Vertluch: Parshas Vayakhel/Pekudei


In parshas Pekudei the Torah talks about the completion of the Mishkan and the priestly garments worn by the Kohanim. Towards the end of the parsha it discusses how they finally erected the Mishkan.

The Mishkan and all the kaylim had to be anointed with oil. The pasukim (40; 13-15) discuss how Moshe presented Aaron his special clothing, how he brought Aaron’s children their clothing and dressed them and how he anointed them as well. When anointing Aaron’s children the pasuk says (40; 15) that Moshe did so ‘just as he anointed their father’. The obvious question here is why did the Torah have to specify that they were anointed in the same manner as he anointed their father?

Secondly, chazal say that the Mishkan was a kaparah for the chait h’egel. The Medrash (in parshas vayahkel) says that klal Yisroel received a kaparah after they completed the assembling of the Mishkan, and its proven from the fact that they gave to the Mishkan so willingly-just as they so willingly gave to the egel.

The Ramban points out that in vayakhel, prior to all the kaylim being built, the pasuk says ‘vayas es….’ In pekudei however, after almost every kayli was assembled the Torah says ‘ka’asher tzivah Hashem es Moshe’. Why does the Torah change the wording from the way it was written in parshas vayakhel?

Perhaps we can answer as follows.

The building of the Mishkan, as we mentioned, was a kaparah for the egel. The tachlis of the Mishkan was to create a place for the shechina to dwell amongst us. This can only happen after the entire Mishkan was put together. The ma’aleh of the mishkan was only accomplished after they finished and completed every minute detail. By the egel, the pasuk says ‘vayikuhail ha’am al Aharon’-they ganged up to do the aveira of the egel. We see from there that besides the actual egel there was another element; there was unity.

The Mishkan as a whole represented klal Yisroel; it united all of us. When klal Yisroel built the Mishkan one of the requirements were that they had to come together to do something positive. That was what the Mishkan represented; the unity of klal Yisroel. The Menorah represented the Torah; the Shulchan represented the people out there who were working; it was a project of the entire klal Yisroel and it represented every single person in klal Yisroel. The Torah was only able to say ‘ka’asher tziva Hashem es moshe’ after they completed everything-because once it was built it represented bnei Yisroel as a nation that was doing a project-together-that would enhance the kovod of the presence of the shechina in their daily lives.

The Meshech Chochma asks, what was the reason that the Torah specified (and uses the language) ‘just as their father’? He answers, that Moshe really wanted his children to be kohanim and kings. But Hashem told him ‘you can’t come that close-your children will not be makriv and serve in the Bais Hamikdash.’ Says the Meshech Chochma, Aaron was a kohain; but being that Moshe wanted his children to be kohanim he nevertheless anointed Aaron’s children with the same desire and the same simcha that he anointed their father!

Perhaps we can say this was also somewhat of a kaparah of the chait h’egel. Maybe as it was Aaron who participated in the egel, Moshe could now say- maybe my children could get the kehuna since Aaron should get punished? Says the Torah that Moshe anointed the children ‘just as their father…’ even though there was more of a reason for Moshe to hope his children will have a chance now-nevertheless he performed the anointing ‘just as their father’. The gadlus of Moshe was that he followed the commandments of Hashem without any personal involvement altering its outcome.

We can learn from here how one cannot allow their personal feelings to affect the way they serve Hashem.

There’s a powerful story about Reb Zundel Kroizer Shlit”a, that illustrates this point:

One early morning while he was en route to daven vasikin, as he has done daily for the last 75 years, he fell down and bruised himself up. His grandson-who was with him-picked him up and brought him back home, allowing him to catch his breath and drink some water. He said to him ‘zeidy, if we hurry up we may be able to still chap vasikin.’ Rav Zundel responded ‘I never chapped a minyan in my life!’

Besides the gadlus of someone davening vasikin for 75 years straight-one might think that it had developed into part of his agenda. One would say ‘I’m a vasikin yid’ even if I come a little late one day. I’ll just serve Hashem a little differently today and tomorrow I’ll be back on schedule. Not Reb Zundel; he had absolutely no agenda, all he had on his mind was to serve Hashem because he was commanded to so-with no records to keep up with or personal feeling altering his decisions.