Vayakhel 5769

Posted on March 23, 2011

by Tyler Dratch

March 21, 2009/25 Adar 5769

In this weeks thrilling installment of Exodus, Moses is given instructions about building the tabernacle. The sin of the golden calf is said to have occurred on Yom Kippur, so the building of the tabernacle occurred the day after Yom Kippur.

God picks Bezalel, the son of Uri and grandson of Hur, to build the tabernacle. While Bezalel does have the knowledge to build such a tabernacle, so did many others. Why was Bezalel chosen? Commentators explain that Bezalel’s grandfather sacrificed his life trying to prevent the sin of the golden calf. For this, he is rewarded through his grandson who is given the honor of building the tabernacle.

After reading this, Rashi explains that a person has two names, the one his parents give him, and the one he gives himself. This concept holds true today. It is true that part of your reputation comes from the name of your parents and family. A Jewish person’s Hebrew name includes their father and mother’s Hebrew name. However, maybe more important than this name, is the reputation people give themselves. It is very surprising how the reputation one gives themselves early in life carries with them for a long time. Many adults who attend high school reunions comment that they still remember their classmates from how they acted in high school. The nice thing about your “second” name is that it is very easy to give yourself a good one. By simply treating others with respect, you will also gain respect. It may be cliché, but treating others the way you want to be treated truly goes a long way.

Another verse in the first half of this parsha is worth discussing. “Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day there shall be to you a holy day, a sabbath of solemn rest to the LORD; whosoever doeth any work therein shall be put to death.” (Exodus 35:2) We know that not every Jew observes Shabbat every week, but that does not mean they are put to death.

What is god really saying to Moses? Rashi explains that on Shabbat a person is given a second soul in a sense. This makes the person much more holy on Shabbat. A person that does not observe Shabbat does not receive this right.

Coming up on April 4, USY will be participating in Shabbat Unplugged. Together as an organization, we will promise to not use electricity on this Shabbat. Clearly, we will not only be conserving electricity, but will also have the opportunity to receive this added holiness on Shabbat. This can truly be an incredible feeling. I strongly urge everyone to take part in this wonderful program, and to remember on this Shabbat that the name we give ourselves can carry a lot of weight. Shabbat Shalom!