Written by: Rabbi Mordechai Raizman
This week’s Torah portion discusses the building of the Mishkan (Tabernacle). As we take a closer look at the instructions to build the Mishkan, Rav Moshe Feinstein, zt”l, points out something that needs clarification. Betzalel was the one appointed to build the Mishkan, yet we find in many places where the people are told that anyone who has a chacham lev (wise heart) is invited to come, donate, and build the Mishkan. One would think that clarity regarding the “building committee” is in order when taking on such a monumental project. Is Betzalel the one ultimately responsible, or is it up for anyone to step forward and take the lead?
Rav Moshe Feinstein, zt”l, answers that we learn an important lesson about communal responsibility from these directions. The Mishkan had to be built. It was the spiritual center that we needed to help us connect to G-d. There is no choice here; the job has to get done. Yes, it is true that Betzalel is appointed as the leader of this project. However, the Torah is telling us that if for whatever reason he is unable to perform this task, someone has to step up. The Mishkan has to be built. One should never think when it comes to spiritual needs that the few who are put in charge should lead the way and everyone else remain in the background. One has to be ready at any time to step up and complete the task.
The heart and soul of every Jewish community are its children and their Jewish education. This is the foundation that makes us who we are. It may seem like there are individuals appointed to the task of leading this effort – Rabbis, administrators, teachers, and lay leaders – but it is incumbent on all of us to realize that at any given time, we have to all be ready to step up and get involved to continue this effort. This is not a choice but a necessity.
In these challenging times this message is speaking to us more than ever. Our shuls and schools have closed their doors. Our children are learning at home. Parents have no choice but to step up in ways they never imagined. Let us utilize this time for meaningful moments of growth for ourselves and our families. Hashem has given us a new reality and challenge now. Please note that there is no challenge that is given without the ability to meet that challenge. We need to believe in ourselves and the neshomos (souls)that G-d has given us that we can find ways to grow spiritually in our homes with our families.
There are many resources available to assist us in learning with our children. Let us tap into as many as we can. One example occurred during the plague in the times of Dovid Hemelech. Chazal instituted saying brochos (blessings) in hopes of bringing an end to the epidemic which it did. Currently, we are unable to say Amen in shul but let us at least say brochos in our homes out loud for others to answer Amen. In addition, let us concentrate a few more moments when saying these brochos.
May we all daven that Hashem find favor in the way we are serving Him now to bring an end to this tzarah and the beginning of a new era with His presence in our midst. The ultimate redemption with Moshiach Bmhayra Vyomeinu. Amen