Moshe said to the Children of Israel: “See, HASHEM has called by name Bezalel, the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. He has imbued him with the spirit of G-d, with wisdom, with insight, and with knowledge, and with [talent for] all manner of craftsmanship to do master weaving, to work with gold, silver, and copper, with the craft of stones for setting and with the craft of wood, to work with every [manner of] thoughtful work. And He put into his heart [the ability] to teach, both him and Oholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan. He imbued them with wisdom of the heart, to do all sorts of work of a craftsman and a master worker and an embroiderer with blue, purple, and crimson wool, and linen and [of] weavers, those who do every [manner of] work, and (V’Choshei Machshavos) master weavers. (Shemos 35:30-35)
Now here we have assembled an all team of artisans to do the actual building of the Mishkan. We would expect to see in their resume other great projects that they worked on or a certification from whomever they apprenticed. It is seemingly strange that their spiritual powers and prowess should be their main qualifications for this task. “Imbued with the spirit of HASHEM, wisdom, with insight, and with knowledge, (Chochmah – Binah -and Daas), wisdom of heart and finally V’Choshei Machshavos -thinker of thoughts, which is for some reason is translated as master weavers. Why is this so?
Let us take a step back and appreciate what it means to be an artisan/ and an artist.
Everything that exists in this world whether “naturally” or man made is the product of a thought. If you are sitting on a chair, take a moment to consider that this chair is the result of some general and detailed thought. Somebody, someplace had a deep enough desire to create a comfortable sitting experience for you and many others. They approximated how big you are and that you would appreciate a cushion, and back support. It should be pleasant looking and appealing to the eye. It should be sturdy and reliably long lasting. It would have to be easily built so that the costs would not be prohibitive and many other hidden features, too many to mention. Now that is just one item in your miniature universe. We can zero in on any article of clothing or any object in the building in which you live and admire the details that were included for your good.
The “natural” universe is densely packed with too many examples to count. Why is it that the nose protrudes in front of our faces? We can ask like that about anything in the world since HASHEM looked into the Torah and created the world, and the world is a reflection of HASHEM’s wisdom. Just as we can ask a question about the use of a given word in a verse we can ask about the positioning of the nose.
Everyone knows that the ELAL has the best security monitoring system in the world. They are best equipped and able to stop and prevent horrific events by setting up advanced screening programs. They are watching people in the parking lot before they ever enter the airport building.
Similarly, the nose is positioned to discover if a food is too foul and noxious to be first tested in the mouth where it might be too late. Lemon scented Clorox would be a disaster to imbibe but the nose is uniquely positioned to detect and reject before it’s too late. In that way the nose knows.
So, everything in the world is designed for us in ways we cannot comprehend. It’s the result not just of thought but a thoughtful thought and a desire to please. From that thought a plan is developed and executed with precision, like the flow of thought, speech, and action.
To build something- create something is to read the mind of the end consumer, to anticipate the needs of the one who is to be the beneficiary of that creation.
Maybe now we can begin to detect why being hand was not enough to qualify as a builder of the Mishkan and why those spiritual qualities would be essential for this holy of holiest projects. To create a place for HASHEM in this world would require minds, hearts, and hands that can read the highest thought and the deepest desire in the universe.