't reach. While on the other hand, one must understand that any shortcoming of understanding that he may have, is his own and not his Rebbi's.


"Chazak, Chazak, Venischazeik!"(Be strong, Be strong, and may we be strengthened).

The Ramah writes(O.C. 139:11) that when we finish reading one of the five Sefarim from the Sefer Torah in Shul, the congregation says: "Chazak...".

The Sefer "Otzar Ta-amei Ha Minhagim" brings down the reasoning behind this Minhag.

In Sefer Yehoshua(1:8) it is written, "Lo Yamush Sefer HaTorah Hazeh MePecha...Halo Tzivisicha Chazak Ve Ematz", from here we have the Minhag to tell one who finishes reading a Sefer of the Torah, "Chazak". (Avudram).

Also brought down in the name of the "Pri Chadash", that we know that Torah weakens a person, and as we learn in the Gemarah (Berachos 32:b), that there are four that need strengthening:

Torah, Good deeds, Tefilah, Derech Eretz."

Thus we strengthen those who read the Torah by saying "Chazak...".