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  • Writer's pictureRabbi Yonah Burr

Betzalel's Intuition

Updated: Mar 15

ובצלאל בן אורי בן חור למטה יהודה עשה את כל אשר צוה ד' את משה (שמות לח:כג)

ופרש"י-אשר צוה אותו משה אין כתיב כאן, אלא כל אשר צוה ד' את משה, אפילו דברים שלא אמר לו רבו, הסכימה דעתו למה שנאמר למשה בסיני

And Bezalel the son of Uri the son of Chur from the tribe of Yehuda did all that Hashem commanded Moshe”

Rashi notes that the Torah does not say “all that Moshe commanded him” but rather, “all that Hashem commanded Moshe”. In other words, Betzalel intuitively understood everything Hashem commanded Moshe, even the parts that Moshe did not specifically relay to Bezalel.

Rashi, citing the Medrash, explains that when Moshe commanded Bezalel to construct the Mishkan, he first gave the instructions regarding the Aron, which contained the luchos, and only after did he instruct him regarding the structure of the Mishkan. Bezalel questioned this, asking, “isn’t it the normal way of the world to first build the house and then bring in the vessels?” Moshe readily conceded that indeed Hashem actually gave the command to construct the Mishkan first and only after to fashion the Aron along with the rest of the vessels.

The question remains, why did Moshe reverse the order of the command, first discussing the Aron, and then the rest of the Mishkan, if Hashem wanted the Mishkan built in the ordinary manner of the world, to build the ‘house’ first and then bring in the vessels?

The Ramban explains that Moshe was teaching Bezalel and the rest of the people the primary function of the Mishkan, which is to be a dwelling place for the Shechina predicated upon the Torah, where Hashem could speak to us and be close to us. The Aron represented Hashem’s greatest gift to the Jewish People -- His Torah. And only through a life of Torah could He dwell among them and be close to them. The entire Mishkan was necessary, but it was important to bear in mind the primary goal: to create a place where the Shechina could reside.

Often in life we are caught up in the minutia of the day to day, and it is hard to keep our focus on the end goal- The Torah is teaching us that every so often we need to remind ourselves that everything we do is ultimately to create a place where the Shechina can dwell among us; in our homes, in our lives, and in ourselves!

Have a wonderful Shabbos!

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