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“(And) Now you shall command the Bnei Yisrael.” (27:20)

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By beginning the Parsha with the words, “Now you  shall command,” it seems to imply that heretofore, the previous Parsha which   addressed   the   construction   of   the   Mishkan,   was not referring to Moshe Rabbeinu. Now, the command is directly to Moshe Rabbeinu. However, this is not true, because in the previous Parsha, the Torah addresses Moshe Rabbeinu a number of times, with the word, “v’asisa,” and you should make. Moreover, in the previous Parsha Moshe is told to act, to take an active role in the construction, while here he is told merely to command. Why is this?

The Ozrover Rebbe, z.l., gives the following explanation: The Midrash in the beginning of Sefer Vayikra distinguishes between the value of gold and precious jewels as opposed to sifsei daas, intelligent speech. A person may possess vast amounts of gold and jewels, but if he has no daas, intelligence, they are of little value. He will either not appreciate what he has, or will quickly lose it. Everyone contributed towards the Mishkan – except  for Moshe. This depressed him. Why should he not play an active role in this unprecedented experience? Hashem said to him, “Your words are more beloved to Me than all of the gold and jewelry that was brought for the Mishkan.”

What is the Midrash teaching us? The Rebbe explains that Moshe was troubled. Here he was the leader of the Jewish People and everybody gave their fair share to the Mishkan’s construction – everybody but him. Why should he not be upset? Hashem told him, “Moshe, you are mistaken. A person who possesses great wealth, but does not have the intelligence to manage it properly – or does not have someone, or some guidelines for managing  it  –  is  this  wealth  of  any  value  to  him?  While  it  is  true that everyone contributed towards the Mishkan, what value does the Mishkan have if there is no Torah in it? It is merely a mausoleum of gold and silver. Moshe, you have the Torah. Your “words” of Torah which emanate from your mouth have greater significance than anything else. For, without the Torah, everything else is meaningless.”

Let us see how great is Moshe’s word. His name is not mentioned in Parashas Tetzaveh, because after the chet ha’eigel, sin of the Golden Calf, when Hashem wanted to destroy Klal Yisrael, Moshe declared, “Hashem, if You forgive Klal Yisrael, good!  But, if not, first take my life and remove   any mention of me from the Torah, for I cannot be a leader who failed to gain mercy for his people.” This unparalleled devotion to Klal Yisrael turned the tide and Hashem listened. But, Moshe’s name had to be “erased”. He made a statement, and his word must be upheld. Parashas Tetzaveh usually falls around the seventh of Adar, the anniversary of Moshe Rabbeinu’s birth and death, a date intrinsically bound with his name. Thus, this Parsha was selected as the only Parsha in the Torah, from the time of Moshe’s birth, where his name is not mentioned.

We wonder – should Moshe be punished for his unequaled mesiras nefesh, devotion and self-sacrifice, for Klal Yisrael? Is this his reward for a life of supreme dedication? Veritably, we must deduce that the omission of Moshe’s name is not a punishment at all. On the contrary, there is no doubt that he was rewarded for his “demand” on behalf of Klal Yisrael. But, nonetheless, a “word” left his mouth – a word that is Torah, for Moshe Rabbeinu’s word is Torah. Such a word is not a simple abstract – it is an entity – it is Torah. Such an expression cannot go to waste. It must take effect. Thus, Moshe’s name is deleted from this Parsha.

Indeed, heretofore, Moshe did not have a personal share in the building of the Mishkan. V’atah tetzaveh, until now, until this command, it was not you. Now, v’atah, what will be your cheilek, individual contribution? Tetzaveh, your command, the Torah that emanates from your mouth, overrides every other contribution. For without the Torah there is no value to the gold and silver that was brought. The Torah is what gives it meaning and value.

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