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The Crown of Halacha

Vayakeil 5776 – Right of Passage

Vayakeil 5776

Right of Passage

And the princes brought the shoham stones and filling stones for the ephod and for the choshen;  הַנְּשִׂאִם הֵבִיאוּ אֵת אַבְנֵי הַשֹּׁהַם וְאֵת אַבְנֵי הַמִּלֻּאִים לָאֵפוֹד וְלַחשֶׁן (35:27)

Rashi points out that the Princes were lazy and that’s why a “yud” is missing from their title. Instead of writing ַנשִׂיאִים it is written ַנְּשִׂאִם.

It is important to note that the Princes immediately announced that they would supply whatever was lacking after klal Yisrael had finished contributing their donations. With such a generous offer how can we possibly call them lazy?

Perhaps the following moshal can help us understand:

Tragically the old shul had burned down. The following Shabbos the Rabbi appealed to the community for help to build a new shul.  Motzie Shabbos everyone showed up to lend a hand in rebuilding. Some of the congregation pledged money, some pledged their time, some pledged building materials. The only person that did not offer help was Reb Avner, the richest man in town.

When the rebuilding was under way the Rabbi approached Reb Avner and asked, “Is everything all right? I don’t see your name on the list of contributors…”

Reb Avner answered, “Everything’s fine Rabbi, thank you for asking. I know what it means to take on a project of this magnitude. Inevitably, a project this big will get stalled for lack of funding. But don’t worry, I told my accountant that when the community runs out of money I will cover whatever it takes to complete the building.”

To everyone’s surprise, the shul was completed by the High Holidays. Reb Avner approached the Rabbi, “I am ready to pay for anything that’s still missing!”

The Rabbi answered, “We have succeeded in rebuilding the shul without your help. I’m sorry to tell you but we don’t need your contribution now.”

Reb Avner was crushed. “Is there anything I can donate?”

The Rabbi thought for a moment. “Perhaps you can contribute some oil for the nair tamid.”

Reb Abner realized that he had missed his chance to be part of the great mitzvah and vowed to respond immediately the next time the tzibbur needed help.

In this week’s parsha Moshe Rabbainu appeals to the nation for help to build the Mishkan. The Princes made a generous pledge, but waited to act. In the end the construction was completed without their help and they missed out. All that was needed were the avnei shoham, and which were not brought because no one else had them (this was discussed in the davar Torah on Parshas Teruma).   As generous as their intentions were, the fact that they did not contribute immediately was held against them.

On the other hand, in Parshas Naso, many pasukim are devoted to each Nasi and his avodah in the Mishkan even though each one’s avodah was the same. This is the praise they received from Hashem for their fervent devotion to the tzibur and from the fact that they learned their lesson.

Since every letter in the Torah is important, we see how strong the rebuke is to someone who is slow to help the tzibur. However, when someone runs to help the tzibur the equivalent of whole passages may be written about him!


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