The afternoon school buses were running very late because of the stormy weather, so Yehoshua and Chaim were glad when their teacher offered them a ride home.

“Come on, boys,” Rabbi Davidson called. “I go right past your houses, and the quicker you get home in this weather, the better.”

“Thank you, Rabbi,” said Yehoshua as the boys got in the car. “We really appreciate your offer. Actually, I’m very happy because I wanted to ask you a question.”

“Go right ahead, Yehoshua,” said Rabbi Davidson.

Yehoshua looked down bashfully. “I didn’t ask you in class because I didn’t want to announce to everyone what we were doing. You see, Chaim and I have decided to do something extra in honor of Yud-Alef Nissan, besides what the school is doing. Every day, we say the Chitas together.”

Rabbi Davidson was extremely pleased. “I’m very proud of you boys,” he beamed. “Now what was your question?”

“Well, while we were studying the Chumash, we realized that this parshah is repeating everything we read two weeks ago in Parshas Terumah. In Parshas Terumah, the Torah tells us that HaShem commands the Jewish people to build the Mishkan, and in Parshas Vayakhel, the Torah tells us that the Jews built it, repeating the details again.”

Rabbi Davidson explained. “You’re right, Yehoshua. But the two parshiyos are not really the same. You see, all mitzvos contain two steps. First, there is HaShem’s commandment — the mitzvah as it exists in HaShem’s wisdom. When Moshe Rabbeinu was on Mount Sinai, HaShem taught him about the Mishkan and its keilim. And HaShem told Moshe to build the Mishkan “as you were shown on the mountain,” meaning that the Mishkan should have this same holiness. This is what Parshas Terumah teaches us.

“But HaShem’s commandment from Above is not enough. The most important part of a mitzvah is when a Jew actually fulfills it. This is what building the Mishkan was all about — making a dwelling place for HaShem’s holiness here in this world. It is the same with every mitzvah. Actually carrying out HaShem’s will, doing the mitzvos, brings down His holiness into this world. This is what Parshas Vayakhel tells us about.

(Adapted from Likkutei Sichos, Vol. I, Parshas Pekudei; Vol. XXVII, p. 205)