Moshe’s Singular Dedication by Eli Schloss

(2017/5777)

The end of Sefer Shemot describes the articles of the Mishkan. Sefer VaYikra discusses how to serve in the Mishkan. Parashat Naso is the culmination of this process, and the Mishkan is finally inaugurated.

BeMidbar 7:1 discusses the grand opening of the Mishkan: “VaYimshach Oto VaYekadeish Oto VeEt Col Keilav, VeEt HaMizbei’ach VeEt Col Keilav, VaYimshacheim VaYekadeish Otam,” “[Moshe] anointed [the Mishkan] and sanctified it and all its vessels, and the altar and all its vessels, and he anointed them and sanctified them.” But there is an apparent issue with this Pasuk: why does the Torah give credit only to Moshe for opening the Mishkan, when it obviously was a communal effort that took months of preparation from Klal Yisrael? We know from elsewhere in the Torah that Bnei Yisrael donated vast amounts of wood, leather, and precious metals to the Mishkan; why are they not acknowledged here?

Rashi (ibid.) resolves this challenge, and supports his answer with an analogy. While Moshe had a supporting cast in building the Mishkan, including Betzal’eil, Aholi’av, and many others who helped build or contributed monetarily to the Mishkan, Moshe himself was the one who led the project, as he was assigned by Hashem. Moshe delegated a role in building the Mishkan to anyone who wanted to help, but he was the one who made sure that the design was flawless. Moshe was the most dedicated to building the Mishkan. Everyone had his or her role in the Jewish community, and Moshe’s role was to build the Mishkan and dedicate his life towards serving Hashem in any way possible.

 Rashi then offers a parallel to Moshe Rabbeinu’s attitude towards the Mishkan: David HaMelech’s attitude towards the Beit HaMikdash. Tehillim Perek 132 discusses David’s approach to building the Beit HaMikdash and how afflicted he was by the lack of a house for Hashem. David is vexed by the fact that despite Hashem choosing Yerushalayim as His home, He does not abide there. David declares that he will not sleep until he creates a home for HaKadosh Baruch Hu. Like David, Moshe displays enormous dedication. He sees that Hashem needs to be closer to the people and gives everything he has to serve Hashem. Just as David gets credit for creating the Beit HaMikdash despite not actually building it, Moshe gets credit for building the Mishkan even though he did not build the whole thing himself.

We discussed how Moshe is able to take credit for the Mishkan, but does he do anything so important that he can be the only one to anoint and sanctify the Mishkan? We know that Moshe does this alone because the words “VaYimshach” and “VaYekadeish” in the previously mentioned Pasuk are in singular form, denoting that only one person, Moshe, anointed and sanctified the Mishkan. The reason Moshe deserves this honor is that he is the only person who ever talked to Hashem face to face, and it is his duty to infuse the Mishkan with a higher level of Kedushah than anyone else in Bnei Yisrael had attained. But once Moshe strikes his match and ignites the fire of Kedushah in the Mishkan, the Mishkan lights up with a Kedushah that can benefit all of Am Yisrael. Moshe’s role in the Mishkan is so important because without him, we would not have a house for Hashem to rest his Shechinah, nor would we have a way to attract Hashem to the Mishkan.

The Machaneh Shechinah by Ned Krasnopolsky

Kabbalah in Sefer BeMidbar by Moshe Papier