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ראו קרא ד' בשם בצלאל בן אורי בן חור

See, Hashem has proclaimed by name, Betzalel, ben Uri, ben Chur. (35:30)

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…

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ויבאו כל איש אשר נשאו לבו... ויבאו האנשים על הנשים... וכל איש אשר נמצא אתו... וכל הנשים אשר נשא לבן

Every many whose head inspired him came… the men came with the women… every man with whom was found… all the women whose hearts inspired them. (35:21,22,23,26)

Horav Yeshaya Pik, zl, posits that these pesukim address four types of donors. (Charitable donations usually fall under the rubric of these four circumstances.) Some men/husbands will not donate before going home and speaking it over with their wives. This type of husband is in a situation in which their bank accounts are joint, and his wife has a dominant role in the home (as it should be). Therefore, whatever money goes out must have her acquiescence. Concerning this type of man, the Torah writes: “The men came with the women.” These men had their wives’ consent. Next is the…

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לא תבערו אש בכל משביתכם ביום השבת

You must not kindle a fire in all your dwelling places on the day of Shabbos. (35:3)

Chazal (Shabbos 70a) debate the reason for the singling out of meleches havarah, kindling a fire, on Shabbos. Some say l’laav yatzah, it is singled out to teach a negative precept, (lo saaseh) that one who lights a fire is subject to the death penalty, kares, Heavenly excision, or bringing a sin-offering – as is the law regarding any other one of the avos melachos, 39 primary categories of labor prohibited on Shabbos. The other position vis-à-vis havarah is l’chalek yatzas, it was singled out to separate the melachos of Shabbos. This means: If one, out of ignorance, transgresses the…

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ויערך עליו ערך לחם לפני ד' כאשר צוה ד' את משה

He prepared on it the setting of bread before Hashem, as Hashem commanded Moshe. (40:23)

Everything in the Mishkan was carried out precisely as Hashem had commanded Moshe Rabbeinu – no more – no less – no infusion of self. Their personal zeal and enthusiasm in every aspect of their work were completely subordinated to the commands of Hashem. None of the craftsmen made any attempt to inject their own ideas or their own individuality to the construction of the Mishkan. They executed their mission obediently, with scrupulous care and precision, with unabashed joy at having been able to serve Hashem. By doing this, they achieved the sublime moral perfection which characterizes an eved, servant,…

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אלה פקודי המשכן משכן העדות

These are the mountings of the Mishkan, the Mishkan of Testimony. (38:21)

The word Mishkan is repeated (Rashi, citing the Midrash), alluding to the two Batei Mikdash (replacing the Mishkan) which were taken from us. The word Mishkan has the same letters as the word mashkon, which means collateral. This intimates (say Chazal) that the two Batei Mikdash are collateral for Klal Yisrael’s sins. When we sinned, we lost them, and they are being held in lieu of our repentance, after which the Bais Hamikdash will be restored to its previous glory. Veritably, in Jewish society, the most important place of worship is one’s own heart. The purpose of the Mishkan’s services…

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ויעש בצלאל את הארן עצי שטים אמתים וחצי ארכו ואמה וחצי רחבו

Betzalel made the Aron of Shittim wood, two and a half amos its length, an amah and a half its width. (37:1)

One of the miracles that occurred both in the Mishkan and in the Bais Hamikdash was: Makom ha’Aron eino min ha’middah; “The place occupied by the Aron HaKodesh was not included in its measurement.” This means that the Aron did not take up any space. The Kodesh HaKedoshim, Holy of Holies, was ten amos, cubits, by ten amos. The Aron was two and a half amos by one and a half amah by one and a half amah. When the Aron was brought into the Kodesh HaKedoshim and the space from its width and length was measured, every side of…

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ששת ימים תעשה מלאכה וביום השביעי יהיה לכם קדש שבת שבתון לד'

On six days work may be done, but the seventh day shall be holy for you, a day of complete rest for Hashem. (35:2)

Shabbos occurs on the seventh day of the week. Why does the Torah assert that working during the six days of the week that precede Shabbos is appropriate? The Torah is addressing the prohibition of laboring on Shabbos. What do the six workdays have to do with Shabbos? The Chafetz Chaim, zl, asked this question when he addressed the chillul, desecration, of Shabbos manifest by a certain gvir, wealthy man, in one of the communities he visited when he was selling his sefarim. The Chafetz Chaim met privately with the man in the hope that he could present a passionate…

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ראו קרא ד' בשם בצלאל... וימלא אתו רוח אלקים בחכמה בתבונה ובדעת... ולהורות נתן בלבו

“See, Hashem has proclaimed by name Betzalel… He filled him with G-dly spirit, with wisdom, insight and knowledge…He gave him the ability to teach. (35:31,34)

Hashem selected the young Betzalel to become the master architect of the Mishkan, as he was endowed with exceptional wisdom, insight and knowledge. He had the necessary knowledge vital to creating a dwelling place for the Shechinah, Divine Presence. Chazal (Tanchuma Mikeitz 69) teach that Betzalel manifested his extraordinary qualities and talents even before his appointment to this distinguished position. Hashem grants wisdom to one who already possesses wisdom. Yahiv chochma la’chakimi; “He grants wisdom to the wise” (Daniel 2:2). It makes sense to grant wisdom to the wise. After all, they will know what to do with it. Chazal (Midrash)…

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לא תבערו אש בכל משבתוכם ביום השבת

You shall not kindle fire in any of your dwellings on the Shabbos day. (35:3)

The Torah can be understood only through the interpretive eyes of the Oral Law. This prohibition is a classic example of this verity. Chazal teach that only the creation of fire and use of it for cooking or baking are prohibited. There is, however, no prohibition against enjoying its benefits, such as light and heat. The Tzedukim, Saducees, forbade all use of fire. Thus, Shabbos was a day during which they sat in the dark and consumed cold food. (How fitting that one who does not allow the Torah (as given on Har Sinai – both written and oral) to…

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וביום השביעי יהיה לכם קדש שבת שבתון לד'

But the seventh day shall be holy for you, a day of complete rest for Hashem. (35:2)

The Zohar HaKadosh (Parashas Korach) writes: “The Shechinah, Divine Presence, did not move away from Klal Yisrael on Shabbos and Yamim Tovim – even on Shabbosos of chol, weekday.” Obviously, the term Shabbosos d’chol, weekday Shabbos, or Shabbos weekday is fraught with ambiguity. Shabbos and chol are incongruous to one another. How do they weave together to create a Shabbos of weekday? Each in his own inimitable manner, the commentators address this Zohar. In U’Masuk Haor, Horav Shlomo Levenstein, Shlita, cites a number of expositions. I have selected a few that offer food for thought. The Pri Megadim (Kuntros Mattan…

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