There is no other parsha in the Torah that begins with the word Vayakel. The Baer Moshe says that this Vayakel corresponds to the Vayakel by the Chet of the Eigel. There it says the nation gathered against Aaron to make the Eigel. We know that the Mishkon was an atonement for the Chet of the Eigel, let the gold they give here by the Mishkon be a kaporah for the gold they gave by the Eigel. But what is this comparison of the words Vayakel? It’s not just a question of semantics.
The Chazal say that Hashem created the world by using the twenty two letters of the aleph-bet. He looked into the Torah and created the world. The Ari’zal says that each neshama has a corresponding letter from the six hundred thousand letters in the Torah. So when two or more neshamas get together especially for a mitzvah they form certain letter combinations that create spiritual spheres that have an effect on the physical world. When Hashem wants to manipulate events on this world he brings two people together, either for a short time or for a longer period of time like having someone move next door to someone just to create that certain combination of letters. This is why the mitzvah to pray with a minyan is so great. The gathering of letters for a mitzvah produces awesome spiritual structures. But the same is true if the gathering is for something negative. It creates a negative spiritual sphere. This is what happened by the Sin of the Golden Calf. That Vayakel was for a negative reason. The making of the Eigel. This created a terrible spiritual structure especially since the entire nation, all the letter combinations, were involved. In order to combat this there had to be another gathering, Vayakel for a positive purpose, the building of a place for the Shechina to dwell.
(35:2) “ Sheshes Yomim T’aseh Melocho U’Bayom Hashvii Yihiyeh Lochem Kodesh Shabbos Shaboson-Six days work may be done, but the seventh day shall be holy for you a complete day of rest.”When the Torah uses the word “T’aseh” it implies that the work will be done with or without any human input. This is one of the most fundamental concepts of the Torah. People find it hard to comprehend that refraining from work on Shabbos supports our success at work during the week. However it is important for us to realize that it is not our efforts that bring us abundance and success, they are motions we must go through, but they are not the source of success. Blessings come not from working, but from refraining from work on Shabbat. Shabbos provides the blessing for the entire week. The greater the observance of the Shabbos, the greater the blessing for the remainder of the week. This posuk comes to teach us that if the Sabbath is observed then and only then, will the work be done for you.
This would also resolve another question. At the end of Parshas Terumah we find the warning not to violate the Shabbat after all of the instructions for the Mishkon.were given. Here in our parsha it is reversed the warning of Shabbos comes before the directives to build the Mishkon. Why? The answer is that after giving over the instructions the Torah emphasized that Shabbos must not be violated. However here, at the onset of the actual construction, the message is that keeping Shabbos is what creates the blessings not only for the construction of the Tabernacle, but for the continuation of creation as well.
(35:2) “ Sheshes Yomim T’aseh Melocho U’Bayom Hashvii Yihiyeh Lochem Kodesh Shabbos Shaboson-Six days work may be done, but the seventh day shall be holy for you a complete day of rest.” In Shemos 16:23 the Torah mentions Shabbos but there the words Kodesh come after the words Shabbos while here they precede it? Rabeinu Bachya explains that this is related to Tosfos Shabbos the concept of adding sanctity to the Shabbos. What remains to be explained is why the indication to add to Shabbos is placed after mentioning Shabbos in Shemos 16:23 and before mentioning Shabbos here? It would seem that we would be adding to the start of the Shabbos first then adding to the end of Shabbos second. But one of the reasons to add to the Shabbos is because we do not know the exact time when Shabbos begins or ends. However the generation of the Midbar had a changing of the guard between day and night when the pillar of clouds that surrounded the encampment changed for the pillars of fire at night. There was therefore no need for them to have Tosfos Shabbos, but when Moshe Rabeinu died both of these types of pillars ceased. According to most opinions Moshe died on Shabbos afternoon hence the first time that Klal Yisroel were in doubt as to when the day ended was as Shabbos ended. Therefore there was an addition to the Shabbos at its end before there was an addition at its beginning the following Friday.
(35:3) “Lo Sovaru Aish B'chol Moshvoseichem-You shall not kindle a fire in all of your dwelling places.”Many reasons are given as to why fire is singled out from among the 39 different “m'lochos” R.Yonasan Eibeshitz explains that the first set of Luchos contains reference to keeping Shabbos because in six days Hashem created heaven and earth. Fire however was not created until after the first Shabbos. Therefore the warning comes here.
(35:22) “Vayovoyu H’Anoshim al H’Noshim-The man came on the women.” To donate towards the Mishkon. The men were above the women because after the sin of the Eigel, in which the women did not participate, the men were now Baalei Teshuva and thus higher than the women.
(35:23) “V’chol Ish Asher Nimtzeh Ito-Every man with whom was found.” Why is this term used here? The Ramban writes that everyone had gold and silver. But these items were not common by everyone. Not everyone possessed acacia wood or colored ram skins.
(35:25) “V’chol Isha Chachmas Lev B’Yodeha Tavu-Every wise hearted woman spun with her hands.” Of course she would use her hands? Why was this necessary to mention? To teach us a very important lesson. It is not enough to be wise in theory, but one must also act upon that wisdom.
(35:27) “V’Hanisi’im Heviu es Avnei Ha’Shoham-And the leaders brought the Onyx stones. A Yud is missing from the word Nesi’im, Rashi explains that because they were lax in donating materials to the Mishkan, opting to wait until everybody else donated, with the intention of filling in whatever was missing. The Kli Yakar writes that they should have anticipated the possibility that people would donate all the needs of the Mishkon leaving them with nothing to bring. Chazal inform us that this almost did happen. Were it not for the clouds that transported the precious stones with the munn they would have had nothing to donate. This is the meaning of omitting the letter “Yud” which transforms the word Nesi’im from leaders into clouds. The question is if they exhibited a lack of alacrity why should they be rewarded by having precious stones fall at their doorstep? If they missed the opportunity to donate it should not be given to them on a silver platter? We must take a step back in order to understand what is being related here.
When a project is begun the first thing determined is “How much will it cost?” No where did the Torah tell us how much material was needed. The previous parshas described in detail the various stages of the Mishkon’s construction. The miraculous way the Ark took up no space, the way the women spun the wool while still attached to the sheep. But Hashem is not really interested in the physical structure of the Mishkon. Instead it’s written “Vasu Li Mikdosh V’shchanti B’sochom-Make for me a sanctuary that I may dwell in YOU!” Throughout the parsha we find the words “Kol Nediv Lev-Every motivated heart.” This is what Hashem wants from us, our hearts. Therefore it was the noble intentions of these princes that is being rewarded.
Another question still remains. If the precious stones came to them from the clouds, they really were not donating anything from their own? The answer is that these stones came to them with the Munn. But there was a daily amount that fell according to the needs of that family. Therefore when the Munn fell with the stones, there was less Munn for them that day. This became their sacrifice made towards the Mshkon. " wisdom.” Betzalel was not just given the wisdom to be able to build the various pieces of the Mishkon. The posuk says he was filled with this knowledge. Usually the term used would be Nosain-to grant or Chonain-to bestow. What is the meaning behind this filling of wisdom? R.Pinchas Oretz, a student of the Sefas Emes writes that when a great Tzaddik works on himself his wisdom is not merely contained in his head, but encompasses his entire being. We see by the blessings that Yakov gave to Ephraim and Menashe that the Torah uses the term “V’sekale es Yodo” when describing how Yakov switched his hands placing his right hand on the younger son. The word Sekale comes from the word Seichel. In other words his hands had a certain daas. At the Akeidah Avraham sent out his hand to sacrifice Yitzchok. Meaning he forced his hand to obey his will. Avraham is gematria 248. Every one of his 248 limbs was conditioned to serve Hashem automatically so his hand refused because this wasn’t really the will of Hashem. Hashem only wanted him to bring Yitzchok up for a sacrifice but not actually become it. Avraham didn’t know this. He thought that his subjectivity was holding him back. This was his son. So he needed to consciously send out his hand. King David had thoughts of going one place but his feet carried him to the Beis Hamidrash. Thus we see how the body can be conditioned to perform on it’s own. This is what was needed in the building of the Mikdosh. The Mikdosh was not just a place for the presence of Hashem to descend. The Torah writes “Vasu Li Mikdosh V’shochanty Besochom-Make for me a sanctuary that I might dwell in you.” The word Besochom-in you means that we each have to make ourselves a sanctuary in our hearts. The Malbim explains each part of the Mikdosh corresponded to one of the 248 limbs of man. He writes that the Aron that housed the Luchos represented the head of man. The Aron was actually made up of three parts, the inner box of gold, the middle box of wood and the outer box of gold. Science tells us that the brain too has three parts to it. There is the Cerebrum, Cerebellum and the Medulla. Each of the various parts to the Mishkon mirrored a different part of man. Now we can understand why Betzalel was filled with knowledge. Every part of his being was to be used to its fullest extent.
But how did Betzalel merit this gift? The posuk tells us that Hashem chose Betzalel ben Uri ben Chur. He was the grandson of Chur who was killed attempting to prevent the chet H’Eigel. What does it mean to give up life for the sake of Hashem? When a person elevates every part of his body, when each of the 248 limbs become attuned to the will of Hashem there is nothing separating that person from becoming attached to his creator. All of the barriers become removed. This is what Chur accomplished. This is what he gave over to his grandson Betzalel. His sacrifice was not in vain.
(35:30) Rashi writes that Chur was the son of Miriam. But what about his father Calev? We find that Calev had the Midah of remaining silent, while Miriam had the characteristic of speaking up. Chur used her Midah of speaking up, when he to tried to prevent the making of the Golden Calf.
(35:31) “ Vayimaleh Oso Ruach Elokim B’Chochma, B’Sevunah U’Bedaas-He was endowed with Divine spirit, with wisdom, with insight, with knowledge.”According to Kabbalah Chochma-Wisdom refers to learning received from others; Sevunah-Insight, is the intelligence to grasp something using one’s own mind, based on wisdom previously learned; Daas-Knowledge is Divine inspiration. However, according to some Chochma-wisdom, represents the gift of intelligence, Binah- insight, being closer to reason, implies the comprehension resulting from intellectual analysis and reasoning. Daas-Knowledge designates knowledge in its highest, most perfect form.
In either case Betzalel possessed all three aspects of wisdom. He grasped the very attributes by which the plans for Creation were established.
(35:32) “V’Lachshov Machshovos-To devise plans with ingenuity.” He was given the ability to read minds. To know how the items were donated, with what intentions. This enabled him to know where the donation should best be used. If given with the right intentions it was used for something with greater Kiddusha.
(35:34) “Ulihoros Nosan B’libo Ohlohav ben Achisomach-And to teach he gave to his heart Olihav ben Achisomach.” We know who Betzalel was. He had the lineage of his ancestors. But who was Ohaliav? Very little is written about him. Rashi says that he was from one of the lowest tribes and was intentionally selected to be joined with Betzalel who was from one of the greatest tribes, Yehuda, Kingship. This was to show that in Hashem’s eyes both are equal if they put in the effort. But we are speaking about the Mishkon here. This is the place where Hashem was to rest his Shechina. This was not something to be given over to an incompetent person just because we want to make a point. But to understand this we have to understand what the Mishkon represents. The Mishkon was a microcosm of the world. Hashem created the world originally with strict Din. The name Elokim is used throughout the beginning of Breishis. Rashi says that Hashem saw the world would not be able to withstand the strict justice so he tempered it with Rachamim by using the name of Hashem that denotes mercy. Here regarding the Mishkon we find the midah of din, but where do we find the midah of Rachamim? The midah of din is found by the posuk introducing Betzalel it says (35:31) “Vayimaleh Oso Ruach Elokim- Hashem filled him with the spirit of Elokim, of strict judgment. By Ohalihav the wording is different.The Torah writes instead (36:2) that Hashem-Rachamim filled his heart with wisdom. The name Ohalihav is the letters of Ayli Ohav-“My G-d loves me.”
The women of the midbar donated the brass mirrors they had from Mitzraim. Moshe at first was against this because he felt that they were used for inciting the yetzer hara. But in reality Hashem coveted them because they helped the women perform a righteous deed by causing the men to take an interest in them even though they had worked till exhaustion. These donations were used for the Laver which held the drink used for the Sotah a drink that reunited the husband and wife.
Another question is how were the women able to make donations if all their possessions belonged to the husband they would need his permission to give away anything? It could be that the reason for the husband owning everything is only because he is the provider but in the midbar Hashem was the provider since all their needs were taken care of. So they were equal in what they owned.
There is juxtaposition in this week’s parsha. In Kisisa when it speaks about Shabbos first the Mishkon is mentioned then Shabbos. Here it speaks about Shabbos first. The reason is because originally before there was a chet of the Eigel they were on a level that they could make a Mishkon and then on top of that have Shabbos. But after the chet it was impossible to make a Mishkon a place where the Shechina rests. So they needed the kidusha of Shabbos to bring them to the level where they could make the Mishkon.
When they say we need two Shabbosim to bring the Moshiach it means one to build on the other. We read four parshas in Adar. One Shekalim to create achdos in Klal Yisroel. Two Amalek after we are united we can overcome Amalek. Three Parah after getting rid of Amalek we need to purify ourselves. Four Chodesh when we are ready for a new beginning. Like the moon which is always renewed Klal Yisroel is eternal because every end is always a new beginning.
(35:35) “Milei Osom Chochmas Lev-He filled them with a wise heart.” What does the term "wise heart " mean? Wisdom is not usually found in the heart. But here it was their will to be part of this undertaking that resulted in Hashem giving them the Ruach Hakodesh needed for this undertaking.
(36:7) “V’hamilacha Hayisa Dayom- V’hoser-And the work for the Mishkon was enough and there was extra.” In this weeks parsha we have the culmination of all the donations for the Mishkon. The posuk says that there was enough of all of the materials needed to make the Mishkon and there was extra. Many commentators ask on this posuk. If there was enough what does it mean there was extra? The Or Hachaim says that there was a miracle done here. If a person gave for the Mishkon he didn't want to hear that his donation wasn't accepted because they had too much. So all that was donated became just enough. Another answer is that more silver was given than gold. So they used the extra silver to buy the needed gold that was missing. That is the meaning of “there was extra (silver)” which became enough (gold).
(37:1) “Vayaas Betzalel es H'aron- Betzalel made the Ark.”Why is the Ark singled out as being made by Betazlel? He was involved in making most of the Mishkon? The answer is that in the future no other Ark would ever be made. Even the third and final Beis Hamikdosh will contain the original Ark made by Betzalel.
The Kol Torah writes that Betzalel was uniquely connected to the Aron because he was Moser Nefesh for the honor of the Aron. Where do we find this? When Moshe instructed him about the order of construction, Betzalel corrected him (35:31) to which Moshe announced “He is correct Betzalel is truly in the shadow of Hashem.” Speaking before his Rebbe could have cost him his life.