Vayakhel-Pekudei Betzalel and Ohaliab

Shabbat shalom White City Shabbat lovers!

This week, Parashat Vayakhel-Pekudei, Shabbat comes in at 5:22 and goes out at 6:20

Imagine that, God forbid, you find out that tomorrow is the last day of your life and tonight you have to deliver your last speech. What would you speak about? What would be your last message to the world? What is the one thing you know best and would want to share and teach to the world? 

When it came to the building of the Mishkan, (the Tabernacle or portable temple built in the desert after the Exodus from Egypt), two people are singled out to lead its construction: Betzalel and Ohaliab. These two people are coming from the two most opposite places: Betzalel from one of the most prominent families, Ohaliab from the lowest. Still both of them were assigned with the same purpose to lead the building of the holiest construction of the world and to teach and train everyone around them. The Torah says: 35:34 “He {God} gave him the ability to teach, him {Betzalel} and Ohaliab son of Ahisamach of the tribe of Dan.”

The commentator Rashi explains that it’s important to know that even though Ohaliab was from the lowest lineage, when it comes to the building of the Mishkan, God put him on the level of Betzalel.

The verse is telling us that although it is very clear that there are huge differences between people; but when it comes to “teaching” he gave everyone the same abilities. "He {God} does not recognize the rich over the poor." Every person has a God-given ability to teach.

One of the prerequisites for this though is that you have to first find out what you are best at. 

Every person has something that he is best at or he can be best at. Everybody has something unique, something that you know best, that you were born with to give over to this world.

Man is unique and we can even see this from the very beginning of creation. On the day of animal creation in Genesis, many of the same species were created: many giraffes, many butterflies and many trees. But man? Only one man…why? To tell you that man is unique and every man has his unique role and task in this world.

The word Israel also stands for “ies Shishim Rivo Aotiot, Letorah” = there are 600 000 letters in the Torah. There are 600.000 Jewish souls and every soul is connected to one letter. Your job is to find your own letter and connect it to your soul…which has huge consequences; it could mean that even if you know a lot, it’s still not enough. As long as you haven’t found your own letter in the Torah, meaning you have not found your unique purpose, you have not fulfilled your mission! 

But the message of the Parasha is going even one step further: finding out your unique purpose alone is not enough; you also have to become the best at it and then TEACH it to the world!

If we look at the very beginning of Pirkei Avot, one of the most fundamental teachings of the Sages, we can see a similar idea. The very first Mishnah says” you have to “develop many disciples”. The Mishnah (1:13) goes even further… “he who refuses to teach deserves death”.

If you close your eyes and imagine what this life is about…you might want to ask the question to yourself: can there really be something more important than finding out and fulfilling your purpose, becoming the person you have the potential to become? 

Shabath shalom
Denes Ban & the entire WCS Crew

Added on: March 8, 2013

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