This week, we read two parshot, Vayakhel and Pekudei. In leap years of the Jewish calendar, we would read Pekudei next week.
Vayakhel is the last of the three Torah portions where we learn about the constuction of the Mishkan – the Tabernacle – that was our place of worship during the Exodus and then in the Land of Israel until the Temple was built.
We read about the building team in this portion. The workers were the people themselves – all the Israelites brought the fabrics, animal skins, metals and jewels that would be needed, until there was more than could be used.
The work was supervised by two men from very different backgrounds. The principal architect was Bezalel (“in the shadow of God” or “under the protection of God”). Bezalel was the grandson of Hur, an assistant to Moses, and the great-grandson of Miriam, Moses’ sister and herself a prophet. He was skilled in all kinds of crafts. He came from the aristocracy of Israel, the tribe of Judah. His assistant was Oholiab (“tent of my father” – and he was building the tent for The Father). Oholiab was from the very modest tribe of Dan. So we see that Jews from all walks of life gave leadership to building the Tabernacle.
Perhaps the most interesting fact for us is that Bezalel was 13 when he directed the building of the Tabernacle, according to the Talmud (Sanhedrin, 69b). But age didn’t matter, because God had chosen Bezalel for this work, and “filled him with Godly spirit, with wisdom, with understanding, and with knowledge, and with every craft.” God also “gave him the ability to teach … .” (Exodus, 35:31, 34).
That would have made quite an Eagle project – building the Tabernacle!
God has also filled you “with spirit, with wisdom, with understanding, and with knowledge.” Perhaps not with every craft, but God has given you talents and the ability to do things. Bezalel used his God-given gifts to create a place where the Israelites could worship God. How can you use your gifts to help people?