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ORDER IN THE TABERNACLE

by Joshua Gottlieb    
Torah from Dixie Staff Writer    

"I don't have time!"

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"I don't have time!"

This statement is an all too common aphorism in today's society. We have many things to accomplish each day, yet by nightfall we are inevitably behind in completing our tasks. How might we better manage our time and in doing so, pack much more into every day?

With regard to the construction of the Mishkan (the portable Tabernacle) in this week's portion, the Torah describes, "Betzalel, son of Uri the son of Chur, of the tribe of Judah, did everything that Hashem commanded Moses" (Exodus 38:22). This verse raises a formidable question: How was Betzalel able to make everything Hashem commanded Moses? Betzalel wasn't present when Hashem directed Moses to build the Mishkan!? Rashi, the fundamental commentator on the Torah, explains that the verse teaches us that through ruach hakodesh, Divine inspiration, Betzalel knew even those things which Moses did not tell him. Although he was not present when Hashem issued the commands to Moses, Betzalel was still able to construct the Mishkan exactly according to Hashem's specification. Rashi proves that Betzalel knew everything through ruach hakodesh from the fact that when Moses told Betzalel to make the vessels of the Mishkan first, and only then construct the Mishkan structure itself, Betzalel corrected Moses and informed him that it was to be done the other way around.

The Kli Yakar, a classic 17th century Torah commentator, agrees with Rashi that the verse in fact teaches us that Betzalel knew how to build the Mishkan through his own ruach hakodesh. However, he refutes Rashi's proof and maintains that, in reality, Moses told Betzalel everything in its correct order.

Why does it matter whether the Mishkan structure or the vessels were made first? Rabbi Yerucham Levovitz, the saintly mashgiach (spiritual advisor) of the famed Mir Yeshiva in Lithuania in the early part of this century, explains that from here we see the importance of putting everything in its proper order. We will never have enough time each day to accomplish all that we would like. Therefore, we must establish priorities in our lives so that we may accomplish as much as possible in the time allotted to us.

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Joshua Gottlieb, who hails from Atlanta, is a sophomore at the Israel Henry Beren High School of the Ner Israel Rabbinical College in Baltimore.

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