Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Parshas Vayakhel

If He Could Do It…

By Rabbi Label Lam

And Moshe called Betzalel and Oheliav and every wise-hearted man within whom HASHEM has endowed wisdom, everyone whose heart inspired him, to approach the work, to do it. (Shemos 36:2)

To whom is Moshe appealing to do the holy work of the Tabernacle? Is his want ad a call only to the already talented and experienced?

The Chofetz Chaim writes in the 7th Chapter of Toras HaBais, the following footnote: “We find this by the building of the Tabernacle, that anyone who put his heart and desire to make the Tabernacle, HASHEM gave him knowledge and wisdom to know how to do it, as it says in Vayakhel, “And Moshe called Betzalel and Oheliav and every wise-hearted man within whom HASHEM has endowed wisdom, everyone whose heart inspired him, to approach the work, to do it.” It does not say “and everyone” (signaling a separate thought) but rather “everyone” indicating that it is a single matter. Meaning that anyone who agrees and decides in his mind to draw close to the task to contemplate how to do this, HASHEM will give him the knowledge to do it. This relates to any good thing, whether it is an action concerning a holy matter that he needs to apply his heart to contemplate how to do it, or whether it is a matter of learning Torah. If one decides in his mind to try to become an expert in some part of the Talmud or similar such thing, and he sees to it to review it many times, or he wants to clarify and master some Hallacha-Law and he strives in pursuit of it, HASHEM will grant to him knowledge in his heart and will help him to make his thoughts a reality.”

The Talmud (Baba Metzia 84A) records a famous incident that occurred between the sage Rabbi Yochanan and a bandit and gang-leader known as Reish Lakish: “One day Rabbi Yochanan was bathing in the Jordon. He saw Reish Lakish jumping into the river after him. Rabbi Yochanan said to him, “Your strength should be used for Torah!” Reish Lakish answered back, “Your beauty is meant for women.” Rabbi Yochanan replied, “If you abandon your ways, I will give you my sister, who is even more beautiful than I am, for marriage.” Reish Lakish accepted this upon himself. He then wanted to return to collect his clothing but he could not muster the strength. (Since he apportioned his strength to spiritual pursuits some of his physical prowess abated.-Rashi) Rabbi Yochanan taught him Chumash and Mishnah, and Reish Lakish became a great man.” (Reish Lakish became the brother in-law and all-time study partner of Rabbi Yochanan. It’s hard to travel a few pages in the Talmud without finding both of their names prominently included in the scholarly discourse)

Amazingly Rabbi Yochanan did not yell “thief” when he saw this mugger bounding toward him. Rather he saw his great spiritual potential. When Reish Lakish heard Rabbi Yochanan’s suggestion that he too could become a scholar he rejected it immediately as absurd. Perhaps that’s the meaning of his answer to Rabbi Yochanan that his beauty is meant for women. “Just as one cannot change their gender, so I cannot become anything other than a thief.” He felt it to be an-impossibility that he could leave his life of crime and become a Talmud scholar. Rabbi Yochanan tested his thesis, albeit with an ulterior motive. Reish Lakish took the pugnacious challenge and realized he could become much more than he had been. Rabbi Yochanan was right and we too must believe if he could do it…


DvarTorah, Copyright © 2007 by Rabbi Label Lam and Torah.org.


 






ARTICLES ON NETZAVIM AND VAYEILECH:

View Complete List

The Difference Between The Two Tochachas
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5772

An Urge to Be Even Better
Rabbi Label Lam - 5764

God's Covenant
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5770

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Touching One's Essence
Rabbi Yosef Kalatzky - 5771

Parting Words
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5757

A Hundred Bucks vs. Regrets
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5759

ArtScroll

After the Ashes
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5761

Lost in Translation
Rabbi Label Lam - 5769

School of Soft Knocks
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5756

> The Need To Be Warned Against Idolatry
- 5773

Renew the Covenant
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5774

Knock, Knock, Knocking on Prayer's Gate
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5766

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Can the Sun Just Not Rise?
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5758

Waking Up in Time
Rabbi Label Lam - 5762

Timely Teshuvah
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5760

Going in the Direction of Teshuva
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5761



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information