This week we read the Torah portion Vayakhel. Moshe gathers the entire Jewish nation together and discusses the laws of Shabbos. He then tells them to donate the materials needed for constructing the Mishkan.
Moshe introduces the discussion of the Mishkan by saying that “… this is the word that Hashem has commanded me to say.” Rashi cites the words from the verse, “this is the word that Hashem has commanded.” He explains that Hashem has commanded “me to say to you.”
We need to understand what Rashi is adding to our understanding of Moshe’s words. Obviously, Moshe tells us what Hashem commanded him to say to us! There does not seem to be a need for any explanation whatsoever.
The explanation is that the word saying (לאמר in Hebrew), always connotes transmitting words to someone else. Hashem commanded Moshe to tell us these commandments but not to perform them. This explains why Rashi says further on that “Moshe had done no work in the Mishkan.” However, this leaves us with another question. Why did Moshe, of all people, not participate in building the Mishkan?
We can understand this by examining a deeper aspect of Moshe. His entire being was Torah. Therefore, he was the only one who received the Torah from Hashem for all Jews in all generations. Our Sages tell us that “young students studying Torah are not permitted to neglect their learning to build the Bais Hamikdosh.” If this is true of the Torah study of young children, how much more so is it true of Moshe’s Torah study? That is why Moshe was not involved in the building of the Tabernacle. The entire point was that Torah study is even higher than the Mishkan’s level.
However, he was the only one that could convey this part of the Torah to the Jews, and Hashem told it to him so that he would be able to command it to us. That is why Rashi writes, “to command it to me to say to you.”
Some can make Torah their constant occupation, and this is an even higher form of Divine service than transforming the “gold, silver, and copper” of the world into a G-dly sanctuary. Nevertheless, this does not exempt them from teaching Torah to others. They must teach others who are not exclusively devoted to Torah study how to transform this physical world into a sanctuary for Hashem.
I wish one and all a good Shabbos and a happy month!
Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn
Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 6, Pages 221-224
DEDICATED IN HONOR OF THE LUBAVITCHER REBBE
IN LOVING MEMORY OF
DR. MINDEL RIVKA (MURIEL) BAS REB MENACHEM MENDEL SHLOMO ע”ה STITT
PASSED AWAY ON SHABBAT PARSHAS LECH LECHA, 10 MAR-CHESHVAN, 5782
MAY HER SOUL BE BOUND IN THE ETERNAL BOND OF LIFE
IN HONOR OF
The Soldiers of Tzivos Hashem Chaim and Aiden Oded שיחיו Morris
DEDICATED BY THEIR PARENTS
Rabbi & Mrs. Menachem M. and Chaya Mushka שיחיו Morris
. Our Parshas, Shemos 35:4.
. Rashi’s comments to Parshas Pekudei, Shemos 39:33.
. See Talmud Shabbos 119, b.