Rabbi Yoni Kirsch
Rabbi Yoni KirschYair Yulis

In Parshat Vayakhel-Pekudei we once again read about the Mishkan and its building. Why do we need this rehearsal? Didn't we already discuss this issue for two Parsha's(Terumah-Tetzaveh)?

Simply, the previous (Teruma-Tetzave) time was Hashem telling Moshe about the Mishkan and its details, and this time is Moshe commanding us to build it (Vayakhel) and the building itself (Pekudei). But we must ask ourselves- is this difference enough to justify the whole repetition?

Paying attention to another fact can help answer our question: In between these two descriptions is the terrible occasion of the sin of the Golden Calf (Parshat Ki tisa).

What is the connection between the two?

In a fascinating way we see many parables between phrases and details in Parshat Vayakhel and the Story of the Golden Calf (the Midrashim also connect the two):

In this week's Parsha:

"Vayakhel Moshe"- Moshe gathered (35:1), similar to "Vayakhel ha'am"- the nation gathered (32:1) to do the golden calf.

"Lo tevaru esh" do not burn fire on Shabbos (35:3), like "Va'ashlichehu ba'esh"- tossed the gold in the fire (32:24).

"Eleh Hadvarim"- these are the words Hashem commanded (35:1), like "Eleh Elohecha Yisrael"- this is your god golden calf (32:4).

"Ze Hadavar asher tziva Hashem" – this is what Hashem commanded (35:4), like "Ze Moshe Haish"- This Moshe is late from coming.

"Heviu Nevada baboker baboker"- they brought their donations early in the morning (36:3), like "Vayasuku Mimachorat" – they woke up early the next day to do the calf (32:6).

We also see the donations of Am Yisrael in both sections are similar:

"Vayavou Ha'anashim al hanashim kol nediv lev hevia chach vanezem…"-men and women brought earrings and nose rings (36:22), like "Parku nizmei hazahav asher

The message seems to be pretty clear. The building of the Mishkan is a Tikkun and atonement, kapparah, for the sin of the golden calf. How is this so?

Apparently, in the Sin of the Golden Calf the people followed their own personal will and did not follow the commandment from above. The Kuzari (1,96) explains that they wanted to worship Hashem through this mediator, although this was not according to any official law which made it a sin. Here we have them following every step accurately.

Although, there seems to be more to this repetition....

More than Enough

In the description of the donations brought to the Mishkan in this week's Parsha, we find additional details in the story (36:5-7):

"And they spoke to Moses, saying: 'The people are bringing very much, more than is enough for the labor of the articles which the Lord had commanded to do'

So Moses commanded, and they announced in the camp, saying: 'Let no man or woman do any more work for the offering for the Holy.' So the people stopped bringing.

And the work was sufficient for them for all the work, to do it and to leave over."

The people were bringing more than enough and needed to be stopped. And that's what they did.

Why does the Torah need to tell us these details?

Simply, this shows us Am Yisrael's good will to give for the sake of the Mishkan. The Ohr Hachayim (36:7) even says that there was a miracle that the amount that was beyond what was needed joined the actual accurate amount of donations originally needed.

This little incident can teach us much about what was happening behind the scenes.

Rav Charlap (Me Marom, Vayakhel) explains that the fact that Am Yisrael paused from giving more than necessary shows their full repentance from the Sin of the Golden Calf. By giving much we would have suspected that they are still trying to express their own personal ambitions towards the Mishkan, and by stopping when asked to do so they prove that their good will to donate was all pure and for the sake of Hashem. This ultimately showed that they learned their lesson from the sin.

Although we must pay attention to one extra word mentioned: "Vehoter"-to leave over"- "more than enough".

So did they bring "enough" or "more than enough"? this is a very significant question behind the scenes:

Is there any legitimacy and recognition of the people’s desire to follow the will of Hashem coming from "down to up", coming from their own intuition, or only the official Halakhot and commandments coming from "up to down".

The Midrash (tanchuma, Pekudei, 2) describes the story of this "leftover donation":

"אמר משה לפני הקב"ה רבונו של עולם עשינו את כל המלאכה של משכן והותרנו, מה נעשה ביותר, אמר לו לך ועשה בהן משכן לדברות..."

Moshe ask's Hashem: " we finished doing everything, what is there to do with the extra of what is remaining of the donations?", Hashem answers: "go and use that to build the Mishkan for the Dibrot (box for ten commandments) ".

This is the highest level of repentance to the sin of the Golden Calf. After proving their good will and pure intentions for donations, unbelievably, Hashem gives legitimacy and recognition to am Yisrael’s will- even beyond the official need of the original commandment. This will be used for the holiest place in the Mishkan.

Lesson: We have to be cautious when trying to fulfill Hashem’s will because sometimes it can lead to a “golden calf” if we go too far but if we act within boundary, Hakadosh Baruch Hu shows his tremendous love and care for us. This is definitely more than enough.