Parshas Vayeikel Pekutai from Rabbi Gedalia Segal based on Rabbi Usher Freund

We should accept from anew each day by day, each hour by hour, the yoke of Torah and the mitzvahs on our shoulders and it is not something old or cold.  We should feel and know that we are commanded and that is why we are screaming naaseh v’nisma, alive, saying it now

Vayakeil

You get purity through holy speech

Moshe gathered the nation of Israel and said these are the
words that Hashem spoke.  On the wording
gathered, that Moshe gathered all of Israel to build a mishkan, it says in a
lot of holy books that this is a gathering of repentance, like on a scale, it
weighs down the transgression of the golden calf.  It says that the nation gathered for the calf
but against Aharon.  So, this is the way
we fixed in repentance for the sin of the golden calf.  A gathering for this rather than for sin.

On the word gathering, when the Tzadik of the generation is
holy with Torah and prayer and with speech and the nation gathers around him to
understand the Torah from his words and guidance and avodas Hashem, that is the
meaning of gathering in this Parsha.

When Moshe came down after Yom Kippur in a state of holiness
and purity, it was a time for him that he could influence the nation of Israel
to draw their hearts towards the worship of Hashem. They were gathered through his
speech to bring them to the words of Hashem, that they should be able to do
Hashem’s will.  This is juxtaposed to the
transgression of the golden calf where they did not listen to holy righteous
individual. They only listened to the erev Rav that made them sin.

The way we corrected the sin of the golden calf, in Parshas
Paro they gathered to the Kohen, Aaron, and now the mother of the calf, the
cow, the para, should be given to the Kohen. 
The para was atoning for the sin of the child, the calf.  When we read Parsha para close to Peach and
we are getting ready to purify ourselves and the greatest purification is
through Torah and prayer. That is the altar of atonement is learning Torahs and
praying. Before that we have to know that we sinned, and we should not think
that we are pure.

That is why the para came to make them pure the pure ones
and to purify the impure ones.  When we
speak about the red cow, to make them pure the pure ones, those who think they
are pure in their own eyes, the para made impure.  Because he should know himself  a person that thinks he is pure does not know
his soul and he is not worried about the impurities.  That is how he stumbles.  And one who is impure, he will become pure
because he knows he is not pure and we worries about himself . that is the
person who will get an atonement and he will become pure. There is no greater
tragedy or sorrow or exile more than impurity. 
We have to ask and beg and pray to Hashem that He should save us from
this, that He should save us from all our impurities.  When we know impurity is a tragedy and we try
to save ourselves from it then that will bring the salvation..

Thoughts in giving charity

A  person has to have
merit for his lovingkindness to find the right address, it is dependent on him
if the money he makes is honest, if his heart is pure, if his money will go to
places that are holy and pure.  There are
certain people who give to education that are pure and impure.  A person merits that his money should be
given to a bais medrash, a place where they learn torah, a higher level of
learning, or a yeshiva, or a pure mikvah or places of chesed. Those are people
that merit giving their money to holy places. 
Even the people that give to holy places, that is the merit for the
money to go for the most holy things.

There is a famous story from Reb Chaim Voloshin. His yeshiva
goes to collect the money and people went to collect in villages and Reb Chaim
saw that a villager that once gave stopped. 
And Reb Chaim went to see that villager to see why he stopped
giving.  He asked him and he said he does
not like the collector, who comes with a wagon with many horses because he
wanted to get to many wealthy people.  And
the man said I am giving for the yeshiva and not for the horses.

It says in the Parsha, that he did the work of the mishkan,
and he would think thoughts. Betzalel could understand the thoughts of everyone
who gave to the mishkan. If one person’s thoughts were pure and holy, his
donation went to the aron or the kadosh hakedoshim.  The second person whose thoughts were not so
holy would go to lesser holy items.  According
to their thoughts, that is the value of what they were donated to. 

Reb Chaim said it is the same with you. If you give with all
your heart it goes for the Torah but if the heart of the donor is not complete,
the donation goes for the furniture.  And
a person who has even lesser holy thoughts his money goes for the wagon and horses.  The mishkan is holy and the yeshiva is
holy.  The nation of Israel that goes
according to the Torah is also holy and the mishkan also, and it is a big merit
for someone that gives money so his children can grow in Torah and yiras
shemayim.  Today the mishkan are the
yeshivas and the shuls, where our children grow in yiras shemayim.

That is what we donate today

Reishes chochma yiras Hashem

What comes first is acquiring wisdom and then fear of
Hashem. Hashem calls the name of Betzalel to come to do the holy work of the
mishkan and vessels and it says I will fill him with the spirit of Hashem with wisdom.  In medrash tanchuma it says if Hashem does
not fill someone with wisdom. In mishlei it says give a wise man wisdom and he
will get wiser.  Give chochma to the wise
ones.  Those who have wisdom hashem adds
wisdom to. He doesn’t give wisdom to a fool.

Why does hashem not give wisdom to a fool, why only to the
wise?  It should be the opposite.

If two people come to borrow money, one poor and one wealthy,
who do you give it to..the wealthy one who can pay it back, not the impoverished
one.  The fool will use the wisdom
inappropriately and the wise will use it for good.

The Rebbe of Kosk asked, where does the initial wisdom of
the wise person come from.  The initial
wisdom comes from the fear of heaven. The beginning of wisdom is the fear of
Hashem.  Fear of Hashem is the reason for
wisdom and because of that, once we have the initial wisdom, we merit getting
even more.

Regarding Betzalel, Hashem gave wisdom in his heart. Wisdom is
in the head so why does it say in the heart. 
because the heart fears.  And from
here is the wisdom.  All the chochomim lev,
the wise of heart, did it. In the mishkan Hashem wanted to place it in the
heart of Israel.  It talks about the
heart here, but it talks about the donation, that everyone wants to give of their
hearts. Hashem wants the heart of Israel in the building of the mishkan.  How did Betzalel merit it …from the merit
of his grandmother Miriam, and the fear in his heart.  Because of their fear of Hashem, Miriam and
Yocheved had Betzalel and Moshe.

The main thing for fear of shemayim, without that there is
no wisdom.  There is no advice or
understanding if it is against Hashem. Anything that is not fear of Hashem is
nothing at all.  The beginning of wisdom
is the fear of Hashem.

In the merit of one willing to give up his life for Hashem

The nation of Israel was preparing itself for the building
of the mishkan that would house the divine presence and they needed a special
craft to do the holy work.  He has to
know weaving, embroidery, all these crafts and more.  And who was the person?  Betzalel. He knew all these types of
different works and he stood in the head of all the special craftsman in the
work of doing the mishkan and the vessel. 
How did Betzalel know all the crafts? Did he learn it in mitzrayim how
to draw a pyramid?  The Rambam says they
were working with mortar and brick, not gold and silver, so where did he learn
it?

Hashem gave him a spirit of wisdom and understanding and
through that he was able to do all this work. 
So why wasn’t Moshe chosen for this, if it was done with the wisdom of
Hashem Moshe is a man of Hashem a holy man, was he not worthy of it. Moshe
wanted to do it, to make a menorah, a table, an altar. Moshe thought he would
do it. But Hashem said to Moshe that Betzalel ben Uri ben Chur will do it.  The answer is in the medrash because of Chur,
that he gave his life to be killed because he protested at the golden calf.  In that merit, Betzalel his grandson, he was
the one that merited to do the holy work of establishing the mishkan.  Moshe comes and tells Israel look, Hashem
calls to establish the mishkan because of the zechus of a person whose grandfather
gave up his soul for the honor of Hashem.

Pekudai

Leaders of the nation are patient

Patience without any bound or
measure, that is what a leader of Israel has to have and is granted to
him.  He has to take upon himself all the
burdens of the nation, the secrets, the burdens, if they are correct or not
correct, and suffer all the embarrassments if they suspect him, they have to
judge everyone favorably and he has to answer everyone appropriately, and he
has to stand like a lion to not let anyone break through the ideals of the Torah
that people want sometimes to change to go away from it. The leader has to
stand up and accept all the arrow that are thrown to him. Imagine a gabbai in
the shul was selected by most of the people in the shul and he is trustworthy
and does everything right and one day a ten your old stands up arrogantly and
demands an accounting of the money of the synagogue.  A youth like this would get a lot of upset feedback
rom the people in the temple because no one would think that the gabbai of the
shul would give an accounting of all the money that is given to the synagogue.


Here is Moshe and he gives the money for the mishkan. The leitzanim said they
don’t believe he acted in a right way with the monies from their donations and
they suspected that he took some money for himself. The thought like this is
mockery, that they suspect the most trustworthy person in Hashem’s house that
he would do such a thing.  And how did
Moshe respond, when they suspected him? 
He sat down and made an accounting with the mishkan, the silver gold and
copper, and everything is listed in the Parsha and the Torah signs off on the
proper accounting.  This is the way a
leader of Israel is patient and so strong with great and small people as well
as those who make a mockery with their false suspicion.  This is the way they can act. That is the beauty
of our gedolim.

Why is the Parsha of the mishkan repeated here

In the beginning of sefer Bamidbar
when Hashem gave the commandment, to count every tribe, because of the love of
Hashem He counts every hour.  ‘We don’t understand
on the Parsha why it says in such detail. 
In the Parsha of korbon Pesach it tells how to roast it with matzah and
everything . when we come to how Israel carries it out, it says bnei Yisrael
did like Hashem commands Moshe.

Here in the mishkan it says one
verse, a short verse, that bnei Israel did the commandment of putting up the
miskhan and after it already went into the detai the work of the mishkan and
all its laws..what is the difference between putting up the miskan, the mitzvah
is the korbon pesach for generations. Why so much detail on the mishkan and for
korbon pesahc it talks about what they did because Hashem commanded them. Here
we see it is because of Hashem’s love of Israel.  They were broken by the sin of the calf,
their crowns taken away by the angels.  They
thought Moshe had died and the soton confused them and they saw Moshe with his
glory shining and they were so embarrassed. 
Now they hear from Moshe to set up a mishkan and the divine presence
will dwell with Israel and they had such a desire to do this, as an atonement
of the golden calf, that they sinned, so when they started to do the avoda
hamishkan, it was like their soul had a burning desire to cleave to Hashem.  It was so important that the sin of the
golden calf was forgiven.   It burned to ashes of the sin of the
calf.  Their burning desire burnt the sin
of the calf and scattered all the ashes all over.

It is like a child that sinned
against his father and afterwards he learned Torah and felt so bad because of
his sin. How precious is that in the eyes of the father. That is why Hashem came
and reviewed the whole of the mishkan because He had such a love for them at
this time.

What are we asking an accounting for

Bnei Yisrael made the mishkan and
there was great joy and everyone had a part in the mishkan.  Everyone gave money to make the mishkan but
it seemed to someone that Moshe did not use the money appropriately and Moshe
proved he did. The money they gave to the calf, they gave earrings for the
golden calf. What happened to the rest of the gold. No one asked for an
accounting, what happened to the rest of the gold. There was so much gold in
the earrings, maybe it was the erev rav who stole the money and put it in their
pocket. No one asked for an accounting  
we see that someone who gives their money to a pure holy cause, he has a
suspicion maybe it was not used for this purpose and maybe those that collect
the money, and those who give their money to all types of things, they are not
interested.  Here we learn that evil people
always feel badly.  Even after a sin a rasha
does, it says what did you do.  The other
one who did a good thing is a happy person. 
When the gold was given for the calf, they felt bad, better the gold
should fall into the hands of the ones who made it. No one asked for an
accounting.

This is true in all golden calves
for people who donate. But if a person gives for a mitzvah he wants to know it
will be use donly for that purpose and he asks for an accounting. That is something
we can learn praise on wanting an accounting. That is the nature of someone who
gives to a holy cause.

Dressing for women, beautifying themselves for the sake of Hashem

It is given to women permission to
beautify themselves to look in the mirror on the condition that it is not too
much and the modest women when they beautify themselves do it in a certain way,
they tried carefully.  The righteous of
that generation were cautious and careful with their jewelry, to not do
anything wrong.  When the men fell into
the trap of listening to the erev rav and took the women’s jewelry ,the women
did not want to listen.  The righteous women
stood up to the cause and we have to see how dangerous the jewelries could be
to turn into idol worship.

We hear that those ladies that Moshe
was commanded by Hashem to make a mishkan that in it will dwell the divine presence,
they heard this, and where is the place for the shechina? In a place of tznius
they gave their mirrors to the mishkan.  Where
does the divine presence dwell?  In a
place of modesty and they gave their jewelry to the mishkan.  The dressing of the ladies of Israel has to
be b’shem Hashem.  There is no danger
that will take them away from the right way. 
When somebody gets dressed up and beautifies themselves in their house,
that is allowed and wanted and is a mitzvah and does not bring out an
aveira.  And any dressing that is not of
that nature could turn itself around to be a weapon in the hands of the evil
inclination and could bring to inappropriate behavior, chas vshalom, and all types
of bad behavior not appropriate to Torah.

The righteous women of that
generation, the women of today have to understand how they acted, to put a
barrier to the evil inclination of beautifying themselves, not to spend too
much money on it. They should think about the women in the desert, who could
give away their jewelry and mirrors for the holiness of Hashem.  And they took the teruma and they built a
mishkan for the shechina .  and to their
modesty that enveloped them, they made a man and woman of the divine presence between
them, that Torah and tznius surrounds them.

The beauty of the Jewish woman is
indoors, all the honor of the daughter of a king is within, she could honor
herself and beautify herself in the house. 
When they were redeemed in the merit of the righteous women, we should
merit to go from darkness to light in the merit of the righteous women that in
our generation go in the footsteps of their mothers to make more modesty in Israel
and to make a place for the shechina that should come in our midst.

Bringing shkalim and learning Torah

When in Yerushalayim everyone had
to bring a shekel, and this money was given for buying the korbonos that would
go on the misbeach.  These shekalim they
had to bring until Rosh Chodesh Nisan and really they could bring it at first
of Adar.  The beis hamikdosh is not here and
we give instead of cash Parshas Shekalim, for love.  We have to be like we make korbonos in the
bais hamikdosh and we brought a half a shekel. In giving half a shekel,
everything is equal. The rich should not do much and the poor not too
little.  Everyone brought half a shekel.  But when it came to the sacrifices, a wealthy
person brought an animal and a poor a bird, but in the eyes of Hashem it is
equal.

That is the same in limud ha’Torah
. we are chayiv in it whether rich or poor. 
Why didn’t thy bring a whole shekel 
We didn’t come to be wholesome, we give half a shekel.  Sometimes we think we know the Torah but it
is so deep, there is no end to its width and breadth.  What we understand is good but it is over and
beyond what we understand. When we learn Torah and our heart is broken, it is
something very desired by Hashem because he knows how far he is from the true
worship, that he is just half, not complete. 
A broken heart hashem won’t despise and Hashem will help us understand
the most wisdom of the Torah.

The korbonos were taken from the
new shekalim they brought this year and not from the old to teach us that we
always have to start anew. The shekalim from last year are not worthy of the
sacrifices . come let’s make new, the new heart we make when we renew
ourselves, then our service will be accepted. 

So too in Torah lets renew ourselves
with strength and power.

Pesach

The night of the seder 

The nation of Israel is making a
seder with matzah and they are happy wih holy feelings and thanking Hashem that
He took us out of the exile of mitzrayim and made us a nation of priests and a
holy nation.  One person with one
heart.  In all corners of the world, klal
Yisrael is leaning by the seder looking at our father in heaven with songs of the
night that we sing, and the holiday becomes holy expressing our joy of freedom
that happened when we were freed.  When our
fathers made the seder in mitzrayim, more than 60000 men with their wives and
children in great faith in their creator and redeemer.  Those people that were in Egypt saw great
kindnesses and it surrounded them on all sides. Around them there were screams
of death that broke through because there were no houses where there were no
dead.  In our eyes we see the song of
praise that broke out of Israel to Hashem on the redemption of their souls .  when the light of morning came, there was no
light.  They would go straight to the
light that has no limit to the gathering at Sinai and the receiving of the Torah.

Just like we said family and family, one nation with one heart, leanig at the table, we see it is as if we left mitrayim, this day we became a nation.  It is not just that generation it was for them and the generations that follow.  Every day it should be new in your eyes.  There are the 10 commandments, the oral torah, the written torah, just like we feel the exodus as if we were enslaved and left the darkess to light, so too we should feel in every hour that we ourselves are standing on Ha sinai and seeing and hearing the thunder and lightning, where there is hope throughout the world and through enthusiasm of a fear of holiness, we should accept from anew each day by day, each hour by hour, the yoke of Torah and the mitzvahs on our shoulders and it is not something old or cold.  We should feel and know that we are commanded and that is why we are screaming naaseh v’nisma, alive, saying it now

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