Framework and Content
By: Rav Zechariah Tubi, Rosh Kollel Rabbanut
The parshiyot of the mishkan are split into two groups. Parshat Teruma and Tetzaveh deal with the commandment to build the mishkan and its vessels, while Parshat Vayakhel and Pekudei deal with the actual construction. There are a number of differences between these two groups that require explanation.
1. In Parshat Teruma, G-d commands Moshe to build the Aron, the Shulchan and the Menorah first, and then to build the mishkan. In Parshat Vayakhel the order is reversed; the mishkan is constructed first and then the vessels are made. Why is this so?
2. In Parshat Vayakhel, when Moshe gathers all of Am Yisrael and commands them to construct the mishkan, he opens with the mitzvah of Shabbat: "On six days work may be done." (Shemot 35:2) Why is Shabbat mentioned here? It was already mentioned a few times previously in the Ten Commandments, so what need is there for an additional reminder now.In addition, in Parshat Ki Tisa the commandment about Shabbat appears after the commandment about the mishkan, whereas in Parshat Vayakhel the order is reversed.
In essence, this was exactly the argument between Moshe and Betzalel – what comes first? Rashi writes on the pasuk: "Betzalel, son of Uri, son of Chur, of the tribe of Yehuda, did everything that Hashem commanded Moshe" (Shemot 38:2):
"That Moshe commanded him" is not written here, but rather, "Everything that Hashem commanded Moshe." Even things that his teacher did not tell him – his mind agreed with what was told to Moshe at Sinai. For Moshe told Betzalel to build first the vessels and then the Mishkan. Betzalel said to him: "It is the way of the world to build the house first and then to place vessels inside it!" ... Moshe said to him: "Were you Betzel E-l (in G-d's shade)?! Of course this is what Hashem commanded me." And so he did; the mishkan first and then the vessels.
On the surface this is very difficult. If Moshe really was commanded to build the mishkan first and then the vessels – why did he command the opposite? What does it mean, "Were you in G-d's shade?" Was Moshe himself not in G-d's shade, and yet he heard what he heard. What is the difference between Moshe and Betzalel?
Rav Charlop, in his book "Mei Marom," on the pasuk: "I have placed My words in your mouth – and with the shade of My hand have I covered you – to implant the heavens and to set a foundation for the earth and to say unto Zion 'You are My people!'" (Yeshaya 51:16) writes that there are two kinds of shades. There is a shade that conceals the light, which is something negative. There is a shade that enables us to recieve the light – because the light is so strong that it is impossible to look at it, and through the shade it is possible to enjoy the light. We find this in the Creation: "G-d saw that the light was good" (Bereishit 1:4) – "He saw that the world was not worthy of it, so He concealed it for the righteous in the future." (Chagiga 12a) This world cannot handle the full power of this Divine light, and therefore Hashem reveals himself in this world by concealing that light. This is the "shade" that symbolizes the world of action.
"The conclusion of every action begins with the thought." For Moshe – who is overly spiritual, and belongs to the world of thought – the order is reversed. The vessels (the purpose) come first, and then the mishkan, even though Hashem told him to build the mishkan first. For a person who exists in the world of light, the order "begins with the thought". However, in the world of action, which comes through concealment – "You were in the Shade of G-d" – the order is different; first comes the mishkan and then the vessels. This is "the way of the world," because if there is no framework there is nowhere to place the contents.
In reality, there is a constant struggle between the framework and the contents. The "idea," the spiritual ambition, wants to spread out and break free of all the frameworks, whereas the framework sets bounds, limits and sometimes even suffocates this expansion. The ideal is to find the balance between the framework and the spiritual content, because when there is too much spreading out it is also possible, chas v'shalom, to stumble. The framework affords the opportunity to expand without fear of stumbling. What is this comparable to? It is comparable to a person who is in a high-rise building. If the porch has no railing, he will not dare to take a single step outside towards the porch. However, if there is a railing, he will be able to step outside until the edge of the porch. The railing allows for expansion.
However, before building the framework, the goal towards which we are striving needs to be set. Therefore, before building the mishkan, Moshe commands the nation to observe Shabbat, because Shabbat is the spiritual basis for all the days of activity, and it is our aspiration: "The purpose of all Creation." Therefore, before building the mishkan, Moshe sets the goal, because a person can sometimes be so involved with the framework that he has no idea towards what he is striving. Bbefore the construction starts – we need to know the goal!
Shiur ID: 3718