To Reassemble by Rabbi Darren Blackstein


The Midrash Rabbah on our Parsha asks the following question: when mentioning the name of Bezalel, why must the Pesukim state that he is a descendant of Chur? The Midrash answers that when Bnei Yisrael make the Eigel HaZahav, the Golden Calf, Chur tries to oppose the people as they seem to worship the calf and is killed. This is compared to a case in which a King’s soldiers rebel and the one officer who tries to stop the rebellion is killed. The King understands that the soldier gives his life for him and decrees that the soldier’s male offspring should become generals and officers. In our case, Chur gives his life in defense of Hashem’s glory and is killed. Therefore, Hashem says that all the children who will descend from Chur will have a great name in the world. By mentioning Chur, the Torah emphasizes how the great Bezalel is Chur’s descendant and an officer of Hashem of sorts.

        This explanation seems to have other overtones. First, in Parashat Ki Tisa, there is a gathering regarding the Chet HaEigel, and there is also a gathering in our Parashah regarding the Mishkan. The gathering around the calf is emotionally driven and perhaps even selfish;hence, resulting in a lack of total participation. The gathering is an assembly, but only in name, not really reflecting unity among the members. It is there that an individual tries to alert the crowd as to what it is really doing, and the crowd eliminates that individual because it is unable to face the truth about itself, Hashem, therefore, creates a different scenario in Parashat VaYakheil in which an assembly is required to show unity. The gathering shows that everyone is on the same page of true, genuine Avodah. At this assembly, a descendant of Chur is prominently displayed, respected, and required. He is essential for the assembly’s progress and survival. Chur is present when the people gather and their intentions become skewed while Bezalel is present when the people gather and stay true to their mission. It appears that the Mishkan, in a way, is the antidote for the Eigel, as Hashem finds a way to manifest justice for the line of Chur when gathering our people for a positive assembly and makes the building of the Mishkan a redemptive process.

Both episodes show the great power of the Tzibur. An assembly has the power to bring out the uncontrollable, beastly part of mankind. This very same gathering, however, can be a vehicle for mankind to experience tremendous growth. We must choose this latter scenario if we are to maintain our purpose of glorifying Hashem. Every time we assemble for solidarity, for rally, or even for prayer, we need to remember that the power of the crowd is great and must be controlled with the utmost caution and respect. With this approach in mind, and with Hashem’s help, may we all merit to one day be reassembled as we usher in the final redemption, BeMeheira VeYameinu.

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