Thursday, February 20, 2014

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Vayakhel

The following is a brief summary of some of the thoughts said over by R' Frand on the parsha this evening. I have attempted to reproduce these vorts to the best of my ability. Any perceived inconsistency is the result of my efforts to transcribe the shiur and should not be attributed to R' Frand.

In Shemos 35:30, Moshe tells the Jewish people that they should see that Hashem has called Betzalel the son of Uri the son of Hur of the tribe of Judah. Moshe further explains that Hashem has given Betzalel the wisdom and insight to craft the Mishkan.

(At the time that Betzalel was selected to work on the Mishkan he was 13 years old!)

The pasuk itself is reminiscent of another pasuk in Parshas Ki Sissa (Shemos 31:2) where Hashem tells Moshe that Hashem has has called Betzalel the son of Uri the son of Hur of the tribe of Judah. Moshe again explains that Hashem has given Betzalel the wisdom and insight to craft the Mishkan.

R' Frand noted that the pesukim were odd in that not only was Betzalel's father mentioned, but his grandfather was identified as well. R' Frand also quoted Rashi who underscores that Hur was the son of Miriam. R' Frand then asked why did Rashi need to tell us this as it is well known that Hur was Miriam's son?

R' Frand first addressed the mention of Hur by quoting the well known Medrash on Vaykhel which states that Betzalel received the honor in the merit of his grandfather who refused to bow to popular pressure when there was a swell of support for building the Golden Calf.

R' Frand then asked - in hindsight, was it proper for Hur to stand up against the masses when they did not listen to him and ultimately killed him for saying no? R' Frand answered that Hur did do the right thing, because sometimes a person needs to stand up for what he believes in, and even if he does not think that others will listen to him.

Where did Hur learn this from? The answer is that he saw this in his mother Miriam.

R' Frand identified four specific moments that Miriam stood up for ideas, even though unpopular and they seemed unlikely to succeed.

The first event was when Amram divorced Yocheved because Amram saw all the Jewish babies being killed by the Egyptians. Although Amram was the lead Rabbi for the Jews in Egypt, his toddler daughter Miriam reproached him for divorcing Yocheved and told him he was worse than Pharaoh. Although Miriam could not have believed that she would succeed in convincing her father, she knew that he was wrong and that she needed to try to influence him.

The next event took place when Moshe was placed by Miriam in the basket in the water. After Miriam saw that the daughter of Pharaoh had retrieved Moshe, Miriam approached her and told her that she should give the baby to a Jewish midwife. Again, this must have seemed like a longshot - why would the daughter of Pharaoh listen to a slave girl? Still Miriam stood up and spoke about what she believed in.

The third event involved the singing after the Jews crossed the Yam Suf. The women were upset and expressed to Miriam their displeasure in not being able to sing. The Tosafos Harosh explains that Miriam picked up a tambourine and encouraged them to sing - because she knew that they wanted to sing and that the noise would drown out their singing.

The final event involved the spinning of thread for the Mishkan. The gemara relates that the women spun thread into wool while it was still on the sheep. Miriam actually taught them to do this because the women wanted to participate, but were concerned that they would be unable to do so if they were niddos. To solve the problem, Miriam taught them to spin thread while it was still on the sheep and not capable of becoming tamei.

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