Preoccupied – Parashat Vayakhel

March 16, 2020 at 1:36 AM , , ,

“…Moshe assembled the entire community… “these are the things that g-d commanded to be done” – Shemot 35:1

וַיַּקְהֵל משֶׁה אֶת כָּל עֲדַת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל. . אֵלֶּה הַדְּבָרִים אֲשֶׁר צִוָּה ה’ לַעֲשׂת אֹתָם – שמות לה, א

After prevailing upon G-d to wholeheartedly forgive Bnei Yisrael for the sin of the Golden Calf, Moshe descended from Mount Sinai, bringing with him the second set of Luchos. On the following day, Moshe assembled Bnei Yisraeland relayed G-d’s command that they gather materials and construct the Mishkan (see Rashi).

Why did Moshe wait until the day after descending the mountain before informing Bnei Yisrael about this command?

Earlier in the Torah we read about the great excitement and eagerness to study and observe the Torah that that the Giving of the Torah (and the first Luchos) inspired in Bnei Yisrael (see Shemos 19:8, 24:3, et al.) Bnei Yisrael’s excitement upon receiving the second Luchos was therefore presumably just as great, if not greater, considering that the giving of the second Luchos represented that their relationship with G-d had been completely restored.


Consequently, on the day that Moshe descended with the second Luchos, he and Bnei Yisrael were fully engrossed in the theme of the day—celebrating their forgiveness and enjoying the gift of the Torah Their focus that day was likely the study of the Torah in and of itself, and not on action-oriented details and instructions, even the likes of building the Mishkan. Only the next day did it make sense for Moshe to reassemble them and get to work on “the things that G-d commanded to be done.”

The lesson this teaches us is twofold. Firstly, Bnei Yisrael’s “exclusive preoccupation” with receiving the second Luchos teaches us that the mitzvahto engross ourselves inTorah study cannot be substituted even with tasks as holy as building a Mishkan. During our set times for Torah study, we must focus solely on our learning, and utterly detach ourselves from any other task or concern. On the other hand, we learn from here that our enthusiasm about Judaism must not stop with studying the Torah. After “receiving the Torah” and delving into Torah study, we must carry that same excitement into the task of making the world a Mishkan—a place where G-d’s presence is revealed and manifest.

—Likutei Sichos vol. 6, pp. 216-217


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