Illuminations #198, Adar B, 5779, Parshat Pekudei

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Illuminations #198, Adar B, 5779, Parshat Pekudei

Torah Gems

Our Portion this week gives a complete accounting of all the materials that went into the construction of the Mishkan that Betzalal was assigned to make. We are told all the work was completed and the Torah says – “And the Children of Israel did all as Hashem had commanded” (37:32). The Torah commentaries point out the fact that not all the Children of Israel built the Mishkan. It was only Betzalel and his workers who worked on the construction.

Here the Torah gave credit to all the people because everyone had some share in its construction. Some people donated the gold, silver and copper, and other necessary ingredients. Some did the knitting of materials. Some did the coloring of the skins. Some made the utensils that were to be used. Since everyone did something that was necessary it was considered as if they had actually all built the Mishkan.

We often think of the individual or persons that we know worked on a project as the people responsible for its success. We forget all the back-up people who were needed to bring the venture to a successful completion. This Pasuk emphasizes that for a successful undertaking it takes the cooperation of many different people and all are to be given credit for the accomplishment.

Parsha Pearls

The Torah, summarizing the construction of the Mishkan, says – “Bezalel, son of Uri son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, did everything that Hashem commanded Moshe” (38:22). Why was it necessary for the Torah to go back in history and mention Bezalel’s grandfather and his tribe? Usually, in Jewish practice, when identifying a person, only his name and the name of his father are given.

Chazal tell us that when people are active in community work they should do so for the sake of heaven, because the merit of their fathers will aid them.

Community workers may have the feeling that they can do as they please and that they are not accountable to anyone. By mentioning Bezalel’s ancestry the Torah is telling us that one should always keep in mind his background, his parents and their parents. By remembering them, their memory will aid them in doing their work honestly and faithfully for the cause.

Glimpses of Greatness

There was a boy that refused to keep Torah and Mitzvot, so the mother called to  one of the Gedolei Yisrael, cried,and asked what to do with the son. The Rav said every Shabbat she should bring in earlier then usual, and pray to Hashem in front of the Shabbat Candle. When the shabbat came in, as she stood in front of the candle, she began crying and praying to Hashem. The son saw her and asked, “Mother, why are you crying? What happened?” The Mother answered, “You will understand later.” Not a month went by before the son has changed and became a Ben Torah.

Halacha Weekly

Q. Should one change how one prays silently in a congregation using a different nusach tefilah ?[II-15-361)

A. Meishiv Davar (17, R. Naftali Tzvi Yehudah Berlin Z”L) writes that in the silent prayer it is prohibited to change from the traditional text that one is already accustomed to pray in and in general here there is no issue of lo titgodedu (Devarim 14-1)(the prohibition not to form factions in Israel). According to Rambam, Z”L, the reason is because in this case there is not really any difference.  According to Rosh the reason is because it is really only a custom that is involved.  According to all opinions they are following two different textual versions and it is not like what is written in Sefer Peat Hashulchan (3, R. Yisrael ben Shmuel Mishkelov Z”L), who writes that individuals that pray in a synagogue of Sefardim are obligated to accustom themselves to act like the congregation,  because of the concern with lo titgodedu. Instead, the ruling is like what is written in Haghaot Maimoninides (Hil. Tefilah  5), who says in the name of the Yerushalmi (Perek 3,  Eruvin ) that, ‘Though we send to them the order of the maamadot, do not change from the custom of your parents.’  And this is referring to prayers of the moadot (which change according to the season).

However, when a congregational response is said in the prayers out loud (in a congregation praying in another nusach tefilah-another version of the prayer texts) the situation is different. He writes, ‘For the kedushah  which is said out loud and similar places in the prayers, it is certain that it is prohibited to use a different custom than that which is practiced there,because of controversy. (Saying aloud a different response appears like one is raising a factional controversy over what is the correct response to Kedushah). According to the Rambam,  Z”L, there is also in this case an issue of lo titigodedu. See Avnei Nezer (Orech Chaim 29, R. Avraham Borenstein Z”L), who writes likewise.