THOUGHT FOR PARSHAT PEKUDEI 5779
BY RABBI CHAIM FACHLER
Partly because I’m on my travels, and partly because it’s the last Shabbat of my dear Mum’s Shloshim, I felt it appropriate – and less time consuming – to revisit an idea I have talked about in the past.
There is a very beautiful Midrash on an unusual verse in the middle of the Parsha narrative. The Torah tells us "Then Moshe inspected all their work. When he found it had been done just as HaShem had commanded, Moshe blessed them." But the Torah does not elaborate on Moshe's "blessing".
Before we address that, let’s understand the context. This, the final Parsha of the Book of Shemot, deals primarily with the completion of the Mishkan – Tabernacle. Remember that this Mishkan was a sort of afterthought. Initially the 3-Part Grand Plan – Exodus, Torah, Land of Israel - should have taken but a few months. But sadly, the Golden Calf interfered with HaShem's timetable. Instead of waiting to build the permanent Temple in the Promised Land, HaShem decided that the antidote for the people's "need" to worship, would be the intense and unifying construction of the Mishkan which took several more months.
And this week, we read about the completion and consecration of the Mishkan - and the ultimate arrival of HaShem's Divine Presence – the Shechina. This fulfilled HaShem's original prophecy "Ve'Asu Li Mikdash – VeShachanti Betocham" – Build for Me a Tabernacle, and I will dwell in it.
So what blessing did Moshe give the Children of Israel, when their work was complete?
The Midrash explains that Moshe composed Psalm 90 – which starts "Tefila LeMoshe." – a Prayer to Moshe. The very last verse is the famous "Vihi Noam" – "May the pleasantness of HaShem be upon us, and may He give permanence to all we do.
What a sublime message Moshe is giving to the dedicated individuals who worked so diligently to create such an important spiritual centrepiece for the Jewish Nation.
Our greatest-ever leader is equating pleasantness to permanence. If you want to build something that is made to last – it needs a huge element of pleasantness. Similar to the lovely verse in Proverbs, also part of our liturgy, "Deracheha Darchei Noam" - The ways of the Torah are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace.
My mother succeeded in influencing so many people, changing their lives, and making them better people, by totally embracing this concept. Nothing was forced. No coercion. Just by being a role model. Just by being nice. Just by being Mum. And the results are there for all to see - decades later.
“May the pleasantness of HaShem be upon us, and may He give permanence to all we do.”
Shabbat Shalom and Chodesh Tov,