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Vayakhel Parshah Lesson

Vayakhel Parshah Lesson

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"Daddy, I have a question," Ben said to his father at the Shabbat table. "At the beginning of this week's Torah portion, Moshe teaches the Jewish people about Shabbat. Why was that necessary? The Jewish people knew about Shabbat already. It's one of the Ten Commandments that they heard at Mount Sinai. And we learned that G‑d gave them the Shabbat even before the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai!"

"The mitzvah of Shabbat is repeated in the Torah many times," replied Ben's father. "As a matter of fact, this mitzvah is mentioned more often than any other. Every time we read about Shabbat in the Torah, we can learn something else. Let's see what we can discover in the verses of this week's portion."

"In six days the work shall get done," Ben read from one of the verses.

"'The work shall get done?'" repeated Ben in surprise. "That sounds so strange. Why doesn't it simply say, 'In six days you shall do work,' like we say in the kiddush on Shabbat day?"

"Good point, Ben. That's just what I meant when I said that we should try to learn something new each time we read about Shabbat. We already know about working all week and resting on Shabbat. This verse is not teaching us that we must stop working on Shabbat. Here the Torah is teaching us something about the work we do all week."

"What do you mean?" asked Ben.

"G‑d wants us to work for a living. We work at our jobs so that we can buy the things we need in order to live and serve Him. As we work we get paid; that's how we support ourselves. But we need to remember that it is really G‑d Who blesses us with all our needs. G‑d sends us the blessing through our jobs.

"The Torah teaches: 'Six days the work shall get done.' Getting it done means doing what you have to do so that the job gets done, knowing all the while that in this way G‑d's blessing will come. When a Jew comes to Shabbat knowing that it is G‑d who provided for him during the week, he keeps Shabbat in an entirely different manner. He feels that all of his weekday work has been completed and he doesn't think about it at all."

"I get it," answered Ben. "But still, if the job is just something G‑d uses to give His blessings, who needs it? Why doesn't He just give us what we need directly?"

"Ben, what have we been reading about these last couple of portions?"

"The Tabernacle, of course."

"G‑d commanded us to build the Tabernacle so that holiness would be revealed here in our world. We reveal holiness when we do good deeds like giving charity, praying or lighting Shabbat candles. But even when a Jew is not directly involved in a mitzvah, he can reveal this holiness in many ways through the work that he does. We could be honest with our customers and be nice to others."

Adapted from the writings of Rebbetzin Malka Touger, who is the author of many books for both children and adults. Her children's series on the Parsha can be purchased here.
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