Parsha: Vayakhel (2024)

A visit to the Kotel is an emotional experience. It is the last remaining structure of our Holy temple, lasting more than 2000 years. What is its secret that allowed it, to last and survive so long?

The Parsha this week talks about building a home for G-d.
Before the actual construction takes place Moshe gathers the Jewish people together. That’s why the name of the Parsha is Vayakhel, which means to gather.

In fact, it isn’t clear what the purpose of this gathering was.
There wasn’t anything new or urgent that Moshe said, that validated the reason for a mass gathering of all the Jewish people.

 Most meetings are set up to deal with something that needs tending to. 

Imagine making a meeting with no agenda or specific purpose that you will be talking about at the meeting.

What was the point of this meeting and why did it have to be right before the building of the Mishkan?

One explanation is, that there really wasn’t an agenda or specific task to accomplish, because the purpose was just to get together. Uniting and being together was already enough.

Just the very idea of Jewish people coming together is something very valuable.
It’s not just a means to an end, it is the end. 
Rabbi Yisroel Baal Shemtov (1698-1760) once taught something amazing. He said: “If one angel were to stand in the presence of a gathering of ten Jews, the angel would become utterly nullified because of the Divine presence that rests upon every gathering of ten Jews.”

This is an important ingredient that was to be part of building the Mishkan, a home for G-d. When something is built with unity and love, it has a special enduring power. 

This is why the building of the Mishkan is proceeded by a gathering of the Jewish people.

There is a tradition that the Kotel was built by people who were poor but banded together to build the Western wall. Each one on their own did not have the means and ability to build the Kotel, but together they managed to raise the funds to construct that everlasting wall. It was done with unity and togetherness; therefore it lasted all these years.

The lesson is clear. 
Let’s put more unity and connection into our projects and goals, that will enable them to endure through challenges and the test of time.


Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Zalman and Esty