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Table Talk: Vayakhel -Pikudei Print E-mail

tableA Delightful Question:


“There is nothing in God higher than “Oneg” – Delight.” (Sefer Yetzirah – The Book of Creation 2:4) The Bible refers to the most direct experience of God using the word “Oneg” – Delight:

“Then you will delight upon God.” (Isaiah 58:14) The Hebrew word for “plague” – Nega – is obtained from Oneg by simple rotation. A “Nega was a sign of disapproval by God. The prophet Isaiah taught that there is a special Mitzvah of Oneg Shabbat – Delighting in Shabbat: “If you proclaim the Shabbat a delight…then you will delight in God, and I will mount you astride he heights of the world.” (Isaiah 58:13-14) Do you have any practical suggestions as to how you can make your Shabbat a day of delight?


Distant Closeness

Then Solomon said, “God said that He would dwell in the thick cloud. As for me, I have built a house of habitation for You, and a foundation for Your dwelling forever.” (Chronicles II 6:1-2) The Cloud of God filled the new Temple just as it fills the Mishkan in this week’s portion. Solomon saw that all he had hoped for had come to pass. Yet, there seems to be a contrast: God said that He would dwell in the Arafel – Thick Dark Cloud – As for me, Solomon, I built a house of habitation. God says He will dwell in the cloud. Solomon wants God to dwell in a house. Actually, Solomon wanted the house to be a foundation, a place for the cloud. This seems to indicate that God “dwells” in the cloud, which dwells in the Holy of Holies. Does that mean that God does not dwell directly in the Temple and Tabernacle? Are there actually stages of God’s Presence even within the Mishkan and Beit Hamikdash? Is that extra step necessary because the House of God is a place where He dwells among us even in our imperfect state?

It Doesn’t Work!

They were so excited to build the Mishkan that Moshe actually had to ask people to stop bringing donations! They could not wait to erect the magical structure, but it didn’t work. (Tanchuma #11; Shemot Rabbah 52:3) “They were not able to put it together. God afforded Moshe, who had yet to play a role in building the Mishkan, a chance to play an important role. Only he could put it together.” (Rashi 39:43) What was it like for the people after all their work to realize that they simply could not put the building together? Why did God want them to experience that frustration and self-doubt? What did Moshe feel when he realized that absolutely everything worked and that the Mishkan was simply waiting for him to put it together? Had he wondered why he was not previously given a role in building the Mishkan? Did he suspect that it was because he had not participated in the sin of the Golden Calf?

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