Moshe's Blessing by Alex Kalb


The final Pasuk of Perek 39 states, “VaYar Moshe Et Kol HaMelachah VeHineh Osu Otah KaAsher Tzivah Hashem Kein Asu VaYevarech Otam Moshe,” “Moshe saw all the work, and behold, they had done it as Hashem commanded, so had they done, and Moshe blessed them (Shemot 39:43). Rashi (ad loc. s.v. VaYevarech Otam Moshe) quotes the blessing that Moshe gave to those who completed the construction of the Mishkan: “May the Shechinah rest in the work of your hands.” Moshe then continues with a well-known Perek of Tehillim (Tehillim 90:17), saying, “ViHi Noam Hashem Elokeinu Aleinu UMa’asei Yadeinu Konenah Aleinu UMa’aseh Yadeinu Koneneihu,” “May the pleasantness of Hashem, our God, be upon us, and make the work of our hands established for us, and the work of our hands, establish it.” Sefer Chassidim comments that from here we see that whenever one accomplishes a major project, there is need for a blessing. However, why was there a need to bless Bnei Yisrael that the Shechinah should rest in their work? Didn’t Hashem say to Moshe earlier, “VeAsu Li Mikdash VeShachanti BeTocham,” “They shall make for me a sanctuary so that I may dwell among them” (Shemot 25:8)?

Sefer Chassidim answers that Moshe was scared that someone’s sin might block the Shechinah from resting in their hands, or someone who did not have the correct intention when building the Mishkan would prevent the Shechinah from dwelling there.

Ralbag writes that from here we learn that when a leader of a generation commands people to do something and they fulfill his wishes, he must bless them, so that they will be able to carry out his instructions with even greater accuracy and Zerizut, zealousness, in the future.

When Moshe blesses Bnei Yisrael, we can perceive the two elements which are needed for us to be successful in our service of Hashem. The first element is that it is important that “the Shechinah should rest upon the works of our hands” because all proper service requires guidance from Hashem. As we say every morning in Davening (in the paragraph of Yehi Chevod), “Rabot Machashavot BeLeiv Ish VaAtzat Hashem Hi Takum,” “Many are the designs in the heart of man, but the counsel of Hashem, only it will prevail” (Mishlei 19:21). We are always planning and making decisions, but without the help of Hashem, it’s all meaningless. However, once we value Hashem, then with His kindness, we can carry out our plans and decisions that He approves. This is the most basic tool needed for anything one wants to achieve, especially a major project like building the Mishkan.

In the second part of Moshe’s blessing, “May the pleasantness of Hashem, our God, be upon us,” it’s very special if one merits to achieve and feel sweetness and satisfaction in his service of Hashem. When a person feels uplifted after doing a Mitzvah or learning Torah, it will drive him to want to find any opportunity to do another Mitzvah and learn more Torah. The Chafetz Chaim explains that this idea is comparable to the teaching in Avot (4:2), ‘Sechar Mitzvah, Mitzvah,’ the reward for one Mitzvah is another Mitzvah. Every time an individual performs a Mitzvah with feeling, he wants to engage in even more Mitzvot and this feeling of satisfaction is a reward in this world for a Mitzvah.

In Birchot HaTorah, we ask Hashem, “Please, Hashem, our God, sweeten the words of Your Torah in our mouth” (in the paragraph of VeHa’arev Na), because this will cause our desire for Torah to grow and our eagerness for knowledge to always continue. When David HaMelech asks Hashem to allow him to sit in the “House of Hashem” all his life, he emphasizes, “Achat Sha’alti… Shivti BeVeit Hashem Kol Yemei Chayay LaChazot BeNo’am Hashem,” “One thing is my request… that I dwell in the house of Hashem all the days of my life, to behold the delight of Hashem” (Tehillim 27:4). When a person feels happy and satisfied with what he is doing, he will want to continue to doing this “all the days of his life.”

Let us all be inspired by this week’s Parashah. Just as Moshe hoped for the power of the Shechinah to rest in the lands of Bnei Yisrael as they build the Mishkan, we, too, hope that Hashem will be with us in our everyday lives, assuring that we are making the right decisions and blessing all that we do.

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