Category Archives: Parshas Vayakhel

Parshas Vayakhel – The Secret to Good Chinuch

Parshas Vayakhel

The Secret to Good Chinuch

“Every man and woman whose generous heart inspired them to bring something for all the work that Hashem had commanded to be done through Moshe [did so]. The Children of Yisrael brought a free-will gift to Hashem.” (Shmos 35:29)

Rabbi Shmuel Eidels zt”l, known as the Maharsha, was a rav in Poland in the 1600’s. He established a yeshiva in the town of Ostrog. The enrollment in the yeshiva grew so that they needed a new building. One of the townspeople secretly told the manager of the building project that he wanted to donate a large sum of money to pay for the cornerstone of the new building.  He wanted the donation to remain a secret. The bidding began for the honor to pay for the cornerstone of the new yeshiva building. The anonymous bid won with the staggering sum of 500 rubles! No one, except the manager knew the identity of this donor. The Maharsha was so impressed with the size of the donation and the humble manner in which it was given, that he asked to meet with the secret donor. When they met, the donor said, “I am not a rich man. However, I have no children to take my place so I thought it would be proper to give most of my money to help build the new yeshiva.” The Maharsha was so impressed by this answer that he gave the man a bracha that his wife give birth to a son. One year later, the blessing was fulfilled, and the man’s wife gave birth to a son. (Talelei Oros by Rabbi Yissachar Dov Rubin)

Bnei Yisroel responded generously to Moshe’s request to donate materials to build the Mishkan. There is a seeming redundancy in the pasuk. The first part of the pasuk stated that men and women brought offerings for the Mishkan. The end of the pasuk seems to repeat the same thought, “The Children of Yisrael brought a free-will gift to Hashem”.

The Chida explains that sometimes a person is inspired to pledge a donation but later has second thoughts. Perhaps he even regrets his pledge. Those tainted thoughts diminish the holiness of his gift. In this pasuk, the Torah is telling us that the inspiration for the myriad of pledges to donate for the Mishkan did not diminish at all. That is what the pasuk is saying. “The Children of Yisrael brought a free-will gift to Hashem,” with the same inspiration that they initially had felt.

Rav Pam zt”l offers a different explanation, based on the Kehillas Yitzchok and the Alshich. He says that the last phrase stresses that when the people responded with such great generosity to build the Mishkan, they were blessed with, “Children of Yisrael”, righteous offspring. (Rav Pam on the Chumash by Rabbi Sholom Smith)

The Ksav Sofer says that the last phrase of the pasuk is teaching an additional point. The “Children of Yisrael” does not refer to the offerings of the adults. Rather, it is referring to the offerings of the young children of every man and woman whose heart motivated them to donate. The children of these parents were also motivated to donate to the construction of the Mishkan.

Rav Pam zt”l says that this teaches us the secret to good chinuch, the way how to properly educate our children. It is not by telling them what to do, while we ourselves do the opposite. It is not by lecturing or forcing them to act appropriately. Rather, it is teaching by example. When we act properly, our children see it. They learn from our actions.

(Messages From Rav Pam by Rabbi Sholom Smith)


Parshas Vayakhel/Pekudei: Feel Their Love!

Parshas Vayakhel/Pekudei

Feel Their Love!


“You shall not light a fire throughout your habitations on Shabbos” (Shmos 35:3).

I remember reading the following story. It is not a true story, but it does impart a lesson: A husband and wife lived in poverty. Finally, the wife told the husband to get a bracha from a particular rebbe. The husband told the rebbe about his sad state-of-affairs. The rebbe felt bad and gave the husband a bracha. He said that the first thing that the husband did when he arrived home would be especially blessed. The husband excitedly started dreaming about all the business possibilities that could bring him riches. As soon as he arrived home, he and his wife got into an argument. That was the husband’s first act when arriving home and that act became “blessed”. He and his wife argued for the rest of their lives.

The pasuk in this week’s parsha (Shmos 35:3) says, “You shall not light a fire throughout your habitations on Shabbos”. Most commentators explain this literally, that you may not light a fire on Shabbos. The Shaloh HaKaddosh in his sefer, Shnay Luchos HaBris (as quoted by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin in Love Your Neighbor), says that the word “fire” in the pasuk also alludes to the destructive fire of anger and disputes. Especially on Shabbos, one should be exceedingly careful not to grow angry or become involved in disputes.

Some commentaries say that erev Shabbos, Friday afternoon, is a time when people may get angry more easily, in their rush to prepare for Shabbos. The Talmud (Shabbos 30B-31A) tells a story. Two men made a bet that whoever could make the sage, Hillel, angry would get four hundred zuz. One of the men went to Hillel’s house on erev Shabbos and asked him a nonsensical question. Hillel answered calmly and returned to his erev Shabbos preparations. For a second time, the fellow knocked on Hillel’s door, again disturbing Hillel, with another nonsensical question. This went on once more. Hillel maintained his composure and did not get angry!

Perhaps the following dvar Torah by HaRav Alter Henach Leibowitz zt”l, will help us, in some way, to avoid getting angry at others, especially at our loved ones.

The Midrash Tanchuma (Shmos 12 and 13) says that when all the work of the Mishkan was complete, the only thing remaining to be done was for the Mishkan to be erected. Then Hashem’s Holy Presence would dwell within it. However, no one was able to erect it. Neither the wise men nor Ohaliav or Betzalel, who were in charge of its construction, could do so. Therefore, the Jewish people felt much anguish. The people voiced their frustration to Moshe. They showed Moshe each part of the Mishkan. Moshe agreed that it was all done properly, according to the proper specifications. Therefore, they asked Moshe, “Then why can’t the Mishkan be raised?” Moshe felt their pain. He felt terrible anguish that they could not erect the Mishkan. Why did Hashem cause this failure? Moshe Rabbeinu had felt personal pain that he had not been asked by Hashem to participate in the actual building of this holy structure. In actuality, Hashem had saved the raising of the Mishkan for Moshe to do.

The Rosh HaYeshiva zt”l asked, how could it be that Moshe, with all his wisdom, did not realize that raising the Mishkan would be his share in it? Moshe had felt pain that he had not been actively involved. One would think that Moshe would have felt joy knowing that obviously Hashem was saving this for him. Yet, the Midrash seems to indicate that Moshe only felt anguish but no joy, by the fact that the Mishkan could not be raised. Why was that? The Rosh HaYeshiva zt”l explained that Moshe was overwhelmed by the pain and anguish that the Jewish People felt due to their inability to raise the Mishkan. That pain, for others, so overwhelmed him, that his own personal pain, his desire to participate, was totally dwarfed. How could he feel joy when the Jewish people felt anguish?

Perhaps the reason that Moshe felt the pain of his people to the exclusion of his own personal pain was because of his tremendous love for his people. He loved the Jewish people so much that his personal pain was negligible compared to their pain.

We should make a conscious effort to increase our love for our fellow Jews.

When our hearts are filled with love of them, our own ego and self-love will be reduced.

That will help us to refrain from getting angry at others, even when they seem to deserve it.