By Rabbi Yisroel Shusterman
This week’s Parsha Perspective is dedicated by Mr. Binyomin Philipson in memory of his late mother Mrs. Ellen (Elka bas Zisel) Philipson OBM
A great endeavor comes to a successful conclusion in this week's Torah reading, Pikudei (Exodus 38:21-40:38). The Sanctuary is completed by Moses and the Children of Israel.
This beautiful prototype of the Temple was built by everyone. The leading artist, craftsman and architect was Betzalel, but everyone else helped. The Torah mentions the men and the women, with special emphasis on the skill and artistry of the women; the Sages add that also the children took part.
Let us look at this from the eyes of each individual. Each person felt that through the fact the he or she was taking part in the construction of the Sanctuary, whatever his or her individual contribution, the entire structure was built. It is true that without all the other hundreds of thousands of people also taking part, the Sanctuary could not have been completed. Nonetheless, each person felt that he had succeeded in the task to bring the entire Sanctuary into being.
The Sages tell us that at the end of the work Moses gave a blessing: "May G‑d grant that His Divine Presence will dwell in the work of your hands." The Sanctuary is called "the work of your hands," applying to the entire nation collectively and also to each person individually.
How does an individual feel this sense of achievement not just in the tiny part he or she actually created, but in the whole? The Lubavitcher Rebbe suggests: When one's participation is to the maximum of one's ability to fulfill the Divine expectation. You do your utmost, however much or little that is, then you can justly feel that the entire sacred structure is the product of your efforts.
This idea about the role of the individual applies not only in the building of the Sanctuary thousands of years ago, but in all our collective endeavors today as the Jewish people. There are great tasks which face us. Not only do we need to "preserve" Judaism; we, the Jewish people acting together, have to bring ourselves and the world into the next stage of history.
This is a task which involves all of us. Yet following the logic applied to the Sanctuary, if each of us gives our "all," we can each feel that the total task is our particular, individual achievement. It is in our hands!
(Excerpts from Chabad.org – by Rabbi Tali Loewenthal)
May you have a meaningful and uplifting Shabbos !