A Student Publication of the Isaac and Mara Benmergui Torah Academy of Bergen County
Parshat Vayakhel-Pekudei          25 Adar 5762          March 9, 2002          Vol.11 No.21

In This Issue:

Rabbi Avi Pollak
Ari Michael
Andy Feuerstein-Rudin
Donny Manas
Halacha of the Week
Zecher Lemikdash Kehillel
-Rabbi Howard Jachter

This week's issue has been sponsored by Lenny and Estee Goldsmith in celebration of their daughter Shelly's engagement to Robert Itskowitz from Pittsburgh.


Stop and Think
by Rabbi Avi Pollak

In this week's Parsha, Moshe Rabbeinu asks the Jews to bring their donations to the Mishkan. The response from Klal Yisrael was overwhelming. Men and women brought everything needed, from gold and silver to wool and dyes. The donations actually continued until the foremen of the Mishkan approached Moshe and informed him that they could no longer handle to influx of materials and that they needed no more. As a result, the message was spread around the nation that they should stop bringing donations.

This narrative seems unusual. If the Torah wanted to describe the Jews' generosity and excitement, it could have simply stated that they donated more than was needed, or that the Jews donated with great energy and enthusiasm. Why do we need to know the comments of the foremen to Moshe and Moshe's demand that the Jews to stop donating?

For the most part, Chazal and the Meforshim interpret the overabundance of donation in a positive light. But some Baalei Musar answer our question by suggesting that the Jews were carried away in their momentum and excitement and lost focus of their goal. By donating so excessively, they gave the impression that they were not as concerned with the needs of the Mishkan as they were with their own feelings of satisfaction and accomplishment. At that point, the foremen came to Moshe and demanded that he stop them from donating, "Marbim Haam Lihavee," the Jews are bringing too much.

In all that we do - in our mundane activities and even in our performance of Mitzvot, we must make a special effort to remember that we aim to please Hashem and not get carried away in the momentum of our efforts.

This may explain why the building of the Mishkan did not take precedence over observing the Shabbat. (see Rashi at the beginning of this week's Parsha 35:2) To build a sanctuary where Hashem's Shechina resides is a supremely important and holy task. But even as we engage in the holiest of work, we need to stop every so often and remind ourselves that Hashem created the world, He rules the world, and that we bow in humility to Him.

The Crucial Part

by Ari Michael

"In accordance with all that Hashem commanded Moshe, the children of Israel did all the work; and Moshe saw all the labor, and behold, they had done it as Hashem commanded. And Moshe blessed them." (39:42-43)

In this week's Parsha, we see extraordinary attention to detail. Each activity is described with precise details of how items in the Tabernacle, the Mishkan, were built, and exactly where they were placed.

Each person had a precise job to perform, to be done to his or her maximum potential. Every part was crucial. What would a Mishkan be without a Menorah? It would remain lacking and incomplete. There were many different things that had to be done, which is why the completion of this great structure required everyone's dedicated participation.

A principle emphasized in Judaism in Yachdut, unity, having all of Bnai Yisrael together. We see this at Maamad Har Sinai. Upon arriving, the Torah says "Vayichan Sham Yisrael Neged Hahar," with the verb "Vayichan" in singular form. Rashi interprets this to mean that they acted as one and were finally a unified nation, rather than 12 tribes.

Right now is an Eit Tzarah, hard time, for Klal Yisrael. There are terrorist attacks on a daily basis in Israel. It is important that we now band together because it is when we are together that we are strongest.

Hidden Meanings

by Andy Feuerstein-Rudin

In this week's Parsha we read that both the Aron and the jar with the Mun inside of it were hidden. Why where these two specific item hidden? It is possible to say that the Aron, containing the Ten Commandments was too Kadosh, holy, to be opened to the public view. However, the people gathered the Mun on a regular basis, so why was it chosen to be hidden?

This idea becomes clearer as we realize that both the Aron and the Mun symbolize two different aspects of our life. The Aron represents our spiritual needs, while the Mun represents our physical needs, one of them being food for our bodies. There is a Pasuk in Pirkei Avot that says, "if there is no flour, there is no Torah." In other words, we cannot exist physically and learn Torah if we do not tend to our bodily needs. On the other hand, if we disregard the Torah that we have learned, then our physical existence becomes meaningless. The Aron and the Mun symbolize the two aspects of a Torah Jew's life, which is why these specific items were hidden.

Good Intentions

by Donny Manas

When Moshe announced that anyone who wished to contribute anything toward the Mishkan was welcome to do so, there was a mass outpouring of donations. Only the Nesiim decided to wait. "Let everyone bring all they can, and whatever will be missing, we will contribute," they said. These were bold words said with good intentions. They accepted full responsibility to contribute whatever would still be needed.

Yet, as noble as their words and intentions may have been, they turned out to be the losers. By the time their turn came around, there was nothing left for them to bring for the actual construction of the Mishkan. The only thing they could contribute were the stones of the Eifod and the Choshen. They lost out completely in having a share in the building itself or in the other Keilim. For this reason, they lost the most important letter in their name. The letter Yud, the first letter of Hashem's name, was removed from the word Nesiim.

The importance of the letter Yud can be found throughout Tanach. Yd was the letter that Moshe added to Hoshua's name, calling him Yehoshua before he went with the Meraglim into Eretz Yisroel. Moshe also added a Yud to the end of every Shevet's name. Throughout Divrei Hayomim we find David's name spelled with an extra Yud, which is a sign of greatness. Yud is also the letter with which Hashem created Olam Haba, the world to come. It is also the letter of life - Chai.

However, when a Yud is missing it is not a good sign at all, especially when a Yud disappears from one's name. When the Yud was taken out of the word Refidim it indicated that the Jews slackened in their commitment to Torah and Mitzvot. As a result, they were immediately attacked by our archenemy Amalek.

The lesson we can learn from the Nesiim is simple. A mitzvah that is lost can never be regained. Even if we have the best intentions, it is our actions that count most. When a mitzvah comes our way, we must act quickly before someone else grabs it away. Even the slightest delay may cause us to miss out on the opportunity.

- Adapted from a Shiur by Rabbi Eli Teitelbaum, at

Halacha of the Week
One should recline while eating the Korech (Shulchan Aruch 475:1).

Staff at time of publication:
Editors-in-Chief: Josh Dubin, David Gertler
Managing Editors: Yair Manas, Uriel Schechter
Publishing Manager: Zev Feigenbaum
Publication Editor: Ilan Tokayer
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Staff: Noam Block, Ami Friedman, Yehuda Goldin, Shuky Gross, Simcha Haber, Oren Levy, Ari Michael, Effie Richmond, Dani Shaffren, Sam Wiseman
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Faculty Advisor: Rabbi Howard Jachter

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