Pave your own street
This week’s Parasha delves more into the construction of the Mishkan – Bnei Yisrael’s primary place of worship for Hashem. All the details are clearly defined and the pesukim tell us at length of all the construction that is required. The Gemara in Shabbat (49b) says that while the Torah tells of the construction of the Mishkan, it switches to the topic of Shabbat. The reason for this juxtaposition is, to teach us that all these different forms of work, which were done in the construction of the Mishkan, are prohibited on Shabbat. For example, building, sewing and writing were performed for the building of the Mishkan. Therefore, these forms of work are prohibited on Shabbat. In fact, since the Mishkan consists of construction and creation it is only appropriate that Shabbat, the day of rest, should consist of no construction whatsoever. It is even one of the fundamental rules in all Halachot of Shabbat that any work that is done in a creative form is prohibited, even writing two letters is prohibited seeing as one might have created a word.
However, with more thought, it seems that the comparison is not appropriate at all. The building of the Mishkan describes bringing things into existence. Shabbat, on the other hand is a day of the week that we remember that Hashem rested from all work and did not conduct any creation whatsoever. How can one compare the building of the Mishkan, which consists of an abundance of creating, to a day where all is passive and rested. It would seem that the building of the Mishkan is not synonymous with Shabbat at all. If anything, any other day of the week would suffice, since that is where Hashem conducted the creation of the world itself.
If one were to see the art of glass blowing, it is fascinating. The glass blower masterfully handles liquid glass and, through blowing, constructs any shape they desire. Seeing as it is a liquid, it is extremely flexible and one can bend it and form any shape. However, when the glass blower ceases to blow, only then a beautiful glass object has been created. The creation of the world is exactly the same. Hakadosh Baruch Hu began to create the world and form all the creatures, plants and landscapes. Hashem spent six days creating and forming, but only when it got to Shabbat and Hashem rested, then all the creating ceased, only then was the world created. Shabbat is a day where we remember that Hashem stopped creating and that in itself brought the world into existence. Therefore, it is only appropriate that we refer to Shabbat as the real day when the world was created and so it is only appropriate to juxtapose Shabbat with the building of the Mishkan.
Based on this, we can take a tremendous life lesson. Every single Jew that was created begins their life on a journey of connecting to Hashem by performing Mitzvot and character growth. Each and every one of us builds ourselves, for better or worse. We spend every day building more and more. However, that building does not become complete until we stop building and ascend to the next world. That day is when we become complete and become who we really are. We remain built that way for eternity. While in this world, we are in formation, when we stop and get to the next world that creates us into who we really are. It is the stopping itself that makes us who we are.
A king was once visiting a village, approached one of the poor villagers, and told him “I am the king, I own the entire country. Here are four pegs. Place them into the ground wherever you wish, and you will own the land that is contained within them”. The villager placed three of the pegs in the ground and realised that he was placed with an ultimatum. The further he placed the last peg, the bigger his land would be and that would establish his land but he could never change it.
Life presents us with a phenomenal opportunity to grow and connect with Hashem. We must take advantage of every opportunity of growth that comes to us because when the fourth peg is placed, the land will never get bigger.