Musings of an Orthodox Jew

Thoughts on Torah and the Jewish world today.

Parsha Ki Tisa 5769- See, I have called by name

Our parsha contains an interesting phrase ” רְאֵה, קָרָאתִי בְשֵׁם, בְּצַלְאֵל בֶּן-אוּרִי בֶן-חוּר, לְמַטֵּה יְהוּדָה. 2 ‘See, I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah;”  Now on the surface it seems to be rather mundane, G-d is telling Moshe who it is that will be responsible for making the various acroutements for the Mishkan and the Kohanim.  However, Ramban points out an interesting factor here:  Bezalel was born a slave, lived as a slave until the redemption of the Jews from Egypt, and had never trained as a craftsman.  Like the other Jews, he worked with brick and mortar building the store cities of Pithom and ‘Ramses.  More than that, even, Bezalel was able to do ALL the required crafts for producing the items for the Mishkan and Kohanim.  He was a master weaver, gem cutter, smith, jeweler, engraver, embroiderer, carpenter and more.  In normal circumstances he would have been an unbelievable and exceptional individual- as someone that could do all this naturally, with no training, he was nothing short of miraculous.

More than just having the mundane craft knowledge- we are told further: ג וָאֲמַלֵּא אֹתוֹ, רוּחַ אֱלֹהִים, בְּחָכְמָה וּבִתְבוּנָה וּבְדַעַת, וּבְכָל-מְלָאכָה. “3 and I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship” What does this extra statement about him teach? That he knew not only what physical workings were associated with each implement and acroutement- but he understood the deeper spiritual implications as well.  Thus his crafting of the implements included all the necessary intent and knowledge that they needed to be imbued with so they would not merely be beautiful implements, but would carry the correct spiritual elements to enhance them as well.

To try and explain this, Ramban states that Bezalel was placed in that generation as that was the generation that would need him.  Simlarly, other exceptional individuals have been placed withn their generations to achieve specific great aims; people such as Avraham and Moshe.  However, this principal can be extended- it is not just the great that are placed in each generation- though their effect is the greatest on the overall pattern of Reality.  In this we can learn the greatness of G-d:  he ordered the universe and everything so at the necessary point in time, Bezalel would be there with the capabilities of a Master Craftsman well beyond that of ordinary men.  And when it was needed, Bezalel was there, he created everything necessray for the Mishkan and avodah, and eneabled the snctification of the nation and G-d.  G-d is not limited as we are- and just as he ordained events to transpire in the manner they did for the Jews in the desert, so, too, doe she ordain events for us.  Each of us is where we are because G0-d set up events so that we would be here.  What remains is for us to look around and do the ebst the can with what G-d has given us.  Bezalel had it easy- G-d told him directly what his role was; for the rest of us, we have to muddle through and try to do our best to understand our place in the world.  Don;t fear- there is a place for you, there is one for all of us.

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March 9, 2009 - Posted by | Parshah, Torah | , , , , , , , ,

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