This Dvar Torah is dedicated in memory of Yehuda bar Chlifa, Rav Yehuda Edery z”l, on his yahretzeit, erev Shabbos, the 28th of Adar. May the learning of this dvar Torah bring merit to his holy neshama and chizuk to his rebbetzin yb”l.
This week’s double portion of Vaykhel and Pekudei concludes the Book of Shemos, and it discusses the building of the Mishkan. The last medrish of Medrish Tanchuma asks, “How long did it take to finish the Mshkan? Rebbi Shmuel bar Nachman responded that the work on the Mishkan took 3 months. Tishrei, Cheshvan, and Kislev and they left each part [of the Mishkan separate for three months during Teves, Shevat, and Adar. It was finally erected on the first of Nissan. Rebbe Chanina said that on the first of Adar they finished the work on the Mishkan. Why, because the amount of work they were able to accomplish in one day during the Summer took two days in the Winter just as Rebbe Shmuel bar Nachmani said, that it took 3 months to make the Mishkan. [If it was finished in the beginning of Adar] why wasn’t it set up immediately? It was because Hashem thought to combine the joy of the Mishkan with the joy of the day when Yitzchak Avinu was born. (In reality, the Etz Yosef says that Yitzchak Avinu was really born on the 15th of Nissan, not the 1st but since they are both in the same month it as if they happened at the same time.) The scoffers of the generation were making fun of and wondering why the work on the Mishkan was completed but the Mishkan was not assembled immediately. They did not know the thought process and advice of Hashem. About this King David said in Tehillim, ‘For You have made me happy O Lord, with Your work; with the work of Your hands I shall exult’ (Tehillim 92:5). ‘For You have made me happy O Lord, with Your work’ refers to the Ohel Moed (i.e. Mishkan) and ‘with the work of Your hands I shall exult’ refers to the building of the Beis HaMikdash which shall be rebuilt speedily in our days. [The next pasuk declares] ‘How great are Your works, O Lord! Your thoughts are very deep,’ referring to the fact that He thought to combine one joy with another, the day Yitzchak Avinu was born…”
The Beur HaAmarim explains why Hashem combined both happy occasions: “the reason being was that at the birth of Yitzchak all of creation, on earth and in heaven, rejoiced, as mentioned earlier in the Medrish Tanchuma (parshas Toldos, paragraph 2). The reason given there was because through him the world stabilized, for it was close to reverting back to being unformed and void (tohu vavohu), if not for him bequeathing the bris milah to future generations, which through it The Honor of Hashem’s kingdom, blessed be He, is revealed, for on this condition was the world created, as the Medrish Tanchuma states in parshas Lech Licha (paragraph 19). So, since the beginning of the stabilization of the world began in the month of Nissan when Yitzchak was born, so to the setup of the Mishkan which was befitting to be done for the revelation of Hashem’s Holy Presence on earth, and completing the settlement of the word with its Creator, as well as stabilization, is befitting to be done in this month, which is the month known for joy, for Hashem celebrated joyfully with His creations.” (Click here for Hebrew text.)
Granted it makes sense that Hashem wanted to enhance the joy of the dedication of the Mishkan with the celebration of Yitzchak Avinu’s birthday, since that was the beginning of stabilization for the world. The completion of stabilization was the dedication of the Mishkan in order for the Shechina, Hashem’s Holy Presence to rest among us on Earth. In fact, the Etz Yosef adds that the whole reason why the Shechina rested in the Mishkan of Moshe was in the merit of Yitzchak. However, why was it worthwhile to bring about this enhancement of joy at the expense of what seems to be a chilul Hashem by scoffers questioning and making fun of Hashem for not erecting the Mishkan immediately when there was a chance? Might it not possibly send a message to those people that Hashem was weak, chas vishalom, and had to muster up the ability for a whole month to rest His Holy Presence among them? Besides that, imagine all the nerves, stress, and pressure everyone must have been going through when they saw a delay in the completion of the Mishkan, especially since the Medrish right before this said that Hashem told Moshe on Yom Kippur to begin preparation for building the Mishkan as a resting place for the Shechina among His children after He accepted their atonement from the sin of the golden calf, the delay possibly might have caused them to question whether they were really forgiven or not. Why was it worthwhile delaying the Holy Shechina coming down and possibly dampening the simcha for the sake of trying to double the joyful celebration? Wasn’t the amount of joy they would have at the dedication of the Mishkan quite immense by itself?
We see from here how important it is to feel as happy as possible especially on auspicious occasions, and to try to enhance that feeling of ecstasy when at all possible. A practical application might be having a wedding on the same day as the chosson or kallah’s birthday, if at all possible, because that will intensify the thrill of the day and make it feel more special.
The Medrish Tanchuma concludes Sefer Shemos with, “Hashem said that in this world My Holy Presence was amongst you and before your eyes as it says, ‘And the appearance of the glory of the Lord… before the eyes of the children of Israel’ (Shemos 24:17). But in the future My Holy Presence shall never leave you forever, as it says, ‘and I will place My Sanctuary in their midst forever.’ (Yechezkel 37:26). ‘And I will dwell within the children of Israel, and will not forsake My people, Israel’ (Melachim Alef 6:13). Blessed is Hashem forever amen and amen.”