The Mishkan was finally complete. The nation looked at
the magnificent work with great joy, and Moshe was proud. So
proud, in fact, that he did something that he only did once more-- just before his death: he blessed the entire nation.
Actually, the erection of a Mishkan was the greatest blessing
in itself. Hashem had promised the Jewish nation in Parshas Terumah,
"Build me a Mishkan -- and I will dwell among them"
(Exodus 25:8). But Moshe felt that he, too, would add a blessing.
Rashi tells us what Moshe told the people: "May Hashem rest
His presence in your handiwork."
At first it seems that Moshe is reiterating the promise that Hashem
Himself made. Hashem had promised to dwell in the midst of the
Sanctuary that the Jewish nation would build. Why, then did
Moshe repeat G-d's promise as a blessing? Is he blessing them
that Hashem should keep His word? Or is he perhaps bestowing a
more powerful message?
A man once approached Rabbi Yehuda Assad for advice. "There
is an old, run-down store in the downtown area of the city. I
can get it a very reasonable price. I think that with my marketing
skills I may be able to turn that location into a profitable venture.
Do you think I should buy it?"
Rav Assad made a face. "I don't think that it would be
prudent to enter that part of the city for a business venture."
The man left somewhat dejected.
A few days later another man entered the Rabbi's study with
the identical question about the same property. "There is
an old, run-down store in the downtown area of the city. I can
get it a very reasonable price. I think that with my marketing
skills, and of course with Hashem's help, I may be able to turn
that location into a profitable venture. Do you think I should
This time Rabbi Assad nodded in approval. "I think you
should make a go of it. I have no doubts that it will be a success."
When word got out that the Rabbi was behind this new endeavor,
the first man stormed into his study quite upset. "Why did
the you tell me not to buy the property and then tell my friend
just the opposite?" he demanded.
"My dear student," answered the Rabbi, "there
is a great difference. Your friend took in a partner. He said
that with the help of Hashem he could make a go of it. When someone
includes Hashem in his plans, I am sure that he will succeed!"
For the first time since the exodus the Jews had become accomplished
craftsman, artisans, tailors, and contractors. They built a magnificent
edifice in the wilderness. Moshe knew that a feeling of self-gratification
might accompany their accomplishments. Perhaps they may begin
to think that it was their wisdom, their skills
and only their abilities that made this beautiful Mishkan
possible. So he blessed them with words that were meant to dissuade
any such delusion.
"May Hashem's presence rest in your handiwork." Of
course Hashem promised that he would dwell in the Mishkan.
Moshe's question was, "would the Jews let him in?"
Would they make him a partner? Would they recognize Hashem
as a significant factor even in the physical handiwork that they
themselves had wrought? To that end, Moshe's blessing incorporated
the standard for every action, accomplishment, and success that
anyone achieves. May Hashem be a part of your success. May the
Shechina rest upon your handiwork.
The author is the Associate Dean of the
Yeshiva of South Shore.
Drasha is the e-mail edition of FaxHomily, a weekly torah facsimile
on the weekly portion
which is sponsored by The Henry and Myrtle Hirsch Foundation