By Rabbi Raymond Beyda
The job of building the tabernacle was not a simple contractor’s task. The
holy kavanot –intentions- that had to be infused into the structure and
its utensils were not for a simple Jew either. Moshe was correct in
assuming that he was probably the best suited for the task. However,
Hashem informed him that it was to be Besalel the grandson of Hur who
would merit the misvah. It was Hur’s brave defense of Hashem’s honor in
the face of a mob of idol worshippers that tipped the scale in favor of
his offspring. The Tabernacle was, after all, atonement for the sin of the
Golden Calf that Hur so strongly opposed at the cost of his life.
The question is raised, however, “Wouldn’t Besalel’s personal animosity
towards those who murdered his grandfather invalidate him to serve as the
one to represent all of the people in this holy task?" This emotion should
have interfered with his ability to act on behalf of the entire
congregation with the unity and purity of intent needed to complete the
job correctly. The Midrash points out that the Tabernacle was built with
such a degree of purity that it was hidden and never destroyed as were the
two Temples that later served as the House of G-d. How did he attain this
level and block out the negatives feelings?
The Messilat Yesharim describes vengeance as one of the most powerful
human emotions – one that can block common sense and clear thought in even
the wisest of people. It is, he says, one of the hardest feelings to
control. Besalel gathered all of his tremendous energy to overcome this
force. He knew that if the Torah demands of a person then the command is
achievable. This power that he so definitely invoked earned him the honor
of building the Mishkan even more than Moshe .It was the love of his
brothers that prompted his grandfather to sacrifice his life and this same
feeling made Besalel most suited for the job.
We often feel that our emotions are in charge of our behavior. “I couldn’t
help myself” is a common excuse. We should realize that we have powers far
beyond what logic dictates to conquer our emotions and to do what Hashem
prefers. Understanding that this is true, increases our responsibility to
perform as the Torah dictates – even in the face of the strongest waves of
emotion. If more of used this energy to forgive rather than avenge we
could bring peace to our people and redemption speedily in our days.
Text Copyright © 2006 by Rabbi Raymond Beyda and Torah.org.