The Mishkan Again? – Parashat Pekudei

March 9, 2015 at 6:46 PM , , ,

“…And Moshe spoke to the entire community of Bnei Yisrael, saying: This is the word that G-d has commanded…” – Shemot 35:4

וַיֹּאמֶר משֶׁה אֶל כָּל עֲדַת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל לֵאמֹר זֶה הַדָּבָר אֲשֶׁר צִוָּה ה’ – שמות לה, ד

The Torah’s wording is concise, even cryptic at times, such that an extra word or even letter is a cause for discussion among the Biblical commentaries. Seemingly, then, after G-d’s detailed instructions to Moshe regarding the assembly of the Mishkan and its parts, one follow-up verse to the effect of, “And Bnei Yisrael did as G-d had commanded Moshe,” should certainly suffice! Instead, Moshe’s repetition of the command to Bnei Yisrael, the collection of all the materials, and an exhaustive depiction of the craftsmen’s work, are all documented in the Torah. Isn’t all this repetition excessive?


There is, however, precedent in Torah for such lengthy repetition.  When Eliezer, the servant of Avraham, was sent to find a wife for Yitzchak, the Torah tells us once about his experiences as they transpired, and then again when Eliezer related them in conversation. Commenting on that story, Rashi (on Beraishis 24:42) exclaims, “The conversations of the servants of the fathers are more precious before G-d than the Torah of the sons! The section of Eliezer is told twice, whereas many principles of the Torah were given through clues.” Rashi’s intention is not to contrast the servants of the forefathers with the Jewish people, but to distinguish their “conversations,” meaning narratives that don’t convey any unique directives, from “the Torah,” the instructions and laws to be observed by the Jewish people (“the sons”).  Though the Torah is normally concise even when teaching its laws, yet a narrative that is particularly “enjoyable” to G-d, such as the marriage of Yitzchak and Rivkah, is worthy of repetition even if it is merely a “conversation.”

This explains why the Torah is so elaborate when discussing the Mishkan, for the Mishkan represented that G-d chose to dwell among the Jewish people. Particularly in the aftermath of the sin of the Golden Calf, “the Mishkan was testimony for Israel that G-d forgave them for the incident of the calf, as He caused His Shechinah to rest among them” (Rashi on Shemos 38:11). Rightfully, the details of such a precious and pivotal moment in the relationship between G-d and His people are savored by the Torah and repeated excitedly.

—Likkutei Sichos vol. 16, pp. 458-461


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