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Derasha Parshat Pekudei

03/19/2024 12:00:00 AM


We know that there are many parallels between the building of the Mishkan and the story of Creation.  There are language parallels, and hints in the description of the vessels used in the Mishkan.  The interplay between the Mishkan and Shabbat tells us that as well.  Hashem rested from the Creation on the seventh day and we rested from the Mishkan on the seventh day.  In all, there are seven descriptions of the building of the Mishkan, either in general or in details.  By the time all of the utensils are situated at the end of this week’s Parasha, the Chumash lists each placement and then ends with the phrase, Ka’asher Tziva Hashem et Moshe, as Hashem commanded Moshe.  There are seven of these placements as well.  

One of the word parallels between the Mishkan and the Creation is the word Dai, as in “enough.”  Moshe Rabenu says Dai to the donations.  For the first and last time in any donation campaign, he puts an end to the giving.  He announced there was “enough” and that people should stop brining.  The Midrash in Beresheet says that Hashem said Dai to the Creation.  The name for Hashem spelled Shin-Daled-Yud is a reference to that moment: Hashem reining in the Creation by saying “enough.”  These two uses of the word are related.  

When it came to Creation, Hashem said Dai because the world could not be allowed to expand and develop too far.  The word “world” is Olam, which means “to hide.”  The world obscures Hashem’s presence.  One has to examine things closely to get behind the surfaces.  But the surfaces do not let in godliness.  That power to obscure had to be restrained, lest Hashem be unreachable by way of the world.  

When it comes to the Mishkan, there is also a need to restrain but it’s in the other direction.  The Mishkan reveals Hashem’s presence.  But that has to be restrained, lest we become overwhelmed by it.  Moshe Rabenu does not allow for too many donations because he cannot add a floor to the building, or an extra wing.  Too much Mishkan would be too much godliness.   

In both directions, then, one can see that the measure of Hashem’s presence must be kept in balance.  That’s what leaves us room for choice.  At the beginning of this week’s Parasha, we emphasize counting out the donations exactly.  The Midrash says that the reckoning, the accounting, of the donations is about answering the accusations from some that Moshe absconded with part of the loot.  But it’s also about being precise about the numbers.  It cannot be too little nor too much.

There is another use of the word “Dai.”  It is invoked when Yaakov Avinu sends all of his sons, including Binyamin, down to Egypt (Bereisheet, 43:14).  There he says as well that Hashem -- and he uses the name Shin-Daled-Yud -- should show them mercy.  Rashi says that Yaakov is invoking that name to say that just as Hashem reined in the Creation with the word “Dai,” so He should make sure that there is Dai, “enough, L’Tzoratai”, to my pain.  Trauma also makes it impossible to see Hashem.  When one is in trauma, there is a shortening of horizons, and an inability to see a bigger picture.  One cannot see Hashem then either, so Yaakov invokes the power to say “enough.”  

When there is pain, there has to be something to compensate.  The pain itself cannot be too overwhelming.  But also in pain there can be new light.  As the saying goes, we are all so broken because that’s how the light comes in.  And that also maintains the balance.  

Whenever we are forced off of our spots, it is because there is another level of Hashem’s presence, his Shechina, that is available.  Whenever there is a darkening, there is also a potential for light.  Many are aware of the huge awakening in Israel right now.  That so many soldiers wearing Tzitzit.  There is a huge demand for Tefillen.  May we continue to see the light that has been let in when things break. 





Sun, April 14 2024 6 Nisan 5784