Weekly Portion – Vayakhel, Exodus 35:1 – 38:20

Moshe relays the Almighty’s commands to refrain from building the Mishkan (the Tabernacle) on the Shabbat, to contribute items needed to build the Mishkan, to construct the components of theMishkan and the appurtenances of the Cohanim. The craftsmen are selected, the work begins. The craftsmen report that there are too many donations, and for the first and probably the only time in fundraising history, the Jewish people are told to refrain from bringing additional contributions!

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Dvar Torah
based on Growth Through Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

Betzalel was appointed to construct the Mishkan, the portable sanctuary. The Torah states:

“And he put in his heart to teach.” (Exodus 35:34)

What lesson do we learn from this?

The Ohr Hachayim, a 17th/18th century commentator answers: There are people who have special knowledge and skills, but do not want to teach them to others. Therefore, the Torah praises Betzalel because he was willing to share his knowledge with others.

A person who desires knowledge only for his own honor will be reluctant to share what he knows with others. The more people who have the same knowledge the less special he will be. If a person realizes that his knowledge and skills are gifts from the Almighty, he will readily pass them on to others. He wants to accomplish the most that is possible, and if more people have that special knowledge, more will be accomplished. Your willingness to share what you know with others is a sign of your true inner attitudes towards your wisdom.

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Dvar Torah
based on Growth Through Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

The Torah states with regard to Betzalel, the artisan in charge of creating the Mishkan (Portable Sanctuary), that the Almighty filled him with wisdom, insight and knowledge:

“…and to think thoughts to make with gold and with silver and with brass” (Exodus 35:32).

What can this verse teach us about our own lives?

There are two types of skillful artisans. The first type of craftsman is one who is able to picture new designs in his mind. His fertile imagination enables him to create original works of art. This, wrote Rabbi Shlomo Kluger, is what the present verse is expressing. “And to think thoughts,” that is, Betzalel had the ability to visualize entirely new artistic creations.

The second type is an expert in making fancy vessels with intricate designs though he may not be creative or original. After he sees what someone else has done, he learns to make similar things — perhaps even better than the original designer.

Our lesson: One does not need to be a Betzalel to serve the Almighty. Whatever abilities the Almighty has blessed you with can be utilized for the honor of the Almighty. Whatever your talents, use them to help and teach others. You will live an honored life!


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