It was necessary for Moshe Rabbeinu to announce that Hashem had selected Betzalel, his sister’s grandson, to be the Mishkan’s chief artisan. As a result, the usual malcontents, who derive their greatest pleasure from finding fault and expressing their dissatisfaction, should be aware that it was Hashem’s decision – not Moshe’s. Why was Betzalel selected for this august position? Chazal (Tanchuma Vayakhel 4) explain that Hashem wanted to reward Betzalel’s grandfather, Chur, who had given up his life Al Kiddush Hashem when he stood up to the sinners that committed idol worship with the Golden Calf. Hailing from the tribe of Yehudah, religious devotion was part of the tribe’s DNA. Nachshon ben Aminadav had been the first to enter the Red Sea. Chur’s father, Calev ben Yefuneh, stood up to the meraglim, spies. Indeed, David Hamelech descends from the tribe of Yehudah. Thus, Chur’s selection brings the construction of the Bais Hamikdash full circle. The Jews gave gold in order to create the Golden Calf, which was the catalyst that led to Chur’s murder. Now, they were giving gold to make the Mishkan which Betzalel, Chur’s grandson, would construct, so that the Mishkan could atone for the Golden Calf and – by extension – in some way expiate Chur’s murder. We now know the identities of Chur and Betzalel. Who was Uri, and what role did he play in this story?
Simply, we might suggest that Uri was the necessary link between Chur and Betzalel. The lesson is: Not all of us are destined to have prestigious positions, illustrious pedigrees, change the world. Some of us are “links” in order to serve as the generational conduit to transmit the legacy that we received from our parents to our children. We are just as vital as the ones who have the positions and the pedigrees, because, without the link, the pedigree is irrelevant. I think if we delve deeper into “Uri, the father,” however, we might suggest that, without Uri, Betzalel might not have been able to function in his new role. Imagine Betzalel being told to construct the edifice that would atone for the Golden Calf that was the antecedent to his grandfather’s murder. He probably looked at his father for advice. Apparently, his father “intimated” that he, too, had watched in horror as his father was murdered by the idol-worshipping revelers. By inference, he sanctioned Betzalel’s participation. In other words, Uri quite possibly was the one who enabled the Mishkan’s construction via his son.
Not all fathers are dynamic; not all rebbeim are dynamic. Some are “just” hardworking, devoted, sincere, authentic human beings, who are conscientious, compassionate – who educate with love. That is how a community nourishes a Betzalel to distinction.