Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Vayakhel

Shabbos Kodesh

Moshe gathered together - vayakhel - all of the Jewish people in front of the Holy Ark. Midrash teaches us that somehow all of the Jewish people, millions in number, all were able to gather together in front of the Holy Ark. Not only in front of the Holy Ark, but also between its staves! This statement of the Midrash, like all words of Torah, contains many levels of interpretation and understanding. But to me it seems clear that the Midrash tells us that all of Israel, with all of the differences that are inherent in such a large and diverse group of individuals, can be united into a decent and caring society if they all find themselves within the staves of the Holy Ark - the wide parameters of tradition, halacha and Jewish values. Here in Israel, we are busily engaged in trying to form a coalition government to govern us in times of problems and distress. In democratic societies, there has to be some sort of national consensus in order to govern properly. That national consensus of the Jewish people has always been found within the staves of the Holy Ark. Removing sections of Jewry from that space only brings divisiveness, hatred and ultimately, estrangement from Judaism and Jewish values themselves.

It should be noted that the message that Moshe delivered to Israel at that moment of gathering and convocation concerned itself with the Sabbath. The cornerstone of Jewish life and unity is the Sabbath. When the Torah stated:" Its (the Sabbath's) desecrators will surely die," it meant not only a legal declaration of punishment for violating the Sabbath. It also meant that this was to be read as a prediction, a prophecy, and a statement regarding the harsh reality of the Jewish world. A Jewish society that ignores the Sabbath, that trims it to meet its fleeting whims, that robs it of its spirit and holiness, of its inhibitions and joys, dooms itself to assimilation and spiritual death. No slogans about Jewish continuity or unity can accomplish the good that the respect and observance of one Sabbath day can achieve. When Moshe gathered all of Israel together at the Holy Ark, he purposely told them of the Sabbath, for the Sabbath alone guarantees Jewish unity, Jewish survival and spiritual triumph. Observance of the intricate laws of the Sabbath on an individual basis has always been a continuum and not an absolute. But in all of Jewish history, respect and love for the Sabbath day itself was an omnipresent absolute. It is this respect and love for the Sabbath that is in such dire peril in today's Jewish society. One does not increase respect and love for the Sabbath by adjusting its holy character and time-honored traditions to current conveniences and fads.

The parsha of Vayakhel reviews the materials needed and the workmanship and effort provided for the construction of the mishkan - the Holy Tabernacle - in the desert of Sinai. However, without the unity of Israel - the gathering of Jews within the confines of the staves of the Holy Ark - and without the sense of holy purpose and noble tradition that only the Sabbath can provide, the mishkan will eventually be nothing more than a physical building filled with ornate artifacts. Its very purpose of challenging and uplifting existence will have been denied. Our generation needs to remember these lessons of Jewish unity within the staves of the Holy Ark and of the holiness of the Sabbath day. Then our mishkan - the sanctuary within our souls and within all of Jewish society - will yet flourish and inspire us.

Shabat Shalom.
Rabbi Berel Wein


Text Copyright © 2002 Rabbi Berel Wein and Project Genesis, Inc.



 






ARTICLES ON VAYEITZEI AND CHANUKAH:

View Complete List

Simple But Unbreakable Faith
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5767

Out of Luck - Into G-d
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5761

See What Will Be
Rabbi Label Lam - 5769

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

If Hashem Said to Go, You Go!
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5758

Brothers in Scorn
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5762

Lend Me an Ear
Rabbi Raymond Beyda - 5767

ArtScroll

Redeeming Factors
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5766

A Torah Perspective
Shlomo Katz - 5766

Building a Jewish Home
Shlomo Katz - 5761

> The Tzadik Does Not "Flee" He "Leaves" (With Dignity and Confidence)
Rav Frand - 5768

Designated Eater
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5760

"More Than I Deserve"
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5763

Looking for a Chavrusah?

The Mysterious Ways of Women
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5764

Hey, Looks Like Supper!
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5760

Good and Bad Company
Shlomo Katz - 5768

The Kedusha of Galus - Thinking in Parallel
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5765



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