| Parshah |


Inspiration and kabbalos are an essential prerequisite, but they’re only a first step

“And Betzalel and Oholiav and every wise hearted man… did all the work according to all that Hashem commanded.” (Shemos 36:1)


At first glance, parshas Vayakhel and Pekudei appear to be a repetition of parshas Terumah and Tetzaveh, which describe the building of the Mishkan. Why would the Torah repeat itself?

Rav Pam explains that the key verb in Terumah and Tetzaveh is “you shall make” — future tense — while in Vayakhel-Pikudei it’s “and he made,” in the past tense.

There are many people who make elaborate plans to build, but their final project bears little resemblance to their original ideas. Yet here the Torah is testifying that every detail of building the Mishkan was carried out exactly as Hashem commanded. (Rabbi Ozer Alport, Parshah Potpourri)

Calculating the time difference in the States, I sent off an email to Goldie as soon as I woke up. Mazel tov! How was it? I can’t believe I couldn’t be there! Was thinking of you the whole night!

Despite the late hour, she responded immediately. Gorgeous. Absolutely gorgeous despite the no-frills COVID theme. And do you know what tonight is?

Your daughter’s chasunah? Did exhaustion wipe that out? Emoji smilie.

It’s our 25th anniversary too! And I had such plans to celebrate this milestone. I thought we’d go on a huge trip, maybe the Grand Canyon. Then COVID nixed that. Then I thought we’d have everyone over for a huge Shabbos with grammen and speeches and we’d be the stars of the celebration. We never do anything for anniversaries and I wanted this one to be different.

Dovid Hamelech asks, “Who will ascend the mountain of Hashem, and who will stand in the place of His kedushah?” (Tehillim 3:24) Rav Simcha Sheps explains that this pasuk describes two different challenges in life. Who’s strong and determined enough to make it all the way up the mountain of Hashem? That’s one level of difficulty. Yet there’s an even bigger challenge: Who will be able to maintain his spiritual level and remain there?

When you reach the mountain peak, you’re full of adrenaline. But as the thrill wears off, it’s much harder to remain on the mountaintop than it was to reach it.

That’s why it was only after the Mishkan was fully completed and assembled that Moshe blessed Bnei Yisrael that the Shechinah should rest on their handiwork.

I knew that I should be getting the kids out to school, but I kept reading anyway. This anniversary was different, all right. We weren’t the stars of the celebration and we didn’t care at all. When I held Temima’s hand as she walked around Efraim, I felt it tremble in mine and I remembered how my hands trembled at my chasunah. I watched her eyes as they met his; I read in them the starry dreams I had under the sky, it seems like lifetimes ago. I saw her visions, the home they hoped to build together. And within that, I saw the home I had built myself. The past and present wove together, all a culmination of the foundation we’d built decades before.

This insight doesn’t only apply to constructing a physical structure. Consider the kabbalos we make during Aseres Yemei Teshuvah. What results do they have a year later? When we find ourselves inspired to grow spiritually, we must realize that inspiration and kabbalos are an essential prerequisite, but they’re only a first step. We must not allow the yetzer hara to distract us and cause our dreams and aspirations to remain in the planning stage. It’s only after we’ve successfully carried out our plans that we can truly consider them accomplishments.

My eyes filled with tears as I could feel Goldie’s emotion.

You know how it is. There were plans and hopes of mine that never came to be. But there was such joy in the today, such gratitude, emunah, and gevurah that couldn’t be compared to the young innocent girl I was then.

I built our home, laying each stone as Hashem sent it my way. The result may not look exactly like the original ornate plans I had, but the foundation is the same. And now I was zocheh to come full circle to daven for the building of a new home that will carry those plans further.

What could be a better way to celebrate an anniversary?

(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 734)

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