03 Mar 2022 Parshas Pekudei: The Importance of Order
In this week’s parsha, Parshas Pekudei, with the completion of the building of the Mishkan, Sefer Shemos comes to a close. All of the implements have been constructed under the direction and discretion of the master craftsman, Betzalel ben Uri ben Chur l’mateh Yehuda, and his helper, Ohaliav ben Achisamach from the tribe of Dan. Working with all those who were of wise heart, the golden and copper altars, laver, menorah, golden table, holy ark, curtains, beams, sockets, coverings, and priestly vestments were made, just as Hashem commanded.
The pasuk tells us: וּבְצַלְאֵ֛ל בֶּן־אוּרִ֥י בֶן־ח֖וּר לְמַטֵּ֣ה יְהוּדָ֑ה עָשָׂ֕ה אֵ֛ת כׇּל־אֲשֶׁר־צִוָּ֥ה ה’ אֶת־מֹשֶֽׁה, and Betzalel ben Uri ben Chur to the tribe of Yehuda did all that Hashem commanded Moshe (Shemos 38:22).
Rashi (ibid) teaches:
ובצלאל בן אורי וגו‘ עשה את כל אשר צוה ה‘ את משה. אֲשֶׁר צִוָּה מֹשֶׁה אֵין כְּתִיב כָּאן, אֶלָּא כָּל אֲשֶׁר צִוָּה ה‘ אֶת מֹשֶׁה, אֲפִלּוּ דְּבָרִים שֶׁלֹּא אָמַר לוֹ רַבּוֹ, הִסְכִּימָה דַּעְתּוֹ לְמַה שֶּׁנֶּאֱמַר לְמֹשֶׁה בְּסִינַי, כִּי מֹשֶׁה צִוָּה לִבְצַלְאֵל לַעֲשׂוֹת תְּחִלָּה כֵּלִים וְאַחַר כָּךְ מִשְׁכָּן, אָמַר לוֹ בְּצַלְאֵל “מִנְהַג עוֹלָם לַעֲשׂוֹת תְּחִלָּה בַּיִת וְאַחַר כָּךְ מֵשִׂים כֵּלִים בְּתוֹכוֹ”. אָמַר לוֹ “כָּךְ שָׁמַעְתִּי מִפִּי הקב”ה“. אָמַר לוֹ מֹשֶׁה “בְּצֵל אֵ–ל הָיִיתָ, כִּי בְּוַדַּאי כָּךְ צִוָּה לִי הקב”ה“, וְכֵן עָשָׂה הַמִּשְׁכָּן תְּחִלָּה וְאַחַר כָּךְ עָשָׂה הַכֵּלִים
Even regarding matters which Moshe did not tell him, Betzalel’s mind was in accord with that which G-d told Moshe at Sinai. For Moshe commanded Betzalel to make the furnishings first, and afterwards to make the Mishkan. Betzalel said to Moshe, ‘The common practice of the world is to first make a house, and afterwards to put furnishings in it.’ Moshe said to him, ‘Thus, as you said, I heard from the mouth of the Holy One, Blessed be He. Certainly, you were in the shadow of G-d, for indeed, as you said, G-d commanded me.’ And so Betzalel did do; first he made the Mishkan and only after did he make the keilim.
Hence, the pasuk does not say that ‘Betzalel did everything that Moshe commanded him to do’; rather, the pasuk teaches us exactly what Betzalel did: וּבְצַלְאֵ֛ל בֶּן־אוּרִ֥י בֶן־ח֖וּר לְמַטֵּ֣ה יְהוּדָ֑ה עָשָׂ֕ה אֵ֛ת כׇּל־אֲשֶׁר־צִוָּ֥ה ה’ אֶת־מֹשֶֽׁה – Betzalel did everything that G-d commanded Moshe at Sinai, so Betzalel did – even those instructions he himself did not hear, and even those instructions Moshe did not transmit to Betzalel. With his chochmah, binah and daas (see Shemos 31:3 with Rashi there), Betzalel knew what Hashem wanted and the proper, orderly way to construct the dwelling place for the Shechina (Divine Presence).
Rabbi Zelig Pliskin writes, “Rashi states that Betzalel realized on his own that the proper order was to make the tabernacle first and only then to make the vessels to go inside of it. When building a house, people first need to build the house and then they acquire the furniture to put inside the house. Although at first Moshe told Betzalel what to do in the reverse order, he agreed that Betzalel was correct in changing the order.
“Rav Yeruchem Levovitz zt’l (Mashgiach Mir, 1873-1936) commented that we see here the concept of the importance of having things done in their proper order. One always needs to clarify his priorities and to have the organizational skills to do things in order.
“This is an important tool for accomplishing anything in life. One needs to know what he must do and then he must have an order of priorities. We will never have enough time to do everything we would like to (a sobering thought indeed!). But by being aware of the order of importance of what you have to do, you will ensure that you will effectively accomplish the most possible within the limitations of the time allotted to you in this world. Each day make a list of the various tasks you need to take care of. Then decide on a proper order in which to do them” (Growth Through Torah, p.231).
There are many important and fundamental aspects of asi’as ha’mitzvos and avodas Hashem. Certainly we must be medakdek b’halacha, live with emunas chachamim, learn in order to do, set aside times for Torah learning for its own sake, and strive to excel in bein adam la’Makom and bein adam l’chavairo. However, in order to be effective in all other realms, first we must know how to build structure to our days, our weeks, and our lives. When life is haphazard, chaos inevitably prevails. And under such conditions, it becomes very difficult to live an orderly life of Divine service. However, if we know to schedule our lives around a set order, to first ‘build the Mishkan,’ and then acquire the ‘keilim,’ we will erect a wonderful edifice for the RS”O.
It is compelling to note that the most exalted night of the year, the night on which we celebrate the Exodus from Egypt, our marching from slavery to freedom, and the beginning of our nationhood, is known as none other than Leil Ha’Seder, which literally translates as ‘The Night of Order.’ One cannot do nirtzah before karpas, nor maggid before kadesh. In avodas Hashem, seder (order) allows us the tools to climb ever higher on the ladder of Divine service. One who is a ben or bas aliyah will ensure that Leil Ha’Seder becomes the proverbial template for every night of the year.
It is fascinating and relevant to note that at the very of end of Masechas Megillah (17a), Chazal teach: הַקּוֹרֵא אֶת הַמְּגִילָּה לְמַפְרֵעַ — לֹא יָצָא, one who reads the Megillah (Megillas Esther) out of order has not fulfilled his obligation of reading the Megillah. Chapter 1, detailing the parties of Achashvairosh, precedes Chapter 3 and the plot of kill all the Jews, which precedes Chapter 6 and the night the king’s sleep was disturbed, which was the catalyst for the events which ultimately saved Am Yisrael. One cannot read chapter 10 before 8, nor chapter 5 before 2.
There is an order to the Megilla’s narrative; there is an order to Leil Ha’Seder; there was an order in the construction of the Mishkan… and from all of these, we learn that there must be an order to our lives.
And this truly was what the wise-hearted Betzalel understood, and why he merited to be ‘B’tzel Kel – in the shelter of G-d.’
May we live our lives in an orderly, b’kavodig, and organized fashion, so that we may excel in all areas of Torah, mitzvos and maasim tovim.
בברכת חודש טוב ושבת שלום,