Parshas VaYakheil/Pekudei -

By Rabbi Yosef Tropper

Posted on 03/05/18

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We’re going to wrap up Sefer Shemos with parshas Vayakhel and Pekudei together with two thoughts for each of them based on Ramban.

1) Vayakhel: Mishkan Skills

Parshas Vayakehel is the culmination of the building of the mishkan. The Jewish people came out of Egypt, like the Ramban says, and the Sefer Shemos, the Exodus is not complete until they accept the Torah and build a mishkan, a place for Hashem to dwell among us, which is the entire goal of “v’asu li mikdash v’shachnti b’socham.

Desire to Give

Each person came to the mishkan “asher naso libo”,his heart lifted him (Shemos 35:21). Ramban says that this is talking about the craftsmen that did all the work and designed all the beautiful things in the mishkan, al pi the tzivui of Hashem. How did people know how to do these things?  In Egypt they were bricklayers and they built storehouses. They didn’t build intricate, beautiful, gold lattices and all the other amazing embroidery that was taking place in the mishkan?

Ramban explains, numerous times, but it’s always worth repeating, that they had no skills.  None at all. They never learned; they never apprenticed. However, their heart desired to be involved with building a place for Hashem.  Their heart desired to dedicate and to help build the Beis HaMikdash, the mishkan for Hashem, and so, therefore, just that desire alone made it that Hashem instilled in their heart the skills that they needed to be able to do it.

Ramban says that’s why it says that their heart was lifted because if you have a nisiyas leiv, your heart lifts up and says: I want to serve Hashem, I want to build, I want to be part of the building of the mishkan, then Hashem allows us to do amazing things.  Like it says in the pasuk, “Vayigbah libo b’darchei Hashem.”  (Divrei Hayamim II, 17:6) He lifted his heart to follow after Hashem, and we all need to lift our hearts.  When we lift our hearts, Hashem gives us the ability to do great things.

The One Question To Ask

The Alter of Kelm, famously quipped: “Ask not if a things is possible; ask only if it is necessary.” If something is necessary, then you dedicate yourself to that task and Hashem will help you.  If something is possible or not, that’s not up to you to decide.  Everything is impossible.  Hashem is the one that gives us the strength to do things. That’s the ultimate lesson in life behind the Beis Hamikdash.  The entire Beis Hamikdash, the entire mishkan was constructed by people who were not naturally able to even build it, but yet it was “naso libo”.  Their heart carried them, and they wanted to do it, and they were so dedicated that Hashem put in their hearts the skills and the ability to do it.  And, so too, so many things in life, when we look at people and what they’ve accomplished, it’s through connecting to Hashem, and through asking that question of Hashem.   What do you want?  What’s the right thing?  From this comes the inspiration to be able to accomplish great things in life, and that’s one of the biggest foundations of our emunah that we know.  “B’derech she’adam rotzeh leilech, molichin oso.”  The path that you choose, Hashem will help you.  If you decide that you want to do something, Hashem will help you.  

The Nefesh Hachaim talks about, al pi the Zohar that when a person has a desire to do a mitzvah there’s a force that he creates, a positive force in the world. A malach that he creates in the world through that desire, and that helps propel him forward.  So, Hashem is the One who always helps us out when we decide to choose spirituality.

2) Why Repeat Mishkan So Much?

Ramban points out that here we have five times that the meleches hamishkan is discussed and we have all these parshious that discuss it starting from Terumah, Tetzaveh, a little bit in Ki Sisa and Vayakhel and Pekudei. There are five specific times that the Torah has a tzivui, command, to make the mishkan. Why so many times?

Chazal say that it’s derech chibah. Hashem loves the fact that we’re building this mishkan for Him.  The whole purpose of the world is to allow man to connect to G-d. The mishkan has such a large bulk and there’s so much discussion about it.  Of course, there’s lessons to be learned, and even though we don’t have an aron, we don’t have a menorah, we don’t have anything physically, but there’s spiritual lessons to be learned from it as well. Hashem repeats throughout the Torah so many times the construction of the mishkan because that is what is dear to Him that we come and we dedicate ourselves and we says that we want to serve Hashem, that is what the purpose of the entire life is.  Yisrael asher bicha espa’air.  That’s what Hashem is looking for.

Parshas Pekudei

3) Dimentionless Kiyor

Ramban brings out his famous point which Chazal intuit as well that there’s only one vessel that doesn’t have a weight.  Doesn’t tell us how big, what size, what it should be like and that’s the kiyor and it’s base.  Why is it that the kiyor doesn’t have a size, doesn’t have dimensions. Why? It didn’t have dimensions because how ever many mirrors the women brought, the nashim hatzovos, the mirrors that they brought, that’s what was used.  That’s what was melted down and created the kiyor, and so, therefore, there is no amount.

We see that when a person has a desire has a desire in their heart that: Hey, I want to take this mirror that I used to build my Jewish family, and I want to dedicate it to the Beis Hamikdash.  I want to dedicate it to Hashem for bringing down his Shechinah which is the whole point, which is totally l’sheim Shamayim everything that they did to get their husbands attention to be able to continue to build Klal Yisrael and their dedication, so there is no amount.  Hashem doesn’t want to limit it, and say: Well, we’re going to have to reject some of these people’s donations.  Hashem says: I will accept every single donation that comes from the outpouring of the heart of these people.

4) Every Stem Lit

Ramban (Shemos 40:37) points out a very interesting thing that when it describes the menorah it says: Es neirosehah neiros hama’aracha,  its candles, the ones that are lit.  Ramban asks: Why does it stress that they are lit?  We know that they are lit; there’s a tzivui in the Torah that the Kohein should light the menorah.  So, why does it have to tell us? We know that they are the ones that are being lit.  

Ramban says that in the olden days people had candle sticks that they would put on their chandeliers, the fancy arrangements that they would put on their table or above their table, and, often times, part of the design was that some of them had actually, functional cups that would hold the oil and the wicks and the candles and some of them had ornate designs where there are some sticks that were coming out that were not meant to be lit and they were not used.  So, this is showing us that the menorah didn’t have any of those extra appendages, as part of its design.  It did have flowers and other beautifications on it, but any one of the stems that were on it, the seven stems, three on each side and one in the middle, they were all lit.  They were neiros hama’aracha; they were actually lit.  And, that’s what it’s saying.  There were no appendages.

Full Service With Every Koach We Have

I believe that this is a hint to our avodas Hashem. In avodas Hashem we look at our body and we say: Hashem, how can I serve you with all my body.  With all my strength.  “b’chol livavcha, uv’chol nafshicah uv’chol m’odecha”.  We want to serve Hashem with everything, and, so, therefore, the menorah was made in a way that was not common back then.  It didn’t have any extra branches that weren’t being used because Hashem wants us to use every single koach that we have to bring ohr to this world, and when we use every single koach that we have and we use every single ability that we have, we bring a tremendous amount of light into the world.  

We should be zocheh to take all the lessons that we’ve learned throughout the entire study of the Ramban and apply them to our lives which is the reason that we’re learning: to understand Hashem’s beautiful Torah and to inspire ourselves to live a life of beauty and appreciation and this should allow us to propel forward to study more Ramban as we embark on the next Sefer of the Torah.


Rabbi Yosef Tropper is a rav and psychotherapist. Learn more and subscribe at ParshaThemes.com