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Parashat Vayakhel: The Precious Value of a Torah Home

Upon reading Parashat Vayakhel, we cannot help but be struck – and perplexed – by the Torah’s verbosity. The Torah laboriously repeats all the details regarding the construction of the Mishkan which were already presented earlier, in Parashat Teruma. There, we read of G-d presenting the commands for how to build the Mishkan and its furnishings, and here in Parashat Vayakhel, we read of how Beneh Yisrael fully complied with these commands. But why did all the details need to be repeated? Why did the Torah not simply relate that Beneh Yisrael built everything as G-d had commanded? Why was it necessary for the Torah to specify each and every detail of the construction a second time?

The Or Ha’hayim Ha’kadosh (Rav Haim Ben-Attar, 1696-1743), in his commentary to this Parasha (36:11), explains that G-d repeated all the details of the construction of the Mishkan "Ki Habib Alav" – because this information is especially "beloved" to G-d. When we feel excited over something, we want to talk about it repeatedly. The Torah, too, is repetitive when it comes to particularly precious information. The Or Ha’hayim draws a comparison to the story of Eliezer, Abraham’s servant, who went to Aram Naharayim to find a wife for Yishak, and met Ribka, as we read in Parashat Hayeh-Sara. There, too, the Torah seems to be repetitive. After telling us of Eliezer’s experiences at the well outside the city, where he met Ribka, the Torah then records Eliezer lengthy account of his experiences when he spoke to Ribka’s family. The Midrash, as the Or Ha’hayim cites, comments that all this is repeated because "Habiba Alav" – this section is precious and beloved to G-d. Similarly, the Or Ha’hayim explains, the details of the Mishkan’s construction are repeated because this subject is especially beloved to G-d.

It is noteworthy that the Or Ha’hayim draws a comparison between the building of the Mishkan and Eliezer’s successful efforts to find a wife for Yishak – the story of the building of a Jewish home. The Or Ha’hayim here is teaching us that building a Jewish home is as precious and beloved to G-d as the building of a Mishkan. After all, when a husband and wife conduct themselves the right way, and run their home on the foundations of Torah values and Torah observance, then their home becomes worthy of the Shechina (divine presence). In essence, such a home becomes a Bet Ha’mikdash, a sanctuary, where G-d is present. We are to ensure to build our homes properly, the way the Torah instructs, so that our homes will be beautiful and sublime like the Bet Ha’mikdash, worthy of G-d’s presence and of His unlimited blessings.

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