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Parshas Vayakhel/Pekudei

03/12/10 18:26:47


This week we read the final two portions of sefer Shmos, the book of Exodus. If we step back for a moment and view Jewish history up until this point. The Jews left Egypt, received the Torah, built the Mishkan/Tabernacle and are now on their way to Eretz Canaan, the land of Israel. Putting aside what we already know, that the Jewish people will wander in the desert for forty years we should be going into the land now. So what is the feeling in the air and what is the buzz in and around the camps? The very first verse tells us "Vayakhel Moshe es kol adas Bnei Yisrael vayomer aleihem, eileh hadvarim asher tziva Hashem la'asos osam". Moshe assembled the ENTIRE assembly of the Children of Israel and said to them: "These are the things that Hashem commanded, to do them." It then goes on to speak about the Mitzva of Shabbos. One can ask: Why does the Torah use the word kol the entire Jewish people instead of just saying Moshe spoke to the assembly? A second question is: What is the significance of gathering to teach the commandment of Shabbos when we have already mentioned it earlier?

The Yalkut Shimoni which is one of the Midrashic explanations says that the gathering was for Moshe to teach the laws of Shabbos to the Jewish people ON Shabbos. Jews should gather in Shul and study halls to listen to their Rabbis teach about Shabbos. The Yalkut goes on to say that this is the source of the custom that Moshe said "Thirty days before a holiday we should ask and explain the laws of the coming festival. Thirty days before Pesach and thirty days before Sukkos learn the laws of that particular holiday." This message that Moshe sends us is the importance of the Jewish people to continue learning, learning from their Rabbis, and to come learn within a communal setting. One should not just learn at home, or by themselves, but rather with a teacher and among a group.

The first question of why the entire nation was required to be there can be answered by our differences. Within every group, club, committee, religious affiliation and even family there are opinions and differences. At times, the spectrum within the right to the left can be argumentative and downright ugly. In today's times we find within the circles of Orthodoxy many brands and strands. Whether a person affiliates with the kippah sruga, suede, velvet or even a paper one we find differences among the group itself. Orthodox Rabbis within the same organization will have different philosophies and outlooks on halacha and practice. Moshe Rabbeinu is commanding through the word of G-d that is all fine and acceptable, as long as we see ourselves in the collective Kol, all the entire. We are so fragmented that Moshe instructs us to pull all together. When and where do we find this opportunity to come together, on Shabbos and Yom Tov.

We need to aspire and do what Moshe did in pulling ALL , the ENTIRE Jewish people together regardless of how different we are. Let us have the merit to become a true Kehilas Yisroel and maybe then we can continue on the original plan of going into the land of Israel.

Ah Gut Shabbos, and a Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Avram Bogopulsky
Tue, August 4 2020 14 Av 5780