Erev Shabbos Parashas Vayakheil, Shabbos Shekalim 5776

Dear Parents,

A question that arises when the Parshiyos of Vayakheil and Pekudei arrive, is how do we understand the Torah’s repeating at great length, what was essentially discussed previously in Parshiyos Terumah and Tetzaveh? The Gemara has a rule that every letter in the Torah has meaning. Here we have over 200 pesukim that basically serve as a review, seemingly teaching nothing new!

Rav Avraham Pam zt’l says there is a monumental lesson here that justifies the many dozens of extra pesukim. There is a basic difference between Terumah-Tetzaveh and Vayakheil-Pekudei. In the former, the word ועשית (you shall make) is used to introduce the commandments to build the Mishkan and its utensils and the Priestly garments. In the latter two parshiyos the word ויעש(and he made) is used to describe the fact that Moshe did make the Mishkan and its utensils and the Priestly garments. This is the chiddush (novel concept) here – that the planning became a reality – the ועשית became a ויעש

Many construction projects start off with magnificent plans and yet by the end, after cost overruns and other stumbling blocks, the finished project bears little resemblance to the original blueprint. The ועשית apparently did not become aויעש

The same is true with personal goals. We make grand resolutions during the Yomim Noraim only to see them fizzling out by Chanuka. When we ask ourselves “are we living up to what we resolved to do?” we’re not always so pleased with the response. How many great hopes for the next foolproof diet wither in the same fashion? The ועשית apparently did not become aויעש How can a person translate plans, dreams and aspirations into solid results? Rav Pam states it is only possible through harnessing the trait of zerizus (alacrity and zeal). The Mesillas Yesharim (chapter 7) says that zerizus means two things: Firstly, to begin the mitzvah right away and not to push it off. Secondly, once the mitzvah has been started, to see it through to completion. There are situations in life when plans are made to accomplish great things, but due to delays in their implementation, pitfalls and opposition arise that effectively thwart the fulfillment of the plans. Zerizus means bringing the plans to fruition. This aspect of zerizus is in effect – focus. One’s vision is not distracted from the goal – no matter what comes up along the way – the zealous person keeps his eyes on the prize, and is not deterred.

How do we develop this midah of zerizus in our children? No self-help book will accomplish anything with this one. Lecturing, cajoling or coercing won’t help one bit. There are two ways, and each one is indispensable. As with all deep-rooted character traits – parents teach by example. If we are focused, goal-oriented and not easily deterred when the going gets rough, our children will internalize that. Secondly, we need to develop within our children the concept of working towards a goal, and living up to a commitment. Don’t allow your child to undertake a project that he can’t possibly achieve. Your child’s failure to achieve his goal won’t teach him to modify his goals in the future; it will teach him to not even try to stretch beyond his comfort zone. A realistic goal, with support, encouragement and holding him responsible to follow through, are a greater guarantor of developing the middah of zerizus. Few things in life make a person more trustworthy and reliable, than actually accomplishing what it is that they set out to do.

If you want your children to have a successful life, zerizus is a key. They will be from among the doers and makers, not the critics and passive observers. Developing such children – now that’s a worthwhile goal!

Best wishes for a well-planned and beautifully executed Shabbos!

Rabbi Kalman Baumann

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