From the past to the present, there is a question that remains on all of our minds, and that is the question of Parnasah; we wonder about Hashem’s role in the process. Is making money in our control or is it in His control? When searching for an answer to this question, we can find our resolution in the Torah, and, more specifically, in the various Mefarshim on this week’s double Parashah, VaYakheil-Pekudei.
Parashat VaYakheil deals with the Bigdei Kehunah and the final details in the construction of the Mishkan, and culminates with the building of the Mishkan in Parashat Pekudei. In one of the opening Pesukim, we hear about Moshe gathering Bnei Yisrael and commanding them about keeping Shabbat (Shemot 35:1-3). Why does he do this if Bnei Yisrael have just left Har Sinai? Granted, this occurs after Cheit HaEigel, but even so, it has been not so long since the sin. Why is this “refresher course” necessary?
Instead of looking just at the commandment, we must look at its uniqueness relative to the original commandment to find the true lesson buried within the repetition. Looking past the simple reading of the Pasuk and into the way that the words are formulated and chosen, we see that the Torah states (35:2) “Tei’aseh Melachah,” “work shall be done,” rather than the more active “Ta’aseh Melachah,” “you shall do work.” Rav Yerachmiel of Ostrovtza explains that we need to be very meticulous in regards to keeping the laws of Shabbat. He says that by doing this, a person will merit to easily earn a comfortable living. This is why the Torah gives the passive version of “Tei’aseh Melachah.” Rav Avraham Yitzchak Bloch adds to this and says that the goal of the Jews, unlike other nations, is to infuse the world with spirituality.
Jewish life is about finding balance between physical work and spiritual work. As we see from this week’s Parashiyot, a balance between the two is essential. We must work hard with to serve our worldly needs, but only to a certain point. Let us all take the leap of faith and trust that by devoting a portion of our energy to the spiritual, Hashem will not only compensate us with livelihood that we could have made but that he will reward us with more.