When discussing the culmination of the building of the Mishkan in Parshat Pekudei, the Torah states, “KeChol Asher Tzivah Hashem Et Moshe, Kein Asu Bnei Yisrael Eit Kol HaAvodah,” “Like everything that Hashem commanded Moshe, so did Bnei Yisrael do all of the service” (39:42). The next Pasuk goes on to say, “Vayar Moshe Et Kol HaMelachah, VeHinei Asu Otah – Kaasher Tzivah Hashem Kein Asu – Vayvarech Otam Moshe,” “Moshe saw all of the work, and behold they had done it – as Hashem had commanded, so they had done it – and Moshe blessed them.” These two Pesukim present several problems. They are somewhat repetitive, both containing the phrase “Tzivah Hashem,” that Hashem commanded all of the work of the Mishkan. Also, Pasuk 42 uses the word Avodah, service, while Pasuk 43 uses the word Melachah, work. Why do these Pesukim use these two different terms? Finally, why do both Pesukim repeat the fact that Bnei Yisrael built the Mishkan? Pasuk 43 could easily have had Moshe first see the Mishkan and then bless the Bnei Yisrael, without restating Bnei Yisrael’s conformance to Hashem’s command.
The Torat Moshe offers an incredible explanation of these two Pesukim, thereby answering all of our questions. In Pasuk 42, he explains, Avodah is used for its meaning of Kavanah, service of the heart. That Pasuk is trying to deliver the message that the Bnei Yisrael did not simply offer their service, but rather they worked with the correct intentions and reasons – “Kaasher Diber Hashem,” because Hashem commanded them. When Moshe in Pasuk 43 saw the Melachah, all the work and the building of the Mishkan, done completely perfectly, he knew it had been done “Kaasher Tzivah Hashem Et Moshe.” Once he saw that the building of the Mishkan was done without imperfections, he also knew that it was done with the right intent – the proper “Avodah.” This intent was the reason he blessed the Bnei Yisrael at the end of Pasuk 43. Thus, the phrase about Hashem commanding Bnei Yisrael is required in both Pesukim to show both that the Bnei Yisrael built the Mishkan with holy intentions and that Moshe awarded a blessing only because of these intentions. Also, both the words Avodah and Melachah are required – Avodah to convey the notion of Kavanah, and Melachah to describe how the Mishkan was built in an utterly flawless fashion.
We see from Moshe’s blessing that it is extremely important to do Mitzvot with the right Kavanot. Moshe regarded doing Mitzvot with such Kavanah so highly that only when he found out that the Bnei Yisrael built the Mishkan with good intentions did he bless them. Although it is very hard to maintain the right thoughts and Kavanot when performing all Mitzvot, it is an extremely crucial aspect to incorporate into one’s service of Hashem. Not only should we make sure to fulfill the Mitzvot, but we should also ensure that when performing them, we have in mind to serve Hashem with love, not just doing the acts because they are what is required. In the merit of doing so, may we merit a Berachah, a blessing, parallel to the Bnei Yisrael’s blessing in the time of Moshe.