OU Torah Insights
Vayakheil-Pekudei - Parashat Hachodesh
March 13, 1999
Rabbi Marvin Sugarman
double-parshah of Vayakheil and Pekudei records the completion of
the Tabernacle constructed in the wilderness by the Jewish nation.
In the preparation of
the Tabernacle, the Torah relates that the people, in their zeal to have a share in this
unique mitzvah, continued to offer gifts to Moshe, even after all the necessary
materials were gathered. "Moshe commanded that they proclaim throughout the camp:
Let no man or woman do any more work for the sanctified offering. So the
people ceased bringing."
Moshe only told the
people to stop working he never asked that the contributions be discontinued Why did the
people refrain from further monetary gifts?
perhaps sensing this difficulty, writes simply, "Money is called work," and
brings other verses to support this contention.
The first Belzer Rebbe,
z"tl, however, understands the word melachah in its common usage of
"physical work," and explains the effect in psychological and emotional terms.
Moshe did indeed only suspended further man-made gifts, but when ones labors are not
welcome, he tends to reduce or even discontinue ones financial commitments as well.
Therefore, when the
people were told that the toil of their hands was no longer needed, they stopped
contributing money as well.
later, after celebrating the inauguration of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem for
seven days, King Solomon and the Jewish nation celebrated for an additional seven days.
Then, "on the Eighth Day he sent the nation [home] and they blessed the king and went
to their tents joyful and glad of heart."
Gemara interprets, that they had enjoyed the radiance of the Holy Presence of G-d; and
"glad of heart" that their wives conceived and bore them each a baby boy.
Those who participated
in the dedication of the Temple became so infused with the Holy Presence that they
returned home and impregnated their wives. Even those women who were infertile, became
pregnant and gave birth to sons.
How are we to
understand this statement of the Gemara? What is the connection between attending
the inauguration of the Holy Temple and bearing sons?
Rav Yosef D.
Soloveitchik, z"tl, explains that the holiness of the Tabernacle, and later,
the Temple, emanated from the Holy Ark, which contained the two luchos,
representing the Torah. Indeed, as the Ramban elucidates in his commentary, the purpose of
the Tabernacle was to perpetuate the revelation of G-ds glory at Mount Sinai, where
the Torah was given.
Hence, having shared in
the dedication of the Temple, which is sacred by virtue of the Torah contained in its Holy
of Holies, the Jewish people absorbed a portion of this holiness and immediately merited
children who would become Torah scholars.
Rabbi Sugarman is
rabbi of Shaarey Zedek Congregation in North Hollywood, California.