Feb 24th, 2011 by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Portion of the Week
“See I have called them by name Betzalel (Exodus 31:2).” This had to be mentioned as it was quite impossible to find amongst the Jews, who had been bricklayers of the most primitive kind, anyone who could possibly excel in the disciplines required to master the task  of constructing such a portable Sanctuary. Even if by chance there had been the odd individual who had some expertise in one of the many arts and crafts needed for this project prior to becoming enslaved, he would long ago have forgotten it. When the Torah lists the various disciplines in which experts were required for this work, this teaches us that only someone Divinely inspired could possibly have mastered all of these arts. (Rabbeinu Bachya: Terumah)

It’s worthwhile when considering Betzalel’s Divinely inspired wisdom, used to construct the Mishkan, to review Chapter 28 of the Book of Job:

“For there is a source for silver, and a place where gold is refined.

Iron is taken from the soil, and copper is smelted from stone.

He sets a limit to the darkness, and, He investigates the end of everything:

the source of gloom in the shadow of death.

A river bursts forth from its normal flow, to where it is unknown to human feet; it rises and surges over people.

There is a land where food once grew; but its place was transformed, resembling a fire.

It was a place whose stones were sapphires, and it had dust of gold;

a route not known to the buzzard,

that the vulture’s eyes has not seen.

Lions whelps did not traverse it and lions did not pass over it.

But God stretched out His hand to the flint and overturned mountains from the root.

He split open river channels in the rocks.

His eyes saw every precious thing.

From the waters of the deep He fashioned rivers;

He brings secret things out into the light.

But as for wisdom:

Where can it be found?

Which is the place of understanding?

Mankind does not know it’s worth;

it cannot be found in the land of the living.

The Depth says, ‘It is not in me! And the Sea says, ‘It is not with me!’

Precious gold cannot be exchanged for it and its price cannot be weighed in silver.

It cannot be compared to Ophir gold or to precious shoham or sapphire.

Gold and glass cannot approximate it, nor can its exchange be in golden articles. Corals and Crystal cannot be considered;

the pursuit of wisdom is more precious than pearls.

The pitdah of Cush cannot approximate it; the purest gold cannot be compared to it.

Wisdom: from where does it come?

Which is the place of understanding?

It is hidden from the eyes of all living things and is concealed from the bird of the heavens.

Doom and Death say, ‘With our ears we have heard its reputation.’

Only God understands its way,

and He knows its place.

For He peers to the ends of the world;

He sees what is under the entire heavens,

making a prescribed weight for the wind,

apportioning water with a measure,

when He makes a set allotment for the rain and a path for clouds of thunder.

Then He looked and recorded it;

He prepared it and perfected it;

and He said to man,

‘Behold, the fear of the Lord is wisdom, and refraining from evil is understanding!”

Can you find how many of the materials used in the Mishkan are included in this chapter?

Can you find the allusions to the symbolism of the Mishkan’s parts in the verses?

This chapter, applied to the Mishkan, would describe the Sanctuary as a representation of Wisdom. Thus, we can understand why God would speak to Moshe from inside the Holy of Holies.

Why choose someone other than Moshe to construct the place of Wisdom?

See if you can find the references to the Garden in Eden.

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