In Parshas Vayakhel, the construction of the Mishkan finally begins. The parsha begins with Moshe telling Bnei Yisrael everything that is needed for building the Mishkan. They end up bringing so much that Moshe is forced to tell them to stop! After the sin of the Golden Calf, this was a tremendous show of love and dedication to Hashem.
Among the materials needed for the Mishkan were various types of dyed wools and other materials, used for the making of the Kohanim’s clothing. The pasuk uses an interesting way of describing the donations of these materials. “כָל־אִישׁ אֲשֶׁר־נִמְצָ֣א אִתּוֹ” “Any man with whom was found with him (these dyed wools)” (Shemos 35:23). It seems to imply that people conveniently had dyed wool lying around and were able to quickly bring it to Moshe. It also seems to say that there was no need for the dying process to have been done לשמה, with the intention of being used in the Mishkan. There are many mitzvos and preparatory stages for mitzvos that must be done לשמה, but this doesn’t seem to be one of them.
Rabbi Yaakov Kaminetzky, in his Sefer, Emes L’Yaakov, wants to say differently. The structure of the Mishkan was built with Shittim (Acacia) wood. How did they obtain these huge trees in the middle of the desert? The medrash explains that when Yaakov Avinu went down to Mitzrayim, he took Shittim trees with him to be planted specifically for the purpose that Bnei Yisrael should take them when they left Mitzrayim to be used for the Mishkan. He did this in order to implant within his children the belief that Hashem would eventually bring them out of Mitzrayim; and when He did, they would need these trees, which were unavailable anywhere outside of Eretz Yisrael.
Reb Yaakov says that the same thing was true with this wool. When Bnei Yisrael left Mitzrayim, they saw the trees being carried out and remembered the story their parents had told them, that they would be used to build a special place for Hashem to rest His Shechinah. They then realized that there would probably be other things that would be needed for the construction of this building. While most of the materials used were raw, there were some things they could prepare in advance. Therefore, at their first opportunity, they dyed wool in various shades on the chance that Hashem would request them. So by the time Moshe came around asking for wool, they had it all prepared.
This story gives us a tremendous insight. Even if we don’t know exactly what Hashem wants from us, we should constantly think in terms of what He might need. In that case, we will be ahead of the game when the time comes. This goes for our interpersonal relationships as well. We should always try to be aware of what we are doing and what more can be done to improve our relationships with those around us.
This is truly the attitude of “Na’aseh V’Nishma” that we cried out at Har Sinai. This is the inherent attitude of the Jewish People through the ages!
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